What makes a church “right”? In other words, what is the quality or the character of a church that is really doing it right or according to how we think Jesus would want His church to be?
That question has a lot of right answers but I’d like to focus on just one possibility. That one possibility comes directly from Paul’s letter to the Romans where he says, "Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.” (Romans 12:10 NKJV)
Don’t you just love it when you find a church where people really love each other? I’m not talking about being friendly or casual but truly ‘kindly affectionate’.
Being kind is a virtue that is too often lacking in the world today. While it really is a virtue, many think of being ‘kind’ as sometimes being ‘weak’ or being ‘simple’. One of the hallmarks of really having kind is displaying kindness even when it’s difficult, such as when kindness is combined with the need for forgiveness and patience. Paul tells the Ephesians, “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you." (Eph 4:32 NKJV); and he tells the Colossians, "therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering.” (Col. 3:12 NKJV)
It’s relatively easy to put out signs at church that say, “welcome”, but true kindness combined with affection goes further. Kindly affection extends our welcome to everyone in the community regardless of their background, race, ethnicity and gender. Kindly affection welcomes sinners as well as saints. Kindly affection allows us to honor each other in the church and most importantly gives each other room for God to finish the work that we often feel is already perfected in ourselves.
I love that kind of church!