I’ve heard it said that in any gathering (especially a church gathering), there are most likely people present who have caused you harm. Through their words, actions, silence or inaction, there are people who have either intentionally or unintentionally caused you harm.
When this takes place within the church, it presents an interesting challenge. When the church gathers, we often hear messages about love, grace, mercy, compassion, forgiveness and reconciliation. Yet, because we are human, there are times we fail to live up to the call and cause one another harm.
The question I’ve often wrestled with is, “how do we seek reconciliation in an environment like that?” How do we practice the ministry of reconciliation with those who have caused us harm?
To be honest, I’m often a stick in the mud. I’m set in my ways. I don’t want to change. I don’t want to adjust. I don’t want to seek forgiveness and reconcilation. I want others to change. I want others to adjust. I want others to seek forgiveness and reconciliation.
The more I study Scripture, the more I recognize God’s call to love and grace. The longer I follow in the way of Jesus, the more clearly I hear the call of Jesus…”Don’t be a stick in the mud, Jason!”
I think it was Albert Tate who said, “Stop defending your position and start listening to the heartbeat of God.”
The reason we are sticks in the mud who cause one another harm is because we are spending more time defending our positions than following the lead of Jesus.
My non-believing friends are the first to tell me…”Jesus was all about love, peace and grace. But, you Christians seem to be all about judging others and telling us all how lost we are.” Their critque may be a stereotype, unfortunately it’s all too true.
The church is unfortunately not all that different from the surrounding culture. The body of believers should embody unity (not uniformity, but unity). However, we are known more and more by our division and hostility over issues of race, politics, and economics.
My prayer is that we will stop being sticks in the mud and focus on being people of love, grace, mercy, compassion and empathy.
One thought on “Don’t Be a Stick in the Mud”
You have a gift of words as you are teaching us to be better disciples for Jesus Christ. I love the quote by A. Tate! This effort of reconciliation is a challenge. A person hurt me terribly a few years ago and the book I was reading (God Never Blinks, I think) encouraged the reader to pray for that person for 30 days straight. I decided I needed to try that. The first few days I could barely say her name. My prayer became Dear God, Please please bring peace to my heart and bless – stutter-stutter-stutter as she heals from whatever pain she is experiencing. But, after a week or two I could not only say her name but actually pray for her. Sure enough, by the end of the month I felt like I was sincerely praying for her. The lesson of reconciliation, in that situation, was evident that it took practiced and repeated prayers to do it. Not a day or a few days, etc.
Sorry I wrote a whole book as my comment but I want you to know your efforts to lead us definitely stirs me. I hope to see you again – in person – soon! Pam