Most pastors have demanding schedules. Most churches have more needs than people to help. Most people are hurting and need a place of healing and hope. I understand.
I have a special-needs child, a blended family, and many other challenges most people will never know about. I bet you could be writing this too, discussing your own daily challenges. You may have struggles that are deeper and darker than I can imagine. If so, I am so very sorry.
But I want all of us to consider something: I have never, ever met a pastor who desired to hurt those in his congregation. I have never met a family with a disabled child who wished to offend others. I have never met a person who wanted to be misunderstood or judged or hurt or betrayed. We are all fellow travelers on this journey of life . . . a journey that is marred with difficulties, littered with mistakes, split with dreams shattered and dreams forgotten.
Let’s remember together the passage from Romans 12:9–19. The passage calls for believers in Christ to be in harmony with one another . . . not in judgment or critical or neglecting or passive or dismissive . . . NO! Paul calls us to love and care for one another.
Really commit to practicing the selections from Romans 12:9–19 (and praying for God’s help to do it!):
- Love must be sincere.
(Lord, show me when my love is more about “being nice” than about sincerity, coming from my heart . . . as You love me.)
- Cling to what is good.
(Lord, when I think about retaliation, when I speak heartless words, when I judge another person, I ask You to create in me a clean, good heart.)
- Be devoted . . . honoring . . . joyful . . . eager to engage with others.
(Lord, just as You treat me with grace and mercy, remind me I am to respect, admire, and humble myself to care for other people’s needs.)
- Be patient in affliction, faithful in prayer, hospitable to others, comforting to others.
(Lord, remove from me my focus on what I think others should do or how they should behave or how they should be “better”; remind me of Your patience with me so I may lavish that onto others.)
- Live in harmony; be empathic, humble, and willing to care for anyone, even the socially rejected or disabled.
(Lord, show me my pride, the disgusting conceit in me; draw my heart to wash the feet of another, to disregard social status, and to reach out to the disabled, just as You humbly reach to me.)
In the week ahead, you may have some mending to do, forgiveness to seek, bitterness to release, judgment to silence, arms to embrace, tears to dry, or something surprising God is moving within you to address.
Take heart, my friend; God is for us and desires we be for one another.