God has given us precious relationships. We need to treasure and grow in these relationships. True spirituality is practical and should be evident in our relationships. But at times we break these God-given relationships by the way we behave and by the way we speak. Provoking one another is one of the things that commonly destroys our relationships in our churches.
Having been in Christian ministry for nearly 39 years, I had opportunities to work with teams of people and sit in various committees. While I enjoyed working with godly people, I had also come across a few who always irritated others. They abused their socalled “freedom of speech”. On purpose, they said or did things that the other person did not like.
These people came to meetings well-prepared to cause disruptions. They provoked the anger of others and rejoiced over it – you could tell from looking at their faces. I saw that their target of attack was not the devil but a fellow believer. Merciless criticisms, thoughtless comments and making fun of others in public will provoke negativity and cause damage in relationships. The damage is very deep and it takes a long time to repair such damages. These people seldom realise that such provocations are self-destructive.
Spiritual people are to be aligned with the Spirit of God. Since we received the grace of God freely, we ought to be filled with grace in our dealings with our fellow human beings. That is appropriate living by the Spirit. The Apostle Paul said: “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25)
God gives us opportunities to build one another up. If we do so, we will be channels of joy to others. Let us speak words of love and care to strengthen one another, and not to provoke one another.
“Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” Galatians 5:26
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The Rev R. Prabhu –
was elected President of Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference (ETAC) in 2012 for the quadrennium. He is also Pastor-in-Charge of Ang Mo Kio Tamil Methodist Church.