Who is your best friend? I would say my husband Jamie is my best friend. We’ve been married 33 years this coming July. We’ve been together so long that I wonder if he can read my mind sometimes, and vice-versa. We finish one another’s sentences and generally have the same opinion about life in general; there are a few exceptions that I won’t list that aren’t really important except when I bring them up (haha).
My husband knows he has an open door into my life – he is more familiar with me than with anyone else. Ours is the kind of relationship that I wanted in marriage and I’m so thankful God fulfilled that need I had. With such friendship and familiarity between us, there is something that we both need to guard our hearts from; and that is contempt (disdain, disapproval, or scorn). It’s easy, when you know someone as well as we know one another, to view their opinions, ideas, and ways of doing things with contempt since you know not only their good points but are aware of their frailties as well.
Familiarity can be a positive mark in a relationship. I’m not fearful to talk to my husband about anything; I know that he has my best interests at heart. I’m also so familiar with him that I know when I can talk with him. For example, when he is studying on Friday, preparing his preaching for the weekend, I know that it’s not a good time to have a deep discussion about anything. If my attitude towards him shifted to the negative and I began to despise him for his way of doing things, then, that familiarity I have with him has brought a harvest of contempt. As my husband, as my fellow believer, I need to honor the person God has made him to be and allow room for him to be himself just as he honors me as his wife and fellow believer.
In the same way we need to guard ourselves in our relationships with our spouses and friends, as Christians, we have to be very careful not to allow our relationship with the Lord to become contemptuous because we have become so accustomed to His love and grace.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 MSG “Let me go over with you again exactly what goes on in the Lord’s Supper and why it is so centrally important. I received my instructions from the Master himself and passed them on to you. The Master, Jesus, on the night of his betrayal, took bread. Having given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, broken for you. Do this to remember me.’ After supper, he did the same thing with the cup: ‘This cup is my blood, my new covenant with you. Each time you drink this cup, remember me.’ What you must solemnly realize is that every time you eat this bread and every time you drink this cup, you reenact in your words and actions the death of the Master. You will be drawn back to this meal again and again until the Master returns. You must never let familiarity breed contempt.”
If we don’t watch ourselves in our relationship with the Lord, we could easily fall into the same trap as the Corinthians did with the Lord’s Supper (Communion). Things had taken a drastic downward turn in the Corinthian church; they had turned the Lord’s Supper, and church life in general, into a competition. Criticism and divisiveness filled the air and the Apostle Paul felt it necessary to step in and bring correction.
Familiarity – Honor = Contempt
Jesus faced the same issue as He attempted to minister in His home town:
Mark 6:3 NLT “Then they scoffed, ‘He’s just a carpenter…’ They were deeply offended and refused to believe in Him.”
The people in Jesus’ hometown despised His ministry because they were familiar with Him. They knew his mother and father, they knew He hadn’t studied the law or attended any prestigious center for training on religious affairs. The miracles they had heard of Him performing weren’t enough to change their minds about Him – they were deeply offended.
Why is it when God uses someone we know, a friend or family member, we immediately view him or her with skepticism? Simply because we know where someone comes from doesn’t preclude them from God using them. Perhaps we wonder, secretly or even unconsciously, why is God using them instead of us for our character and giftings are so much better than theirs. When we allow contempt to rule in our hearts to the point that we judge others and the work God is trying to do through them, we stand on shaky ground.
Mark 6:6 NLT “And He was amazed at their unbelief.”
When contempt takes hold and grows, it grows into offense and unbelief. Once those attitudes take hold in our lives, our spiritual growth comes to a standstill:
Hebrews 11:6 NKJ “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
Unbelief stands in opposition to faith and stalls us spiritually. Those things we have been fervently praying for will be kept from us as long as we have unbelief reigning in our hearts.
I never want to amaze God with my unbelief because I couldn’t receive from someone I was familiar with or because I became so familiar with God that I didn’t hold my relationship with Him in reverence. What a catastrophe, yes catastrophe, that would be; that I would keep God’s blessings from coming into my life because I had set myself up as judge and jury over others.
Today, I challenge you to hold your relationship with God and others with reverence. Yes, He can use whomever He wants to use, whenever He wants to use them, and however He wants to use them. I’ve found most of the candidates God calls are what we would consider “disqualified” because of lack of experience or their human frailties. Those are precisely the ones God uses for when He uses such incompetent people (like me), He will get all the glory!
I’m amazed today that God loves me so much and would send His Son for me, that He has given me wonderful people to serve with, and that He would use me to do something for His Kingdom.