Our apartment building is divided into two sections with separate entrances. In between is a shaft that allows air to flow in and out of the bathroom windows. This also enables us to hear whenever someone in our vicinity flushes a toilet, which was a little awkward at first.
But as time went by I began to hear other sounds floating in through those windows: a woman singing hymns, a girl practicing her flute, a family laughing together. Both pleasant and unpleasant noises are a regular part of living in close quarters with others. Which will I focus on?
I have learned the flip-side of this lesson while church planting. I am filled with praise for the dear families God has sent our way with their unique gifts and their love for the Lord. But with time I’ve begun to see their faults. Will I focus on the good or the bad? Will I pay the price for living in community by loving them even when they show their unlovely side?
Back to the previous analogy: Just as we hear our neighbors’ negative and positive sounds, they also hear OURS. Likewise the people in the church plant are getting to know Dan and me, warts and all. May the Lord help us to continue to grow in grace and love toward one another.