Somewhere along the way… oh say, maybe 5 minutes post salvation prayer…we forget where we’ve come from & just all that Christ did for us to get us where we are. I’m not talking about the recognition of Him dying for our salvation. I’m referring to the fact that it’s now easier to see other’s faults because we now have His forgiveness & we’ve been made righteous.
It is one of the most awesome realities to grasp. The fact that Jesus WANTS to forgive us. That He did choose to die in our stead. That we are made clean because of His love for us. That He did all of it so that we can live with Him in eternity. All we have to do is recognize our NEED for Him, and ask. Yep. That simple. What follows isn’t quite that easy. But, for some people, they may be the only ones that seem to think they have received His gift.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not everywhere, just in more places than not. In our travels, the stories are shared almost everywhere. Somewhere along the way the church was hurt by none other than those supposed to be representing itself. Sometimes, the ones doing the hurting have just missed the mark, not hearing the still small voice or the “check” they ignore before opening their mouths when they shouldn’t. Other times, it’s with a calculated effort to assume they can bring correction or conviction when the Lord would actually want encouragement to be spoken.
This brings to mind the scripture that says it’s His goodness that draws us to repentance…it’s in there…you can check: Romans 2:4. Just maybe by the Lord using us to lavishly love on someone (*if we allow Him), it will bring them to a broken state to receive the correction or conviction He wants them to see. Maybe, though, He’s wanting us to simply be obedient & love one another. This is including our words, not just actions.
Social media has become the sounding board for an “anything goes” mentality. It’s easy to write what we “feel” without considering the consequences because the person is not face to face with us. We can easily share our opinion – even if it is biblically based – yet slicing and dicing the person that our arrows of words are aimed at. I see this all the time in comments on public posts. When did it become okay to send a person directly to Hell before we even have a chance to understand the reason they feel the way they do? Have we forgotten we are supposed to have the fruits of the Spirit? You know, like LOVE (it’s listed first for a reason!), PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GENTLENESS, & SELF CONTROL?? (You are correct, it wasn’t a miscount…I didn’t list them all, just a few that underline what I’m discussing) Maybe that lesson was missed in Sunday School. 1 Corinthians 13 may have also been overlooked.
I truly believe it’s time for the Church to remember one of the key elements to winning the world (& being a part of the body of Christ!): encouragement.
We can tell people all day long the awesome way that the Lord brought Jesus into the world. The amazing life He led here on earth, all with purpose. The struggles He went through in His humanity so that we would know if He could do it, so can we. The gruesome death He died. Then, incredible resurrection in fulfillment and faithfulness to the promises we can trust in, all because He kept His word. This is all great in and of itself.
Without encouragement, though – it tends to be just another good story. Seriously. When the church spends more time gossiping “for the sake of prayer concerns”, or belittling another person’s view simply because it doesn’t fit the “mold”, not knowing the background of why they feel that way, we can never be all that Christ has called us to be.
We are the body. All parts of one cannot function to the full potential without the others. This means if our brothers & sisters are hurting or struggling, we have a job to do. If you are already doing this – GREAT! Keep it up. Just know, when it gets tough, and maybe you are in need of some encouragement, sometimes the best boost is in doing the same for others. Sometimes it’s reminding ourselves of all He has done. Sometimes it’s simply just being there for others, not even saying anything. Let’s do this! Come on church!!
“Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 KJV
Just for good measure (& because I love how this expresses the above): “So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 MSG