Today’s Bible reading is in Jeremiah. I love the book, and I’m still reading the chapters. I will be working on catching up.
The wear and tear of the past few weeks have been almost more than I could bear. Some of the interactions I have been through have been so corrosive—they’ve been like having caustic acid thrown on my heart. The daily tension of not knowing what I may hear next is ripping me apart.
I only have one Christian I can talk with face to face who consistently walks through my valley with me. Just one. (That’s with the exception of my dear husband and our children—and we’re all in the same boat that’s been taking on water for quite a while). I have been given advice by people who didn’t know me and didn’t take the time to understand who I was. Then when I objected, rather than getting to know me and staying in my life, they left. I have been told I was being prayed for, but no one has called to listen or to give me empathy or to weep with me. Some have known our heartache, but haven’t even bothered to give us a word expressing concern or care. People are friendly at meetings, but no one invites us into their life or acts to become a part of ours.
Where is the church? I don’t know. Love grows cold, and people would rather say be warm, be filled, than do the labor of love. Perhaps I wouldn’t be so affected if I hadn’t become a Christian during the days of the Jesus Movement and actually seen, known and experienced Christians who loved one another fervently and from the heart. We went through things together.
I’ve written of this before, but I’ll say it again: we are to be a part of each others’ daily lives, considering how we can urge one another on to love and good deeds and encouraging one another so that in affliction and temptation we won’t be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, but will believe, love and obey God, and together glorify Him with our lives.
“Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.”
Look at this word accept:
To receive, i.e., grant one access to one’s heart…2
Accept one another. Welcome one another. Receive one another. Have each other in your hearts. I’ve also mentioned that Paul’s opening words to the Philippians resonate with his love for them as he thanks God in his remembrance of them, as he joyfully prays for them, as he expresses confidence in God’s complete work in them. Look also at what he writes to the Thessalonians:
For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness—nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority. But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.
For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
1 Thessalonians 2:5-12
The graphic above on the left with the people holding a net with a heart is titled Safety Net. The teachings in the New Testament all direct the church to be a safety net for their brothers and sisters in Christ. The nets of the church have too many holes and too many rents in their webbing. Too many people have fallen through and smashed onto the ground. I don’t want to be a casualty, but at this point perhaps I’m going to be one (I don’t mean leaving the Christian faith, but I mean breaking down); I’ve certainly broken some bones and have been hobbling along doing my best to walk forward on faltering feet. I see my children hobbling along and persevering. I am so proud of the way they have kept going. Yet who comes alongside us to help us? So few, so very few. I don’t know how many severe smash-ups the church will have to see before she wakes up and changes and starts loving the members of the body who are bleeding to death.
Paul told the Romans to weep with those who weep. Jesus said love one another, and love is to be the Mark of the Christian. The night before Jesus died, He said to His disciples:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
By this all men will know. That’s the bottom line.
RayNata, Miedo ajeno: Public Domain
1W. E. Vine, Old Testament edited by F. F. Bruce, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (1981) Vol. 3, p. 255.
2Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for proslambanō (Strong’s 4355)”. Blue Letter Bible.
1996-2010. 20 Oct 2010. (Expand Thayer’s Lexicon).
Safety Net: Susan E. Hendrich
Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter