This morning (Saturday March 31) began great!Â I was able to sleep all night and past 7am!Â While still in bed my two wonderful oldest children came and climbed in bed with me.Â It was one of those special moments that all parents look forward to experiencing.Â Then it happened…….!
Satan entered the room!Â One child spoke to the other, “You’re mean!”Â the other responded, “Why don’t you shut your mouth!”.Â I turned to gently speak to them (yeah, right!) and before I could say anything, my wife from the next room spoke, “Before they are able to play with their friends in the neighborhood, they must first treat one another with love and respect!”Â You go girl!Â That was great advice!
I then got up to began cooking breakfast for our family and the new neighbors next door.Â YES, I said ‘I’ began to cook!Â While I was cooking I began to think about what my wife said regarding our children’s behavior toward each other.Â She stated, “Before you can play with your friends in the neighborhood you must first treat one another with love and respect.”Â I could not help but think of what Jesus said to His disciples:
John 13:34-35 (NIV)
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
As this revelation unfolded in my mind, I immediately called my 9 year old son and my 5 year old daughter to my side and I began to explain that God has called us to live a “missional” example to the people in this neighborhood and we must love each other as an example of Jesus’ sacrificial love toward everyone in the neighborhood.Â My 5 year old responded, “Are the pancakes ready yet?”Â I don’t think she got it.
But I did!Â Often the church loses its voice to those outside the church simply because it hasn’t learned to exhibit and demonstrate God’s love within the confines of the CHURCH, much less outside the church.Â The people outside the church (the unchurched, dechurched, non-Christian, pre-Christian) simply can’t buy into a message that the messengers themselves do not live by within their own family.Â
My wife and I (and hopefully our children) see our 105 home neighborhood as our personal mission field.Â We probably won’t be successful in sharing the love of Christ with our neighbors if we are at each other’s throats all the time.Â (Hopefully when we have ‘intense fellowship’, we can do so in a manner that it will not be on display for the neighborhood to see.)Â DON’T YOU SEE IT?Â If we can show an “unusual” love for one another, people will take notice.Â As they take notice of our “unusual” love and care for one another, then they will not only take notice, but listen to THAT which has provided for our “unusual” love and care for one another.
That is the way it should work with the BODY OF CHRIST, the Church.Â As we show and demonstrate unity and “unusual” care and love for one another it will make our MESSAGE BELIEVABLE.
May we show and demonstrate an “unusual” love and care for one another in such a way that people will LISTEN to what we have to say about Jesus’ “unusual” love and care for them!