I think what I’ve appreciated the most about this very public exchange is that these two letters really capture what the church at large is all about. Relationship, healing one another, restoration, forgiveness. That is Jesus Christ’s heart towards us, so that should be our heart towards one another.
Romans 12:15-16 says, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.”
“Be of the same mind one toward another….” Another way of saying that is to empathize. Be compassionate. Their pain is your pain. It takes some real humility and surrender sometimes. I am an absolute expert on empathy, mercy, compassion, getting a feel for what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes, and yet even I will feel impatient sometimes, roll my eyes, tear out my hair, whatever you want to call it. I have learned however, that grace is very reflective. The more grace I can show others, the more grace the Father shows me.
Matthew 6:14-15 reflects that spiritual truth, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 7:2 goes onto say, “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”
Often what makes us crazy about other people is something that makes us crazy about ourselves. So seldom do we turn inward to check it out and see what it is. Something about logs in our own eye.
Even if we had absolutely no hand in someone’s suffering, healing begins the moment someone is heard and seen. The moment they are able to speak it and we take an interest and show we care. That simple. Take an interest in one another. Listen. 95% of the time that is all that you need to do. There is often no need to “fix it,” at least not on your end.
So, forget the politics, the publicity, celebrity, the people involved, this exchange just really captures and represents the very essence of “the church” busy being “the church,” or rather what the church should be busy doing as “the church.”
Ha! And now for the downside, for the less positive aspects of this exchange, some of the public response. I kid you not, it’s enough to make my heart just wail in despair. I had a vision that the next time we all go to a Christian conference of some sort, we will be playing some highly exalted speaker’s twitter feed in the background. Seriously, you should be afraid, be very afraid, because one of these days I’m going to show up at a conference with a projector, and while the sweet words of Christ are flowing from your lips, the much darker, far more ugly words that flowed from your fingertips earlier are going to appear right behind you…..
I even cheerfully volunteer to hand embroider your meanest tweet onto your favorite shirt so the whole world will know the condition of your heart. I’m just crafty and helpful that way.
That TRUTH is also to be found in Matthew 12:36-37, “But I tell you that men will give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
I’m sure me myself is going to need a heap of mercy for some of the things I’ve said in the heat of the moment on the internet, but just the same, these things are facts, biblical truths, repeated all throughout scripture. “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” When we claim His name our words are not just our words anymore, they are now words that represent Him.
Don’t let that frighten you. But don’t let it not concern you either.