Recently, I sat in a room of firemen, policemen, paramedics, etc. I listened to the conversation about a scenario that maybe did not go so well. Then I heard a very profound thing… it was this, “maybe everything did not go as planned, but still if my spouse had an emergency I would hope that it would be our team that would respond. I say this because I know you are the very best and would offer them your very best care”. They were saying I know the team I am on, would be willing to lay it on the line for me and my people. They would stand up for me; in the battle. The jist was, if they were in trouble, in need, they knew that their team would go into that burning building after them, their team would do all they could to protect them if they were being shot at, their team would do all they could to offer them all in their first aid kit even it were outside their jurisdiction in order to sustain their life. Their team would do this for them and theirs, even with the potential of the team getting hurt (even if it was “them & theirs” own fault they were in that place).
I love that, but it concerns me when I consider both corporate church and us as individuals, who are the church. It concerns me, because should that not be how people feel about the church. But that is not every church and or person who represents the church. In fact people have left church, because in their time of need, for “them and theirs”, the church was absent. Or they may have found that the church was there for them as long as they did not bleed or worse bleed on them. Having experienced this at the hands of others, I ask myself; am I one, who others would want on their team, if their spouse, family or even themselves were to have an emergency, be in need or fall to sin (and probably the answer is often no). But should I not be striving for that. It is messy and it is not just the initial call, because each call is more than a casual pious one time reach.
, when the rubber is not really meeting the road. It is my being there for those who don’t stroke me or make me feel good, and being there for them in spite of what others think of me. It is walking with them in it, standing with them thru it, supporting them, listening, caring, and responding to them, and realizing I am not the expert and I am not perfect and rather than defending what I am not doing, being humble enough to engage in their lives, as does Jesus, with whatever I can offer. Am I, willing to respond with spiritual first aid, and I say first aid, because I am not the Messiah – the Ultimate Physician, but under Him, just doing what I can, to get them to Him. Or do I not engage with others to protect myself, my reputation, my getting bloody or hurt because I may be associated with them. One of my favorite songs right now is by Rachel Platten entitled “Stand by You”, the lyrics are as follows;
It is my being willing to touch humanity, with more than words, and my going beyond being the Facebook encourager…
“Hands, put your empty hands in mine,
and scars, show me all the scars you hide,
And hey, if your wings are broken,
Please take mine so yours can open, too
‘Cause I'm gonna stand by you
Oh, tears make kaleidoscopes in your eyes,
And hurt, I know you're hurting, but so am I
And, love, if your wings are broken,
Borrow mine 'til yours can open, too
Cause I'm gonna stand by you
Even if we're breaking down,
we can find a way to break through
Even if we can't find heaven,
I'll walk through Hell with you
Love, you're not alone, 'cause I'm gonna stand by you
The apostle Paul said the same, but he had correct theology in Romans 9:3 when he says, “for I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people” He is saying I am willing to go to and through hell for others, if it means others will experience Heaven.