Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Responding to Failure

I have been sorting things in the garage. It's a mess out there, and it's terribly tiring work. I'm finding all kinds of interesting stuff. I'm going through boxes of papers, and running my shredder like crazy.

I'm also finding things that I am keeping...and sitting down to read every once in a while, remembering. Honestly, this is the most tiring part of the sorting...because emotional baggage is tiring.

As you know, if you've read here for a while, Jason and I have been through a LOT. Rather, I should rephrase...GOD has brought us through a lot. Some of it has been pretty ugly. We've made bad decisions. We've attempted to do the right thing. I've talked too much about the things that we've done...unfortunately, I'm not done with it. But that is not what I want to cover here.

What I want to cover is how the church responds when other Christians make bad decisions, give in to temptation, and otherwise fail to live up to what we're supposed to be. In other words, when Christians act like the sinners we really ARE...

Let's face it, every time this discussion comes up, we'd all like to say that we are exempt from temptation...that *I* won't be the one who makes bad financial decisions, cheats on my spouse, breaks the law, etc. Realistically, we KNOW that we are just as susceptible as the next guy or gal, but we tend to bury our heads, or adopt the attitude of "ignore it and it will go away."

Then, when someone else fails, how do we respond?

We've heard a LOT of terrible responses from Christian brothers and sisters who should have known better. A lot of people in churches seem to react to others' failures by kicking the hurting person while they are already at a very low point. Even church leaders have been known to do this.

Scripturally, I believe this is the wrong response.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Romans 12:9a Love must be sincere.
Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Romans 12:13 Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

Paul is building on a theme here, that people that are Christ's followers are supposed to be DIFFERENT. We are not only changed on the outside, but also on the inside. We are supposed to respond to people lovingly, rejoicing with those who rejoice, and mourning with those who are mourning. EVEN when they are mourning a bad decision that they have made. When they are mourning their sins.

So, my take on this is just take....and here it is.

The Family of the Church is a HOSPITAL for hurting people. We welcome and look for people who are hurting, because we have something to give them. We have THE source of all healing. We have access to the Great Physician. He is the one who can heal all of the hurting people.

Every member of this HUGE Family is at some stage in their own personal healing process. We've all be hurt and are convalescing. NONE of us are beyond that. NO ONE is completely healed.

We tend to forget that we ARE still healing after we've been doing this Christianity thing for a while. We forget that we WERE hurting a LOT more....that we have been there in the past...and that there is a possibility of each of us falling back into it again.

AND, because we forget where we've been in the past, we are VERY hard on our brothers and sisters who are hurting right now. We expect THEM to be perfect. We forget to extend the grace to them that has been extended to us.

We have a responsibility to NOT respond that way. We have a RESPONSIBILITY to respond like we HAVE been changed. To extend grace, loving our HUGE extended Family the way that we want to be loved. To be who Christ called us to be.

1 comment:

Mrs. Staff Sergeant said...

You are so right about this! We all get a little "holier than thou" every once in awhile. We need to reach out to others in our Christian community in love, rather than condemnation. After all, that's what Jesus taught us to do!