BIG CHURCH, LITTLE CHURCH
"Every family ought to be a little Church, consecrated to Christ and wholly influenced and governed by His rules. And family education and order are some of the chief means of grace. If these fail, all other means are like to prove ineffectual." ~Jonathan Edwards
We have long believed that the home is to be a mini version of the church. A "little church," if you will. One that meets every day of the week and gathers with other little churches one day out of seven for mutual encouragement and edification.
Like the "big" church, a healthy little church should include the reading of God's Word, singing, joyful living, self denial and an esteeming of others more highly than oneself. No problem, right?
Pastor Kevin DeYoung tells his congregation: "If you haven't had a conflict with anyone at this church you either haven't been here long enough or you're not involved enough... that's what happens when a lot of sinners get together."
Well, maybe some problem. As long as our souls are in the flesh, the small scale church and the large scale church will afford many... shall we say opportunities to practice patience, forgiveness, reconciliation and long suffering.
I love the church~ the little one and the big one.
I love the church~ the little one and the big one.
PREPARING FOR THE BIG CHURCH: THE SENSITIVE TYPE.
A friend e-mailed me recently and asked how we handle continual hurt feelings and sensitivities around here~ we do have all girls she figured. : )
I've been thinking how some people (really male or female) can fall into being the "sensitive type." It is one of those "big church, little church" issues. It's an issue that affects the little church today and, if not checked, will affect the big church later.
When I say the "sensitive type" I do not mean the empathetic type. We need those who empathize, who care about real trials and encourage others to love and good deeds!
What I really mean when I say the "sensitive type" are those who are easily hurt and offended... and get stuck there.
Maybe you've seen the "sensitive type" all grown up. If so, you know it's not pretty. The woman who gives herself to this cycle becomes so self focused that she cannot think the best of others or minister. She is typically found nursing old wounds and feeling that she deserves better than she is getting.
I simply want our girls to be on the alert for this scheme of the enemy and to rise above the temptation to wallow in self pity. We've got to be able to forgive, turn the page and move on in love and service. It is one way we make every effort to preserve the unity of the brethren (Ephesians 4:3).
THE SENSITIVE TYPE
Here are a couple of verses that have been helpful in our home as we work through these thoughts with our girls:
1. Do not take everything people say to heart.
"Wisdom will help a wise person more than ten rulers can help a city. Certainly, there is no one so righteous on earth that he always does what is good and never sins. Don't take everything that people say to heart, or you may hear your own servant cursing you. Your conscience knows that you have cursed others many times." ~Eccles. 7:19-22
God tells us not to take everything people say to heart. It is wise to take Him at His word on this and to remind ourselves not to do it. And, the verse continues, If you really think about it, you've done the same thing to someone else.
We can, at times, get so offended by someone that we block out the cold, hard truth that "there is no one so righteous on earth that he always does what is good and never sins." Amen? Here's a chance to remind ourselves we've done the same thing, forgive this person and move on in love and service.
2. Pride and being self focused are two sides of the same coin.
"God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." James 4:6
I had this discussion with a little girl this week. I grabbed a quarter and sat down with her in a comfy spot for a little chat.
"What is this?" I asked
"Right, it's twenty-five cents, or a quarter. And this is the heads side, right?"
"What if I turn this over and we look at the tails side. Is it still a quarter, or is it something different?"
"It's still a quarter."
Right. And what I am seeking to explain to the little one struggling with being easily offended is that she is really struggling with pride. And pride is not something to nurse. It is something to repent of.
We know what pride looks like when we see its ugly head boasting, looking down on others or protesting loudly that we deserve better, but what about when it manifests itself as the easily offended, self focused, I-still-deserve-better-than-I-am-being-treated side?
Same coin. Both reveal a self focused (rather than a God focused) thought process. A thought process that believes they are getting worse than they deserve~ when really they are always receiving better than they deserve.
May we guide our "sensitive types" in grace. The "big" church will thank us. : )
Many blessings as you lead little hearts home,
Photos: The back deck filled with girls measuring, pouring and playing in cool water on a warm day.