Thursday, October 29, 2015

Maggie the Wonder Dog: Sister Love and the Body of Christ


Maggie the Wonder Dog has had a hard week. In case you've missed the other stories in this series (all of which are true), Maggie is my 6-year old Shih Tzu. She sustained a severe corneal abrasion a few days ago and has had a hard time of it. Severe photophobia has kept her in the darkest spot in my house. Eye pain has prevented her from running and playing as much as usual. Lest you think she's languished all week, she's played some every day, but it's been clear that she hasn't felt good.

The veterinarian and I assumed her injury was from our ramble in the woods last week, but yesterday I saw something that caused me to reconsider. Mamie the Apprentice Wonder Puppy, Maggie's adopted sister, was trying to get Maggie to play. As she often does, she patted Maggie in the face trying to get her attention. 

This time, however, it wasn't a gentle pat. It was a whack. Actually, Mamie scraped down Maggie's face with her paw, beginning just above her eye. When I saw it, the size and shape of Maggie's wound replayed in my mind and I thought, "That was no blackberry thorn." I'm not accusing Mamie, but the whack and scrape from yesterday could easily explain the wound.

When I saw her trying to get Maggie to play, a thought flashed into my mind. 

The army of God is the only army that routinely shoots its wounded.

It's a shocking thought, isn't it? If our nation's soldiers shot their comrades when they were injured, there would be court martials and 24-hour CNN coverage of Congressional hearings. It would be a scandal. We'd be horrified.

When one of our comrades in the faith, one of our brothers and sisters, is wounded because of sin (their own or someone else's), it is, sadly, not uncommon for the rest of us to make their situation a matter of "prayer request distribution" (AKA gossip). When the body of Christ fuels the fires of negative public opinion, we can and do cause greater harm to our family members, the body of Christ. We, in effect, shoot our wounded. 

When we criticize and point our fingers at those whose behavior offends us, we can (and do) drive them away from the body of Christ intended to uphold them and help them grow as disciples. 

(There is a process for helping one who is weak, but it does not involve a critical and judgmental spirit.)

We cannot teach and condemn at the same time. We cannot love and slash with our words simultaneously.

I write those words and realize that I am not completely innocent, either, and it grieves me. 

Why do we wound each other? Because we do not love as we ought.

Even worse than injuring our fellow believers, our failure to love grieves our Lord, who taught us how to love by His example at the cross.

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35 nasb

Commandment. 

This love for one another in the body of Christ is not optional

Love is not a choice. It's a requirement.

 Let us, then, love one another as Christ loved us. Unconditional, unbounded, unending love.

In so doing, we will show the world the inescapable, most desirable love of God and, just maybe, draw the lonely, love-starved world in which we live to the One who is Love.
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The most read post of the past week: Remembering My Way.

Here's the link to The Clay Papers, available as an e-book for personal use or to send as a gift for only 99 cents. 
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#loveoneanother #disciple #JesusChrist #bodyofChrist