I hate to admit it but Sandy’s circle of love is much larger than my own. I could sit in my comfortable home office hour after hour and write messages and blogs and books that I only hope reach the multitudes and inspire them to seek God, but I never know for sure whose life I’m impacting. In contrast, my wife talks to people. She talks to everyone. She speaks to their hearts and they listen. And we both are blessed to see the results – usually within a very short time.
A couple months ago, while I was out to the park with my two grandsons, Sandy took our three-year-old granddaughter across the street to visit the young couple who had a “miracle” baby boy earlier in the year. The visit, which I knew very little about at the time, turned into an extended time of ministry to the new mother who had many things going on in her life and many spiritual questions.
Subsequently the young woman began attending a denominational church in the area that a friend had recommended to her. She determined to have her now eight-month-old son dedicated to the Lord and scheduled the event for this past Sunday. Her husband whose background is Jewish agreed to have his son dedicated and friends and relatives from four different states planned to attend this wonderful event. However, earlier in the week, in the interest of full disclosure, the mother notified her Pastor that one close relative who would be attending was a lesbian and another was gay. The Pastor told her they would not be welcome in “my church.”
This was a crushing blow to the young mother and her husband was understandably irate. They decided they would have nothing further to do with the church and discussed canceling the event entirely. However, specifically because of the visit Sandy had made to the couple’s home two months earlier, and the relationship formed during this time, she turned up at our door with her baby this past Thursday. Needless to say, on Sunday afternoon we were honored to dedicate the child before fifty or so of her friends and relatives in their backyard.
I pray that this was just a one-time poorly thought out decision on the denominational Pastor’s part of not showing even the minimal degree of love and respect for persons that he deemed too unrighteous to grace the doorways of “his church.” Otherwise I would question whether “his church” is really a part of “the Lord’s Church.” But we all make mistakes; and I pray that he learns from it quickly.
As I’ve said many times, the only people we will ever have the opportunity to influence are those that we allow into our circle of love. Showing love and respect to every person regardless of their beliefs and behavior is a command of God. It in no way is an affirmation or a sanctioning of those beliefs or behaviors. It’s the rare Christian indeed who can look back at his former life and say I never was goofy and never did things that today I would not want my closest acquaintances to know about. “There go I but for the grace of God.”