To the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs: May We Each Be the Brick

 

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

To Pastor Frank Pomeroy, Sherri Pomeroy, the members of First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, and the community of Sutherland Springs, Texas:

You do not know us but we have come to know you.

From our televisions and other devices, we have watched you graciously deliver responses to reporters and media as you lean on the Lord for strength in this time of unimaginable sorrow. Our hearts have been breaking alongside you upon hearing the horrific news and details from this past Sunday’s shooting that took place in your church. We mourn with you (Romans 12:15).

We know your hearts and minds like ours seek to understand “Why” but as you stated Pastor Pomeroy, “I don’t understand but I know my God does.” Questions abound as you and your wife grapple with the death of your precious daughter Annabelle, the 26 members of your church (several of them children) and those still hospitalized and fighting to live. As you and we know, God’s ways, wisdom and purposes infinitely surpass and transcend our finite minds. As the Lord says to us in Isaiah 55:8-9, 8“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. 9“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

The moment we learned of this horrific tragedy brought to you, your families, church family and community, we prayed for the Lord to be so near to you; that you would immediately feel enveloped in His loving arms of comfort, peace and strength. We prayed for His peace to undergird you and we trust that He will continue to so long as you lean on Him.

The Texas Catholic Sutherland Springs

(Photo courtesy: Courtney Sacco/Caller-Times)

We stand with you. We will continue to lift you in prayer and we will remain steadfast in advancing God’s Kingdom. In what the enemy sent to cause defeat and devastation, we trust that God will be glorified. We are already seeing the love of Christ pour out and believe through your display of love, faith and forgiveness, those unbelieving of how such a disposition is possible in the face of great wickedness, will know that it is Christ who sustains you. The LORD is truly our Refuge, our Strength, our Strong Tower, our Rock.

Now, you know us. As members of the Body of Christ, may you also be able to count on us as a refuge of comfort, of peace, of love, of strength and encouragement. As a dear sister in Christ said, “May we each be the one brick in the wall” as it pertains to being a united Body of Christ, serving as a refuge to you and others.

In Christian Love and Fellowship,

The Body of Christ/Your Brothers and Sisters in Christ

To donate to the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, please visit their website http://ssfb.org/ . You may also visit their Facebook page for additional donation information.

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Exercise Spiritual Empathy and Christian Humility

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. –Romans 12:15 (English Standard Version)

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Jason M. Alexandre, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

This verse represents a remarkable attitude of Christian humility. For the Christian who rejoices when others rejoices and weeps when others weep has a sober opinion of their own life. He or she might have reached a point of understanding in the Christian journey that although they are saved spiritually and their eternal destiny is secure in Jesus Christ, they are still subject to trials and tribulations like anyone else.

tears Romans 12-15 rejoice and mourn with

The Oxford English dictionary defines empathy as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” One should not think of themselves as lofty or too spiritual, forgetting that they are human as their neighbor made from the dust of the ground by one Creator. For the Bible says, “Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of them all.”             –Proverbs 22:2    

What right do you have to deny someone the sharing of yourself spiritually, emotionally, or resourcefully? “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, “come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you” when you already have it with you. –Proverbs 3:28

For we ought to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”                      –Galatians 6:2-3

Likewise we ought NOT to say in our hearts or verbally “Ah ha! I knew you were a hypocrite! For I have just caught you in a sin!” For the Bible says, “Brothers and Sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”                             –Galatians 6:1

Galatians 6-1 if a man is overtaken by sinBut don’t restore your brother or sister with the attitude of thinking that you are a better Christian. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, do not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death –even death on a cross! Philippians 2:3-8

“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”     – Romans 12:10

Jonathan Edwards, a 17th century protestant preacher and theologian, once spoke about pure Christian humility. What he said is worth considering today:

“Spiritual pride tends to speak of other persons’ sins with bitterness or with laughter and levity and an air of contempt. But pure Christian humility rather tends either to be silent about these problems or to speak of them with grief and pity. Spiritual pride is very apt to suspect others, but a humble Christian is most guarded about himself. He is as suspicious of nothing in the world as he is of his own heart.

The proud person is apt to find fault with other believers, that they are low in grace, and to be much in observing how cold and dead they are and to be quick to note their deficiencies. But the humble Christian has so much to do at home and sees so much evil in his own heart and is so concerned about it that he is not apt to be very busy with other hearts. He is apt to esteem others better than himself.” Amen

-Jason

Jason’s vision is for the gospel to continue to spread throughout the world and believes it is Christian’s responsibility to carry out this mission effectively. To learn more about the organization for which Jason volunteers, please visit www.HaitiChristianity.org.

Learn more about Jason M. Alexandre here.