I love my church. Why? It’s a good example of the church being the Church. How? During the worship service yesterday morning, my church reached out and loved just as Christ would have done–no judgment, no fear, no hesitancy.
It all started when a drunk/high young man, clearly dressed in day-before clothing, came through the front door of the church. He obviously heard the energetic worship music flowing through the open doors and windows and I’m sure his ache deep within drew him in. The children were dancing, as they always do. He joined right in.
There were a few stares at first from some, who probably were doing the same thing I was–assessing this young man’s condition. His eyes were red, his teeth were rotting, and he smelled strongly of alcohol.
What would you have done? Well, my church gave him hugs and shook his hand. I didn’t see a single person shun him. He did speak out several times but never interrupted the service. What was he saying? I couldn’t understand it all; but I could make out the times he cried out the name of Jesus.
The most amazing person was the pastor. At the beginning of the message given by another member of the church, the pastor walked the young man across the street to a pulperia (convenience store) and bought the young man a sandwich, apple, and something to drink. I’m not sure what the pastor said, but afterward the young man sat in the back and ate his food. He appeared to be sobering some.
I don’t know and probably won’t know the impact, if any, of my church’s actions toward this young man. That’s not what matters. What matters is our obedience to the Word of God. The passage in Matthew 25:35-40 comes to mind:
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
It is hard and difficult, and I often wonder how some people reach certain points/places in their lives. Sometimes it is of our own choice, others involve circumstances beyond our control. Why would a loving God allow anyone to go through such hurt, pain, loss, etc.? Only He knows. Our job is to do what He called us to–to love one another. Who do you know that needs a little more love? Are you willing to love on those you don’t even know?
I wanted to share this video again of Costa Ricans and others loving on some of the seemingly unlovely. I’m sure glad God sees past all that, and sees the heart, no matter how good or bad, and loves us in spite of it.