Summary: This message from my youth ministry days was my attempt to explain the reasons some churches were unfriendly and some individuals were thoughtless with regards to the feelings of others in the church. The text is 1 Peter 3:8-18
Thick Skinned and Tender-hearted
TEXT: I Peter 3:8-18
“I was a stranger in the city. The church sign read, ‘Welcome‘, so I went in. I smiled at the Sunday school children as they rushed to their classes. Neither they nor their parents greeted me. After I sat down, an elderly woman sat beside me. We exchanged names and shook hands. Another woman joined us, saying it was nice weather. After singing a few songs we went to class. No one spoke to me.”
“After Sunday school, everyone rushed to the worship service. The service included hearty singing, prayer and a beautiful duet. The minister welcomed Mrs. So-and-So then said, ‘I don’t see anyone else I don’t know’ and went on with the announcements. After closing prayer, I waited expectantly to meet someone but over 100 worshippers filed out, not even pausing to say, ‘It was good that you came today.’ Big words in the bulletin said, ‘Welcome, we are glad you came. Come often.’ But all I could think was, ‘I was a stranger and you took me not in.’” (Taken from “Was This Your Church” by A. D. Schanz)
Have you ever had this experience while away from home visiting a strange church? Have you ever wondered what causes some churches to be warm and friendly while others are cold and impersonal?
We will examine this problem as we study I Peter 3:8-18. [read text]
Today, I want to show an important quality for any Christian who wants to be useful to God. The title for this message is: “Thick Skinned and Tender Hearted” but first, we will need to examine why some people are just the opposite. What causes some Christians to be -- thin skinned and hard hearted.
I. THIN SKINNED AND HARD HEARTED
There are several underlying reasons why some Christians become thin skinned and hard hearted; they have developed attitudes that make them that way. We are going to explore a few of the reasons for this over-sensitivity and callousness.
A. an attitude of “Pride”
B. an attitude of “Thoughtlessness”
C. an attitude of “Selfishness”
Pride is perhaps one of the biggest hindrances to a friendly concerned church. The reason why pride is so detrimental is because pride produces fear of rejection by others. Many people in the church have at one time or another experienced rejection from someone in the church.
Someone didn’t respond to their move of friendliness and because they were hurt, they weren’t about to risk rejection again. The result is that these people now make a point of keeping a measure of “coolness” in their friendliness so no one will think they are reaching out for friendship or that they need acceptance.
However, we need to remember that even Christ experienced rejection and the apostle Paul was not always loved in return. Paul once wrote to the Corinthians telling them in II Corinthians 6:11-13 --
“We have spoken freely to you Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are with-holding yours from us. As a fair exchange--I speak as to my children--open wide your hearts also.”