Okay, it’s officially an off day for me today. I write a blog, save it to draft (I think) come back later to find I hit publish instead – lovely. That happens sometimes I know. I just hate it when I’m saving ideas to be used later as a main blog. I’m re-writing it and I’m holding it until later. It was a rant that was nothing more than my shooting the side of the barn with buckshot. It made absolutely no sense.
I have my days where I am embarrassed to admit that I sometimes like the unchurched, more than the church. I have no clue if that makes sense. It’s just a feeling and feelings don’t always arrive in neatly wrapped packages. After reading blog after blog for this and against that with Christians tearing apart other Christians, I had to ask myself and God, if it’s worth bothering anymore. Know what I mean?
We are a confusing lot. Loving our neighbor in word only some days. Not only do we tear apart other denominations, we tear apart other races, the other sex, and we even tear at ourselves and our own church. And some days? I just get tired.
I read something cool today and given the Lenten season, it fits.
With our church talking about Sharing the Gospel with Compassion, we need to find out what compassion really means. Henri Nouwen puts it well in The Wounded Healer:
it is possible to recognize
that the craving for love
that men feel
resides also in our own hearts,
that the cruelty that the world
knows all too well
is also rooted in our own impulses.
we also sense
our hope for forgiveness
in our friend’s eyes
in their bitter mouths.
When they kill,
that we could have done it;
when they give life,
that we can do the same.
For a compassionate man
nothing human is alien:
no joy and no sorrow,
no way of living and no way of dying….
pulls people away from the fearful clique
into the large world
where they can see
every human face
is the face of a neighbor.
Thus the authority of compassion
is the possibility
to forgive his brother,
forgiveness is only real
for him who has discovered
the weakness of his friends
and the sins of his enemy
in his own heart
I’m presently working through the reality that I, myself, am far less compassionate and forgiving, than I would like to believe. I tend to take the out of sight and out of mind approach to forgiveness. If I don’t see you and I don’t think about you then I can pretend I’ve forgiven you. That’s not what God wants from me or for me for that matter.
That’s not forgiveness. That’s just a wall to hide behind.
Ponder something with me if you will – if you have ever been seriously hurt by someone – I mean truly truly hurt – and while you worked through forgiveness (like I have with this issue) but yet never saw them again or spoke to them – is it really forgiveness? What if said person joined your church, broken, repentant, and ashamed and wanted to be reconnected to the body, would you accept them? Would you be able to? What if it was an ex-spouse, or employer? What if was a friend who lied about you and you suffered consequences as a result. What if was someone who stole from you. What if…
It’s easier to think in the what ifs of things that never happened to us – but when they have? It’s much more difficult to honestly answer yes – I would accept and embrace them back into the body.
I have to honestly answer that question for myself – as I really don’t know. I’d like to believe I could, but my heart has been so hardened, I don’t know what I would do if they suddenly showed up like that.
Which tells me.. God and I still have some work to do this season. Compassion, confidence, forgiveness are gifts of God I pray that I don’t continue to take them lightly.