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It’s time to live our beliefs….

April 17, 2010

Last night as I moved into the checkout line and started putting my items on the conveyor belt, the man in front of me turned to me with a big smile and said, “How many little ones do you have?” I stood puzzled for a few seconds and then asked if he meant children. He affirmed that and we both agreed we are continuing to wait and hope that someday that will be a part of our lives.

Next he said something about God not giving him children and asking him to wait. I affirmed that sometimes God does bring things into our lives and does not give us clear understanding regarding why we are facing those circumstances. He agreed, saying that Job had to go through many difficult circumstances.

I responded that Abraham had to wait for many years before he was given children. Up until this point the conversation had seemed a little out of the ordinary for my time in a grocery store, but very cordial and easy, however when I brought up Abraham something changed. He responded that Abraham really messed up and couldn’t wait. He had to go take another woman and try to do it his own way.

He is right, Abraham did those things, but the tone of voice and way he communicated it hit me strange. I heard something underlying that greatly concerns me.

What I heard was judgment, condemnation, and lack of mercy.

God has given us grace, forgiven our sins when we turn to him and repent, and has given us the ability to have our hearts turned and changed so that we can act in love and mercy toward others.

What I picked up from this man was an attitude that could hurt or offend others. If someone had made mistakes and sinned sexually, the attitude I heard could leave them feeling shame, condemnation, and rejection. If met with this attitude by the church, they might hide their sin, withdraw from relationship, or even turn from the church. I don’t know this man’s heart, and I am not meaning to speak anything that could cast him in a bad light. I just picked up on something that has been on my heart a lot lately.

There are so many people in our world that have been hurt and turned away by our religious attitudes and judgments. Many have been hurt deeply, and need to heal and forgive, but they also need our help in that process. They need to receive mercy and to understand grace. There are many others sitting in our churches with concerns, fears, pains, brokenness, and they are hiding the truth of what they are thinking and feeling. They do not feel free to open their hearts and souls and be authentic with those around them.

How can we change this? How can we minister to those that are dechurched (have left the church) or those that are just a step or two away from it?

How can we show love, mercy, compassion, and care for these people without forcing religion on them?

How can we speak God’s truth in grace and openness?

Jesus did it! He gave us an example. He called us to be like him. He left his spirit here to guide and counsel us. It’s time to use what he gave us and change hearts and lives!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. 4given2 permalink
    April 20, 2010 4:55 pm

    Sherie, I came across Quest Community Church in Kentucky when surfing the web recently. These guys are on the right track and seem to be doing exactly what you are asking about how we show love, mercy, compassion and care for people without the religion.

    http://www.questcommunity.com

    If you are interested, check out the series Cracking the Code (Media – Top 12 Series) I watched the 2/14/10 video stream when first arriving there. I was really impressed and blessed. Also have watched the first 2 parts in the Cracking the Code series.

    Blessed more than I can ever imagine;
    Delany

    • April 22, 2010 8:45 am

      Delany, I checked out their site yesterday and am very interested to hear the messages. I love their message and mission of Quest has been a church dedicated to “transforming unconvinced people into wholehearted followers of Jesus.” Thank you so much for sharing their site with me.

      Sherie

  2. April 21, 2010 7:23 pm

    One thing we can do is check our attitudes at the church Doors. We need to realize we all make mistakes and we all need a place to be able to share them. There isn’t a better place than in the environment of Christ which the church should be showing. We are not here to condemn but instead to be like Christ and except and give people Radical Grace. If we show we are accepting them we will see people coming into our doors. We will see the people that many church reject. A willingness to truly be acceptable of others and people different then the norm.

    • April 22, 2010 8:47 am

      So true! Our attitudes and the condition of our hearts often keep us from loving and caring for others. It is so easy for us to see issues with others and be blind to ourselves.

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