Friday, September 28, 2012

Where the Heart Is - Exhortation to the Christian Sisterhood

Picture this scenario. I invented it to illustrate some thoughts about love and where the heart is. Though a bit silly, I hope it gives the intended color to my thought:

You are at a day event and sit down to lunch with two other ladies (assuming my readers are also ladies).
The woman to your right is a believer - a sister in Christ who is generous and kind, and the woman to your left is an unbeliever who is nice enough but does not share fellowship in Christ.
So much for the characters. It's time to eat.  Hummus-olive lettuce wraps, fermented vegetable sticks and a mason jar of kombucha are your highly sensible lunch. Eating healthy is important to you and you have been expanding your crunchy creativity in the kitchen. The dear sister to your right is eating a PB and J on white bread and gives you a friendly smile as she opens her small bag of chips. The lady to your left opens her organic salad and looking over at your lunch says, "Are those fermented carrots? How do you make them?"

Now for the question: To which of these ladies does your heart feel drawn out in a sense of unity? (Not to ask whom you end up talking to - varying good motives could lead you to spend most of your lunch conversation with either one of them, and talking to the unbeliever might be exactly what God would have you do.) With whom do you feel like a true 'bosom buddy' because you have similar identities? With whom can you most easily fellowship? The person with whom you will share eternity?  Or the person who shares your style of living? Eating habits are just one of many lifestyle choices that could define a scenario like this. Child-rearing practices among moms, clothing styles, sports teams and many other things invisibly snip and paste groups of ladies into snug, but sometimes un-Christ-like cliques. Life-style commonalities can be a great means of reaching out to others, but exalting these preferences over love for Christ as a basis for our dearest form of fellowship is dishonoring to Him. I'm sure I've done it before, and will have to repent of it again before I breathe my last. But whatever form it may take, it's not okay to love our style of life more than our Savior from death. It's falling short of the glory of God, losing the flavor of HIM in our lives.

"So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.  Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk that by it you may grow up into salvation - if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good." - 1 Peter 2:1-3, ESV

Have you tasted that the Lord is good? 

"Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul." - 1 Peter 2:11, ESV

We are strangers here. The world with its hobbies, styles, information, toys and habits is passing away and my friendships must rise above these things to a sharing in "pure spiritual milk" with those who have "tasted that the Lord is good" - even if their life style is different from mine. (You there, in the Giant's sweatshirt, feeding cheese curls to your child, I see Christ in your loving attitude and I love you!)

1 comment:

Cathy said...

I would be more likely to gravitate to the unbeliever in this scenario, with the hopes that Christ would help me use the common ground of lifestyle to lead to spiritual topics, or at least to a level of friendliness that could lead to such a discussion another day.

At the same time, I'd also try not to snub the sister on the right. If the event lasts even half an hour, there would be time to politely close the conversation with the one and start one with the other, if I couldn't find a way to connect the two somehow.

Because my PB & J friends are also my greatest confidantes and prayer warriors. :)