This comes from a heart that has nit-picked the ways others love me in times of stress. In times of having and celebrating babies. In sickness. In overwhelming life. A lot of times (too many to say), I have allowed myself to see someone's response as unsympathetic, and all the while, they were trying to love me. Just not how I had planned it in my mind. If we allow ourselves down this path, we will withdraw, lose heart, and become bitter church members. The truth of the matter is, it is selfishness to think this way. So over the past few days and weeks, I have put this together in my mind. Sometimes I'd like to send this with my "missed you Sunday" card...
Dear supposed believer and missed church member:
Do you love and cherish the people in the church? Do you seek out fellowship with other believers? Or do you avoid them and make up excuses at every opportunity to enjoy the fellowship of the saints?
Do you say you love the church and wish to be able to attend - yet you do not come to be fed by the only One who can cure your loneliness and displeasure with people who have only tried to love you.
Do you say you love the church and wish to attend - yet make no effort to have relationships with the people of the church while complaining about the way things are sung or taught or decorated.... For the Church not the building or the music....it is the people in it. And surprise! The people in the church aren't perfect! But you aren't either- don't you want others to forgive you? So forgive them? (it's in the Bible).
(you can worship amongst people you don't like all while listening to a not so perfect singer....you just can....worship is not about how songs or people make us feel, but it is about intimacy between us and our Creator (who told us not to forsake the gathering of believers, by the way).
Do you say you love the church and wish to attend - yet you don't attend and you make your weekly comings and goings public on social media for all to see that actually no one is really too ill for those other things?
The church cannot love you if you make yourself unavailable at every turn.
We can love the unlovable, but not if they make it impossible to be reached.
Hurting, lonely "church member" become available and allow the church to minister to you and love you. Stop wallowing in your displeasures and hurt feelings. For sin and self and Satan are winning that battle.
Stop being swine. We want to love you. We are desperately trying. Our pearls are just too precious to us and soon we will discover they are better used on an available, teachable heart.
You can have a very fun and happy church life if you choose to stop nit-picking the little things and become a peace lover and a drama hater. God can do that. Start with your own heart. I'll start with mine. As soon as I hop off of this soap box.
Ok - I'm off. Seriously - no matter what you've done or who you've manipulated or mistreated...no matter how many lies or excuses you've made up-
God can restore relationships you so deeply miss and long for deep down.
Stop with the "I'm alright" facade. You're not alright.
I know, because it's happened to me.
Wayward church member, you are really truly loved. Just show up. Experience "the love."
Church member, sinner, friend
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