If only the Church was this good to others.
I have been overwhelmed with the love, support and kindness shown to me by the online community.
I was thinking last night about how the world views the Church and I began to wonder what a difference it would make if we treated them the way I have been treated this past week?
Sadly, we are generally not known for our love, compassion and kindness.
Maybe small sections of us are known that way, but overall the impression people have of us is that we are judgmental, clique-ish and exclusionary.
How can we show the same love to the world that we show to each other?
13 Reply to “Sunday Thoughts – January 3rd 2010”
We focus on one person at a time. We bring Christ into our relationships with others. Those who do not love, are not Christ followers by definition…
We love you here in Daytona… But, not in the Brokeback way, Peter… 🙂
I think Russell hit it right on the head… one person at a time!
Great thoughts… for now just embrace the love and support coming your way, Peter. 🙂
Peter, when we helped out with Katrina relief in Biloxi, the outpouring of love from believers was astounding. The victims were overwhelmed and overcome with love. I asked as many as I could what meant the most to them and they said, "It's when you listen to our story, when you wrap your arms around us as we cry." It wasn't only having their practical, basic needs met, but the need their aching hearts had for comfort. Comfort is a great gift.
It is sweet you feel full in this way instead of experiencing a lack. You will know how to give it well, because you have received it.
I had the exact thought Russell had as I read this post. We love the world one person at a time with each person we meet. I guess the key is to keep meeting people and passing the love forward.
Yes, I love each neighbor in my path. But I love first my Christian family, because it is so admonished:
"Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith."
Also, what example would we show the world if we loved those outside at the expense of those inside? If the world sees that we treat the world better than our own bretheren, would they not prefer to remain outside?
If we love those who love us have we filled our Father's commission? Math 5:43-46
You are right that we dishonor our Father by ignoring the needs of our Brothers and Sisters. I remember when a woman called who was considering taking her own life. I asked if she had spoken with her pastor.
"No," She said. "My Church is so busy building a new sanctuary."
At the same time, love is not a pie that needs to be rationed. Love is like Light. It has no boundaries, expect for the artificial boundaries we create.
Russell, you surely know I did not mean "love those who love you" by pointing out love's priority.
Yes, plenty of people come to church as a comfortable place to meet like minds. There are also far too many people who snub church to go in search of the lost, happy to direct a sinner's prayer, then move on to look for more souls. They are more satisfied with making a convert than doing the hard work of making a disciple. If effective ministry within the church is a priority, ministry will be more effective in the streets. If we are "not known for our love, compassion and kindness," then best we get it right at home before setting a bad example to the world.
I recall these words appearing on a recent post here: "Christians are arguably more like the world in one respect than any other: criticizing Christians." The way to encourage virtues of love and compassion to the world is by exemplifying them "without boundaries," not condemning others for failing at them. Berating Christians does not encourage them.
Russell, I hope I’m not being too testy here. But I really do grow weary sometimes with hearing the church criticized. The enemy is the accuser, and condemnation belongs to him. The Father may admonish or convict His children, but he does so with a Spirit of encouragment.
That opened up the conversation… 🙂 I confess I was baiting you a little by my response. My mother always accused me of provoking my siblings when I was a little bored. Forgive me . . . 🙂
To some there would seem to be a clear distinction between evangelism and ministering to our brothers and sisters.
What I get from what you are saying is that when we take care of our Christian family, others see us, recognize us by our love for each other . . . and then seek what we have for each other.
I also get amazingly tired of Christians criticizing the Church. (Paradoxically, I guess I'm criticizing the Church by making that statement.)
In the end it always comes back to this. We show our love for Jesus, when we love each other…
Anne, I appreciate and respect you immensely. God has gifted you with a brilliant mind and passionate heart.
And, I like testy . . . 🙂 Again, forgive me…
You like testy, Russell? Spoken like a true counselor.
I suppose that makes us even?
Nothing to forgive. I did jump at the bait, and I’m always up for a discussion of how to better exemplify love.
Peace! : )
I think love comes from an awareness of others and a readiness to respond when an opportunity presents itself. Too often, I've missed the mark simply because I wasn't looking for it and it took me by surprise.