Philippians 2:1-5 (HCSB)
1 If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal. 3 Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. 4 Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus…
I received a call from a fellow Pastor while I browsed the aisles of a local Good Will Store. “David, they’ve fired me.” Over the next 2 hours, and many months afterwards, I helped this dear friend put his life back in perspective. I prayed for him, sent resume’s to local Churches, and lifted him up when I could. Could I have done more? Certainly. We all get busy, and we all get covered up with the affairs of life. But in my heart I tried my best to lovingly encourage him every time we spoke. I listened. I didn’t critique, but cared, and became the willing ear. Eventually the Lord led him from this valley and back to another congregation, a place of service, a place of blessing.
Then I had a need, was going through a valley, was suffering. As I tried to share with my friend he began to critique and not listen. He judged, he did not care. I could have done better. If I had done right, then I wouldn’t be where I am now.
What happened? Why do we forget mercy? Why do we receive grace from God and mercy from others, but so quickly forget to minister these things when we are on the mountaintop? And sadly, those who profess to be Christians are the worst at showing mercy. For some reason – I know not why – the most devoted Church members are the harshest in their treatment of others failures, but ready to receive mercy by the bucket when they themselves fail. They wish balm from Gilead when they err, but hell fire and mockery on those who err beside them.
I heard someone relate this as true. A biker, a young man who rode with the Hell’s Angels came to Church one Sunday and received the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. He attended Church off and on for a few weeks, then left never to return. When a fellow Church member saw him one day he stopped him and asked why he had ceased attending Church. The biker said “When I heard about Jesus I came forward and received Him, and was excited to be a part of such a wonderful group of people. But in time I noticed something. When I rode with Hell’s Angels we supported one another. We looked after one another. We cared for one another, and worked together at whatever we did. I expected the Church to be like this, but for the glory of Christ. It wasn’t. It wasn’t. Though I believe in Jesus, I can’t believe in any group that doesn’t love at least as much as a lost biker’s gang loves”.