The Bible says a lot of things that I don’t think most people are aware of. I assume they are not aware of them because I’ve heard many people claim things that just aren’t true. It has often been expressed to me or around me that we don’t need to go to church in order to be Christians. Now certainly I would agree that we don’t need to go into a church building, but we are called to assembly, instruction, and corporate worship. In other words we are called to attend something very much like church with other people. Don’t believe me? Check out Colossians 3:1-17
1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
12Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Pay special attention to the verses that I bolded. We are called to put up with each other knowing that we can be offended and are offensive. We are also called to forgive those offenses and love each other.
To that end I want to share about a meeting that I had Monday. I had a problem with the previous youth pastor, but we had a meeting with the District Youth Director (DYD). It would be improper to suggest that either of us was solely right or wrong. In fact I think we both came away wiser for it. I learned that much of what I had perceived and been informed was just not right. I cannot say that there was no grievance, but I can say I should have worked at resolving it much sooner. I can also say he was not and is not actively pursuing the teens from our area. In short, I was wrong about a lot.
Coming away from the meeting I have a new found respect for him and hope in a growing friendship. I believe that Satan works to divide us, much as a lion or wolf seeks to divide the herd. This makes it easy to pick at us and tear us down. To isolate is to win and to be isolated is to lose.
This is why we are called to join together and not isolate ourselves. This is why we must bear with each other and forgive grievances and most of all love one another.