This Advent Season

I’m going to start this blog post with a couple of reminders. I hope that’s okay.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility, regard others as more important than yourselves. Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.  (Philippians 2:2-4 Amplified)

This is my commandment, that you love and unselfishly seek the best for one another, just as I have loved you.  (John 15:12 Amplified)  

Above all, have fervent and unfailing love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins [it overlooks unkindness and unselfishly seeks the best for others]. Be hospitable to one another without complaint.  (1 Peter 4:8-9)

This month, I was going to try and write a post that didn’t mention Covid, but something has not been sitting well with me, and if it is not addressed, it will cause ill health in the church long past the pandemic. Before continuing, I would like to caution us all from pointing to “them” or “the other” and ask God to search us as we respond.

The talk that has been going on around regathering, masks, and what the church should be doing has started to get distressing. Large parts of the conversation have been centered on “me” and “my rights” and “my preferences” and so on. There has been precious little concern given for the other.

Personal sacrifice for the peace of mind of the other is rarely considered or discussed.  More often what shows up is some version of, “Well if they don’t like it, they can go somewhere else. This is my church.” People have been called names instead of having their concerns heard, considered, and respected.  Other comments include, “If you believe that you are just stupid.” When consideration of the other is brought up, it is often met with, “I don’t care, this is what I want.”

In most cases, the others are our brothers and sisters who are part of our church family. If we can’t get it right with each other, how can we expect to get it right with “the other” that is outside our church walls which is what we are supposed to be doing (go and make disciples…).

So this Advent Season, as we focus on the love we have been shown as God stepped out of heaven and into our lives, can we ask God to refocus our hearts on loving, serving, and caring for each other. None of this should be about winning and losing. It should be about loving each other the way Jesus loves us and them for the sake of your family, your church, your soul and for the sake of the Kingdom.

Thanks,    

Marc McAlister

Director of Leadership Development and Church Health

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