Not the type you’re probably thinking of. And no, this post isn’t really a platform for presidency or related to the State of the Union address. I’m talking about relationships, mainly friendships. In the past few days, maybe weeks, I’ve had the great opportunity to counsel several people through some struggling relationships, some current and some in the past. I’ve also been able to listen to their stories of reconciliation and unity. They have truly been inspiring stories reflecting the sharing and reception of grace in the midst of the dirtiness of this world. When we reconcile our differences and find consolation solely in the grace that our Lord Jesus Christ came to show us, we give glory to God who is most high. He really does work in relationships very powerfully.
So why is it foreign? What catches my attention is when someone else, particularly a believer, fails to try and befriend another person. In small group yesterday, we talked briefly about Matthew 25 – this chapter is singly focused on loving your brothers. One of the discussions that stemmed from this is, “If you attempt to love the world, but you lack love for you BASIC, are you really a christian?” In the church, we often feel compelled to care for those who are in need, but we can easily neglect those immediately around us who are struggling just as much. There’s something very fulfilling about bring food and shelter to the homeless, but something apparently less glorifying about praying for your fellow brother in Christ who is going through some financial troubles and pay for his kid’s piano lessons. Do we care little about the church? Is this behavior healthy? What I’m trying to say is, the concept of neglecting your fellow brothers is foreign to me. We should have unity amongst our church, but somehow we can get caught up focusing a lot on outreaching. I’ll speak for myself, but Im primed to believe that outreaching is more important than in-reaching. I care significantly about my community, but I can neglect them all the same. To make an allusion, I think united states foreign policy expends more resources caring for international concerns without fully addressing its financial and social needs internally.
But going back to to the foreign relationships topic, what is even more unsettling than seeing more outreach than in-reach is when a christian also fails to show or express a desire to love those who are in need. There are many who are in need, believers and unbelievers. I want to see brothers and sisters around me build foreign relationships with nonbelievers. Really challenging yourself to put yourself out of your comfort zone and love on them as if they were just like you. I don’t know; maybe that was reach.
Another cool note is, even through divisions of churches/countries/sects/denominations, God shows us opportunities to reflect reconciliation and grace. there are limitless opportunities to love those in need.