Who Am I Hurting?
By Pat Kilpatrick

When I am upset with the elders or anyone of the church and will not take part in any work or in the worship services of the church, who am I hurting?  When I become offended at one of the members of the congregation, and I mount a smear campaign against that person instead of approaching that person in love and forgiveness trying to resolve the issue, who am I hurting?  When I withhold my contribution because I disagree with the judgment of the elders or do so because I have some kind of animosity against the elders, who am I hurting?  When I leave the church because I am mad at a person or persons of the church, who am I hurting?  Who am I hurting?

• Well to begin with, I hurt myself.  As we will learn as we study further, this is not how one that has put on Christ behaves.  I will be held accountable for the hurt I cause regardless that it was done in retaliation for wrong (real or imagined) that was done to me (Matthew 5:21-22; 12:34-37).
• Secondly, I hurt the person or persons I set out to hurt, and the carnal man will get some satisfaction from that.  But that’s not how a Christian, a person walking in the Spirit handles problems.  A Christian is kind and forgiving toward his brethren, and never wants to cause hurt (Ephesians 4:31-32).  A Christian knows that two wrongs does not make a right, so he does not retaliate when he is wronged, but does good (Romans 12:19-21).
• I hurt people that I really did not have any intention of hurting.  My actions will discourage my brethren, especially those who are young in the faith.  This will include my closest friends, members of my own family, even my children or my spouse.  Some might become so discourage that they fall away, possibly never to be restored to the Lord’s body, souls lost for eternity.  Some might follow in my foot steps, committing the same wrongs in support of my actions or to retaliate against me.  A Christian understands that his actions affect others (Romans 14:7) and refrains from any action that might cause another to stumble (Romans 14:19-21).  Jesus pronounced a curse on those that causes such offenses (Matthew 18:1-7).
• Finally, and worst of all, whatever I do to the church or any one of the church, I do to my Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 25:40).  So when I intentionally hurt the church or certain of my brethren, I hurt Jesus Christ.  When Jesus met Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus, he didn’t ask him why he was persecuting his church, he asked him why he was persecuting Him (Acts 9:1-5).  Why would I want to hurt the one who loved me, left heaven to come to this earth and died for my sins?  Why would I want to hurt the one who suffered so much so that I might inherit the kingdom of heaven?

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings:  That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.”  (Philippians 2:14-16)

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