Its been a while, I know its my fault. So I guess as its been a while I should have a lot to say.
The thing hitting me right now is something that I probably have written alot about before, our lives, living in community and reaching out to each other. So lets dive in:
The body of Christ is meant to be a living breathing organism. An Organism that gives life, encourages life and draws people unto itself. A place that celebrates joy and happiness together, that greives and mourns death and suffering, a place where people can be who they are and work through the grim that living in a sinful world we are faced with (1 Cor. 12:225-26, Gal 6:1-2, James 5:16, 1 John 3:16-18, Matthew 22:37-39, John 13: 34-35, Acts 2: 42-47). I’m not sure if what I’m saying is true to people living in smaller churches but I can say at least from my view of the large church that I’m living in that the church often does not resemble this living breathing organism that it is meant to be.
I know that one must venture into the organism and seek to be involved and part of it. One must seek out connections to the community, they must seek to know and be known. But I think there is also a responsibility for the “organism” to seek out others and to be known. Its a two way street.
We as Christians are called to seek out those that are lost and share the gospel with them (Matthew 28: 18-20 and others). I may be taking this a step farther than its meant, but I think we also need to seek out those in the church that are around us and to care for them. The body so often just comes together for worship, teaching, parties, and food. I think the body forgets one of its key functions: To care for each other. I know that some of the distancing from care steams from in my opinion the dual nature of the individual (the public and private person). As a result there are only certain topics, issues and questions that seem to be “appropriate” to ask, discuss or reach out in care for. I think that we are afraid to lovingly reach into the lives of those around us in community and to ask some “harder” questions. (I do give the warning/disclaimer that you must have a relationship of more than the “hi there” type to do this, don’t just assume!) I think we too often don’t ask each other how we are doing in loving our family, spouses, how we are honoring God, getting into the Word. I think that we all assume that the other person has someone else in there lives that is filling that role. We never bother to ask them if they do, or to put out there that we are willing to be there for them.
I have regreatbly waited too long in some friendships, I’ve felt that nudge of God that I should reach out and I didn’t…. but now I’m sitting with my friends and trying to help them through some tough times, that if we had connected sooner may have been avoided. Some of those, “what do we do now?” situations. Times where asking the “hard” questions sooner possibly could have prevented some of the pain or at least helped make an impact (at least that’s what I pray).
Asking the “Hard questions” requires though somethings on both ends of the situation: 1) Honesty from both parties involved. 2) A Two sided relationship of questions going both ways. 3) Humility. 4) Desire to see both excell to the best of their God given abilities. 5) Strict confidence in what is being shared.
So what do I propose? What am I saying? Well first of all we need to be more intentional when it comes to our relationships with those we go to church with and do life with. If they are more than acquaintances, we need to treat them as brothers in Christ! We need to reach out in love to them and encourage them to grow. Not every brother/sister in Christ is necessarily a person that we will ask the truly tough questions too (and by no means do I encourage men and women to be asking each other really deep questions unless they are your spouse). We just need to be aware that just because someone is in your small group and you talk about the generalities of life, that they may not have someone who is making an impact on them and seeking to ask them the harder questions. Take it slow when you start to ask the harder questions. Don’t jump in with the deepest darkest or hardest question that you can think of. Build that relationship. Reach out with Christian Love, Compassion, and a true desire to challenge them to be who God is calling them to be.
Be the hands, the feet, the arms, and person of Christ to those you worship, fellowship, and encounter on a regular basis!