How do we treat the Family of God?
In the Take Me Deeper study this week, 1 Cor. 12:26 said, "If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together." an early study in TMD this year was to Transform Vulnerably. So here's the warning/disclaimer-
I'm about to make myself vulnerable:
I have started this post over about 4 times now. Not because I have trouble with my current church home. Not at all! Let's be very clear: I love my church family!
But I am battered and bruised by a lifetime of seeing 1 Cor. 12:26 tromped on time and time again.
I debated giving you a laundry list. I won't. But from age 5, I have personally been left battered and bleeding 3 times. A victim of assault by church "family members" from 3 different church families over 15 years. And another loved one was physically assaulted in yet another "family of God."
This isn't an invitation to my pity party.
I don't want you to feel sorry for me. I have learned that in the dark times when I couldn't see God before me, it was because He had my back. He stood behind me, holding me up. Supporting me the way a Father does when teaching a little one to ride a bicycle. (Only He never let me go on alone.)
I know He grieves over the behavior of those who claimed to be His children. And I know He will hold each of them accountable for every vicious act.
This is a wake up call.
Instead of pitying me, I ask you to pray for a renewed awareness of the possibility of hurting and broken people in your "church family."
Look around you.
Do you only talk to the same people each service? Is there someone who sits there each week and cannot dare make eye contact? The person who may come and go from the building without any human interaction because it is too scary to take that risk yet again.
Look around you.
I would image that someone is there, waiting. Hoping. Praying that someone will talk to them. Or shake their hand. Or ask their name.
Look around you.
It's easy to rejoice with someone who is honored, but do you suffer when someone in your "family of God" suffers? Do you even know their pain? If you do, are they on your long-term prayer list, or did you throw their name out before the Father once or twice and call it done?
I challenge you today:
Take an index card or tag with you to church and add those needs during the service. Then take them home AND PRAY THROUGH THEM! For 1 Cor. 12:26 to work, we have to take off our comfortable blinders and see the people on the fringe.
Really see them. And share in their suffering by bringing it before the Father. By demonstrating Christ's love in a practical sense.
My art concludes the month with the same background as described in these posts: Family, Trinity and Father's Love. This week I was excited to get to use one of the new stencils from HKC called 'Praise the Lord' available here. I traced around the stencil with pencil and filled in with Neocolor II crayons. Since they are watercolors, I used a water brush to activate them. I added rub-ons for extra detail. You can see some other ways I've used the stencils and masks in my portion of the HKC blog hop here.
Praise the Lord for my church family. Praise for my new HKC friends. Praise Him for the opportunities He continues to give me to share His word and grow closer to Him. Through this blog and HKC, He has given me the world. (Thus I added in the Earth yet again.)
Thank you for following me on this journey and being part of my Family of God.