Lately I have been thinking over the limits we build around ourselves to keep from risking an uncomfortable experience. I was specifically thinking over this idea in regards to new people that we meet in church. If anyone of you has been going to a church for a while, it is easy to point out who we hang out with, and who we don't. For whatever the reason, we are naturally attracted to the people we know. Goodness, how we love our bubble of friends! The jokes, the laughs. It is awesome, right? Sometimes issues arise, but we are usually quick to forgive and forget because we love our friends. Differences don't really cause a problem between brothers and sisters because what unites us is the blood of Christ.
But what about those people that don't fellowship with us?
They sit on the benches after the meeting waiting for their parents to finish talking so they can leave. They stand around, watching us have a great time, and convincing themselves that they don't really want to hang out with us. Fellowship is a crucial part of the Christian life. A Christian without fellowship too often fades away. That is what happens to those people that we see for a month, or every 4 weeks, but fail to take the next step and ask them about their week. They fade away. I find myself thinking of guys and girls like that. I feel stuck watching history repeated. Reaching out isn't easy, like the procrastinator finally getting to his work, but it will always produce more than what we expected. Excuses arise! The differences between them and us seem to mount up, to high to climb. You won't listen to the same music as they do, they won't dress the same way you will, they will not talk the same as you, they will not even have the same convictions as you do, but the blood of Christ covers all differences. You are not going to love them because you are both the same, but because the blood of Christ makes you the same in Him sight.
Or maybe you are that person that sits in the bench, waiting for your parents to stop talking so you can leave. Don't EVER think to yourself "If only they came here to say hi." That is a horrible excuse for not knowing people in your church. Stand up, off of the sidelines and get to know people. A word of caution, though: you will have differences! You won't listen to the same music as they do, they won't dress the same way you will, they will not talk the same as you, they will not even have the same convictions as you do, but the blood of Christ covers all differences. You are not going to love them because you are both the same, but because the blood of Christ makes you the same in His sight.
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with long suffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Naturally, identification in diversity and separation for the sake of identification is our tenancy, but we have to fight that want! Unity is a beautiful thing, and it should be chased. Don't sit on the bench waiting for someone to say hi, and don't let your back be part of the wall in your cliche.
Thoughts, comments and questions are always welcomed!