She was 24, young and a single mom. I had been trying to reach out to her. She desperately needed hope and healing.
As a minister, I knew it could be found. I had witnessed it many times.
Like so many, she had tried to numb the emptiness and pain through substance abuse. Since her livelihood as a waitress depended on tips, I always tried to leave a good one and encourage her.
Imagine my frustration as her story unfolded: "My image of Christians is they are people who are self absorbed, demanding, rude and poor tippers. I really do not want to have anything to do with church people."
A thought: Is it possible that barriers to connecting people with God are the very people who claim to be connected?
I wish the story were an isolated incident. It is, however, often repeated:
The employer who finds his Christian hired hand lazy. The businessperson whose customer is trying to "get him to church," and is the same customer who refuses to pay his bill. The restaurant manager who can't staff Sunday night because that is when the "church crowd shows up."
You get the picture.
There are three observations I would like to make. One, if you have never met the God of the Bible and if you have never encountered Jesus, please do not judge him or his word by everyone who claims to represent him.
He is absolutely amazing and he loves you. However some of his kin have tendencies to embarrass him sometimes.
Secondly, I would like to apologize to those who have been hurt or left disenchanted by any of God's family, no matter what flavor.
Finally, for all of us who claim to be on God's team, can I encourage you? If you're going to say you're on the team, please act like it.
If you blow it, please make it right. If you can't do those two things, please do not say you're on the team!
The Bible says we would be known for our love. It calls us to love.
It in fact calls us to two simple points. Love God and love your neighbor. On those two points hangs everything else.
The next time you are tempted to be relaxed in regard to your character, please stop, think about that person on phone, across the counter or at your table as a loved one of someone's who is praying for them.
Let's all do our best and make God a happier father. After all, we are his kids. Just some are lost.
Bob Reasner is senior pastor of Abundant Life Assembly of God in Sterling. Service times are Sunday at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. and Wednesday beginning with Soup at Six and a service at 7 p.m.
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