"Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day's out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ's law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived."
Galatians 6:1-3 MSG
Community meetings are one of my favorite times each week. It’s the one time each week when everybody is in the room. In my head I hear the lyrics, “ready or not here I come, you can’t hide”.
Often I prepare a message that never gets taught. Why? Because community meetings are for just that, the community. I leave space to hear from our people, listen to their concerns and critique. Once upon a time this sort of meeting killed me. It was the realization that not everyone thought I was awesome. It’s the slap of reality like answering “how are you REALLY doing?”
This week was no different. Ironically, it was a similar conversation that I have in many different spheres of my life. The “whose brokenness” is worse and therefore judge-able. You know like divorce, affairs, abortions etc. or on 26th and Capitol rapists, murderers and pimps. We all have a rap sheet. A list of things we have done and either been held accountable for or got away with. At Hope Street we call that brokenness.
We are quick to sit in judgement on those who are currently caught in sin. So much so that we actually wind up sinning by contributing to the mess by spreading rumors, jumping to conclusions and refusing to lovingly restore our family member. At the end of the conversation Sunday I asked everyone in the room to remember what brought them to Hope Street. I asked that we all remember the grace that was extended and the hope for a better tomorrow because of Jesus.
Father, may we not be badly deceived. May we allow you to be the ultimate judge? Lord, brokenness keeps us from you and that is a terrible thing. May we lovingly restore our brothers and sisters to you. May we not look at the rap sheet and allow it to define ourselves or those we come in contact with. When you see us, you see your son who died on our behalf. May we see one another through grace filled eyes. Amen - Ash