To exist in a world of human relations is the nearest thing to treading barefoot on broken glass. I am responsible for my perpetual quality-judgments of ALL who dwell in my world, and others are responsible for their repeated judgments of me. We create death and misery for each other, and the church of God is by no means exempt. It is in fact in the church that Paul turned against Peter, that Barnabas turned against Paul, that the disciples turned against Jesus and one another (Lk. 9:46). It is in the church that weeds are sewn in by the devil (which may be taken in the hamartiological sense of sin and discord among brethren and the more literal sense of false brothers infiltrating and destroying), that the family unit breaks down and we learn to "hate father and mother," that a sword of betrayal comes between relations most dear. It is in the church that confessing Christians are judged in the flesh by their elders to the point of death; which can hardly be taken as an example of family discipline. It is in the church that Jesus comes to fight against us with the sword of his mouth and strikes sinners among us dead (Rev. 2:23). So we see the Divine Hand come to place its seal upon this discord and violence, overturning our humanism and love at every turn and plunging us again and again into anguish before our deeds.
"Wretched man that I am!! Who will rescue me from this body of death?!!"
I do not believe in love anymore. I have never seen it. Ever. I have never felt that a Christian truly loves me as himself; therefore he does not love at all. "A half heart is no heart" in the words of Spurgeon. Then again, I am speaking in so many fine words already. There is a Christian love, for the Word of God not only commands it; it acknowledges its existence, recognizes it in action, and promises more to come. Yet I am thrust by mine very own eyes to discard all that is seen as temporary and foolish and evil, to testify in faith to the fact that this love is hoped for above all else rather than FELT or EXPERIENCED.