Seriously, the church is a BODY...it has to work together. I was recently very much convicted by this fact. A family I'm not particularly close to...and have been hurt by in the past...extended love to me very unexpectedly. As I accepted their love to me and my children, I realized that I had been holding back from them. I hadn't been rude...not even close...but neither had I treated them like someone I called my brother and sister in Christ. I'd kept distant and silent...aloof from my family.
I read a blurb from my Real Simple magazine...that I thought would be a good idea for those of us struggling. In the life lessons section a Dr. recommends focusing on something good about your criticizer. Her research showed that if you are anticipating hurtful comments you relay fear or dread with your eyes and/or body language---which generally led to more negative things happening. Finding something positive about that person...even as simple as their pretty fingernails or nice laughter...changes you. It changes the warmth and demeanor you give off. If that criticizer feels respected...odds are they will reciprocate. And honestly, what have you got to lose?
Well, WAIT...I know the answer to that question...after my experience I'll tell you what there is to lose...UNITY! I realize that I've been missing out on closeness and fellowship. I've missed out by not knowing them well enough to give ultimate, detailed prayer support! I hope to learn from this mistake...I want to work out my faith...Talk the talk and walk the walk alongside of my friends.
I'd stop here but the truth is...my heart feels most broken about this in connection to dealing with those outside of church. John 13:35, "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." They are to know us by our LOVE...our love should be a reflection of GOD'S love...and His is PERFECT LOVE! No grudges, no holding back...praying for blessings on our enemies. If I'm not showing that...what kind of testimony do I really have?? I need to be pointing to GOD...all the time...in every way...
‘But what is the ultimate good in the good news? It all ends in one thing: God himself. All the words of the gospel lead to him, or they are not gospel.
For example, salvation is not good news if it only saves from hell and not for God.
Forgiveness is not good news if it only gives relief from guilt and doesn’t open the way to God.
Justification is not good news if it only makes us legally acceptable to God but doesn’t bring fellowship with God.
Redemption is not good news if it only liberates us from bondage but doesn’t bring us to God.
Adoption is not good news if it only puts us in the Father’s family but not in his arms.’