We are all imperfect human beings, fallible and prone to sin—and that is why Christlike love is so important in the church. Because we are imperfect, we must learn to accept one another and tolerate one another in all our many imperfections. Because we are imperfect, we must learn to love one another with genuine agape love. Because we are imperfect, we must learn to forgive one another. And because we are imperfect, we must hold one another accountable.

The culture around us embraces a false notion of tolerance and love that says, “If you love somebody, you have to accept all their sins, their character flaws, and their godless lifestyle. You must never correct them, never rebuke them, never challenge them, never encourage them to repent and live righteously. Love means tolerating whatever anyone does, including their sinful and destructive behavior.”

That’s the world’s notion of love—and if you violate that notion, if you confront or rebuke someone for a lifestyle of sin, suddenly you will become the bad guy, the bigot, the hater, the reactionary, the extremist. According to the world, the out-and-proud sinners are good, and the godly are evil. Right is wrong, and wrong is right. We are living in Orwellian times.

But God’s Word teaches that admonishing one another in a spirit of humility is actually a demonstration of Christian love. As someone once said, “If you love, you level.” Paul calls this “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). Paul is not telling us to go around and correct and confront our fellow Christians for every little thing they do wrong.

But if someone is straying from the Truth or wandering from the faith, if someone is engaging in a lifestyle of sin and self-destruction, we should love that person enough to sit down, reason, pray, and even weep with that person over the tragedy of sin. That’s what it truly means to love one another.

Prayer: Father, help me to internalize this precious concept of Christian love. May I seek to build up my brothers and sisters in Christ by pointing them to You and exhorting them to Christlikeness even as I receive the same counsel. May we all receive and give admonishment with humility and love, remembering the grace we have received. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).

*Excerpt adapted from Fearless Living in Troubled Times by Michael Youssef © 2017. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. Used by permission.

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon Until Christ Returns: Living Confidently in Turbulent Times, Part 7: LISTEN NOW | WATCH NOW

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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