Remember the seemingly wise words your parents or grandparents use to admonish you with?
"All it takes is one bad apple to ruin them all!"
For me this implied one of two things:
1) Don't be the bad apple and lead others to ruin.
2)Don't socialize with bad apples or you might become one.
Lately, I've been thinking about how this applies to my walk with the Lord and the church (fellowship of believers). Let's presume our church (fellowship of believers) is a healthy spiritual community. Now, what happens or what should happen when we have one apple exhibiting unhealthy choices?
While there are admonitions in scripture for those who offend and directions on how to handle ourselves, rarely do I see them carried out effectively. There are cases handled beautifully and lives are redeemed, but I find those few and far between.
After much prayer and thought, I believe the radical difference is actually very simple. It's all in the heart and attitude of the community (fellowship of believers). When God speaks to my heart admonishing me the first thing I hear is "how much HE loves me and will continue to love me whether I choose to make wise decision or I choose sin!" Once I've felt the presence of the Lord's love, HE begins to radically work within my heart cleaning up the mess I've independently made of things.
If that's how God approaches us, shouldn't we approach others in and outside the fellowship in the same way? Shouldn't we continue to love while setting healthy boundaries?
We can "lovingly" stand firm!
Many times I've messed up.
Many times I've sinned.
Many times I've been in a pit of my own choosing and in some cases a pit caused by others actions.
I will be forever thankful for those who loved me through life's messes whether I caused them or they were the result of others actions. They loved me when I wasn't capable of being lovable. At my worst moments, God sent earthly angels to stand alongside me, pray for me, and most importantly love me.
Today and every day, as we ( fellowship of believers) face the unlovable what will we do?
Remember: NONE of us started out with a strong faith. We start as babies and grow daily into the people God created us to be.
By HIS mercy and in the grip of HIS grace,
Andrea Bowling Perdue