We speak of church as a place of healing and strength, and on the surface we attempt to maintain this façade, but when one investigates beyond the masquerade of happy Sunday-morning faces, depression and hopelessness are rampant symptoms of a silent plague infecting the very core of Christianity. Something is ailing the hearts of the individuals in our church bodies, yet we are so busy accomplishing church business, we have failed to notice the care and attention so desperately needed by the hearts of Christians within our very churches.
Do you feel loved and cared about within/by the church?
In a community claiming to live the love of Christ, we fall painfully short of these words spoken by Jesus: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34)
We do a better job loving our friends, strangers, and sinners than we do loving those sitting across the aisle from us in Church, or even more so those sitting next to us in Church.
We are missing the heart of Christianity. We have neglected to care for and minister to the hearts of our own, and because of this we are decimating the very strength and core of Christianity: Christ’s unconditional, unwavering love, which we should be experiencing and imitating. Basically, the church is ailing from a plague of personal neglect.
And therefore, having missed the fullness of John 13:34, we also fail John 13:35 “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
This love is not just meant for friends or outsiders; this love is also for those within the church.
If we can’t and don’t rightly support and love each other within the church, the world won’t see disciples. They will only see depressed and hopeless people pretending to thrive when in fact their church is and has failed them, because the body, which should be caring for and supporting each other, simply isn’t.
Love is a Christians’ life-blood. Without it we become anemic (feeble and unable to give life-blood to others).
Let’s start the healing of love within our own church bodies first that we might then be ready and able to minster to and love those outside in need.
But, what is love really? If you asked a husband if he loves his wife, more than likely he’ll say, “Yes.” Yet if you ask the wife, “Do you feel loved by your husband?” Her answer will more often than not be, “No, I don’t feel loved.”
I’m guessing the same is true of the church, if asked “Are you a loving church?” The church would likely say, “Yes, of course we are.” But if you ask those in the church, “Do you feel loved by those making up this church?” I think you would be shocked to find the answer a resounding, pain-filled, “No.”
Challenge: What if we each intentionally poured life into the church? Maybe we’d have more than just a few people capable of ministering. Maybe the whole church would become healthy enough to make a difference. Maybe John 13:34-35 could actually be true of us.
(Note: This post was original published in 2016, but its content bears repeating. So I am re-publishing it now here in 2019. Sadly this post is even more true now in my opinion than it was then.)