A persistent church disease is that congregations behave like country clubs instead of field hospitals. The spirit of the Pharisees has never died. Good boys, i.e., respectable achievers with money, are desired. Bad girls, not so much.
Those quiet visitors to your church, who sit in the back and try not to be noticed, are there not because they are really successful and are looking for a wider audience…They are much more likely to be hurting and broken, looking for forgiveness and acceptance and hope. They know they need God, and they would love a loving community.
Unconditional grace. Genuine love. What do those terms mean, and why are they so hard to ‘give’? These are the things that have been on my mind a lot these past few weeks and months. The MercyMe song “Crazy Enough” has really hit home for me, with its lyrics such as:
Call me crazy but what if we learn
To love our brother for nothing in return?
Oh how the rules would change
To sing along when life’s playing their tune
And cry with them when their hearts broken in two
Have I lost my mind?
Today, in reading one of my devotionals, I ran across the paragraph that began this post. It caused me to think about several discussions I’ve had lately with some of my Christian brothers on how to love those far from God within the context of a genuine and unconditional (if there is such thing) relationship.
Whether it be the neighbor having an affair, the brother with the destructive drinking problem, the abusive and mad-at-the-world parent, or the unrepentant gay co-worker. Do we dare offer them continuing love, and grace, and (dare I say it) forgiveness? Do they deserve it?