Sunday, July 31, 2016
JULY 31 "CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?"
The Church is a very interesting institution or organism, if I can use that term. Especially if you are part of an Evangelical Church that reaches out into the community to win and bring in the lost. All the effort that goes in to outreaching, all the money, time & resources, to win the lost and bring them in to the Church. A lot of planning and strategy goes in to evangelism, but do we ever think, "what will we do with them once they are in the church, will we be able to keep them?" We have a plan to "reach out" but do we have a plan to "reach in". Paul in our text is admonishing us to "accept those who are weak in faith, and don't argue with them...". I know people who are weak in faith bother you, I know people who seem to struggle allot bother you, I know.....people in general, that are in the church bother you. I know this person bothers this person, and that person bothers that person. Paul is writing to the Romans to instruct them to stop looking down at each other, stop condemning each other, don't cause a believe to stumble (especially those that we have just outreached to bring in, what is the sense in that???) Paul ends the chapter with "let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up". Can you hear Paul adding at the end of that sentence a big...PLEASE, I BEG YOU! Can't we all just get along? I thank God, literally, that when I first came in to the church God put a spiritual blind fold over me that I was completely oblivious to all the problems and dissension in the church. I would not have made it, had I seen what I see today, I would have been thoroughly discouraged and left the church, probably never to return. I wish I could say, every situation is like this, but it is not. Sometimes the church's dissension is even to grand for God to cover up. Sometimes the clicks, the factions, the dis-like for this person and that person, just bleeds out and we become a stumbling block to our brother, as Paul mentions. I believe that after we have been in a church a long time we become way to comfortable around each other. I have noticed that most couples will behave around other couples, but you will also notice that once that couple begins to become very comfortable around another couple they will start arguing and criticizing each other, right in front of you; something you would have never seen years before, it was done behind closed doors. This also happens in the church, after a while, we are all to comfortable around each other, and all diplomacy and grace, go out the door and so do our brothers and sisters, go out the door right behind them. The question today is, "can't we all just get a long?" and for many the answer is "no", but I hope for others the answer is "yes" at least I can make a decision that "I" will get along with my brothers and sisters and "I" will not be a stumbling block to others. It starts with "the one" and it can start with you. One by one, as we read God's word and get the revelation we can become the Christian, The Church Member God has called us to be. It is our job, "as the one" to make every effort to build a culture of acceptance and tolerance (not the acceptance & tolerance of the world either!) within our church and hope and pray, that it is contagious and spreads to the point where what is condemned and what is looked down upon, in our church, is criticizing, bashing and putting down others in our church, let that be what is condemned and judged, not weak faith, different personalities and opinions.