By Chris Higgins
I love Ephesians 3:17-19: “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
We need to hear and heed those words. Let’s face it—sometimes we get on each others’ nerves. We feel neglected at times. We get battered, bruised, upset, angry. We get our feelings hurt. We feel tread upon at times. At other moments, we may get just plain angry.
But isn’t that just like a family? Family members in a household deal with each other in terms of grace, forgiveness, and love. And we in God’s eternal family should do the same. Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 13 that love is the greatest of the things to be desired because it never ends.
It seems to me that such love is the mark of a mature, healthy church. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t always strive to be pleasant, cheerful, and positive. It’s not a great testimony for a Christian to continually be a downer. But there will be times when we, for whatever reason, are struggling. It may be family troubles, marriage woes, financial problems, health circumstances, or other burdens being faced by each of us at different times.
Not too long ago, I was feeling kind of down. I felt as if some didn’t understand that even those of us who are ministers have bad days too. But then I had an impromptu chat after church with someone who just listened for a while and gave me some encouragement and a hug. That little act of love and kindness made such a difference—more than the giver of that gift will ever know.
Whom can you lift up with some encouragement and strengthen with a hug this week? I promise you, someone needs it. Let’s give each other some wiggle room and allow for the grace of God to cover our imperfections, hang ups, and occasional glitches without judging others. We are a family—brothers and sisters—so let’s pray for each other, love each other, and, when we need to, extend grace to each other.
Chris Higgins has been the pastor of First Church of Christ in Owosso, Michigan, since 2002. He and his wife, Lori, are parents to Daniel, Andrew, and Becca.