Today was the annual Young Adult’s Christmas Dinner. At least thirty of the young adults, very young adults and young at heart adults had Christmas dinner – turkey with all the trimmings, Christine’s legendary sticky toffee pudding and some rather interesting mulled cranberry juice stuff.
Before lunch was served Gavin led us in the eigth of our nine bible studies on the fruits of the spirirt, today’s being gentleness. We looked at Paul’s words to the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 where he describes how he treated them and taught them the gospel when he was with them. He describes himself to have cared for them like a mother and encouraged them like a father. He genuinely loved them but his motive was entirely his love for God, saying “our purpose is to please God, not people”.
Everything we do should be done with an attitude of gentleness. Our message may seem offensive – people don’t like to hear that Jesus is the only way to God – but the way we present it should never be offensive. As Dan put it, we shouldn’t approach people with an accusatory finger pointing but with an open hand offering the love of Christ. Diane also said that we are here as witnesses, not persuaders – Paul said he shared his whole life with the people, it wasn’t about shouting the message at them and then moving on.
We also thought about how we show gentleness to one another, within the family of Christ. It was said that if we are going to show gentleness, then we have to provide the opportunity, we have to be frank and honest with each other about our lives and what’s going on with us – we can’t always be “fine”. I’m with Gavin on this one: I find it difficult to show vulnerability, to admit when life’s going a bit wrong or I’m finding it difficult. I’m getting better at it but it’s still pretty ingrained within me to keep it to myself.
I was reminded, once again, today how blessed I am to have such a family at church. They look out for me and look after me, and when I am eventually ready to open up they are there for me. I can’t help but think that in nine months I’ll have to leave them all behind but there’s a lot of banter to be had before then!!