Let us Love One another.
Good afternoon church!
I hope that you are doing well this beautiful afternoon. I wanted to send you an email to talk about something on my heart as your pastor. The church is in a position that no one would have ever imagined. The local church faces unique challenges that we’ve not encountered this generation. As a pastor, I am seeing things happen amongst people in my congregation that are being exacerbated by the current political and pandemic climate.
People have drawn lines in the sand. I mean by this, I am seeing people that have bought into a political narrative and have drawn their lines. They are totally convinced that the other side of the political aisle is wrong, and will not find common ground in any area. For example, some feel like they must wear masks, others who will not. Some want to continue to follow the guidelines, and others who want to disregard them go back to normal. Some who are cautious, others who are not. Usually, this would not be so troublesome, but today it is not so. People are at one another over these issues. In the church, we get emails from people on both sides that are upset with anything that we decide to do. For that reason, I wanted to give you some thoughts on both sides. I want to challenge you, stop drawing lines in the sand, that is not your calling.
Revelation 2:4 “4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” Your first Love is not a political stance, your first Love is Christ. Because of this, there are implications from scripture that both sides must take into account.
Mark 12:31 “31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.””
Philippians 2:4-5 “4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,”
Friends, we must first understand that we are to love our neighbors, love those who disagree with you. On the subject of the mask, on the drive-in church, on CDC guidelines, etc. As believers, it is our responsibility to do the things that show Love for neighbor. I’ll be honest, I don’t like the mask thing, but I do love my neighbors. As a believer, I must begin to take this responsibility seriously. It is not ok to make a political stand over a biblical one. Before you start sending me articles about masks, re-read Philippians 2. It is not about you; it’s about looking to others.
Hebrews 10:23-25 “23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to Love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Romans 1:16 “16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
Acts 2:42-47 “And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day, those who were being saved.”
From some, I’ve heard that they are ok with staying with “online” church. They have neglected to reach out to others, they’ve neglected the fellowship, they’ve stopped showing Love to their fellow brothers and sisters. This is wrong. We are not to seek an online platform for fellowship, that is not the biblical way of gathering. We are called to be a body of Christ, serving one another, caring for one another, fellowshipping. I know that we are in a weird situation as a church, but I’ve felt that many have neglected their obligation to one another under the excuse of the pandemic. This is not what God has called us to do. I would have expected to have heard from so many how they reached out to one another, loved one another, and encouraged one another, but that was not the case. We have to do better.
I write these things, not just for you but for myself. If we are to be the church that God has called us to be, we have to return to our first Love, put one another before ourselves, and stop drawing political lines. Love the Lord, Love your neighbor. This is our calling, so before you get angry at someone, pray for them, before you get frustrated about decisions, pray for your pastor, before you dismiss someone, call them and pray with them. Let’s do better.