My family returned recently from the most externally beautiful and the most internally and familially beautiful trip we’ve ever had together. In a word, it was … Narnia … for us. My heart was so full of richness, it hurt (and still does). There was a mutual loyalty and friendship felt that’s hard to describe. “Heaven” was an oft used word. One phrase my boys uttered a few times was, “Ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.”
It made me think of what heaven’s designed to be like. The external beauty will surely be there … and so will the internal beauty and richness of loyal friendships, with God and His ohana. And if our friends (Christian and non-Christian alike) are going to get an idea of heaven, it ought to be via seeing or experiencing authentic Christian “ohana” relationships, where life is laid down one for another (like Christ did) and no one in the “ohana” gets left behind or forgotten.
The Christian church isn’t lacking in verbal arguments or defenses, or even in niceness and nice gestures; but it IS lacking in sacrificial Christ-like others-centered commitment in its Christian “ohana” relationships. And that is a damaging apologetic. Who wants to join a “family” that isn’t even loyal to each other? Even gangs know better than this (see my message).
Jesus said, “By THIS all people will know that you are My disciples …” What’s “THIS”? He answers, “… if you have love for one another.” The word used for love there is agape, the most committed, determined, loyal kind of love in the Greek language; the word used for God’s love.
It’s this kind of demonstrative apologetic that we need to develop … and it is HARD. But it is what we’ll be working on this Friday at TD in our discussion groups.
So, in preparation for this vital discussion, please review my last message, “Improving Our Impotence,” as well as the recent blog posts on loyalty and friendship.
Until TD! – Arthur