There are many things I don’t understand about my church family ... like the reason behind some of the things that they do. In my mind some of the things defy ... logic. I am in a constant state of angst between what I think is the logical aka right way and the rules that are sometimes followed by members of my congregation.
Oh, don’t get me wrong we agree on the big things like thou shall not steal and the fact that Jesus is the son of God. But maybe I don’t agree with the rule that says we can’t take home the Sabbath School register to complete it at home because that’s considered removing church property...
I’m going to bring it back ... promise... and I really don’t have any need to use the data that Sis So-And-So are in the same class as Brother What’s-His-Name. At times like this I wonder what it is that God wants me to learn... The short answer: how to play with the other kids.
As an only child I’ve never really had to learn to deal with another child constantly in my space. As a reader... this was doubly true. The worlds in my head were enough to occupy me... oh don’t look at me like that – I’m not crazy. Go ask another reader and see what they tell you.
Do you know why Paul wrote so many letters to the churches? It was for the same reason: he wrote so that they could learn to get along with each other.
“Don’t pass judgment on each other,” he encouraged the Romans, “because in doing so you pass judgment on yourselves.” Romans 2:1-2
“Be careful not to be a stumbling block to your brethren.” he implored the Corinthians I Corinthians 8:9-13
“Bear each other’s burdens”. Galatians 6:2
He begged the people of Ephesus: “Be patient with each other. Remain united.” Ephesians 4:1-3
“Be like Christ” he wrote to the Philippians “be humble and consider others before yourself.” Philippians 2:1-5
In 2017 I sat on the sidelines of my congregation because I couldn’t figure out how to go quietly along with things that I considered illogical. Already in 2018 God is showing me that this sitting on the sidelines will not be allowed. Somehow, I’m going to have to find a way to exist as a vital member of the body of Christ while affording everyone the same courtesy and freedom.
Will it be easy? Definitely not.
Is it possible? Yes. I can do all things through Christ... including attending a meeting without bloodshed or me getting angry.
You see, Paul wrote to the churches but he also wrote to me. He wrote to you. He wrote for us.
Jesus knew that thousands of years later there’d be someone struggling to fit in with her church family. Jesus knew that someday, there’d be someone struggling with anger. With selfishness. With humility.
Is that you my friend? What are you struggling with?
Take heart. God has overcome the world and because he has. So can we.
What is your biggest challenge for 2018?