Let Love Be Genuine

Loneliness. Is it happening in your church?

One of the ways Jehovah’s Witnesses gain converts is by showing an interest in them. They are willing to meet with you! They ask how you are doing! They take time to get to know you! They ask if you need anything! As I’ve met with them, I’ve seen this tactic firsthand.

Now I’m pretty settled in my faith as a Reformed Baptist. I know what the Bible says concerning the trinity and the way of salvation. However, about a week ago I turned to my husband and said, “I get it. I get why people are attracted to such a cult.” For despite my convictions, the tug of being “accepted” by others was a strong one. Five months postpartum, now a mom of not a handful of children, but two handfuls of children, sleep-deprived and lacking in adult conversation, I had been struggling with loneliness. We have a wonderful membership at our church, but some time had passed since anyone took the time to show concern and ask how I was doing. And so I heard the siren song of acceptance. Someone not as knowledgeable in doctrine, who might not have a godly husband or happy home life, someone who the church just assumed to be okay because she was there, could be sucked in and dashed against the rocks of heresy.

In God’s providence, I read this post addressing the topic of loneliness in the church. There seems to be a swath of souls struggling with loneliness, even within the household of God. So what are we to do about it?

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As Christians, we need to be intentional about loving each other. We need to be praying that we would increase in our love for the members in our midst, and to show love to those who visit. We need to ask God to show us who we can talk to, and seek to invest in their life. Such outward motions may be intimidating, but concern for others helps us to take our eyes off of ourselves. There is a risk of being hurt, or having our efforts rebuffed. But we are to be obedient to Christ’s command to love one another all the time, not only when it is easy.

Romans 12:9 says “Let love be genuine.” Other translations say “Let love be without hypocrisy”, or “Let love be sincere”. The love we are to show one another is not selfish, only gravitating to those who best match our personalities. And this love is not fake, bombarding the recipient with lavish amounts of enthusiasm that isn’t felt. It is not done to get something from the other person, but is a demonstration of the love of Christ, who gave willingly and sacrificially.

As Christians who may be on the loneliness end, we need to ensure that our desires are not unreasonable. If we view someone who jokes with us and affirms us as the mark of someone who cares, we do a disservice to the serious and quiet individual who inquires about our week. We need to give the benefit of the doubt to those we perceive are slighting us. Also, people will not always know that we are lonely. We can’t expect them to know the inner workings of our heart. Only God knows that. Which brings me to my next point: we must go to Christ and find our rest in Him. Only He can give a true remedy for loneliness.

May our churches be such that none would be tempted to roam elsewhere due to the body’s indifference!

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2 thoughts on “Let Love Be Genuine

  1. Thank you for linking to my post. When ill health further prevents participation in a church or really limits it, the problem worsens. That’s where I am as well. But, on a positive note, I have seen how God hasn’t forgotten me, and I intend to write about His mercies to us in our loneliness. God brought a dear older woman in Ioiwa to become my long-distance friend. She sends me boxes of old path spiritual books and things and has been a real friend. She understands how the church is, but keeps shining anyway, on her own often, by showing kindness to just about everyone she meets. We may not find friendship and help within the doors of the church itself, but God’s people are all over, and He often connects those who are lonely with those who can be a friend. I only wish I could do that more for others. Thanks again.

    • I had been pondering writing about loneliness, and reading your insightful post confirmed that this is an issue that is worth mentioning! Thank you for writing it. As I’ve been studying more about who God is, I take comfort in knowing that all Christians travel the same road of sanctification, and that my troubles and temptations are not unique. He truly is merciful in sending others to comfort us, or to turn our affections more towards Him. It is wonderful to know that you have such a friend in your life. Thank you for sharing.

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