Posts Tagged ‘neighbour’

This past week, I have been forcibly reminded of the fact that in this world, people get hurt.  People disappoint other people.  People speak out of their own wounded places and either deliberately or inadvertently inflict further pain on others.  This seems to happen even in places we might least expect – even, dare I say it, amongst Christian people, amongst people in the church who should, one would think, be able to do better.

Just yesterday I received an anguished email from a friend who had tried her best to be hospitable, to invite those from within her circle of ‘church friends’ and those from without into her home.  Yet from her perspective, it was a dismal failure.  One friend from ‘without’ went home apparently the worse for the experience, left out of the conversation for a large part of the afternoon and in fact, totally alienated by it.  Others present had not been sensitive to where she might be coming from and – even worse – had not seemed to care.  Instead, they were too focussed on their own issues, achievements and needs, too keen to steal the limelight, to be heard and appreciated.

Well, the church is essentially people, after all – a bunch of sinners saved by grace.  Jesus loved us enough to die in our place, to rescue us and bring us back into relationship with God.  I – and probably you – will never be completely ‘perfect’, in this life at least.  We are all ‘a work in progress’.  But is it too much to expect that we might ‘progress’ a little more thoughtfully and graciously, treating our neighbour with love and respect, putting others’ needs before our own?  One of my favourite chapters of the bible is Philippians 2, where we read in verses 3 and 4:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Maybe if we all took these words to heart a little more, we would fare better.  Maybe fewer people would get hurt and, in particular, be alienated from the church and perhaps from God.  Maybe my friend would not have to write any more anguished emails to me.  Maybe God’s heart would not be so grieved at the way we treat one another.  Is that too much to hope for?

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