by David Buffaloe
Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law (Rom. 13:8)"
I have never understood why a person would purposely run over a skunk. If I see a skunk, an opossum, a raccoon, or another human on the highway, I always feel it's best to avoid running them (or it) over. It's just mean to be driving your car and, seeing a skunk or another of God's creation, to try and run it over. You have an added incentive with a skunk, an additional reason to avoid squashing that little stinker. If you run over a skunk you may kill it and foul your car with a smell that lingers long after your act of meanness. The spirit may depart. But Beloved, the smell lingers on!
We live in a mean spirited age. People have a tendency to be mean to one another. We find fault, and whine-yes, whine-often for little reason. We have it good-no, make that GREAT-in America, especially when you compare our country with other nations. In this country you have relative freedom of speech. You have relative freedom to do as you so desire (whether what you want to do is wise or not) as long as your actions do not physically harm others. (Running down people on the side of the road is frowned on. You'll go to jail for that act of meanness. You are free to smash innocent skunks-if you can stand the smell.)
The meanness that hurts me most is when people who profess to be Christians are less than kind. Some religious people act this way because they feel that they are protecting the Lord or the integrity of His Word. May I say that God is able to protect Himself and His Word, thank you. You who fall into Phariseeism or Sadduceeism (translation: "extreme liberals" or "extreme conservatives") should never resort to meanness toward those with whom you do not agree. Jesus said "He that loveth another hath fulfilled the law." He didn't say "He who perfectly follows the commandments, or who properly and perfectly interprets every jot and tittle of the Holy Scripture has fulfilled the Law." No, it is "He that loveth another hath fulfilled (past tense - you have done it) the Law."
The world and the worldly will be kind while we agree with them, but will often resort to meanness when we do not agree. We are mocked, called foolish, called idiots for believing what we do. We who belong to God believe "that salvation can be found in no other: no other Name but that of Jesus under heaven is given to us whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). We who are His believe what Jesus told us when He said "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: No man comes to the Father but by me." We do not debate this. We understand that "all have sinned-even us-and have come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). The Christian understands that he is a sinner, that Christ bore his sin debt, and that he or she is saved "not by works of righteousness that we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Titus 3:5).
In short, dear Christian, we who are saved by faith are recipients of great love, grand love, gracious love, certainly undeserved love. What we have from God we have because of His love, not because we deserve it. Love reached out and, as love can only do, gave Himself for you and for me!
You have been given a great and generous gift in Christ if you are saved. Are people seeing Christ in you? Or are they seeing a mean caricature of a Christian? Unless the world sees Christ in you they will never understand, nor accept, the gospel of salvation.
Stand on the truth, stand in the power of the Holy Spirit on the clear teachings of the Word of God, but stand lovingly. Do not be negative, judgmental, and mean. Love even the unlovable. In so doing you have fulfilled the Law.
And one more thing: If a skunk (either human or the small furry kind) crosses your path, love it and leave it alone. Those who waste their time squashing skunks usually end up smelling like what they attacked. Love, with all the power within you. Love whether you are loved or not. Love and do good to others, even when they hate you and treat you badly. Who knows-you might lead that person to accept the Lord Jesus as Savior and see him changed into a glorious new creature somewhat like you!
David Buffaloe pastors Rock Hill Baptist Church in Lexington, TN