Stay Where You’re Planted.
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Honeysuckle is one of my favorite vines. Not only is this plant lovely to look at, but the flowers attract hummingbirds, it can be made into tea, and we can drink the nectar.
This plant could have grown and thrived in many places, but the gardener chose to plant it where it would highlight the majestic columns at the far end of the garden. There is a purpose for where this blooming plant was placed to thrive and add to the entire character of the garden. It is likely placed where it will enhance the plants around it while they in turn offer it sustenance as well.
What if this vine became embarrassed because of its imperfections? Perhaps it develops a temporary fungus that the gardener successfully treats but the other plants around it become aware of that blight? Would it make sense for the vine to request that the gardener move it to a new garden where other plants would not know?
It sounds silly, but it is what we frequently end up doing. When our sin becomes known within the church community, many choose to allow God to deal with their sin, but move to a new church where no one knows the story of their past.
“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
God intends for us to stay together as His church. No one is without sin. He wants us to remain so we can fulfill the scripture above. We are to carry each others burdens and help each other heal. When we leave, because of our embarrassment and shame, we deprive the church the opportunity for reconciliation and to grow in love for one another.
Next time you are tempted to change your community of believers because God has dealt publicly with your sin, consider staying. Give your brothers and sisters in Christ the opportunity to demonstrate God’s love to you, and be blessed by God’s redemption in your story.
Copyright Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Colorado Springs, CO