In taking my daughter to school I encounter a girl who attends the church gathering that I am apart of. I had talked to her last Sunday and realized she was not in attendance yesterday. My first thought today when I saw her was to say I missed you at our church service yesterday. Then I began processing it in my head, did I really miss her? Would I have talked to her? If I tell her I miss her will the expectations be different next time she comes to the gathering?
In general Christians make a lot of empty promises to other people in their church communities. I am sure this happens to us in other places of the world but I personally notice it quite a bit in the Christian community. We are quick to ask someone how he or she is doing, or say nice little sayings like God is in control, or we are praying for you. The question is not do we actually care, because I know deep down most of us have hearts that deeply care about others. The problem is most of us as human’s want to fix the problem. Christian cliché’s are great; every time there is a problem in my life I have many well-meaning people who send me the same cliché’s. Is there anything wrong with this? No, this is our best attempt to speak on God’s behalf and give others peace. In thinking about the words Jesus gave to hurting people most of them were much more practical than religious fluff. I am sorry the last words in the world I want to hear when my mother in law was diagnosed with cancer, or Kyle with MD is “it’s God’s will.” It is taking all I can to make it through this and I am envisioning God crying with me but when I hear the word’s it’s God’s will I am visualizing a God sitting in heaven with His arms folded saying buck up and deal with it.
When was the last time when someone in the Christian community just sat and cried with you when you were going through a struggle? When was the last you asked someone how they were doing you sat and listened without giving advice? When was the last time someone came up and started talking about how they had a goiter removed, boils, and some strange fungus when we listened and didn’t run away? So going back to this girl who I encountered today I would love to tell her we missed her at church, but I have to ask myself the question am I ready for a persons expectations to change? Am I ready for a person to expect that people will ask “how are you?” and then listen for an answer? Are our churches ready for these types of expectations or we content with fluff answers and little compassion.