Thursday, December 6, 2012

Running the Wrong Direction

I'm a believer in the local church and the community of support, fellowship and accountability it was created by Christ to offer.  In my personal and family life the church has been a rock during times of crisis and pain.  Often, when I minister to those outside of the church in times of great stress I wonder how they will survive without a community of brothers and sisters in Christ.
But, the church cannot be what it should be in times of need if that need is kept secret or if the ones needing help, because of pride or shame pull away from the body.  Over my more than three decades of pastoring I have seen this happen.  An individual, couple or family feels overwhelmed by a crisis, and rather than run to the church for support and love, they drop out.  That grieves me, especially when the church is ready and willing to show and give the support needed and without judgment.
A friend posted this today on Facebook, and I wanted to share it with others.  It is so true.  
"When you are suffering, you may sometimes tend to withdraw, pull back, and pull away," says Anne Graham Lotz. "I do think there is a time for that, and each day you should spend time alone with the Lord. But don't forsake other people, because other people can give you comfort and encouragement and help you keep your focus. Sometimes you can get so preoccupied with the problem that it consumes you. Other people can help give you a balance." 
God wants you to be truthful with yourself and with other people. He wants to free you from the debilitating effects of withdrawing and hiding your emotions. Jesus says in the book of John that "the truth will set you free."
Jesus also said, "You don't have because you don't ask".  Paul wrote to the Galatian churches that we should "bear one another's burdens".  If there is no asking; if there instead is denial or hiding or withdrawal and the church doesn't know, it can't do the thing it was created to do.  We should never be ashamed to seek out what the church can provide, which is the grace of God.  
Run to Christ's family, not away from them.  Let them be the hands and feet of the Lord in your time of need. 

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