“NO MATTER HOW BAD PEOPLE ARE, LOVE SHEDS A LIGHT. . .”

No matter how bad. . .

“NO MATTER HOW BAD PEOPLE ARE, LOVE SHEDS A LIGHT”

While I spent some time with my friend, who now resides in Ghana, I loved the distinction he made between people who might seem so poor and helpless, but reflect a heart of love for others; and those who seem so wealthy and proud in ignorance of what pride does, that they have no idea how to love the others around them. Either way, God loves both and yearns that love be the atmosphere of their lives on earth. He (my friend) actually spoke, hoping that the latter would someday learn to discover that our wealth counts for nothing.

I have walked alongside people who have, and still have issues with their parents or friends due to either a wide difference in how they see life, or a heartless molestation from the heads which tend to drive them crazy. No doubt, they have every right to! However, I can likewise say that I’ve been through such moments and my reactions to how I was treated could be 2/10 if you don’t mind me rating; and this makes it clear that there are two kinds of groups in this planet who either react the same way the molesters expect, or the opposite way, which is love and compassion toward the ones who enjoy hurting them. If we fail to live as sojourners in a world which isn’t ours, there’s only one available way to deal with hurt, betrayal and hatred—“hate” the haters; “hate” the hurters, and “hate” the betrayers. Always a world of HATE! Otherwise, we would treat every hater lovingly, compassionately, as we supply love to those who don’t deserve it.

Whether we believe it or not, people with bad attitudes can be so frustrating, but loving them supplies a light, no matter how small it might be, that persuades them to see that God loves them. Also, the dominant forces in the universe isn’t really religious, political, or economical, but “love” and “hate”, though hate is a product of ‘fear’. 
5 MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE WHEN THEY NOTICE BAD PEOPLE ARE AROUND THEM

1. NEGATIVE REACTION: It’s not impossible to hate folks who stand up against you, especially when it’s those you once trusted as the best people on the planet. Even so, it’s always possible to respond to the same individuals with God’s love for them. Did they insult you? Better not speak, than say words that will destroy you and the hater. Fine, it might not hurt your hater, the anger remains impressed in your heart. Yes, it’s possible to be angry, but we shouldn’t let anger serve as a channel for our fleshy nature to walk in. Positive reactions towards those who offend us is good for us, as well as, proving to others who God really is. 

Nevertheless, supplying love to such people by blessing them when they curse you, or helping them when they do you wrong, isn’t possible unless you’re already abiding in Father’s love—that’s where love is cultivated in you and expressed towards others. The world doesn’t believe an iota of what we preach unless it sees a visible presentation or manifestation of these things we speak of. 

Most folks I have talked with didn’t really say any word to other folks in different religions before they came to know Jesus: they actually saw the life of Christ lived out through them and came to be challenged by their love for fallen humanity. Why? They all know God is love, no matter how much their leaders try to paint a wrathful image of him.

2. SEEING THEM AS THEY ARE: Imagine what it would be like if my dad’s attitudes towards everyone is one of hate, anger and rudeness, or he’s one who fails to meet the needs of his children! Now, if I abide in God’s love, I possibly comprehend that my dad’s behaviour is ungodly, and I have no reason why he’s that way; but I would love him no less, praying for a change of heart. You wouldn’t need to stop talking with him, and you don’t need to deviate or withdraw from showing him the kindness you believe he doesn’t deserve. Remember, nothing works or changes for better if you avoid such people, or try to change them. Just be real, and see where God might want you to show his compassion, as you watch him do what you couldn’t do.

One mistake I made was speaking ill-words towards and about my parents, when it’s my love for them that makes the difference. The day I did talk to them lovingly, I saw how it touched their hearts with a desire to listen. Hope enjoys seeing people in the way they are called to be, while working with love in showing such people the way to that point. It isn’t easy, but the result is always the best fruit produced.

3. TRYING TO CHANGE PEOPLE: Change isn’t the job of another human being in the lives of other people, but we might be able to help them press toward it. The fact that there are bad people, ungodly ones around you doesn’t call for you to think of ways to fix them with your answers. It doesn’t usually work! Do they have some attitudes you don’t treasure? Don’t press them into the ways you think they should change. Let God shine his light on their hearts and when he does that, they will discover how such rudeness is tearing down their personality. How? (Another question, I think!) If a person does things you think ain’t right and there’s a need for change, you don’t press them that “you should be like this.” No, create an environment where there’s room for you to show love to them in spite of what they’ve done to you, or what they’re doing to you. If they are sick, be the first to go with genuine concern (perhaps, you could use a lovely flower!) to express that you care; or, use it as an opportunity to care for them. What I’m saying is: Show love where they expect you to show evil, without pressing them to change. They will get frustrated, and you might end up being so, as well, if you do. Change emerging in people’s lives is a result of a growing light within them that is a fruit of love. Love softens the hardness in men’s hearts. You might not know, but it takes ground gradually.

4. EXPECTING A CHANGE SO QUICKLY, WHILE LOVING: Oh, Crud! That’s impatience! People responding to the love that touches them gently could take some time. Don’t try to force them into seeing that you’re so loving: it would all of a sudden drift to trying to please them. Do your part, and let God work through it! One negative result of expecting a change so quickly in the lives of such individuals is anger at their lack of response, or expression of love to you in return, and that gets bad. You could end up playing on the same team which they are.

5. NO BAD TONGUE: Even though they are doing wrong by the way they are living, or are horrifically bad, let your words speak good about them. With that, you’re building opportunities for them to see Jesus on you. 
ONE THING YOU MUST UNDERSTAND

It, kind of, sounds like I just placed some ideas based on my life experience and mistakes, but no matter how much you try, you can’t bend to it. Living as Jesus did isn’t the result of abiding to rules or several principles but abiding in him, in his love, so you can freely bless others with that love, no matter how bad they are. It’s a continuing work which takes place as you focus on your relationship with Jesus and how he’s nudging you to reveal his person to others. 

It’s not avoiding people that brings a change but loving them with every opportunity is what does.  This could be your dad, mom, friend or anyone else from other religions—it’s love that sheds the light.

You never can tell it!

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Do You Have Fellowship? Or, You Have “A” Fellowship? 

THIS is what we know as fellowship—a concert actually —but is this what it really is? I was in a meeting some months ago and it was a religious meeting with a guy on a sermon. It sounded pretty! But once it was over, everyone flew out. Those asleep awoke to fly out the door. Is your family get together really boring? Or is it less a meeting and more of fellowship where people have opportunity to spill out who they are and where they are on the inside?

That’s the question I hear most of the time among Evangelicals, Protestants and several others who place more emphasis on fellowship as an activity, rather than a reality. 

It’s a usual thing these days to think of “fellowship” as the programmes we organise every Sunday morning, Wednesday night and Friday night, without really touching the reality of life that Father wants to flow among us. While there are people who relax with the status quo of fellowship as an activity, rather than a life, relationship we share together, I believe there are believers discovering the actual possibility of true friendships unfolding when we have our focus on Jesus, and this most of the time, has to be intentional.
Two Dictionary Meanings of “Fellowship”

I enjoy these definitions of fellowship found in the dictionary:

  • A company of people that shares the same interest or aim.
  • A feeling of friendship, relatedness or connection between people.

—English Dictionary.

More like a presentation of an organised system, the first definition about a “group of people” sharing the same interest or aim, defining fellowship as a group. Thus, we have this same mentality among us that just because we attend the same group meeting, we are participating in fellowship. All that said, we could, if it’s more focused on how we relate to one another, and less a planned agenda to do it the same way, same place, without placing any emphasis on activity. If the truth were to be told, it becomes more like a process where we don’t really need the Spirit to guide what we do since we already planned what to do.

Fellowship takes place where two people or even more are focused on building each other to walk with Jesus on the journey. My Ghanaian friend and I also had this yesterday (Friday). He calls it, ‘God’s Kingdom With Two Fellows’.

I love the other definition, not really because I seem to like what it presents, but Scripture portrays it as well. Scripture doesn’t portray fellowship as a “meeting”, but a life; a sense of relatedness, genuine concern for one another. This doesn’t happen by just fixing a programme—it happens where two or more growing individuals meet to participate in each other’s journey. The church is actually “the company, group or body of people together, as a corporate body or individual member being a part of it”, and that’s no word to coin as fellowship. Fellowship is the deep sense of connection, concern or an atmosphere of relationships”. So, when Scripture talks about the believers having constant fellowship with one another, they were really enjoying an atmosphere of relationships with one another. Two folks could pull over and decide to encourage each other, or pray for ways to bless their community and other believers around them. 

Believers would always grow in prayer when together, but that’s not certainly what fellowship is all about.

They are actually enjoying that fellowship of being two fellows in a ship of caring, loving and exercising compassion for the people of the body of Christ and the world as well. It could even be in meals together as they bless one another, or it could be praying together and singing together. It could be a thousand things to live together! We make mistake when we think fellowship is the group of people, or the singing, dancing and performance we do all the time. If anything, we really haven’t: might just be a weeny part of it. Fellowship takes place where we live as family, not trying to have a planned agenda. Believe it or not, it drives down to conformity when it’s a meeting, than when it ever is a family.

You might not believe it, but this is also what Scripture tells about believers sharing meals together. You could invite other brothers and sisters for the weekend to share meals together as family. I enjoyed how God made ways for my friend and I to cook together and eat together after a three-hour conversation. I learnt a lot, and pray for more with several others I haven’t known yet.

House FellowshipCan’t tell you less of what this is, really! 

I grew up among folks with whom we go every Sunday evening for a meeting only to do the same stuff we do every Sunday morning, and it was in a certain house or so; and we always called it an “house fellowship”. I’m not so concerned about the name-calling compare to the routine we give to it. Truth be told, the home is meant to be the simplest place where believers can live together as family, perhaps, doing a lot more than we think which wouldn’t fit into our agendas. 

It’s possible for a family to send invitation for other believers to come enjoy meals with them, or go for a barbecue as we talk about God’s affection for one another and intentionally demonstrating that to the world around us (Acts 4:32). Have you wondered why Scripture says, . . . But the people held them in high esteem (5:13)?

I’ve wondered for over seven years why a church building having a clergy and two or three members would still embark on using a microphone and a pulpit, while he stands at the far front and they reclining as the audience (I don’t kick against this, especially when it’s a very tough number of folks). Isn’t it because it’s been a well-told story that if you ain’t doing it that way, you’re having no fellowship? Isn’t this three folks together supposed to pull themselves together and share the most of their journeys where it’s far easier to look into one another’s lives? Can it ever be too small? I don’t think it can. When people think like that, there’s wholly a sense of routine clouding them, and to enjoy fellowship would require shaking themselves free of it-should-be-this-way, to being free enough to go as far as the Spirit leads them. 

It’s what I say about the house fellowship as well!

Do Not Forget The Assembling Of Yourselves 

not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as ye see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25-KJV).

Exhort—“advise, encourage, admonish, counsel” 

You see, this verse has been used to back up a number of theological ideas about attendance, which is why most people can crucify others who don’t attend. Meanwhile, it wasn’t even to this that Paul was referring, for they never had it back then.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, (Vs. 24).

Spur—“provoke” 
None of us can do without getting together to encourage one another, whether we are two folks or beyond, it does work into an atmosphere of relationship. Paul was actually reminding the believers, “Don’t fail to enjoy fellowship with one another; don’t forget to walk in genuine concern for one another, caring about one another and breaking bread together as it’s the nature of God’s family.” It was about relationships! 

Let us take note (I don’t mean an attendance of who’s in a meeting) of one another’s journey, of one another; encourage one another to grow in love for one another that produces good works, that we ourselves might be provoked (stirred to action). Let’s be concerned about one another’s welfare (Philippians 2:4).

If you’re a friend who’ve met me, you’ll discover that I lack words when it comes to me meeting a believer and all that they want is to talk about football, movies, etc—It always boils down to spiritual conversations where we could both benefit and learn together. 

Jesus said it takes just two or three to be together and enjoy the vitality of Church life. He wasn’t referring to those things we know today. They were kind of foreign to him. Therefore, when you meet an individual who believes in the Lord, or even more than that number, why not use it as an opportunity to grow yourselves in conversations together, focusing your eyes on what Jesus would want you to learn when together. You don’t leave it all to the pastor! This journey of Christianity isn’t about a priest serving the congregation, but the members serving “one another”. It’s where people grow in him, learn to abide in God’s love for them. There will be moments for prayer, but it doesn’t take our whole moment together. Prayer or music aren’t the only things a family does together: they do both as well invite each other for meals and teaching (not boiling it down to a sermon, but an informal conversation—call it Bible study, or whatever you want, that’s okay!). 

One thing brothers and sisters do together in their conversations is searching the Scriptures together. My friend and I, before his travel to Ghana, had our last conversation (Friday) and several passages I pondered for over 7 years was explained as we flowed through Scripture together and we discovered an abundant measure of grace is bestowed on two or more individuals in Father’s kingdom, compare to a single individual. We can’t understand everything alone, because the Spirit might choose to unveil truth to us through other believers. So, I got my cheque!


If Fellowship Isn’t The Group, Or Our Usual Routine, What Can We Do Together? 

I believe that’s a good question here! Think about this: On Sunday morning, you get a praise and worship session, a prayer point on various things, a sermon, tithe and offering, and we get out; then we repeat these activities Wednesday night, Friday night, Sunday house fellowship night (which should be the simplest moment together), and we actually do the same the next week, and next two weeks, a month later, a year later and years later. Is fellowship a pre-planned agenda for people to end up in lifeless routine? Isn’t this more like what the children of Israel had as they spent their lives doing the same things over and over again? 
There are a lot of wonderful things to do together! I don’t know how to explain them all, as God is so creative! He could bring his people together and let them live more than we think possible. It could be like having meals together in Dale’s house this week, and Martha’s house next week; praying together over our lives, nations and family; going out to support the needy, weak, poor and a thousand other things. 

Part of living as two fellows in this ship and an organic expression of God’s life in the world is showing concern and love for the needy.
Something like, “I could do the giving, or we could all plan to share our resources with the needy among us and the needy in the world, while others do the distributing.”

God is so creative, but what is most important is that we are grooming each other to live in his love for others: that’s what makes the world know we are his. This leads to the replacement of our systems as life doesn’t just try to reorganise them, but turns us to the fruitful ways to bless God’s family and the world we live in, as Jesus did.


With Whom Can I Have Such Fellowship With? Not Everyone Can Be Ready

Of course, they can’t all be ready! But when you see people who yearn for true fellowship as Scripture portrays it, don’t walk away like you don’t care. It’s an opportunity for you to grow in love for that individual. Besides, if there ain’t people who want this, we have a lot of them in our religious institutions whom Father might connect you with. Just be real and ready to not be starting something, only to end up frustrated later on. 
Truth be told, people growing to live in such authenticity might end up being shoved away by their institutions, for fear that they aren’t conforming to the organisation’s standards. No one looks at those times as easy, but learning to really enjoy relationships with other believers as brothers and sisters in Christ, rather than watching through a safe distance as some spectators, would always surpass the tragedies involved. This wouldn’t be a group stuff; as you grow in love, you never can tell where love will lead you. Love leads to more doors for fellowship. When this is absent, we are bound to start up being organised, rather than living organic. 
Let love lead the way, then you never can predict how far the extent of relationships you’ll share with others, no matter the religious organisations they find themselves. You wanna know why? Love’s got no boundaries! When there’s no boundaries to how much you love, you’ll find no end to the fellowship you’ll share with others.

Would love to know your life on fellowship, as I would be sharing mine as well, based on your questions. 
Do write your thoughts on this subject. 

Thanks! 


Would you like to talk about fellowship? 

Write to: samueljunoi@hotmail.com