There's a woman. She's praying while on her knees with her head to the ground. Her tears hit the carpet and she faces the altar where the worship band plays. She's pleading for someone she once knew who has decided God wasn't real. This person moved out of the country and became a part of a community that was controlling and confining. This woman has been in contact with her friend. They've been writing. Her heart breaks for him. She wants him to feel and to be free.
She prays for hope and restoration for him. With compassion and love she cries out to God for His will to be done.
She receives a letter that he has decided he needed to come back home. He says he wanted to thank her in person, for how she has continued to pray for him. She's grateful and shares this information with her small group. They are overjoyed and deciding her prayers were so powerful! Her love for him was unreal and called unconditional for this guy. It was platonic; he became like a brother to her. They had a unique bond.
On the day he arrived, he met her for coffee. The two shed many tears about what he'd experienced and how he had felt so blinded by it all. He felt lost and the only thing waving at him, showing him there are red flags surrounding him, was her by her letters and phone calls. He decided he wanted to begin going to church again. She smiled such a wide smile and invited him to her small group too.
Weeks went by, he was not a part of the small group, a member of the church and awaiting his baptism ceremony. Everything was refreshing, was a dream, was brand new for him. Weeks became months and months became years since he decided to surrender his past to a brighter future and as a Christian. Their platonic friendship was strong and they saw each other consistently at their small group and church services.
He's no longer a new story. Now, he's a part of a new family and he feels a sense of belonging. The compassion for him, the passion and unconditional love for him takes a slight turn. Now, there are rules; so many rules and standards. She tells him she's not sure they should spend as much time together anymore. She feels they are on different pages and that she just needs some space.
Frightened, he backs away respectfully. If he gives the space, she will be able to breathe and my new life won't be disrupted. Weeks go by and she's laughing and happy with other friends. He sees her in the small group, he sees her at church and he continues to mind his own. One day, while volunteering as ushers together, he decides it the day for small talk.
"You don't have the same convictions I do. That makes me uncomfortable. I don't think we can be as close of friends as we used to be. I'm sorry."
He's now a Christian. He's not a member of a church and with a high church attendance. His heart is gold and he's quite the giver! He wants to show love to others the way he felt love was shown to him. Through it all, through pain and absence, through alcoholism and depression, through surrendering to a cult-like group, she showed him grace and love. He desired to love unconditionally too. He had Christian friends and he had friends who were atheist and agnostic. Some friends in the process of a confusing gender dysphoria mind game.
He was trying to show love and she didn't like where he shared his love and how limitless it was. It was too dangerous for him to lead like this, to spend time with people like them. So she returned to her bubble of like-minded people where she could pray for the hurting in safe space.
What is right? What is wrong? What is unconditional love and why would it make sense to develop a conditional love when all we'll be asked in Heaven is if we've learned to love?
Boundaries are good. I talk about this all the time. Boundaries aren't meant to hurt others though. They are meant to protect you and most times, we don't need to announce our boundaries.
What do you believe? Do we love only those in our circle? Only those comfortable to love and who have the exact same convictions as we do? Once someone becomes "like us", do we created 10 more commandments for them?
What is going on with love and the church?