By: Carol McClain @carol_mcclain
A young friend was expecting her first baby. Family prepared a baby shower on a Sunday afternoon and, of course, all those she loved were invited. This included her church family from the small congregation she attended.
The shower began, but no one from said church arrived. Someone explained they might not be able to make it because they were holding a meeting.
A woman from the congregation had left her husband, and was going to marry her former boyfriend. On this Sunday afternoon, this church met to disfellowship her. Blacklisting a former member of their body proved more important than the celebration of life for a vibrant, dedicated believer.
Sadly, this was not the first time I'd seen the church do this--once, they "excommunicated" a man who spoke out against what he saw as wrong with the body. He was no longer a member, having left several months prior. His wife still attended faithfully. (I couldn't figure out how she, as a member, could have no fellowship with the husband she lived with).
At least one other time, this church blacklisted a former member.
This body of believers loved to brag about how it was on the "cutting edge" of God's will. In order to keep this status it would:
- fast regularly
- expect perfect attendance of all members to all functions
- expect members to adhere to every facet of its beliefs
- strive for excellence in all things
On the surface, these are good things. However, God only expects on thing--love.
- First, to love Him. After all, He created us because He wanted us. He loved us.
- Next, we are to love others.
Humans are sinful. They hurt us and betray their Creator.
However, God restored us through love and His bloody, torturous sacrifice of becoming human and dying on the cross. Only through love can we restore the people in our lives.