If you only knew the people who were sitting next to you in your pews each Sunday, things could be different. I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and say that maybe you just don’t know. Maybe you have no idea when you speak with such confidence about a sin or state your opinion so boldly on an issue, that someone who serves alongside you in the nursery or puts their money in the offering plate right after you, is struggling with that very sin or issue.
Church, if we are who we say we are, we have to start speaking differently. We don’t necessarily have to change our message, but we do need to change our tone and language. If we are who we say we are, we need to take up the cause of people, not the cause of causes. If we thought for just a moment about who enters our buildings each week; maybe, just maybe, we would speak differently. If we reflected enough on our own brokenness, and how we wanted to be talked to, maybe we would speak more gently, maybe we would ask more questions, maybe we would listen rather than talk.
This letter is the first of several letters written by guest posters (who wished to remain anonymous) that will be posted this week. These letters are raw and real. They are a reminder that issues the Church often treats as black and white are really rather gray. They are a reminder that the Church is full of imperfect, broken, hurt, and violated people who have struggled, and do struggle, and will struggle. These letters are a reminder that we as the Church are to be about the story of redemption, not condemnation. These letters are a reminder that the things we like to yell in megaphones, sharpie on picket signs, write arrogant facebook statuses about, and (mis) quote scripture at are things that people struggle with daily.
These letters are a reminder that Jesus didn’t take up issues, He loved people with issues.
May we all read these letters with a desire to learn how to speak to our fellow journeyers in a way that brings hope, love, and restoration rather than guilt, shame, anger, and isolation.
If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b]but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love Never Fails – 1 Corinthians 13