We stood at the edge of a soccer field yesterday, cheering, crazy banshees as our children chased the ball up and down. And it was inevitable, being who we all are, that we got into a meaty conversation, us screeching Moms and one eavesdropping Dad as they played.
I got home, my head full and sifted through all the words tossed into the middle; a word ball rolled amongst us as we kicked the issues around.
We went through the whole gamut of topics related to church, community, sin, sickness, bad leaders and other ones too and mostly the books and movies that we're consuming and we threw our thoughts into the arena.
We talked about cancer versus alcoholism and how one is a sickness and one is a sin. And sometimes the line blurs because if you inherited it (either one) it can sure feel like a sickness, but if you indulge the other it becomes a sin, because God said don't do it. For our good and His glory, in His love, He told us not to sin.
We stood on the rim of homosexuality and looked in and we talked about what it means to judge another. And Jesus said we shouldn't do it because it would come right back on us but that we should lovingly correct a brother or sister who is sinning.
We talked a lot about books and the Book. We all agreed that we should sparingly read the ones and pay all our attention to the Word of God where all the Truth is tucked in for us to find.
I used to stand in judgement, a lot, my great finger pointing out from my white washed tomb. I could spout scripture and turn a sinner away from me, and probably God very effectively.
But life took some turns and I got intimate with Him who gave me breath and found an unexpected gentleness. I found the One who leads me beside still waters and makes me lie down in green pastures (Ps 23). I met the one who lead Ruth out of Moab with her mother in law and inserted her straight into the lineage of Jesus.
Ruth who came from the Moabites, descended from the spawn of Lot and his daughters (yes, I mean incest). Ruth who married the son of Naomi and Elimilech. They who in fear for their lives disobeyed God and fled to Moab. Yet, she followed her mother in law back to Israel, pledging to stay with her forever, and ran straight into the redeemer. She was married to Boaz and their child was the grandfather of King David, ancestor of Messiah.
Jesus (who showed us the Father) is our Redeemer. He paid the whole price on the cross and has given His Word, all of creation, each other, the community of believers and marriage to reveal Himself to us. Ours is to choose Him, or not.
We are so many parts in this body we are joined to. Some are meant to bring a strong word and others helpful service and yet another teaching. All parts must be connected to the Head who is Christ and every outflow of us must be in love. Sometimes love is a rebuke, but it's still done in gentleness or the Spirit who is behind it is misrepresented.
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love" (Eph 4:2).
"Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching" (2 Tim 4:2).
"Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness" (Gal. 6:1).