Monday, September 19, 2011

Love Reaches Beyond Familiar

"Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you"
(3 John 1:5).

One of the worst feelings when you are in a group of people is feeling as though you don't belong.  You don't get the inside jokes, are not being engaged in the conversations, and you begin to feel like a Dallas Cowboys fan in a room full of Pittsburgh Steelers (believe me, I know!).

Of course, it's no secret that is our nature to gravitate to that which is most familiar to us.  We instinctively move closer to those we recognize, talk more with those we have more in common with, and spend time with those we most enjoy being around.  The danger, especially when it involves Christian community, is that we are magnates to what is common and comfortable in what is familiar and we shy away from what, and who, we don't know.  Thus, we give the impression that we don't care, aren't interested, and those who don't fit in our circles, well...they just don't belong.

At some point, as John points out in this short letter, it should not matter who we know and who we don't know.  As believers, we should be faithful at opening ourselves up to each other, encouraging, supporting, and going the extra mile for each other.  It should be based on the measure of how well we know them, but upon the relationship we share with Christ and in Christ.

Yes, we tell our children to "never talk to strangers."  However, in the family and community that we have and are in Christ, love reaches beyond familiar.  There are no strangers, only opportunities to discover and uncover the gift of relationship that God has placed before us.

Be challenged to look beyond the familiar, to get to know those around you, especially those who have identified themselves as lovers and followers of Jesus.  Purpose in your heart to do what you know you can do to break down the walls that divide us.  Love reaches beyond the familiar.  Do you?

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