Is your church keeping you from loving one another?

23 Dec

Yesterday we finished The Advent Conspiracy series.  Over the past four weeks we have been challenged to Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, and yesterday Love All. (You listen online here.)

All?  That can seem impossible.  If we see the extreme difference between ourselves and others, it can seem like a chasm we could never cross and don’t want to.  People can be so hard to love.  The people we just don’t like or find offensive or beneath us or disgusting.

But everyone was beneath Jesus.  Imagine the gulf he had to cross!  It was incalculable.  And yet there he is, becoming human. Born as a baby into the lowest of circumstances.  And not only that, dying for us.

If he went the ultimate distance for us, we have a great impetus to cross that gulf for the people in our world.

Consider this:

What does that look like?  To grow in love?  Especially loving the unlovely?

Jesus told his disciples that we should be known for how much we love one another.

A question that I have been wrestling with is this: Does an institutional church keep us from loving one another?  Let me explain a bit more.  An institutional church is heavy on structures, programs, building-centered.  The answer to nearly every need, whether it be “how do we make disciples” or “how do we reach the poor” is a program.  The conclusion is that if church is about programs, then being a good Christian is about showing up at programs.

Have a need? Here’s a class!  Want to be a good disciple? Show up at the program.  Reach the needy?  Start a ministry.

But what about relationships?  “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, that you love one another.”

Look at the early church in Acts 2:42-47 and 4:32-37. Love for one another was the focus.  They were especially generous toward those in need!  How far will we go to show our love for those in need?

A skeptical world needs to see us practice what we preach, and that is primarily love.

Who do you feel is unlovable in your life?  Will you reach out to them like this man?:

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