Senior Pastor Duane Mabee's weekly Pastor's Pondering can be read here, as seen in the printed church bulletin weekly.
Showing the Love of Christ to Each Otherby Duane Mabee on March 5, 2020
At North River, we’ve committed to showing the love of Christ to our community, but also among ourselves. It could be that we should reverse the order of those commitments. It won’t do any good to show the love of Christ to our community if they come to our church and don’t find us loving each other very well. That would only serve to inoculate them against the gospel and Christianity.
When we describe what we mean by showing the love of Christ to each other, we say that we will show the love of Christ “intentionally to those within the body of North River by the way we treat and respect each other, and by consistently practicing the ‘one another’ commands of the New Testament”. Every word of that statement is important. Let’s look at a couple of them.
We will “intentionally” show the love of Christ to those within the body of North River. We know it won’t just happen. So, our commitment is that we will put both focus and effort to make it happen. We will not assume that because we frequent the same place, love will be the automatic result. “Intentionally” also indicates that we will do it even when it is hard. Rich, vibrant community cannot exist without some conflict. We all have different outlooks, passions, ministries, and values. Those differences move us forward, but they also cause tension. We are committed to overcome those tensions and we are committed to showing each other Christ’s love – and our love – in the midst of those tensions.
We will show each other love by the way we “treat and respect” each other. Our love will not be a surface thing that is little more than social politeness. We are saying that we will develop real love that changes how we treat one another and that flows out of a sincere respect for each other. It is the respect we have for each other – even when we disagree – that will cause us to constantly treat each other well. That respect must flow out of our active obedience to Scripture’s command to think of others as more significant than ourselves and paying attention to their interests as much as we do our own, (Phil. 2:3-4).
The Bible doesn’t leave us to guess how we are to show love to each other. It gives us many instructions. Those instructions are frequently marked out by the word “one another” and “each other”. Our commitment is that we will study the Scriptures to see how Christ wants us to interact with each other and we will act on what we discover. We will allow the Word of God to shape our actions and our attitudes toward each other.
Church, showing the love of Christ begins with showing it to each other. His presence in our lives should radically change our relationships, starting with those who are closest to us.