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An Authentic Community Will Include Difficult People

December 25, 2019

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care. 1 Peter 5:2 (NIV)

Imagine a woman who has been part of a local church all her adult life. She has many problems.

She writes “anonymous” letters to the pastor, suggesting that she be asked to sing solos on Sunday. When people at church get sick, she says to them, “Glad it’s you, not me!” She even occasionally takes money out of the offering plate when it is passed around!

Over the years, she has invited many visitors to lunch. She takes them to a nice restaurant, and when the check comes, she says, “Oh no, I’ve forgotten my handbag.” It seems the elders are always busy dealing with some problem related to this lady.

This elderly lady doesn’t have a single living relative. So if it were not for the faithful kindness of a few in her church, she would be completely isolated, without a friend in the world. No social institution would put up with her. Only the church has the grace and the patience to love and forgive, confront, and persevere. It is easy to say that we care about people. But the first test is whether we care about the difficult person inside the church.

Now picture a believer in heaven saying, “I love you, Jesus.”

Christ says to him, “If you love me, then why did you fail to care about the body of which I am the head?”

He says, “Well, you are wonderful, Jesus, but the body is sometimes very unattractive.”

“If you knew anything about me,” says Jesus, “You would learn to love what is sometimes unattractive.”

How do you respond to difficult people in the church?

The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.

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