There are so many ways that we can all be working to build God's kingdom and we should be very wary to pull others down for doing their part.
Reference: v.2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him (NIV Bible)
Explore: I went to visit a church last week to hear about their journey of building a faith community and connecting with their local community. Within Australia, this church would be classified as a larger church which is starting to plant other churches and continues to grow. Through discussions with the senior leadership, it saddened me to hear that they were receiving criticism. My sadness didn't come from learning of their persecution from the local community or other religious groups, it was disheartening to hear that the criticism came from within their own denomination. And yet, I must admit that I was not completely surprised. I often hear harsh criticism of other people within similar faith groups, particularly towards people who are growing and developing. Unfortunately we transfer the 'tall poppy' criticisms of our society into our churches, and we pull down anyone who is showing signs of success.
As we've read in this passage in Acts, even the disciple Peter, who God had chosen to 'build His church' experienced criticism within the believers.
Application: The words used to pull down fellow believers seem to roll off the tongue so easily. And yet, with all the challenges in our lives, we should be aiming to build people up instead of tearing them down. Doing God's work here on earth is not easy and there's not just one way to accomplish the work. There are so many ways that we can all be working to build God's kingdom and we should be very wary to pull others down for doing their part. This doesn't mean that we can't be critical or analytical as we explore what our role in God's kingdom is, however we should always err on the side of encouragement, rather than contributing in pulling people down.
Prayer: Lord, you love us and encourage us, even though we constantly fail and turn from you. Help us to show that grace to others too. Amen.
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This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.