Love them to Life
A friend of mine has problems with the church. Growing up in church, Chris felt ostracized and excluded by other Christian kids. Because Chris didn’t conform exactly to how other kids in the youth group acted and didn’t listen to the “proper” Christian music, Chris was shunned. Chris loves Jesus, loves God, is an adult now, but still has a challenging time getting back into church, because the church, and other Christian organizations didn’t have open arms.
The fact grieves my heart. And to be honest, it grieves my heart because I remember times I’ve seen someone who didn’t dress in “proper” church attire or act like the rest of the churchgoers, and I was uncomfortable. I might have been polite but I don’t think I was that welcoming. I am so sorry.
I wonder if we think being rude to someone will get them to change. The behavior reminds me of the time I was a kid and acted silly, talked too much, and couldn’t wear fashionable clothes, and was shunned by others in school. It hurt and didn’t help change me in positive ways. Shunning Chris in church, killed Chris’ love for the church.
Jesus didn’t tell people to clean up their act before they came to Him. He went to the sinners, the broken, the ostracized, the ones who didn’t fit in with the Pharisees and Sadducees. Jesus never shunned people, He loved them to life – His eternal life.
Let’s not shun people, let’s love people with the love of Jesus to point them to the love of Jesus. The love of a Savior, never shuns, but loves to Life.
“Little children (believers, dear ones), let us not love [merely in theory] with word or with tongue [giving lip service to compassion], but in action and in truth [in practice and in sincerity, because practical acts of love are more than words].” ~ 1 John 3:18 (AMP)
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:16-17, NASB).
From Present in His Presence by Lisa Buffaloe, https://amzn.to/2FlPRJH
Years ago, we moved to the country and began attending a small church. Our young adult son had moved back home for awhile, so he went with us to church. At the time, he was feeling like God might be calling him to the ministry. He sat on the front row, soaking in every word and every movement anyone on the dais made. When it came time to sing, he raised his hands in worship. He didn’t wave them about, he wasn’t distracting at all. He just worshiped the Lord with open arms.
After service, as we walked to our car, the pastor called out to us and asked to speak to us a minute. My son had walked ahead and was near the car talking to a member, so we left him and went back inside. The pastor said that he hated to mention this, but that he needed us to have a talk with our son, and ask him to not raise his hands during worship, because that wasn’t done there. And that if he insisted on raising his hands, he needed to sit on the back row, instead of the front row, so that he would not distract others from singing.
His words rendered me speechless. I got up, hubby followed, and we left the church. We never said a word to our son about what was said, never even hinted at the conversation we had, nor at our anger, but we never went back. We now live in a larger city, hubby and I do church online – and we praise and worship with our hearts, voice, and bodies as we wish. Son no longer lives with us, no longer attends church, no longer feels drawn to ministry.
Oh Tandy, I am SO sorry that happened. That’s awful! Oh how that grieves my heart and must grieve our Heavenly Father’s heart. I’m so, so sorry. I am praying for you and for your son. Sending gentle prayers for you and gentle blessings to you.
Yes. I know exactly how this feels. I walked away from the church as a young adult becauseI didn’t fit in. The other kids were friendly but not welcoming. I felt rejected and alone. I always gravitate toward the outcast now. Grace and more grace to the rejected and forlorn.
Margaret, I am so sorry that happened to you. God’s grace falls on our wounded places to give us grace to the wounded. God bless you, sweet sister! I’m praying for you and grateful for you. Thank you again for that day you opened your house up for Hilarey and I to stop by and see you!
Thank you sweet Lisa for writing this. It brings tears to my eyes because for along time I see many who claim to be Christian are not living it out. Many years being a Christian we attended a big church, never had anyone even saying hi to us due to the fact that we’re Asian. For 6 years we were faithful in everything and asked God to bring godly friends but none. Until much later in Christian life that people are slowly coming to our lives. I don’t blame God or no one. Part of the struggles are to teach me to be more loving toward everyone. It breaks my heart that I still this happening. 🙁 God bless you. Love your heart. XOXO
I am SO sorry, sweet Tess. I hate that anyone is ignored, overlooked, and not feel welcome in Church or other Christian circles. Breaks my heart and I can’t imagine how God feels watching His children not act like His children. 🙁 I am so grateful that one day we will all be together with our Savior and see as He sees and love with His pure love! Love you, precious friend! XOXOXO ((((((((hugs)))))))))