Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Choice: Cold Love or Kindness

Belonging to a community of people--it seems over the years some disappear and no one knows where they went to or why they left.  Days, weeks, and months will go by without anyone asking how they are or how their souls are being nurtured.  It seems no one cares. Maybe I do not care enough? This is totally against what Jesus taught when he said, “Love your neighbour.”  Who is your neighbour if you do not even miss them when they are gone?

I have been wrestling with the whole concept of loving one another and how is loving one another really suppose to look like in the context of church community.  How do we reach out when someone has left for a long period of time? Or reach out to those who are hurting? Or those who are lonely?

Tonight when I arrived home from a long day of doing what I love to do, there was a message on my phone.  It was a delight to listen to the voice message from the leader of a small intercessory group which I belong.  She phoned to encourage me and edify my part in the group even when I can not make it.  I felt acknowledged and part of the small community.  We all need to know we belong, we are missed, and we are loved. 

I attended a Steve Bell concert this week, he introduced his new album titled, Kin`dness.  The root for kindness is kin, and even if we do not like those who are in community with us we are still kin…connected, especially those in Christian communities.  We are to show kindness and love to all.  As I sat in the concert I realized there were people around me who I had been disconnected with over the years, but in reality we were still connected in Christ.  I decided I needed to reach out to those who I have lost contact with.  A card with a small note enclosed will speak volumes to another heart.

Years ago, I read a book that talked about cold love being in the church.  At the time, the church I belonged to was going through a church split and the love in people’s hearts displayed true coldness, not kindness or the love that is found in Christ.  When people were approached with how they were reacting to each other, questions were dismissed with the human logic that they deserved what has happened to them.  Can this really be the way it is?  Have we not all been misguided at one time or another?  Is it not true kindness and community we need in times when we have messed up?

My questioning has me pondering how can we as a community of Christ followers love well those who may be different than us, have different views than us, or fail in our view to live up to our standards?  My conclusion: Kindness and love can heal wounds. 

I would like to end with Brian McLaren’s song/poem titled, “Kindness.” 

Christ has no body here but ours
No hands no feet here on earth but ours
Ours are the eyes through which he looks
On this world with kindness

Ours are the hands through which he works
Our are the feet on which he moves
Ours are the voices through which he speaks
To this world with kindness

Through our touch, our smile, our listening ear
Embodied in us, Jesus is living here

Let us go now, inspirited
Into this world with kindness

The choice daily is ours, will we let our hearts grow cold believing people do not need our kindness?  Or will we choose to love and reach out to those who have left our communities with a kind word and touch of love?  I believe we are called to be Christ to this broken world and it begins within our own communities. 

"Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved."  Matthew 24:12 



Terri Tiffany said...

I love your heart. Years ago after attending the same church forever, we needed to leave because of some issues that weren't being resolved by a body of people in charge after the pastor left. My husband, who is soft-spoken and never ever talked in a business meeting, did one evening about the matter. It was our last sunday and sadly, all those friends of mine, never contacted us once we left. I had never experienced this before but we found another church until moving to Fl a year later. It's easy to judge and sadly we do and then we forget to love that person who is stil a part of the body. I try hard to notice if someone leaves and reach out if I can so they know that despite whatever issue, they are still loved.
I wish I could duplicate you here:)

sojourner said...

very thought provoking - the only way to make a difference is to connected one person at a time - it sounds simple; yet, difficult for each of us to do - i continue to stand guilty as the next

Anonymous said...

Robin, this post moved me very much. i am one who left a church and received the meanest spirited phone calls and emails. even the pastor spoke ill of my husband and me to others in his congregation. when oh when did church become a cult where it is viewed that you are either with them or against them (as in the case when someone leaves as God has directed them to)?