"A family is a lot like a pond. If something happens to one of us, it's like dropping a stone in that pond. It makes ripples. And no matter what you did or didn't mean to do, those ripples extend outward and touch other people." -Annie Camden, 7th Heaven
"The inherent connection between all human beings guarantees that someone
will get hurt. Because we are, whether we like it or not, one family.
The human family. And what happens to one of us, one way or another,
happens to us all." -Eric Camden, 7th Heaven
A church family is so interesting, it is very dynamic. Sometimes those dynamics allow the church to grow and touch many people in a positive way. However sometimes we let those differences get in the way of our mission on Earth. And when that happens we still touch many people, but in a negative way. With this understanding we experience a phrase that we are probably all familiar with: actions have consequences.
We often give the word consequence a negative connotation, but really its a neutral term. It can be positive or negative. Our actions have consequences positive and negative; seen and unseen. They don't just affect ourselves, the affect those around us. They affect everyone we are connected to in one way or another.
The culture around us is constantly casting stones into the pond of our national church family. These stones create ripples. How we react to these ripples is more important than the cause of the ripple. Actions speak louder than words. The way we react to the ripples within our church culture reflect our true beliefs. Very often these are not the beliefs we want to be associated with. This is how we become known as hypocrites, homophobics, and bigots.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
This sounds easy, but is actually an incredibly hard command. I struggle with this everyday that I am at work. I come across so many people that I can't find any reason to love, but loving your neighbor is more than liking them; it's taking care of them when they are in need, praying for them, and treating them as if they were Jesus.
Many people do not treat fast food workers well. Based on my experience Christians do this more than atheists. Its hard to love Christians from this perspective. Our actions have consequences. All the time. Not just when we are out serving God. ALWAYS.
This command is more than just loving each other, its loving each other as Christ has loved us. A love that is hard to completely understand. Its a love that is unconditional, never ending, always forgiving. Motivated by nothing other than our inherent connection to each other through humanity.
"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." The Christian legacy is dependent on how we, as Christians, treat each other. The ripples that we react to and the ripples that we cause. Christians had a great legacy in the first few centuries after Christ's death. As times changed and the truth's of Christ were masked by the sins of man the message of Christ got muddled, and as the message got muddled, so did the actions of Christians and it became a cycle. Like ripples in a pond.
Christians do great things everyday through service, yet the Christian legacy today is not so great. Why is that? Serving is only part of our lives. Too often when we stop serving we think people stop looking, but that isn't true. Every aspect of our lives must reflect Jesus. Its never too late to change our legacy. Like a ripple in a pond.