They will know we are Christians by our Love.. for each other.

photo credit of flikr.com/

I promised myself that when I finished the Mother Letters I would do a week of light and easy posts, like a list of my favorite things or all the ridiculous search terms people use to find my blog.  The top one by the way is Fleece Fetish.   I will write these posts soon, just not today.

Today I have bigger things on my heart, like Church, Jesus and all the nitty gritty that goes along with committing to love them both.

Have you ever had to sit in worship or study God’s word in the same room as someone who doesn’t like you?  Someone who speaks openly against you and the work you pour your heart into?

I have, it’s terribly distracting and uncomfortable.  It’s the sort of thing that makes you want to stay home from church and stick a blanket over your head, say something along the lines of “screw it all, I’m out!”  (Or something similar but more rated R)

But as we get out there and do God’s work, dissenters will come along and bring their negative comments with them.  They won’t like what you’re doing, they may not even like you.  They wish you would go away, and lets be honest, often the feeling is mutual.

This where the nuts and bolts of the gospel get hard, where you put your head in your hands and cry about it a little, or a lot.

Heavy is the moment you realize that these people who are against you.. are loved children of God too.  We’ve all been the criticizers AND the one being criticized.  None of us are all good or all bad, we’re all seeking to be more like Jesus (I hope)

We are all travelers longing for home, and in search of his glory and grace.  Looking for a rhythm that transcends here and connects us to Our Father.

So stand strong, realize that there isn’t a place you could go and do the honest work of God without criticism.  Don’t leave because it’s hard, you won’t be able to grow roots this way, some seasons will be hard, everywhere, always.  Leaving is usually not the answer, sometimes, but not usually.

If you look at the early church, as early as the disciples you’ll see that they fought with each other, tore each other apart, unleashed their human flaws and insecurities upon each other.

So much so that Jesus gave them this:

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

So, as easy as it is to scowl and avoid eye contact, switch churches or life groups, we’re called to keep loving.  This gospel we speak of, it’s not easy, loving your enemy, those that persecute you?  It’s advanced stuff.

 

We love our enemies because God loves them, and through our hands perhaps he can love their anger away.

Always see your brothers and sisters for what they are, loved ones who make mistakes, just like us.  Flawed people who act out of bad information or misunderstanding.

Have you felt this?  Are you feeling it now?  I’m with you, I love you, I’m a mess too.  Shalom dear one, Shalom, Peace of Christ to you.

  • Lisa K

    I love you for writing this. I hope others who have felt this and have been hurt by fellow Christians stumble upon this today… maybe while searching for something fleece.

    • http://leannepenny.wordpress.com leannepenny

      If they’re TOO into fleece they definitely will.

      Love you friend :)

  • http://gravatar.com/kkniskern kkniskern

    thanks for your post… something I have been struggling with putting into words without being utterly sarcastic or completely judgmental. I appreciate the thought and grace with which you handled a tough tough issue!

    • http://annetteskarin.net Annette Skarin (@carinskarin)

      Thanks Leanne for putting into words what I’ve been struggling with in my lone place.

  • http://2dayichoose.blogspot.com Anna

    These are such wonderful, true words. I too am very distracted when I know I’m with someone who doesn’t like me. I just want to out down whatever we are doing and say, ” I know you don’t like me. Why!? Let fix that, now, right now!”

  • http://twitter.com/kt_writes Kristin T. (@kt_writes)

    “We’ve all been the criticizers AND the one being criticized. None of us are all good or all bad, we’re all seeking to be more like Jesus (I hope)”

    Yes! This is so true, and it’s amazing—and sad—to realize how long it took for me to see my role on both sides of the problem. Little by little, we grow a bit more and are able to contain and share more grace.

    • http://leannepenny.wordpress.com leannepenny

      This grown up, grey area, grace giving is one scary lovely challenge, eh? It was easier when people who hurt us were just “the bad guys” and we were always and forever the heroines.