I don’t really feel all that old but I do remember when technology moved us away from a dial phone to a push button phone. And then a little over ten years ago I actually purchased my first cell phone. This was cool. I could now get rid of the “beeper” and have instant contact with whomever.
The first time I heard of a “cell phone” was in the mid-1980’s while living in Dallas, Texas. One of the local building contractors was telling some us about this new way to communicate and we didn’t need to look for change for a payphone. WOW! What could this be? You may remember the earlier cell phones. A bulky bag that was a bit on the heavy side.
Who knew that we would have the “flip phone” because of a TV show called Star Trek? Well, they say a cell phone gets better with every app (that’s application for those of us who struggle with abbreviations).
What if there was a suite of Apps for an upgraded YOU? It is available. Applications like Love, Joy, Peace, and Self-control. It is God’s will for all of us to become better people. How do we do this? A simple faith in God. One does not need a theological degree to figure it out but one does need a willingness to surrender to God’s love.
“For God so loved the WORLD (that’s us) that he gave his ONLY begotten son (Jesus Christ) that whosoever (us) believes in HIM shall not perish but have everlasting life.” From the Bible, St. John 3:16 Of all the Apps God has available to us, this is the most precious of all….LOVE. God really does love you. Some have had bad experiences with church. I am sorry for that experience, but as long as we have people there will be those negatives to cope with.
If you have been injured by someone in the church I urge you to find someone to talk to about your relationship with God and if you have had some life issues that have driven you away from the church or, if you have never been to church but feel a relationship with God is important, call someone who will have a listening ear. When you are talking with someone about your issue please allow the listener an opportunity to talk and share any information including the opportunity to refer you to someone who may be better suited to help you.
Now, to those of you who have a relationship with the Lord here’s some pointers to help those who will ask questions:
- LISTEN: A wonderful gift to exhibit is to listen to what one has to say. If a person has been spiritually abused they are tender and really need to know the person they are talking to can be trusted and will listen without being judgemental. It’s important to not “preach” but listen and pray with the person. This exemplifies LOVE.
- CONFIDENTIALITY: If you can’t hold confidence, refer them on to someone who can. The last thing anyone needs is for their confidence to be betrayed. This rule isn’t only for the clergy but also applies to any layperson who is hearing the problems of a hurting individual. Every one of us needs a “father confessor” whether we are Protestant or Catholic. We need a listening ear that will hear our problems and as the scripture says, James 5:16 – “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
- HONESTY: If you don’t have answers, say so. Be upfront and honest. Over the years of my ministry, I have referred people to others for further help. There is no room for proving how good we are as a counselor if indeed we aren’t. That can be dangerous for all involved.
- REFER: You may have interaction with someone who is difficult. Do your best to help, with the realization there are those who have so much anger they will not listen to what anyone has to say. IF you are able to get through to the person that they need to contact someone else, do so. Keep a list of names and phone numbers handy for a ready reference of the clergy, professional counselors, abuse and victim hotlines, suicide hotline and any other resource you feel would be helpful.
Exemplify our Lord’s love and concern for others. This App called LOVE is so needed, so necessary and it will stretch us as we encounter those who are struggling, whether they are family members, neighbor, friend or a total stranger. Download God’s APP for a better you.
Oh, God’s word, the Bible, is the best software for your life.
This article was written by Dr Michael Layne who serves as an Archbishop in the Lutheran Orthodox Church and is pastor of FaithPoints Lutheran Church in Greensburg, IN.