this might suck

This week we’re looking at what holds us back. Why we don’t live the life of compassion that Jesus has called used to.

There will be themes that you will hear over and over and over and it may be super repetitive, but it’s important and I’m writing so I get to choose. Most of these probably won’t be new to you if you’ve been following along with past posts.

Over the past number of months I have begun to grasp to the idea that our actions are our beliefs. That what we do says more about what we believe than what we say. That all the right words and thoughts in our mind only matter when we action them out, when we live them out.

That is over used theme number 1, action. Love is not felt but acted, compassion is not thought but done, grace not wished but given.

Think about it like this. If I tell my wife everyday that I love her deeply but my actions continue to show something different which would she believe? At some point she’s going to stop trusting my statements of love and look for me to actually LOVE her. She would look for me to be patient and kind. To not be jealous or boastful or proud or rude. To stop demanding my own way. She would watch for me to not be irritable, and to stop keeping record of being wronged. She would want me to stop giving up on her, to never loses faith in who she is and what she can accomplish. She would want me to be always hopeful, and to not let the circumstance dictate the way I act towards her.

It’s those actions that will bring meaning to my words of love.

So moving forward with the idea that actions are belief, to know what we believe requires over used theme number two, self reflection.

Reflection, action, reflection, action, etc.

So let us reflect.

Who are you? Or better put, what do you think you believe? What did you come up with on Friday when you thought about where you were at and what you believe?

What do you tell yourself you believe?

You’re a good Christian, you love your neighbour, you care about the poor, your family matters most etc.

Ok, now look at your actions.

Seriously, step back and take an inventory. Pull your calendar and actually look, I got nothing but time.

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That was quick.

Now pull up you bank statement.

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It’s a process, just trust me. Go look.

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What do you actually believe?

Where has all your time actually gone? Where has all your money gone?

Do you believe that work matters more than family?

Do you believe that your new TV matters more than the work of the church?

Do you believe that sports/reading/Pintrest/Facebook are more important than your spouse?

I’m not asking do you THINK these things I’m asking do you believe (your actions dictate your beliefs) these things.

Self reflection sucks.

It sucks a LOT!

But we have to be honest. We can’t move forward if we don’t even know where we are or what direction we’re facing.

I’ve done this a lot.

It sucks.

It sucked the time I sat at home and realized that despite all the years I said it, I didn’t care about my community or neighbours.

It was brutal the time I sat at home and learned that I can place TV before my son.

Self reflection requires us to look at our brokenness, our deficiencies, the places we are weak. But it’s our mind set that all that matters are our thoughts that holds us back. Our understanding that belief is in the mind. That thought that we can love our neighbours without getting into their lives, without their messiness becoming our messiness.

But since we are in control of our actions, we can change our beliefs.

I can see that I have placed TV before Nolan and decide that I will never do it again. And then never do it again. Telling myself I’ll never do it again doesn’t matter to Nolan. Me never doing it again matters. Me spending time with him with my undivided attention matters to him.

Do we slip back, sure.

Do we choose not to love, of course. But sometimes, and hopefully a growing number of times, we can choose to share God with someone. We show them love they’ve never known.

We commit to and set out plans, lots to come on ways to do this, to love people. Love our co-workers, neighbours, the waiter are your favourite coffee shop.

Look back and be honest. Be honest about where you’re at.

Then spend some time thinking ‘what do I WANT to believe’ ‘what does GOD want me to believe’?

You want to believe that the poor matter and we should love them?

FANTASTIC!

Now we have a direction and action/belief to work towards. We can start to find, define, purpose ourselves to actions that show the belief that the poor matter and that you do love them.

But let’s not run ahead of ourselves.

For today find where you are and give some thought to where you wish you were, where God wished you were. Like I said at the start, action is a theme that you won’t be able to miss.

This time don’t miss the call to look at ourselves.

home church in action

This should be easy right? The church, for all its flaws, cares about those in its community really well, right? We love and share and comfort really well, right?

Well I think we can all agree that our call to love each other in the church is clear. We know it. I doubt anyone is surprised by the statement ‘you should love and care for the people in your home church’.

Moreover if asked I suspect we all think we do.

But be honest, it’s not always there is it? You’ve gone home and said ‘wow, I really thought they would care more about me losing my job/ family member passing/ tough week at work/ frustrating child’.

There is nothing wrong with those feelings. I bring it up to say that despite our best intentions we fail some times. We don’t love those in our community that we see in need the way we maybe should.

Sometimes we just don’t get it.

I found one of the greatest supports to me when I lost my job a few years ago were other people who had lost their job. They got how embarrassing it was. They understood how emotionally difficult it was to send out resume after resume and hear nothing back, essentially being reject 10, 15, 20 times a day. No one wanted me and only people who had been though it saw that pain right away.

So yes, we will miss, we won’t understand and we won’t love maybe the way we should. It happens even though it shouldn’t. I don’t want to focus on that this time though. I just wanted to say to those who feel it, I understand. But all we can control is what we do. All we can do is be the ones to start the love.

This story isn’t about the times we didn’t know better, understand the situation or act the way we should. This is a fantastic story of love.

Like I said I’m going to share stories I hear from different places about how amazing our community is. This is one.

A home church was sitting chatting near the end of a meeting. It was an unexpectedly small group of people that evening. The conversation drifted here and there. How do we love others, what does it look like, etc.

Then someone said ‘look it’s all fine and well, but we have lots of need here, in this group. I was talking last week with one of our members and she mentioned how they wouldn’t be having much of a Christmas this year. Moneys to tight and the kids may not get anything.’

And in that moment the group understood. Weather they knew it or not they chose to live the life of compassion. The conversation quickly turned to, well then what do WE do. Not some conversation about the theology of God providing or praying for someone to come and help. What do WE, her community, do?

‘We have some gift cards’ one family said.

‘I could run to the bank and get some money’ said another.

And that was it. They gave it all to one of the ladies present to pass along.

Love in action.

That’s a life of compassion. That’s how we love in community. A need was seen and a need was met.

How do we live a life of compassion in home church? Honest real interactions, bearing our joys and difficulties and as a family coming around our members to love them. Not talking about it but doing it.

Actions of love.

That’s how a life of compassion works in home church. Like all other spaces, in action.