A dear lady once said to me, “Brent, Christianity sure does attract a lot of wierdos.” Let’s admit it, she’s right, at least to a certain degree! If I’m honest with myself, I’m one of them! The problem for us Christians, as individuals, is that we often don’t think we’re part of that clan of wierdos… but we can name a good number of other Christians who we think fall into that category. Truth be told, we’re all wierdos to someone because we don’t fit everyone’s character preferences. Unfortunately, we don’t always think that way when comparing ourselves to other Christians who we have deemed strange. Sadly, this designation has us keeping a distance from certain people in the church and missing out on the blessings of God that don’t just come from Christians who are altogether like us. Maybe we think there’s not a whole lot in them to relate to or perhaps we’re embarrassed that they’re even part of our churches. Thoughts like these point to a horribly low view of the family of God.
I’ve been teaching First John to the students at Calvary Bible Church, and one of the main themes that keeps popping up is love for the family of God. Listen to First John 4:10-11 for instance, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Here’s the response we should have to such awesome love: “Beloved, if God so loved, we also ought to love one another.” How can you love someone that you avoid or ignore? Or maybe you don’t completely avoid these people, but you think waving, smiling, and not mocking them in public stands as love. Church, if our standard for love is the cross, then our love for the family of God must be sacrificial! According to Jesus, it is this kind of love for each other that will lead people to know that we are His disciples (John 13:35). What is it in me that thinks it’s a good thing for God to love the wierdos, but not me? Let us remember another verse from First John which reads, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (4:8). God is love, and if you are His child, then He lives in you in the form of the Holy Spirit, and if He lives in you, then you will love… even the wierdos!
How can you love more like God this Sunday? Here’s a plan. First, when you wake up, begin to pray for God to help you see all the Christians at your church as His family instead of a group of people you put up with for a few hours a week. Second, think of two people you usually avoid at church and plan to initiate a conversation with both of them before you leave the worship service. Third, don’t allow yourself to derail from the plan when the excuses start flying. Use the verses above to preach the truth to yourself when you think the awkwardness is too strong. Fourth, ask these people a question like, “How has God blessed you this week?” or “How can I pray for you?”
Remember, Church, God’s family is our family too!