This is just a few days late for Valentines…I know. Just sitting up late at night thinking about some friends who have had some issues with their church family. Something I am all too familiar with. Actually, anyone who has ever been part of a church has probably had some issue. If not, I would wonder if you had formed true relationships with your pastors and other Christians.
The reason we have issues, is because we are all human and as humans we are flawed.
Last week my dad said, “Love is never having to say you’re sorry” (a quote from the movie “Love Story”). When he said it, I said back, “Love is having to say you’re sorry even when you think you are right. Love is having to say you are sorry when you really do not ‘feel’ all that sorry.”
Last night we visited my parent’s small group. The subject…you guessed it, “Love”; basically what the Bible says about love versus what the world says about love.
Dr. James Dobson (Jim to his pals on the radio) says that Love is more about commitment than about emotion (I’m not putting it in quotes because I am not entirely sure I am quoting him directly). What I got from this is that the true test of love is are you committed even when you don’t “feel” all warm and fuzzy about the person? Love is way more than warm and fuzzy.
I Corinthians 13 4:12
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
(You knew I was going to use I Corinthians 13, right?)
As small groups go, sometimes we talk about things that aren’t necessarily on the agenda (although, my dad does really stick to the notes – my mom makes sure of it). We were discussing things “the world” says love is. One thing that I’ve heard from several people recently is, “I love Jesus but I don’t go to church because all churches are messed up.” And some of the things we have seen in churches and some of the things we have heard…well, it is disheartening. My thoughts on this however are two-fold. 1. As Christians, we must maintain our focus on Jesus Christ and not men (or women). 2. Jesus’ died for the church, His bride – how can you say you love Him but hate His bride; the apple of His eye? It doesn’t work. If you love Jesus, you love His bride; you love her with all her flaws.
The tie in…well the tie in is this, true love means growing up. It is as Paul says in I Corinthians, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things” Love will require you to grow up, to mature; to become a man. It is that simple.
As I have been thinking of our friends and family and even some of the things we have encountered in churches, so many things are executed or received from a wrong spirit. By a “wrong spirit”, I mean demonic spirit and not the Holy Spirit. (I am being very specific here). Woundedness opens the door for all types of demonic spirits to work in our lives. (I wrote about this in my book and about how absolutely necessary spiritual healing is) Our prayers for some of our family (both physical and spiritual) has been healing and deliverance from a spirit of an orphan. So many of our dear brothers and sisters in Christ have become spiritual orphans so easily tossed to and fro as a result of the lack of a spiritual father. Where are the spiritual fathers?
Recently, I’ve observed several situations of a spiritual orphan resisting the spirit of adoption (Romans 8 ) and the ministry of reconciliation (II Corinthians 5:18) resulting in devastation to entire families. The orphan is so injured, functions in such abandonment that when a spiritual father reaches out a hand to help, that orphan slaps the hand away and spits in the face of the father. It is tragic really. A spiritual father will recover, because a father by nature is mature and loves without being loved in return, however the orphan has placed him or herself once again in a position outside the bounds of God’s perfect will.
What is the solution? 1. Choose NOT to be an orphan. Find a church, make a commitment; dig in; stick it out. 2. Mature. How are you reacting? Does your reaction align with the definition of love described in the Bible? (see I Corinthians 13). 3. Realize it is harder to be an orphan than it is to be a son. Son’s have the benefit of the spiritual covering of a father; Sons receive an inheritance.
Dennis is always hooking me up with a good story. One that I have read several times from the book “Sit, Walk, Stand” by Watchman Nee. A man came to him and told him that he had gone on a journey and while he was gone his wife and best friend ran off together. The man was very bitter. He had not wife or best friend any more and he was having a very tough time forgiving them. He would try to forgive but then would find himself once again angry and bitter. He asked Watchman Nee what he should do. Watchman Nee told him, “do nothing, surrender to God.” If we surrender to God; really surrender, then things like forgiveness and healing begin to take place. This is one of those “If…then” statements; it requires action on our part.
Have you been an orphan? Or are you one now? Would love to hear how you overcame?