Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Body of Christ

Earlier this month my daughter, Carissa, became very sick. We eventually figured out that she had a kidney infection and that was the cause of her pain and high fevers. It was a scary couple days as we went to the Dr. and eventually to the ER when she spiked 105.4 F! As we were in the ER we had our small group praying. Soon, there was a group of folks at church aware of what was going on and the body of Christ went into action. There was spiritual action in the form of prayer and supplication to God. There was emotional support - friends asking if we were okay. There was the practical support - in the form of asking how the kids needed help, whether we'd eaten dinner (which we hadn't so dinner was brought to us in the ER!) and there was FRIENDSHIP offered and followed through with action. We had friends stop by the ER to see how we were and to let us know that they were "there". We felt rallied around in that moment in a very tangible way.

We saw the body of Christ work in a very real and tangible way that week. It was such a beautiful thing. I was so encouraged by our church family and felt apart of something so much bigger than I had felt before. People cared about my daughter. People cared about my family. People cared about ME. What a blessed thing.

It hasn't always felt that way though. There have been seasons in our life and marriage where sometimes we've felt alone. We've gone through the motions of attending church and functions and we have silently been hurting. Perhaps we've never been brave enough to show the truth of hearts - or perhaps others haven't taken the time to see it, acknowledge it and then follow through. Regardless - the body of Christ wasn't able to function as it was meant to b/c we allowed fear, insecurities, pride, or lies to get in the way.

When will we as a church and as the family of God - remove the mask and let people see us as we really are? Once the insecurities and lies are brought into the light and we share our "deep dark secrets" we usually see that others have so many of their own. When will we stop feeling the judgement of others before we ever give them a chance to show mercy?

Don't we usually appreciate the candor and honesty when others share with us their pain and angst? We don't leave an encounter with a sister in Christ and scoff and her weakness, blame her for the pain she's in, or tell her that if she just had more faith she'd be a better woman, wife, mother, friend, employee, or daughter of Christ. And yet, don't we silently tell ourselves those very words when we are in the place of darkness? Don't we say to ourselves, "If I was more submissive to my husband", or "If I didn't yell at my kids and speak harshly to them", or "If I'd called that friend this week I could have.....", or "I don't deserve the mercy of my boss because I wasn't on 100% this week....", or "I'm worth nothing." Lies, lies, lies, lies.

God is the source of our strength. Without him, we are weak. We are shells of bodies, walking the earth for OURSELVES. When we have him and we call on his name, he fills us, bouy's our spirits and enables us to do things so far beyond our human capacities. He enables us to take another step, forgive, confront, obey, place boundaries, speak, be silent, move, stand still, WAIT, listen and in the process give him all the glory. In our weakness He makes us strong - not so that we can show the world OUR strength but so that we can SHOW his STRENGTH in such obvious ways. There will be no doubt that He is at work in me. And may my pride be in you and not in myself. EVER.

I'm finding that what we WANT out of the body of Christ - we have to be first in GIVING to the body of Christ. If we want accountability, if we want friendship, if we want compassion, if we want mercy, if we want forgiveness..... all those things are products of giving. We can't take accountability with out vulnerability. Friendship isn't true friendship if it's not 2 sided. Compassion when taken but not given isn't fair to the giver. Mercy when not given and only taken is undeserved and when we don't forgive others God has no reason to forgive us. In fact he says in the word of God that if can't and don't forgive our brother that he can't forgive us either.

Father, give me boldness to be real. Boldness to be vulnerable. I ask that you help erase the fears of insecurity, worrying what others will think of me, fear of rejection, and that you will give me words and a heart that conveys the power of you in my life. That I would be a giver of accountability, friendship, compassion, mercy, and forgiveness. May I be a limb in the body of Christ - hands that give life - and don't destroy, a mouth that encourages and doesn't condemn, and a heart that beats in time with Yours.