Today, it gives me great pleasure to bring you another dear cyber friend, whom I just met in person. I was so excited that I got to meet her and several other cyber-writer friends at the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference.
This piece in our Behave Like a Christian series is written by Linda Yezak. I urge you to hop on over to her site 777 Peppermint Place and the site where she contributes the rest of her time AuthorCulture.
Our preacher, Brother Paul, climbed the stairs to the pulpit this morning and talked about his dad. We’d heard stories of Mr. Sevar before, his humor, wit, and quips, so we geared up to laugh at another one of his antics. Bro. Paul smiled with a love he reserves for speaking about his elderly dad, and said, “When I was brought into this world, my dad held me. Yesterday, I got to hold him when he left it.”
As he told us about his father’s death, Bro. Paul continued to smile, and I went through three Kleenexes. I was weeping while he rejoiced over his father’s entry into heaven, but inwardly, I rejoiced with him, just as he was probably weeping inwardly.
How odd that Saint Paul would have to tell the Christians of Rome to rejoice and weep with their family in Christ. You’d think that would come naturally. For me, the weeping part is no problem whatsoever. Truvy in Steel Magnolias said it for me: “I have a strict policy that no one cries alone in my presence.” I cry easily and at the silliest things, so you can imagine how I was blubbering at Bro. Paul’s announcement.
The entire passage Lynn chose for her guest post extravaganza is a lesson on how to behave as a Christian. This verse in particular teaches us how to love our family in Christ—which is all rejoicing and weeping are, showing our brothers and sisters that we love them and care about their lives. This shouldn’t have to be taught—or should it?
Have we become so self-absorbed that we don’t notice those of our members who are hurt, going through a rough time, or lost? When a member of our family asks for prayers on Sunday, do we pray for them during the week? Not everyone steps to the front of the church for prayers when the invitation is offered. Do we look at those around us, read expressions, notice those who are in silent pain?
Do we let petty jealousies prevent us from celebrating with those who have reason to rejoice? Do we mock those whose accomplishments seem petty? Do we consider people who dare to mention their achievements arrogant? Do we consider it our responsibility to “knock them down a peg or two”?
I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t always notice those who may need a kind word, and I do tend to feel jealous when someone has achieved something that I long for. I’ve become far more self-absorbed as my daily life increases in busyness.
People are so precious to the Lord, so valuable that He bought them with the price of His Son’s blood. This isn’t a bartered price, it’s not a red-tag clearance sale. It’s exactly the price God believes we are worth, and He paid it. “There is no greater love than this,” Jesus said, “that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
He’s not requiring us to lay down our lives. He just wants us to love each other, celebrate with each other, have sympathy for each other. This requires interaction on our part, and it requires us to put someone else’s needs higher than our own.
Boiled down to their simplest forms, the tenets of our faith are to believe in Christ, love God, love everyone else. By loving everyone else, we’re showing we are Christians and we’re showing God our love for Him.
How easy it should be: Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.