“Do you know what I like about this church,” said my husband.
“What?” I replied.
“The people are real,” was his response.
He is right. They have real pain and real hurt. They have real joy and real peace. Whatever it is at the moment of our interactions, they are who they are with no apologies. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen that.
You get kind of used to being around people who do the whole “how are you”—“fine” exchange. Nothing ever goes any deeper there. No one truly knows (and maybe even cares) how you really are doing on the inside. I’ve been in churches where you slip in, and you slip out. No one even notices. I’ve probably even been guilty of not noticing. If I’m being honest, I’ve been guilty of not caring. It’s hard to be real with others.
I know I’ve shared this same passage before, but I think it really describes how a church family is to relate to one another. Romans 12:10-13 (ESV) states, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” When God’s people behave in this manner, that is real.
I’m not going on and on about these people because I’m trying to put them on a pedestal or anything. It’s just that when you notice a church being a real church, it’s pretty amazing. I’ve read in Scripture about how the people of the Lord are supposed to interact with one another; I’ve just not really seen it all that often. I’ve dreamed about it. I’ve prayed for it. I’ve wondered if it existed.
No church is perfect, but it’s nice to know there is a place where real people are!