I wasn't feeling good at all today, but I had a situation which made me feel even worse.
There was a woman who was asking for help with a payment on her car. She works 2 jobs in 2 different towns and needs her car for work. She is newly divorced and her ex-husband has not given her the child support he owes. He is witholding the $4000, she thinks, to hurt her. Actually, he is hurting his children.
We are so small that we don't have elders, but instead appoint men to oversee certain areas. One man is in charge of the finances. I went to him on her behalf, but he refused to allow the church to help her. The reason he gave is that she was a divorced woman who chose to leave with her children and live with another man. Her story is that she is not living with him, but is only dating him.
I was really contemplating giving her money out of my own pocket in order to help her family because she had to call in work three days because she didn't have a car. I might still do it if I can find the money.
All this woman needed was $229 to get her car out and back. I had to go back and tell her, "No." She then told me that some of her friends said, "If you want help at any church, the Church of Christ is the one to go to."
I feel so embarassed because in the last two weeks, I put a huge ad in the local paper stating that we were a grace-oriented, non-denominational congregation,who loves God, and striving to be like Jesus. "God I repent of lying in that ad."
I believe if we are not known in the community for our graceousness, love of others, and forgiveness, then this church will end up dying. I love Jesus more than anything and I want us to be known as graceous and benevolent in this community. If you look at the ministry of Jesus, he met the physical needs first and then the spiritual needs. Our church can forget ministering to this woman and her children because they will not be coming to worship with us.
I had to look a woman who humbled herself to ask the church (I know from personal experience that you do have humble yourself uncomfortably when asking the church for help).
Shouldn't we as Christians and churches be known as benevolent? Should ministries imitate the ministry of Jesus? Will churches or those men who are tight with God's money suffer a worse judgment for being judgemental and not demonstrating the grace of God? What happens when a church isn't benevolent and graceous?
I know that people are busy, but are they too busy for what is important to God? Do we really want adulterers sitting in our building? Do we want liars and those who are addicted to porn? Do we want people who are poor to come? Is not the Church for "sinners"? Are we to pick and choose who we help?
I would have given the mother help, invited her to our church, and told her to leave her life of sin like Jesus did with the woman caught in the act of adultery. I believe there are more Churches of Christ who are willing and would much rather throw stones than to show the grace and love of God to a non-believer. Yes, this church does help believers, but we need to be graceous and benevolent to everyone and not pick and choose to whom we show God's grace and mercy. A church will never grow if it has prejudice, is non-benevolent and not helpful to those in the communities in which they live.
What do you think?
Share your thoughts.