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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN



"I'm going to hurt that church." Yes, that's what he said. And he said it with all the passion that he could muster.

But I'm already ahead of the story, so let me back up a little. Most Churches of Christ that I know have wonderful reputations for helping people. I'm not ashamed of the fact that this congregation has that same reputation. One lady, not a member of the churches of Christ, said it this way, "Those people take care of their own and then help anybody else they can too." I doubt she knew it, but she was awfully close to quoting Galatians 6:10. But I digress, suffice it to say our brotherhood has a great reputation for helping others. There are some problems with that. Perhaps the most prevalent is the fact that there are freeloaders out there. We aren't pessimists here who think that everyone in need is a bum. We are aware that some even followed Christ for the loaves and fishes. (John 6:26). He knew that even before He feed the multitudes and it didn't stop Him. (John 2:25). There are really hurting people in this world at large, and in most every town. The Lord's people are to "do good unto all men". (Gal. 6: 10). We've also learned that there are some people who continually helping them is really hurting them and enabling them. What those people really need is someone to say "no", and then lead them to helping themselves.

But back to our story. A man came by the office a few days ago and wanted help. He smelled strongly of cigarette smoke (That's somewhat incidental, but I find it interesting that some people who are too destitute to afford food, warmth and clothing, can still afford enough cigarettes to smell up a whole office), the holidays had been hard on him and he couldn't afford his rent. Would we pay it? Thankfully, I don't make that decision, if I did I'm afraid I'd end up "giving away the farm". We knew him. We had helped him in the past. The decision was made not to help him this time. His response was curt: "I'm going to hurt that church." I also find it interesting that people are seldom thankful for the gifts we give them, but are always ready to get hostile if we say no.

Though I doubt it, he may attempt to. He may try and bad mouth us around his friends and acquaintances, though they probably already know him well enou h that they'll ignore his words for the most part. But, really, I'm not too concerned about his hurting the church. I don't honestly believe that there is a whole lot he can do to "hurt this church". I am concerned about some who are members of the church who by there actions set out to hurt this church.

Those who don't mind that their friends know they are members of the church but also don't seem to mind their friends knowing that they get drunk, or use profanity, or five sexually immoral lives, or tell dirty jokes, or treat their family poorly, or cheat their bosses, or lie on their tax returns, or neglect the assemblies, or any other such thing. They just go on breaking God's laws and hurting His church.  There's another group that hurts the church. They are the ones who bad mouth their brothers and sisters, who run down the church and her leaders. (Romans 1:30; 1 Timothy 5:19). Those who by their voice and actions vote daily against the Lord and His church. In quiet comers they whisper about decisions in matters of opinion that elders have made. (Romans 1:29). They dissect issues, but never provide solutions. They spread gossip. They never look for the good in others and they seldom encourage. (Hebrews 3:13). They don't realize that whatever they do to the church they are really doing to the Lord. (Acts 9:4). Yes, they do far more harm to the Lord and His church than any outsiders has ever done. 

Yes, there are those who can hurt this church. I wonder are you one of them?

Dale Jenkins