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The Unfriendly(?) “Friendliest” Church

The Unfriendly(?) “Friendliest” Church

By Rick Walker

The Lord’s people have always been a loving group of people. Indeed, Jesus told His disciples, “By this all men will know you are My disciples, if you have love for one another,” (John 13:35). Therefore, our love for each other is a trademark to identify disciples of Jesus. As you have heard me say on numerous occasions, “My definition for LOVE, is, ‘Doing what is in someone else’s best interest in spite of what it might cost you.’”

Clearly, it would not be loving for us to encourage someone to do anything which would violate their conscience. As God warns regarding Jewish-Christians who still kept to a kosher diet. To these He said, “He who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not of faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin,” Romans 14:23. If we encourage someone to do this, or to do anything which would violate their conscience, this action is called, “causing someone to stumble.” As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 8:13, “If food [i.e., non-kosher food] causes my [Jewish-Christian] brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, that I might not cause my brother to stumble.” Paul would not want his example to cause a weaker brother to violate their conscience and sin.

It would certainly not be a loving thing to do to cause a brother/sister physical or spiritual harm. Now there are scriptural ways we can show our love to other believers. As Paul tells the Christians in Rome, “Greet one another with a holy kiss…,” (Romans 16:16). Or as he told the Galatians, “…James and Peter and John … gave to me and to Barnabas the right hand of fellowship [i.e., they shook hands with us],” (Galatians 2:9). Both of these are physical means to show our love to each other. But in this day of a deadly pandemic, these may also be a means of spreading the Corona virus.

Therefore, even though we truly are “The Friendliest Church,” it may be wise during our current circumstances to choose a different way (than shaking hands, giving each other a hug, etc.) to show our love for each other. Some examples might include, “fist or elbow bumping,” etc. These would certainly minimize the chance of spreading a viral disease. We also need to keep our hands washed and away from our faces in order to reduce our chance of either getting or causing someone else to become sick. Until this contagion is dealt with adequately, we may need to show our love to others in a way that is safer for everyone.

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Keith Bellamy, Minister