Program element to add COMMUNITY and a PHYSICAL ILLUSTRATION to support your teaching. GOD’S PRESENCE AND OUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH ONE ANOTHER.
So often we come together and forget that as the body of Christ, we should be a strong support for one another. We carelessly say, “I’M FINE- REALLY- I’M FINE!” because to say otherwise would be to burden others with OUR problems. Still, isn’t that what the scriptures teach us? It’s deeper and wider than that!
Pass out a little paper umbrella to those present.
Bear One Another’s Burdens Galatians 6:2 ESV
6 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Join into a circle
Leader: Somewhere in life we’ve wrongly learned that Christians are to be happy all the time- after all, being anything “other” reflects poorly on Jesus. And our wrong internalizations are reflected in the words coming out of the Church pulpit today- “Be ye, perfectionists, even as we are perfectionists”. (or at least it seems that way sometimes). When our lives are “sunny” this works, but when the STORMS comes… Well, watch out, my friend, we look all too human. What’s ironic- is that in the midst of our messy humanness-God allows those around us to connect authentically… and we learn that they are “experiencing downpours, and hurricanes of life” as well. And rather than being left sad, weak, and broken; we can find connection and strength- and the realization that God is right there beside us. Let your little umbrellas remind you that you are never alone-even when life “rains down on you”. Bear one another’s burdens. Hold one another up. Silence is not golden.
#1. We are never alone. Hold one another up. *and #2 Restore one another.
We love the message of verse 2, but we don’t want to forget the transforming challenge of verse 1:
Brothers and sisters, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
We understand that there are varying levels of spiritual maturity in any group. As we gather there is a tendency to speak, to act and interact from our own. Maybe it is time to speak the truth out loud – To refocus and make it a priority to truly “see” others (not just “ME”). We need to look for ways to restore one another, to “gently” restore one another. This word “gentle” is such an important 6 little letters. Your first step might begin with prayer for God’s best in the lives of someone else. Oh no! This might mean that God wants us to pray for that “irritating person”. Yes! Exactly. (*and sometimes, this is us!)
As we bring these two verses together they challenge us because if we are honest we admit that- we are all sinners. Human and flawed. We have knowingly crossed the line. We have all broken God’s laws. This extends to our relationships. Our words have been weapons. Our attitudes betray the truth of what is in our hearts.
But imagine now, your sisters in Christ surrounding you with love and gentleness- because we are in the business of restoration. Forgiveness therapy, right? “And as we bear one another’s burdens” – we are told, “we fulfill the law of Christ”.
So much to take in. We need to internalize, then to externalize God’s Word as we live out our faith. One verse does not stand independently. Relationships are growing and changing and allow for opportunities to teach us to be Christlike every day- in practical ways. Let the healing begin. Let’s join together to be a part of it.
I pray that you feel God’s presence today as you hear these words. I am praying this for you.
May God renew your passion and transform the way that you restore one another in gentleness. If one were to take the ministry of reconciliation seriously- think what miracles in the Church of Christ; the world would see!