Community and The Place of Pleasure

 

I’ve been wondering lately about community and joy.

More specifically, the communities in which I most find my joy. How appropriate, then, that I found this little excerpt of John Piper while doing a google search for sermons to listen to during some down time.

I have often been that Christian who, when looking at the Body around her, finds it…lacking. Lately, as I have talked about on the Good Word Radio Show, I have been burning for revival, burning to see the Body of Christ rise up to rightly value the relationship we have with Jesus, and the responsibility we have to keep our faith fires going.

When I don’t see that happening as quickly as I would like, or even in the ways that I would like, I get upset. I start complaining, I start saying things like the person depicted in the video above. “I don’t like the Christians I know.”

Already there should be a prick in the heart or the conscience of the Christian who reads such a line or thinks such a thought. Since when are we to entertain such thoughts?

I recognize fully that we are in a fallen world, and as we are not yet perfected in faith, we all make mistakes. However, I also recognize that Jesus modeled a life that calls us to look past mistakes. We are to forgive even 7 times 70 times (Matthew 18:22). We are to go the extra mile (Matthew 5:41). We are to love our God above all, and our neighbors as we love ourselves (Mark 12:30-31).

So, when I find myself judging, I can first deal with the plank in my eye before going for the speck in someone else’s. I can answer the higher call to love and to pray for the people around me. Trust me, it is very hard to entertain negative feelings for someone you are genuinely and honestly praying for.

May we all be more prayerful and ultimately more loving in the times to come, and may our communities flourish because of it. After all, the world will know us by the love we have for one another.