I pray that this email finds you well this day. Two weeks ago, as a part of our Lord’s Supper remembrance, I conveyed a word about “loving above all else” – “above all else, love one another.” Peter does not provide any qualifiers and as best I can tell, neither did Jesus. We are simply to love each other in the church.
Some of you have been disappointed by the response received from families in your care group. Maybe you haven’t felt love (or even interest) in return in the way that you have offered it. What you have experienced is apathy, the most destructive and contagious infection that can attack a church. Very often the people (and this may be you) who recognize the infection for what it is become infected the worst. Before it may be realized, the life of the church is anemic – colorless and feeble – because apathy has infected everyone.
Now the deep-rooted foundation upon which apathy in the church resides is immature love. Apathy says that what God is doing, or desires for me to do, in the life of another or in the church bores me. Apathy says that I have a lack of interest in the spiritual health of others, or of that of the church or me even. Apathy says I have better things to do that to deal with people who are not interested anyway – lazy people, indifferent people, people who suffer from church droopiness – always in danger of falling off the vine before they even know it.
But the secret of agape’ is that the more it is exercised and realized in the lives of people and the church, the less prevalent and dangerous apathy is – agape’ has a greater chance to mature in the giver and the receiver. As love does mature, it makes possible all these full and meaningful aspects of life: (look them up for yourself – Rom 12:9-11, 13:8-10; Gal 5:6, 13, 22, Eph 4:2, 15-16 – and there are others but by now you get the idea)
Don’t let the apathy of some have an effect on your expressed love for them and others. Help them overcome their “dis-ease” by giving them a healthy, consistent dose of real brotherly love. It is truly the only way we each have of impacting the life of an immature Christ-follower and overcoming apathy in their life and fighting it off in our own. “Above all else…” we have to keep on loving.