Paul made an interesting statement about relationships among believers.
16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 2 Corinthians 5:16 (NKJV)
I suspect most of us are more familiar with the verse that follows.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
Paul’s point seems to be that because we are new creations we need to relate to and ‘regard’ our fellow believers based on who they are as a new creation. This includes the need to discern the gifts and callings they carry and receive accordingly.
When we look at fellow believers with a new creation mindset we can first look for Jesus in them, then honour what He is manifesting in and through them, the primary goal being Himself. I am sure most of us have had the experience of meeting someone and ‘knowing’ they were a fellow Christian. Not because they carried a large bible, wore a cross or had a neon sign on their head. No, our spirit encountered Jesus in them and we had the opportunity to receive from them, encourage their growth and honour the fact that as fellow believers they were carrying His presence.
The type of honouring I described above requires walking closely to His heart in our evaluations of others.
In contrast to what I just shared above, I know there have been times when I judged others wrongly. Okay, a number of times. When we first meet fellow believers if we set aside our initial judgements we have the potential for deep fellowship through following the leading of the Holy Spirit.
So, let’s look to Him and seek His heart in the knowing of others.
As an encouragement, one way to walk in honour toward others is by cultivating a heart that honours Him first. See the song below.