BYKOTA is an acronym sometimes used in our culture. It’s taken from Ephesians 4:32 (KJV): “Be ye kind one to another.” Perhaps it’s a sign that people are getting fed up with the nature of our cruel and critical age. In all our relationships and daily contacts, we have to make a conscious decision: Do we seethe as the world seethes, or do we see people as the Lord sees them?
Seething as the World Seethes
According to the Bible, our hearts are desperately wicked. All of us are capable of saying an unkind word, showing anger and impatience, or sharing unflattering information about an acquaintance. We aren’t proud of our proclivity to sin. From the days of Adam, we’ve been infected with a sinful nature. In our modern world, however, people can express that cruelty in new ways—social media is the choice of many.
For example, cyber bullying is rampant. Under the cloak of anonymity, people criticize and castigate others using text messaging, blogs, chat rooms, websites, and even podcasts. Read almost any article in an online publication and notice the posted comments. It’s shocking how often words like stupid, fool, wrong, hate, ignorant, insane, and extreme occur. This acrimonious attitude seeps into our television and radio talk shows too, and into our news outlets and sporting venues.
We’re critical of people’s clothing, their hair, weight, politics, and performance. It’s easy to look at someone’s appearance, actions, or beliefs and decide to wage war against them and to cut them down with acrimony, while at the same time maintaining an air of superiority. It’s never been so easy to demonize those with whom we disagree. It’s easy to seethe as the world seethes.
Seeing as the Lord Sees
How much better to see others as the Lord sees—to look beyond their sin, to see their need, and be concerned for their souls. The Lord Jesus never condoned or excused sin, but He had a way of loving sinners and winning them to Himself. He reached out and touched the leper in Matthew 8, running His hand over the loathsome sores and healing him. Later in that chapter, Jesus conversed with two violent demon-possessed men, freeing them from Satan’s power. In John 4, He engaged an immoral Samaritan woman in a life-changing conversation. In Mark 8, He took time with a blind man at Bethsaida, restoring his sight. In Luke 14, Jesus attended a Sabbath Day dinner at the home of a prominent Pharisee, where He encountered a man suffering from a physical ailment (Luke 14:1-6). Jesus turned to the man, took hold of him, and healed him. Then He used the occasion to exhort the other dinner guests to go into the streets and alleys with care and concern for “the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind” (Luke 14:16-24). The very next chapter begins with Jesus subsequently being criticized because “all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him…. The Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, ‘This Man receives sinners and eats with them’” (Luke 15:1-2).
Jesus addressed the needs of the hurting, and then looked beyond the sin to minister to the soul. He calls us to do the same. Seeing beyond this world helps us view sinners as souls needing His love and grace. Don’t let the sin or the circumstances of other people to distract you from the need of their soul. Love others to Jesus. See beyond this world. See beyond their sin. See them as Jesus did.
Actors know how to do this, for they’ve learned to view their characters sympathetically, to get inside of the character in order to play the role convincingly. If actors can learn to do this, so can we.
Without violating our own biblical standards or message, we have to go where people are, to sit with them, and to love them. Show them the love of Jesus. Think of someone with whom you disagree. Perhaps they even disgust you. Don’t allow their appearance, their views, or their sin to distract you from meeting the important need of their soul. Do not seethe in anger as the world does, but see others as Christ does. Let’s practice BYKOTA.
In so doing, perhaps you can “love someone to Christ” this year!
Dr. Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and senior pastor of
Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.
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