Sunday, March 3, 2013

Mar 3 - DAY 19 - Cultivating Community

Day 19
Cultivating Community

Be kind and tender to one another.
Forgive each other, just as God forgave you
because of what Christ has done.
Ephesians 4:32 NIrV

After serving as a pastor for almost twenty years, I am convinced that God created the family – and the church family – for one purpose …

to teach us how to forgive!

I was with a group of people the other day. Our little group had a little disagreement. Tensions could have risen; instead, we stopped and laughed. “Who here occasionally disagrees with their spouse?” someone said. We laughed again. “All of us!” When people live close together, toes inevitably get stepped on. Therefore, if they’re to ever survive, families must learn to forgive. Daily. Even hourly sometimes!

The better that churches are … the closer the people are … and that means more toes get accidentally stepped upon. And thus it means more opportunities to practice forgiveness.

Actually, let’s put it this way … The whole reason that Jesus came to earth was to forgive (indeed, to give us life through the forgiveness of sins). Therefore, if living close to family and church family gives us plenty of opportunities to forgive, then what it really gives us is more opportunities to be like Christ!

Let me ask a question … Why are so many families splintered and splintering nowadays? And similarly, why do so many people come and go from church nowadays too?

Well … I suppose we could play the game of the chicken and egg, pondering which comes first.
  •      Are our families splintering because our culture is looking less Christ-like? Or is our culture looking less Christ-like because our families are splintering?
  •       Are our church families splintering because our culture is forgetting how to forgive? Or are we forgetting how to forgive because our church families are splintering?

Yes on all counts. And it’s very sad indeed.

Rick Warren says that cultivating community takes humility … and courtesy … and frequency … and confidentiality. Most of all it takes honesty and forgiveness.

If you’re hungry for community – and we all are, it’s how we were made – then it starts with deciding who you need to work on forgiving today.

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who’s blessed to have a wife
who is quick to forgive
(she’s my role model and
sadly I give her lots of practice)

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