THE INDIAN Christian apologist, Ravi Zacharias tells of a story of how two believers in a foreign country met and fellowshipped with each other though neither knew the language of the other, and they had no interpreter. And at first neither knew the other was a believer.
The story goes that both men were walking on the same road on a cold wintry day. Both had their hands in the pockets to keep warm, with their coats drawn tight to ward off the cold.
One heard the other whistling. “What is that? How could anyone be whistling in this cold weather?” But he recognized the tune as a Christian hymn. He stopped the man and asked, “Are you a Christian believer?” The man could not answer him, for he spoke a different language and did not understand the question.
So the man with the question began himself to whistle another hymn. The man recognized the hymn and burst forth with a broad smile.
They both rushed toward each other and embraced in love and fellowship. They both pointed heavenward, indicating their trust in the same God and the Christ about whom the hymns were written.
They loved and worshipped and fellowshipped one with another though not a word was spoken!
That reminds me of the fellowship Richard Wurmbrand found in a Communist prison in the country of Rumania. When fellow-prisoners found each other to be believers, they rejoiced and fellowshipped without even asking or caring what was the denominational affiliation of the other. The only criteria was, Do you love Christ and believe in Him? If so, they counted each other a blood-bought brother. How simple! How beautiful! How right!
Compare these stories to the way it too often happens between professing Christians. They delve into the various and sundry ideas and interpretations of the other until they find some points on which they disagree. Suddenly, there is a break in fellowship. Even if they agree on the majors and on most things, if they can find what they count an important disagreement, one or the other is likely to say, “Then I can have no fellowship for you.”
Both are sure their own view is right. One or the other, if not both, will have no fellowship whether they are blood-bought brothers or not. What must Christ think?
If there is a difference in views; or even if one is in error, would it not be better, more loving and more charitable to say, “Well, brother, I think you are wrong on that view and I cannot fellowship that view, but we do have so much in common and I feel the witness in my spirit that you do love God and desire to walk with Him, so I do fellowship you for that, and I will show you my love by my fellowship.”
If we don’t love our brother who we HAVE seen, how can we love God who we have NOT seen? Without love, the love of God is not in us!
If we understand all mysteries and have all faith, and can cross every “t” and dot every “i” just right, yet have not love, then that knowledge profits us nothing. Study 1 Corinthians 13 and put away your sinful and stubborn pride. That is, if you really have the love of God.
Someone has said, “We can look forward to living with the saints in glory; but living with them on earth is another story.”