There’s a story of D.L. Moody directing his Sunday School class in Chicago long ago. A boy in his class walked several miles to that church for Sunday School rather than attending a church closer to his home. Someone asked him why he walked so far to the church over there when he didn’t have to.
His reply is why we should treat others among us carefully and lovingly. His reply demonstrates why people leave a particular church and never go back. It might even prove why people are leaving the church, period. His reply:
Because they love a feller over there.
Think about that. Is your church loving of all fellers, male, female, any type and every color? Does your church focus too heavily on fancy buildings, fine furnishings, convenience, entertainment, the rules, or anything other than building relationships with others through the love of Jesus?
When reading this story, I immediately thought of the Pharisees. They spent years studying the law. They were experts. They knew all the rules. But, they didn’t know God. Or His love. At. All.
Do you and your friends at your church treat others lovingly? Or, do you stand in judgment of all who fall short?
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short
of God’s glorious standard. (Romans 3:23)
No matter the differences in all who gather at your church, we are to love everyone.
And now I am giving you a new commandment:
Love each other.
Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.
God loves us, one and all. He created all with different purposes, talents, gifts, personalities, etc. Our differences aren’t to divide us. Our differences make us unique, and they demonstrate the creativity of our Lord Who created all. We should celebrate the uniqueness of fellow Christians (and, yes, even faults and warts) among us.
As one who sometimes lacks proper social graces, I appreciate faults in others. Do you feel more relaxed around people who aren’t so perfect? I do! Imperfection in others takes the pressure off. Thank the Lord, He doesn’t require perfection. I would never measure up. Besides Jesus, who could?
I’m blessed with a loving church family. After we moved here twelve years ago, we visited all the local churches in our denomination and felt God clearly lead us to where He wanted us to serve and worship. One particular couple (whom I will never forget) told us how glad they were to have us join – and at random times our paths crossed. They repeated that phrase often during our first few weeks there. That repetition was helpful, meaningful, and genuine.
Like this couple’s example, be proactive. It’s up to us to be a blessing. If your church is lacking in loving, can you think of ways to change that? Having loving phrases at the ready in your mind will help you be prepared in advance.
What other phrases could you use to show love and care to all at your church?
Because He lives~