A Loving Church
A healthy congregation is known not only for its firm biblical convictions but also for its loving attitudes. Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34). If the selfless love of Jesus is indeed practiced, how does the church conduct itself?
A Loving Church Welcomes Sinners. The Pharisees criticized Jesus for receiving sinners and eating with them (Luke 15:2). The Lord, of course, never treated sin lightly. It was sin that nailed him to the cross. But he did treat sinners with respect and genuine warmth.
A Loving Church Misses the Wayward. Jesus identified with the shepherd who left the 99 in the wilderness to search for the one lost sheep (Luke 15:4-7). When brothers or sisters wander from the fold, it’s wrong and unloving to give up on them easily.
A Loving Church Confronts the Wrongdoer. Although Jesus loved the rich ruler, he forced the young man to face his materialism (Luke 18:22). Loving confrontation enables the wrongdoer to see his mistakes and grow. A healthy congregation therefore speaks the truth in public assemblies and also private encounters.
A Loving Church Bears Burdens. At Golgotha Jesus “himself bore our sins in his body on the tree” (1 Pet. 2:24). He did for us what we could never do for ourselves. Inspired by his example, a faithful congregation walks beside anyone overwhelmed by betrayal, grief, sickness, or painful memories of abuse.
A Loving Church Encourages Involvement. Jesus observed that “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few” (Matt. 9:37). In other words, his disciples were needed. A serious mistake is made when a few diligent and dependable people do a great number of tasks while everyone else warms the bench. No church can afford to let the majority of members be idle. There’s too much work to do and so little time to do it!