Summary: Third in series Relating to God: What We Can Learn About God From Our Closest Relationships On Earth. In this message Dave shows that maintaining faith in people must be based not in confidence in them, but in confidence in God.
Part 3 in series
Relating to God: What We Can Learn About God Through Our Closest Relationships On Earth
Wildwind Community Church
February 21, 2009
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NIV)
23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24 The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.
Here we are tonight, in week 3 of our series Relating to God: What We Can Learn About God Through Our Closest Relationships On Earth. In week 1 we talked about the foundation of all healthy relationships, which is trust. Last week we talked about – what? Commitment. If trust is the foundation of healthy relationships, commitment is their oxygen. You cannot build and maintain trust without commitment. Today I want to speak to you about faithfulness/fidelity. See if you trust someone, you can then make a commitment to them. Once you make that commitment, what must you do? You must be faithful to keep it. Remember, last week I said you can make a commitment as you are, but to keep a commitment you will have to cultivate the quality of faithfulness. So we’re going to look at faithfulness and fidelity today.
Several years ago someone in the church disagreed with a decision I made. (That’s the only time this has ever happened!) This person disagreed quite strongly, in fact. So strongly that the language that was used was not, “I strongly disagree with you,” or “Can you explain where you’re coming from?” but rather language like, “How could you do this?” And later on, “How could you do this TO ME,” as if I had woken up one morning and made a deliberate decision to shatter this person’s world. I tried to calm them down. I said, “Christy and I have loved you and invested in you for years. We care deeply for you. We want what is best for you. We know you don’t agree with this decision, but we truly believe it is what needs to happen and that you have an opportunity here to step up and grow in huge ways.”
The response blew me away. This person said, “I’m sorry, I cannot accept this. I loved you. I looked up to you. And now you have done this to me. You and Christy aren’t the people I always thought you were. You’re not the people I loved and cared about and who I knew cared about me.”
I pleaded with this person, “Please don’t say that. You can disagree with my decision. You can be angry at me. You can even leave my church, but please do not abandon faith in me. Please do not choose to believe that those years we have poured into your life and loved you and cared for you were just an act. Please be willing to maintain faith in us, please trust our hearts. Please choose to believe, even when you can’t see it, that we love you and have your best interests in mind.
This person said, “I can’t believe that. You are not who I thought you were.” And they left the church. We’re on good terms today and Christy and I still, as always, care deeply for this person and wish them the best. But this is a person who, when things got difficult between them and us, chose to abandon faith in us. This person decided to no longer be faithful to Christy and me because they were willing to seriously entertain the idea that deep in our hearts we did not love them or care for them.