Sunday, March 20, 2011

Love Unfeigned

In our men's group at church today, we had a new person show up.  He was obviously not your usual church-going type, and when he was asked to introduce himself, he said some things that made it clear he had some mental issues, probably schizophrenia.

Later in the lesson, the teacher asked a question and this man answered with a rambling response that ended with him saying he wanted to have a family, and how should he go about doing that?

Everyone in the room listened until he was done talking, and I expected everyone to do what I was planning to do: humor the man while maintaining a polite expression, then turn back to the teacher and let him guide the lesson back on-topic.

Instead, to my surprise, a couple of men in the class answered with very thoughtful, serious responses.  The marine with the grenade stickers on his truck explained that the man's first goal should be to make himself right with the Lord then blessings like a family would follow, while the silent man at the back of the room spoke up and gave encouragement for starting with the small things like coming to church.  Before the class was over, the man had been invited to a church activity, lined up with a ride, and shaken hands with half the class.

I was ashamed of my initial reaction of brushing off the man, while simultaneously rejoicing in belonging to an organization that built men like the ones who had just taught me a lesson.  Next time, I'll hopefully be a little more Christlike thanks to their example.

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