07 Feb Connecting: An Exercise in Grace and Forgiveness
Originally posted on June 23, 2004
Whenever I counsel engaged couples, I tell them that when they get disappointed with their spouse, they are then ready to love. The same is true in church.
When you make an attempt to connect with people in church, or anywhere, you will experience some level of disappointment. The reason for this is that no one is perfect. You are likely to encounter three kinds of people in any church. And you are likely to be one of these three kinds of people at some time.
Some people are rushed. They come into church after a fast-paced week and a faster paced weekend, and they don’t slow down until the offering basket is passed after the sermon. Then during the final song, the adrenaline kicks back in and they go back into overdrive for the week ahead. Yes, they should slow down to talk to you, but this is an opportunity for you to extend grace and pray for the state of their soul.
Some people are run down. Loneliness, depression, lack of finances, struggles with sin, irritable kids, an uncaring spouse; the list of drainers on our lives is unending. People come to church spiritually, emotionally, and physically run down. More than others, these people need grace extended to them. They need your healing words and reach in their direction.
Some people are just rude. I know you can’t believe it, but it’s true. Some Christians can be rude. We get judgmental, critical, cold, and insensitive. Connecting with these people is impossible without forgiveness. But with the grace of God active in you, and His love shed abroad in your heart, you can forgive people who are rude to you. You can move in their direction. And hopefully your love will melt their heart as God’s love has melted your heart and you will connect.
Relating to rushed, run down, and rude people is an exercise in grace and forgiveness- two things necessary to connect in real Christian fellowship.