Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 1 Peter 3:8
At our services, I will often ask people to write a message to God and place it at the foot of one of the crosses located in our Worship Center. I want our congregation to write what is on their hearts--questions, emotions, desire to come back to Christ, desire to trust in Christ for the first time .... The following week our staff will gather to pray for the needs represented on these unsigned notes. Sometimes we will even have a symbolic burning of these notes around a fire in a field behind our building. I am always reminded of one thing from reading these--there are a lot of hurting people.
How does the church deal with hurting people? People who have abandoned their faith and are living in sin. People who have questions, concerns, and complaints. People who are in the midst of grief. People between jobs. People with serious illnesses. Husbands and wives in the midst of separation and divorce. Parents with a child who won't speak to them. Most everyone has something going on in his/her life. How does the church respond?
The church should respond with 1 Peter 3:8. We are to live in like-mindedness. We should demonstrate an understanding affinity toward others. But for the grace of God, we could be in a similar situation. We should show love and compassion. And by all means, we should demonstrate humility--but for God's grace, tomorrow any prayer could be ours.
Father, help us demonstrate the love and compassion of Jesus to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Give us hearts of humility and sympathy. Remind us often of Your grace and help us extend it to others. In Jesus' name. Amen.