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In the last two parts of our series, we made it clear that we need to fully understand ourselves in order to connect with ourselves. The two things essential to that are having God’s viewpoint and recognizing that, without God and God’s help, we’re pretty messed up. And, at the same time, deeply loved by God despite our shortcomings. When we connect with others, we need to be supported by associating with those who have that same focus. And here’s why.
“Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” That’s 1 Thessalonians 5:11. Comfort and edify. Ourselves and those around us. Edify – to build up. The problem with human insight into ourselves is that we either think too little of ourselves or too much of ourselves when we see the equation without the God factor. That’s both individual and as a group. When someone or some group spends a lot of time bragging, it’s very often because they think so little of themselves that they have to gain their sense of self worth based on what others think of them. But if they’re looking at things from God’s perspective and those around them communicate that same thinking, there’s a connection that comes together between God, us and those around us.
The situation with the late Hannah Kelley, the daughter of a pastor I’ve gleaned from, highlighted some thoughts I’ve had for a long time. But, first, a little background. Awhile ago, when our founding Pastor was stepping away from being our ministry’s head Pastor, there were varying thoughts on who should replace him, how that should happen, what the resulting organization and doctrinal stance should be. There were things that were said and done that led to a split. With emotional pain on both sides of the rift. Even among the congregation there was an “us and them” attitude among some and for others it was a “them and them” situation. The confusion and emotional stress left some as innocent casualties. It was pretty much like any split where strong opinions and emotions reigned. A situation that shouldn’t have been.
More recently, I saw something truly amazing. Hannah’s death and the resulting family circumstances brought about something truly wonderful. Because there were people who connected with the heart of God, with themselves and with others in a phenomenal unity asking God to heal Hannah and comfort her family. Those of us who have connections to other ministries spread the prayer request far and wide. It didn’t matter whether they were Baptist, Pentecostal, Fundamentalist, Nazarene, or whatever part of the Christian family of God. They were all praying for fellow members of the Body of Christ. For healing, for comfort, for peace. Romans 14:19 tells us, “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” Unity in the Body of Christ.
We started this series saying that we need to connect to God, ourselves and each other in order to have a proper relationship with everything around us. That means that our goal has to include unity to be in line with God’s heart. I’m not saying we need to accept heresy and false teaching. But accusations of heretical teaching get thrown around more often than they ought to be, when they’re really only denominational differences. Instead of complaining about doctrinal differences and ceremonial variations, we ought to be reveling in the richness of the variety of the Body of Christ. God isn’t one person, but rather three, all in unity with each other. Don’t we want that same kind of unity?
We need to make Hannah’s legacy one of a rebirth of unity throughout the Body of Christ. So pray for that. That we each connect with God, with ourselves, and with each other. And pray for continued peace and comfort for the Kelley family. As much as we rejoice at someone getting to be with God, there’s a void in our lives where they used to be. An aching longing for their presence. So, the Kelleys need our prayerful support as God fills in that void where Hannah’s presence would have been. And I’m still asking God to give the Kelleys a special fragrance of memories that will make things better than we could ever ask or think.