Tag Archive | love your neighbor

imperfect church.

Questions asked, communication fails, walk away with empty hands,

and an empty heart,

“there is no perfect church”.

Memory prompts thoughts of past hurts made without apology with the oh-so-common response of “I’m not perfect”.

One is an answer to accept and the other side steps acknowledgment.

And it’s love that covers the failure because love your neighbor.

I’m sorry for the hurt you were caused by the imperfect church.

I’m sorry you expected more. Not perfection. Just more.

More hearing.

More compassion.

More understanding.

More grace.

More love.

The unconditional kind of love you would expect from God.

The kind you have heard about,

the kind you were told,

but didn’t see.

The imperfect church does not reflect a perfect God.

go and do the same.

Love is the one thing people want.

Love is the one thing God wants.

The world needs love because God loves the world.

Through Christians, love should be evident. Love should be the opposite of what people deserve because God loved the world despite what it deserved.

Here is what love is:

Patient.

Kind.

Protective.

Trusting.

Hopeful.

Persevering.

Here is what love is not:

Proud.

Jealous.

Boastful.

Dishonoring of others.

Self-seeking.

Easily angered.

God tells us this:

If it were possible, if one understands all the hidden mysteries of life, have all the knowledge that exists, execute enough faith to move a mountain, give everything they own to the poor, and sacrifice their body to death, but if they did not love, they are nothing.

We would say aren’t all these things proof of my love?

According to God, apparently not.

We can do all kinds of things for God and in the name of God, but not really love.

Love costs us something. It requires we treat others the way we want to be treated.

We can spin it however we want but God knows our heart.

The two greatest commandments:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.”

“The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

God wants us to love him and love our neighbor.

The way we do this is we are patient, kind, protective, trusting, hopeful, and persevering.

The way we do not do this is when we are prideful, jealous, arrogant, demanding, dishonoring, self-seeking, and easily angered.

When the world looks at Christians, this is what they should see. We are lights in the world. We represent God’s love for the world.

Anything less is just noise.

Noise that sounds like cymbals crashing.

Noise that does not settle gently into a weary soul.

The way God came for you.

Photo by Saved by Grace (100% God, 0% Me) on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

no earthly thing.

There is no earthly thing that can take the pain away of your child’s death.

I have read story after story of many, specifically mothers, who need this validation. Because for the most part, they are not hearing it from anyone else.

In fact, they feel distanced from people who were once a part of their lives. And it is not the mothers who are creating the distance.

It’s not that mothers want someone to fuss over them. It’s that for some unknown reason, if their child’s death wasn’t enough to grieve about, friends, family, and church family distance themselves.

It’s almost as if they are too close, they will catch something.

The reality of death? The reality of knowing their child could die, too?

And so a second layer of grief is added to the first layer.

Grieving a child’s death is different than any other grieving. Every time a well-meaning person says, “at least you have good memories”, “death is death” (no, suicide is different), or any other statement to bring comfort, it is literally like pouring salt in a wound.

I think the hardest thing is for mothers who are part of a church family. I’ve read their stories. How is it that the very people who should know what to say … don’t know what to say? Or say the wrong things?

And then, instead of acknowledging this ineptness, the grieving mother is told “well, people don’t know what to say or do”.

You mean those who profess to know God, filled with the Holy Spirit, going out into all the world to preach the gospel – some believing in the mandate to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out devils – don’t know what to say to a heartbroken mother? Distance themselves? And God forbid, talk about her behind her back?

She’s not the same.

Really?

I often think about Jesus’ words to us: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.

Perhaps the most important thing we should be doing in our churches today is that.

We do so many other things that we deem as our love for God and ignore what might take more of a commitment. More compassion. More understanding. More patience.

This has to be on God’s heart. Just read the letters to the churches in the book of Revelation.

Many are shipwrecked in their faith because of this further grief.

It’s not God’s fault. I know, the church represents God. But it is not yet perfect.

So we look to God for all that he promises for broken hearts.

We trust he is bigger than us and develop that relationship with him.

I promise, he will help you.

There is no earthly thing that can take away the pain of your child’s death.

Only Heavenly.

 

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Mara ~earth light~ via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

 

sorry.

Sometimes, we’re the one who causes pain.

When I think in those terms, I am not so ready to be angry at someone who has hurt me.

This is humility.

humility-1_l

Humility is taking your rightful place in God’s creation, yet, submitting yourself to the bigger picture.

We don’t say we’re sorry enough. Far too often, we make it about us and our feelings. Our feelings count. But so do the feelings of others.

In Christianity, the focus is on loving God and your neighbor. Jesus said these were the greatest commandments and if you are doing this, “the rest” will fall into place.  If you think about it, it’s because all of our thoughts, words, and actions are affecting God or our neighbor.

When you give and don’t think about yourself first, you are a happier person.

Challenge:  For the next 7 days, say you are sorry to one person every day.  See how humble it makes you feel.

~~~

Photo credit: ToniVC / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND