By Brent DeWees
Friendly Persuasion is an old Gary Cooper movie set during the civil war about a family of Quakers. Naturally, the rules for good standing in the Quaker church were very strict and our hero Gary kept running afoul of what many today would consider unreasonable restrictions.
Nevertheless, the church leaders paid the family a visit to reprimand them for their wicked ways. It is a delightful movie, very entertaining and enlightening. The men who came to call were somber. They had a condescending attitude and demeanor. Nothing in their approach fit Matthew 22:37-39where “Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Their attitude made for a great movie, but it speaks ill of God’s people when they fail to love people as they love God.
But in the End
A young man named Harvey attended a week of fourth-grade church camp where I served as dean. He was not very lovable. He did not fit in well. He was developmentally disabled and very sure he did not want to be at camp. Only through much prayer, encouragement, and patience did he make it through the week. It was difficult at times, but in the end, Harvey had a great time seeing and feeling God’s love.
You Feel It
Sometimes it’s hard to know how to show God’s love for others. Recently I saw a Winnie the Pooh cartoon strip where Pooh and Piglet were standing together. Pooh asked, “How do you spell love?” Piglet replied, “Pooh, you don’t spell it, you feel it!” Thus, when we feel God’s love, we have no choice but to pass it on to others by loving them. And we pray that through our love, they will feel the love of God.
Brent DeWees is the preaching minister of the Ripley Church of Christ in Ripley, West Virginia. He, his wife Diane, and son Nathanael live in Sherman, West Virginia.