Just within 12 hours my inbox has at least 16 emails related to the sinful state of our government, the tyranny of those elected rulers, and the general notion that we’re all just doomed. Whether it’s fiscal cliff and tax increases, gun control or Congressional hearings; if you’re like me – it’s a constant barrage of anger, venom and critical analysis.
And that’s just from fellow followers of Christ. Or at least that’s what they call themselves.
So then it shouldn’t be a big surprise that this critical spirit would find it’s way into the church. When the bride of Christ is focused on her comfort and needs, she has become inwardly focused and lost her true calling. It’s not unusual for the redeemed, set apart priesthood of believers to spin her wheels on things that just simply don’t matter instead of pounding down the gates of hell through the monumental power of God. It seems to me that somewhere along the way we’ve forgotten who we are.
The result – we’ve defined “Church” & “Christians” in such negative light – we’re known for all things we’re against. We’ve become such a bitter, negative clan of Sunday dresser uppers that it turns the stomach of all those far from God.
But who, in all honesty, is really far from God?
The Bible tells us God is LOVE. Love that knows no depth, no height, no distance wide enough, long enough to keep it from us. Love that chooses to see the best, do the hardest and find a way to bring us home.
This love is mirrored in the lives of His children. It’s meant to be a glimpse of God in this evil world. Love that repays evil with good will always make the headlines.
In the end, God’s love is demonstrated through you. If others see Jesus in you, then the power of transformation – through the gospel of Jesus Christ – can change the world. If that’s your heartbeat, then put these 4 principles to work:
“Compassion will cure more sins that condemnation” – Henry Ward Beecher
Compassion is a quality that moved the heart of Jesus. Time and time again the gospels tell us Jesus was moved with compassion. The important word is “moved”. His compassion was a move born from love that brought action. If you show compassion…then it should move you to action.
Compassion anchored in God will often lead us to cross lines we normally would not cross…reach out to our enemies and love those who are ridiculed and condemned – even in the church.
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” – Mother Teresa
Just being nice…kind…is a quality so many have lost. It’s choosing to let someone else go first, to give away your seat, to smile, say “hello”, open a door. It’s choosing to say a kind remark instead of a hurtful one. It’s walking the halls of your church and transforming venomous gossip by a dose of unexpected kindness. Kindness born from the love of God sees that which is eternal and worthwhile…and choosing to invest in it. Kindness will transform your surroundings and draw others to you.
Be humble & meek
“Humility, that low, sweet root from which all heavenly virtues shoot.” – Sir Thomas Moore
It has been said that when we become aware of our humility we’ve lost it. How true! Humility is in essence the understanding of the depth of our lostness. The opposite: pride – can be masked in the church. The Pharisees considered themselves humble & meek, yet pride was always concealed in their questions and motives. And Jesus could see it. Pride is contempt before God…and those who are looking for Him can sniff it out in us. Humility can only come from those who walk with God.
“Patience is the companion of wisdom” – St. Augustine
An old proverb reminds us: “good things come to those that wait”. Time and time again God exhorts us to “wait” on Him. If ever there is something I struggle with – it’s patience. But the Godly type of patience is actually born from faith and brings wisdom. Faith reminds us that God is sovereign and ultimately guides our steps…if we wait on Him. And more importantly, faith allows trust…which in the end brings peace. Peace that we don’t have to have the last word. Peace to wait and see that God will bring justice. In a world of red lights, stop signs, long lines and waiting your turn – patience can make a big difference. Wait on it…you’ll see.
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience… And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” – Colossians 3:12 & 14
You want to make a difference – in your office, school, neighborhood and even your church (or should I say – especially your church)? Then why don’t you try trusting God’s Word to be true and His power to be real! Be compassionate, kind, humble & patient. Live what you say you believe. Maybe, just maybe, those far from Him will find He’s closer than they could have ever imagined. And those who claim His name will find their way back.
Give it a try and let me know what you find. You might just see Jesus!