Although there are certainly exceptions to this rule, many small churches enjoy a degree of love and unity among their members that larger churches long for. Mine is one such loving church.
In fact, I’ve always thought that the church God placed me in has an even greater degree of love and unity than the average loving small church. We get along despite our differences. We forgive one another. We’re genuinely friends with each other. We sometimes spend hours after our worship services just talking and sharing our lives with one another. I love how great my church is!
But should I have this attitude?
I think constantly reminding ourselves of how great we are distracts us from some even greater things. How can we grow if we already think we’re great? What will guests think when they hear how great and loving we think we are, but are then offended by something someone in the church says? Or what if they just don’t feel they’re treated as valued as they think they ought to be treated?
Maybe I’ve been focusing on the wrong things.
I need to remember that only God is good (Mark 10:18). Our “goodness” is nothing compared to His. Instead of proclaiming our church’s great love at all, we need to focus on the great love of Christ. Instead of saying, “You’ll never find a church as loving as this one,” I ought to be saying, “You’ll never find a Savior as loving as Jesus, because there is no other Savior.”
Not only that, but I think I also need to be a bit more honest. “We’re going to offend you. We’re going to sin against you. You’re going to have to have some pretty thick skin to be a part of this church, because we’re not perfect, and we’re not going to do everything right, or even the way you’d like us to. But if you’re willing to join a group of people who you’re willing to forgive when we offend you, we’ll be willing to forgive you when you offend us, too. And that’s not because we’re so great, but because we’ve been forgiven by God. We love because He first loved us.”
I’m so incredibly blessed to be among a group of people who get so many things right. But we’re not perfect, and I shouldn’t pretend that we are. But God is perfect, and we will strive to reflect His love to each other and to everyone that we meet. We won’t do this perfectly, but we pray that God’s power, and love, will be shown even in our weakness.