TAKE A CHANCE ON ME
By JENNY AYERS
When I hear the word family, big concepts come to mind -- covenant, trust, loyalty, and commitment. When you add the word church --church family...the concept can be like puke in your mouth if you've experienced betrayal, rejection and failure in relationships within the Body of Christ. Hearing church family in a sentence can evoke feelings of anger, rage, fear, and anxiety.
In 1995, my family was in a terrible car accident in San Antonio coming home from my Uncle’s funeral. My sister almost died and the church my sister and mom were a part of came to San Antonio and prayed day and night for her. In ten days she went from a coma and a 50/50 chance of survival to fully awake and headed home to rehab. I re-dedicated my life to the Lord after that accident and my Dad and I started going with my mom and sister to this new church. I was a part of this church for 18 years. All of my formative spiritual upbringing was at that church. Significant memories of being baptized in the Holy Spirit, learning to lead worship, meeting my husband Anthony, getting married, even our children being dedicated, all happened in this church family. I saw myself growing old with these people. I did not foresee the end.
We left in 2013. So much was lost from that era and it took five years to recover. Leaving was the right thing to do. It was not a healthy place anymore but man, it hurt. There was a chunk of time when I retired from worship teams and closed the door on committing to another church body. I didn't see the importance of it anymore. I made inner vows like, “I will never do that again” or “I'll never let anyone treat me that way again.” Inner vows are a visceral response to legitimate emotional pain, but when we make them, we are taking matters into our own hands to protect ourselves from feeling that kind of pain ever again. They cause the wrestling matches that ensue when we hear the Lord calling us into a new season and we lock up and start projecting. Inner vows can be an entry point for the enemy. We can’t have love on our own terms. Fear and insecurity are love killers. Jesus is calling us higher.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:34-35 ESV
It is time to take the word church and family and put them in their proper context which is IN Christ. As believers we have made a covenant with Jesus who died for us when we were complete wretches, whose raised us to life everlasting and intercedes on our behalf at the Father’s right hand! Our loyalty, our commitment, our trust is to Christ our King. Therefore, we love each other.
Hopefully you’ve read C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I think of this quote often when I hear the Holy Spirit reminding me of my covenant with Jesus and the call into something I know will cause me pain:
“Aslan is a lion - the Lion, the great Lion." "Ooh" said Susan. "I'd thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion." "Safe?" said Mr Beaver. "Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Love is not safe and can be downright scary. Our supreme example of Love hung on a cross bearing the sin and shame of all mankind for all time. Some of Jesus’ final words were “Lord forgive them for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34 ESV
How could He say this after all that they had done to Him?! My flesh response to being wronged and relationally injured is, “Burn it all DOWN!” Lord, thank you that I’m not in charge of the universe.
The Way of Love
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…” 1 Cor. 13:1-8 ESV
My heart still aches sometimes from the memories of old friends and partners in ministry no more, but I promise you, if you let Jesus in and yield to wherever He wants to take you in the healing process, you will be healed.
Peter asked Jesus in Matthew 18:21-22, "Lord, how many times do I forgive my brother who has sinned against me…seven times?" Jesus answered, "how about seventy times seven..." meaning countless times. Forgive and keep forgiving. Love and keep loving. This is the hallmark of church family.
“God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.”
Ephesians 2:19-22 The Message
Church family is God’s plan. Love is the bonding agent. Covenanted IN Christ we allow Him to establish us brick by brick. Our faith joined together is a powerful force in bringing His Kingdom to earth. In closing…
If you're all alone when the pretty birds have flown
Honey I'm still free
Take a chance on me
Gonna do my very best and it ain't no lie
If you put me to the test, if you let me try
Take a chance on me (that’s all I ask of you honey) take a chance on me