Oh, my blog, how I've neglected you! Is anyone even still checking here? As much as I like to write, lately it seems to take me more time than I care to admit to put a coherent thought together much beyond...well...a Facebook status change. Which is a shame because there's been so much that I wish I'd blogged about. We're in the new house at long last and loving it; God has blessed us with a church home; we're near family and friends that I've not had the enjoyment of living near in way too many years; and God has given these temporarily idle hands a few things to do to keep them out of trouble and hopefully get some Kingdom use out of.
What's compelled me here today, however, is the idea of "active" compassion and the need we all have to feel we matter to others...to know that somebody cares. And more than that, the question of who should or will take on the task of letting them know? Is it a responsibility of the church or the individual Christian or is it something that should be left naturally to chance or circumstance?
Over the last several months, I've found myself in conversations with people with a similar story and genuine hurt. When "stuff" happened to these folks causing them to be MIA from church for a time, very few - if any - from their respective churches called, visited or showed any signs that they were even aware the individual was missing or missed. These MIA's weren't hit-or-miss attendees either. I'm talking about active, serving, there-whenever-the-doors-are-open, members of their churches. This seeming lack of concern left them bewildered and really hurt.
One person shared that they left the church they'd been part of for years over this issue. Another, currently bleeding from this recent wound, is seriously contemplating leaving their church after years of faithful service.
This doesn't just affect the MIA's either. Yet another conversation was with someone who very much wants to have some Christian friends to hang with. This person's been making efforts to build relationships in their new church but to date has no one reciprocating. There's the hope that this will change but if it doesn't, they're outta there and they will look for another church to hopefully meet this very real need.
People are really hurting and though folks seem busier than ever or maybe because of it, lonliness seems prevelent. My heart breaks for their hurt because I've been there. I left a church too because of it and the wound remained unhealed for years until I let the Lord bring me to a place where I could decide to forgive. Thankfully, I've also been on the other side when a simple phone call from a church friend made all the difference in the world to my hurting heart and was enough to bring me back to church the very next Sunday.
This has been increasingly on my heart but I wonder what you think - Is it just petty and those with hurt feelings of neglect need to grow up, suck it up and get over themselves as some, in essence, have been told (though probably not as bluntly)? Or are their feelings valid enough for us as Christians who are told to "weep with those who weep" and to "have compassion one for another" to show a little more active compassion. To look beyond ourselves, stop in our "busy-ness" for a moment and check to see if the person who's usually sitting next to us is actually there or not. And, if not, should we stop resting in the assumption that someone on the church's "Caring & Sharing" committee will reach out to them or instead can we purpose within ourselves to allow God to interrupt our day for a moment to take that call to compassion personally and reach out and let them know they were missed? It's such a simple thing, but that phone call, card or invitation for coffee could make a bigger difference than we realize.
May you be blessed.
The Big Boo Cast, Episode 87
2 days ago