“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.” 1Cr 13: 1-8.
I was meditating on these verses today and thinking about what Paul wrote: Love, the more excellent way. What is a Christian without love? Nothing. We can talk all the “Christianise”, play “Churchianity” and go to church all we want, but if we fail to love our neighbor, we do not have love. Have you ever tried to replace the word love in the above verses with your name? Try it and see how it fits. Replace the word love with Jesus and it just flows.
There are many people in the church and outside who are hurting for various reasons. If we fail to see them and encourage them, we have no love. Sometimes I ask people, “How are you doing?” Many times the response is “I’m fine. Thank you.” Then I ask, “How do you really feel?” The answer is quite different sometimes. In reality, many are suffering or going through trials in their lives. They are either afraid to say something or ashamed about the things that they are facing and going through. They need someone who reaches out to them and the church would be a good place to start.
Unfortunately, some people come to church and just want to blend in and enjoy some of the worship and the message and go home almost unseen. Church is supposed to be a fellowship of believers that comes together, loves each other and encourages one another. All of us have gone through trials in our walk with the Lord at one point or another. Those who have gone through similar trials should encourage and pray with those currently enduring them. You see, it is very easy to put on a mask and play the Christian in church, everything is fine, I am blessed, thank you. It is easy to live in a Christian bubble.
We can either play church or be the Church and do what Jesus asks us to do. Love one another. We need to be honest with one another and, if we see someone who is hurting inside (they are not that easy to overlook), we need to engage with that person rather than just walk by the person. Maybe that person is just looking for one person to stop and talk to them and encourage them.
We have all been there, we have had our ups and downs in our walk with the Lord. I think that the people in need look at other believers as more spiritual. They think the Pastors have everything figured out. On the contrary, Pastors, just as other believers, go through trials in their lives. We are all just finite human beings with hurts and pains, with good times and bad times.
So, the next time you’re at church, look around and see if someone maybe just needs some encouragement. Talk to some people you think you know from church and ask them if there is anything for which you can pray. Iron sharpens iron. We do outreaches to save the lost, we feed the hungry, but I believe we fail to reach out to those in our own church who need our encouragement and spiritual support. Without love, we, the Church, are nothing.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34, 35.