Before I get too far, I’m going to send you over to A Woman’s Voice where a dear friend posted one of my articles on marriage. I don’t remember when I originally wrote it. I took it down fairly quickly after Dolores sent me a request to use it on her site, but it was likely an expansion on the wonderful article Kevin Adams wrote for me on Reflections, A Christ-centered Marriage: A Priceless Original.
Hopefully all you subscribers aren’t getting bogged down with daily posts. Tomorrow, your email box will be Slattery free…I hope. (As long as the sermon doesn’t inspire another post. hahaha)
Yesterday I received an email that bothered me, for numerous reasons. It was one of those “as told to”, so there really isn’t anything I can do to address the problem, except pray, which is likely the best course of action anyway. But my dissapointment came down to two things I thought worth addressing:
1) The content in the email failed to acknowledge or understand the body of Christ.
2) It failed to protect the body of Christ.
Perhaps we are a bit too comfortable here in the US. No one’s hunting us down, ready to burn us at the stake for our faith. Our greatest persecution? Probably an email, or a negative fb post, or article. Occassionally someone may make a snide comment or two. So we really don’t need each other, right? Which means we can speak negatively of our brothers and sisters in Christ whenever we want. Oh, yeah, we’re a body. A family. But have you seen the way those believers down at Trinity United act? And what about our last prayer meeting? Only a handful of people showed. You know, I’ve been to many of our church members’ houses. Most of them have five televisions. I bet they spent the afternoon glued to the tv screen.
Yep, we’re a body of believers, united in Christ.
One thing I learned, or decided, early on in marriage: I would never, ever, put my husband down in public. Or to our daughter. Why? I protect him, which means protecting his image–defending his character, being his chearleader. You can’t be a chearleader and speak negatively about someone. It’s like talking out of both sides of your mouth.
I also do not speak negatively of our daughter. She gets concerned at times with all the “proud Momma” posts I write, and says people will think she’s an angel, which she’s not. (Well, she is in my eyes. grin) But do you really need to hear of her mistakes? That is between her and I.
Do we honor the body of Christ to the same extent, or are those just words we say on Sunday morning?
I think I am blessed that I have had to rely on the body on numerous occasions. I have been housed by fellow believers, prayed for, encouraged–loved, often by people I had never met previously. Numerous times throughout my life, through countless moves and difficulties, the body of Christ stepped up. They became my family, sealed by the blood of Christ. Which means, the same rules that apply to my nuclear family apply to them. I will defend them. I will protect their reputation and I will look for the best in them.
I will also recognize their unique position and gifting in the body. Each day I get numerous requests from fb friends and other ministries, for donations, to pray, to spread the word about their ministry. And they are all very good, very important, very Christ-centered ministries. But I cannot support them all and although I try to be diligent with my prayers, I cannot pray for them all. Nor can I go to every church function that is scheduled. Does that mean I am selfish? That I do not care about those ministries? Not at all, and likely most will never see or know many of the things our family does–which is as it should be. Which is where trust comes in–not in us, but in God, who forms the body as He wills, stirring each member to do their part.
Why do I say that? Not to defend the Slattery family, because we were not the ones under attack. My dear brothers and sisters in Christ were under attack, and because they did not participate in a ministry that one body member was very passionate about, they were judged as callus. And they were slandered.
And we are the body of Christ.
So here’s my admonition. Be very, very careful what you say about a fellow servant. Negative, judgemental comments divide the body and defame the name. It hurts more than our brothers and sisters. It hurts our witness. You cannot in one breath talk about Christ’s transforming power and in the next, slander another believer. The two statements contradict each other.
Be alert, and supportive, of our God-designed differences and do not expect God to place your passion in everyone else’s heart. Yes, your passion is important. If it weren’t, God woudln’t have given it to you. But there is a big, wide world out there with numerous people needing help. There are shelters needing food and food servers, churches needing ministers to train the food servers, sex-trafficking victims needing protectors, new believers needing disciplers, children needing caretakes, elderly needing comforters, the sick needing nurturers and healers.
Be slow to judge, as it says in Romans 14:4 “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”
Who makes him stand? Who holds the body together? Who raises up ministries and trains workers for the harvest? The Lord. So my admonition to us all is that we would spend less time judging what we think is wrong and more time working toward what is right. Every time you are tempted to dishonor another member through words or actions, flip it, and find a way to bless them instead. Then, sit back and watch how God blesses your obedience. And never forget, there is power in unity.