Hailey shared this verse out of Romans 10 last week but I wanted to expand upon it a little bit more. It says in verse 9-10, 'Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.' What really hit me today about these verses is the words 'pretend', 'really', and 'genuine'.
The mission of StoneBridge is to lead people in a real, healthy and growing relationship with Jesus Christ. Real....so much of our lives consists of acting and putting on the fake smile and constructing an image of ourselves that we think seems appropriate. As scary as it might seem we have to begin with the real person....the real state of affairs....the real questions....the real doubts....the real issues.
This idea has really hit home as I have been participating in a table group. Last night one of the couples in our group, who has participated about a year now, shared that they have truly made real friends with the members of our group and that was something they had never really done before in a church. They have gotten to be a part of real discussions full of real laughter, real tears, and real off-the-wallness at times.
I have also come to have a 'genuine affection' for each of these couples as well. I feel a freedom and an acceptance with them where I am safe to bring the real me to the table. There is an honor we hold for each other as we encourage and pray for each other. Even though the person that we all bring is maybe not what we want it to be, it is healing and encouraging to lay aside our facades. Daily, so many in the church, work tirelessly to preserve the facade while the real person inside slowly dies. That is truly a miserable way to live. So, I encourage you to take a step into 'real' community today and to leave the 'pretend' gatherings behind.