Just a quick thought as I take a break from my two friends Marx and Weber whom I’ll be in close contact with over the next week.
As I was sitting and chatting to Nate today, he brought something up that I thought was very true and rather interesting. He asked, why is it that when the government wants to remove scripture from school and change the laws of marriage the Church of Australia comes together and fights against it - But when there are millions of children dying around the world, millions of women and children forced into the sex trade, millions of people dying from starvation, the church can’t come together in the same way?
What kind of image does that give to Non Christians looking on? two things
a) that we want scripture in school
and b) that we are anti gay marriage - which translates to them as, we are anti gay people.
I suggested that the answer to the question that he posed was that Christians will come together when they’re fighting against something that they know must not happen - ie. Marriage becoming between two men or two women.
But when there is freedom in the decision - ie. taking action to support organisations that take women and children out of the sex industry, or support aid organisations - There doesn’t seem to be much of a Christian voice out there, not much action from the church - there doesn’t seem to be as much of an urgency or importance.
I don’t think it should be like this - The world should know us for our love for one another, for our sacrificial love, the kind of love that Christ has for us. And this can be displayed so much greater through our actions than through words of disagreement (even though our disagreement is out of love for them).
Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. - Isaiah 1:17
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? - Micah 6:8
Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. - Proverbs 31:8-9
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. - Psalm 82:3
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. - James 1:27 ESV
(the struggle to write an essay that is)
I have quite a few thoughts running through my head, biggest one being how to write this in a reflective way so as to encourage those reading and not offend anyone - that is not the intention. The intention is to encourage - I will reflect upon my past and write up what God has taught me - I know that there will be people out there who may need to hear this, my prayer is that it will be an encouragement to you - and that God will comfort you (: Even as I write this, I pray that God will change my heart to see His way, to seek His understanding and not lean on my own -
For those who have had friends leave church your own church for another church before, this post has been written in reflection to that - I remember it happening to my own church only a few years ago, and I remember on the night of that announcement being made, just running to the top of the bridge near my church and asking God as I overlooked His great city, why? Why was my closest friend leaving my church? Why would they leave for another church? What are these things they were leaving for that they couldn’t explain? Why was it so sudden? Why didn’t they confide in us before and ask for prayer? How was leaving going to solve problems? What if everyone who had a slight problem left? Why were they leaving us behind? Why so many things… I had so many questions rushing through my head and many of them didn’t leave for a long time.
I remember feeling very upset and bitter for a long time. I had decided in my heart that what they had done was wrong and unloving. I was so torn and broken inside. A friendship had been lost and I felt like a part of the family had left.
Over time, these feelings were buried under other things that were happening in my life. I am the kind of person who has a really bad memory and holding grudges just makes me exhausted so I had let things go. I still didn’t know all the answers to my questions but I had moved on. The friendship probably wasn’t reconciled, I wasn’t sure but I wasn’t too concerned about it to change that, things weren’t hostile and that was all I asked for.
Earlier this year God really spoke to me, He wanted me to put down my pride and forget about whether their decision to leave was right or wrong. The decision had been made and He wanted me to be thankful for various things.
- That they were now at a good church and were continuing in their walk with Him.
- God wanted me to be thankful that they were still brothers and sisters in Christ.
- He wanted me to be thankful that they were now serving and being ministered to at another church and that God’s name was still being glorified through their lives.
- He reminded me that they were brothers and sisters, that they were still partners in the gospel ! That they were not against us, but we were fighting for the same thing, so be thankful.
- He wanted me to continue to pray for them, they were still brothers and sisters no matter which church they had gone to.
God had revealed these things to me earlier this year. And I know that I can be joyful in these things! I had only wished that I had humbled myself Him earlier and asked God to reveal these things to me earlier so that the period of bitterness wouldn’t have been so long. I only wish that I had asked Him earlier to give me His understanding and wisdom so that I wouldn’t rely on my own foolishness. I only wish that I had asked for His heart earlier so that my own could be softened and pride broken down. I realised then that I had been wrong in my own thoughts.
I know that some of you may be going through the same thing; may have some of the very same thoughts. Can I encourage you to put down pride if there any, may I encourage to put on humility. Don’t ask the right or wrong question. Don’t keep asking the same questions… Reflect, learn, ask God to change your heart and rejoice in the things we can thank God for. Take comfort in God and not in your conversations with others about it.
Let the words that come from your mouth be ones of love and encouragement. Don’t allow Satan an opportunity to tempt you to sin. Don’t let unloving words and gossip come from your mouths. Don’t harbour bitterness, it only leads to pain.
Pray for them, I assure you that when you pray for someone, God slowly changes your heart.
It is moments like this, that I realise why God brings you through things as hard as they were. He does so that when others are going through the same thing, you can encourage and comfort them and point them to Him. So that you, having been through it, and having reflected upon it can offer wisdom and insight that God has taught you so that others can strive to bring glory to God in the same situation.
May I leave you with this; strive to do life with your church family. I don’t know how to express to you just how incredibly thankful I am to God for my church family. When I have to go away on weekend camps, I really do miss my church family- I long to be with them. Do life together, commit to your church -
As I blogged before, minister to others and you will feel ministered to. Invest time and effort into relationships, ask God to put a burden on your heart to really see these people run this race with you. You WANT to see these people standing with you on the last day right next to you bowing willingly before our LORD Jesus Christ! You want to stand next to these people and listen as God says, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23)
Sisters, when you get married and have to leave your church, that should be heartbreaking, to leave behind a bunch of people whom you’ve been served by and whom you’ve served. People who have encouraged you and people who have loved you. But you should be joyful also, and look forward to what God has in store for you at your new church, how He will use you - (:
This post has taken me an hour to write, I should probably start my long night of looking for sources to finish off my essay. I have about 250 words left, but still need at least two more sources to finish it off and I’m struggling.
I hope you have been encouraged.
This morning I spent my time at church praying with John and Jean, the Pastor and the Pastor’s wife. (: It as such an time of encouragement, as we hid away in a small room, on our knees just enjoying the presence of God. Praising His name, presenting our requests before Him…