Friday, April 18, 2008

Unchristlike Embarrassment

He doesn't call it that, but I will.

I don't know anybody who writes with such unabashed affection for the Church, with such a high regard for unity despite preferences and styles and cultural affectations, than my friend Bill Roberts.
This morning he knocks another one out of the park with Embarrassed by Each Other?. A substantial taste:
in our day, in this time, it seems our divisions are becoming more dumbed-down, and hence less hefty, and, therefore, far less excusable. It's one thing to respectfully divide from a brother over the weightier matters of doctrine. It's quite another to divide from him because he isn't as relevant as you are, or because you want to be called "Christian" and he wants to be called "Christ-follower", or because his suit irritates you, or . . . whatever. It's one thing to disagree on the meaning of communion, quite another to bash your brother because you think ministering to people's physical needs is primary and you're embarrassed because he wants to give them a Bible.

It's common to be embarrassed by our brothers and sisters in Christ, isn't it? It's so easy to have that thought slip into our minds: "They're doing it wrong. They're giving me a bad name." When, God help us, by our rejection of our brother, we give Christ a bad name. I've written around this subject recently, and continue to think on it with Christ's words in mind.

I read the passage at the top of this post (John 13:34-35) and I want to sing and dance for joy, and I want to fall to the ground and hide from God's wrath. I'm no theologian, but I'm pretty sure that it means that Jesus wants us to have love for our Christian brothers and sisters. Full, unashamed, on-display, familial love. Not a love that sweeps aside true differences, but rather a love like that with which Christ loved, one that sharpens our brothers and sisters, speaks the truth in love, forgives, yields, shows mercy, gives others preference in honor, and stands beside them always.

"just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another."

If there was ever someone who Jesus could be embarrassed of, it's me. It might be you too. Yet he loves me. And he loves you. And he wasn't too embarrassed to be seen with us. In fact, he humbled himself beyond all imagining to come dwell among us so we could kill him.

In light of that, the least I can do is follow his example and love you.

1 comment:

Randi Jo :) said...

ohh I loved this one!! this just stirred up so much my passion for the Body. this is where my heart is too.

I love God & The Body of Christ so much. I have to believe that people just haven't experienced this love --- or things would be so different.

ohh man I just get so "fired up" when I think about divison in the Body. It just hurts me.

I want to present to Jesus such a beautiful, pure, unified Bride. I have such a passion to not grieve the Spirit in us through discord in the Body. I just want to defend & protect so much all relationships in the Body. I have to believe that desire for loyalty & unity is just a God-given blessing... but it also causes a lot of stress, discouragement, when I don't see it.