I learned this week that there is a Tumbler site called "Selfies at Funerals." The tagline for the site is, "Hello and Goodbye". It's at times irreverent, creepy, and self-focused but not exclusively so. The site is exactly what it says, a collection of selfies taken at funerals. Some are poignant, but most seem shallow. In the unlikely event you don't know what a "selfie" is, it's self-portrait taken with a smartphone, usually for the purpose of posting on social media. Often they are taken in good fun, but they flirt with being a high tech method to gain attention.
Attention seeking and other self-focused behaviors are nothing new. This kind of sin certainly doesn't just disappear among followers of Jesus. So we should not be surprised when we encounter carnality and immaturity in other believers. We also need to be honest about our own sin in this regard. That will help us to avoid a problem I've noticed. Some, who otherwise have a high tolerance for dealing with selfishness or immaturity with people at work or home, engage in church life with a naive view that everyone will behave by the highest Biblical standards. That's unrealistic. If the church is effectively reaching out to the community, it will always have all kinds of people. Some will have no idea how to act. Sometimes a relatively mature believer can be having a terrible day and you catch the ugly underside of their frustration. Furthermore, all of us have blind spots. No one always acts with perfect compassion and love. You know that you have not always done that. So you can't be surprised when someone acts in a way that frustrates you and you can't wear your feelings on your sleeve.
Think about this: Jesus, the greatest team leader ever, had dissent and petty jealousy on his team. And the text we will explore Sunday morning, gives evidence that the apostle John, one of the disciples closest to Jesus, had a rogue leader in the midst of a church with whom he had great influence. If Jesus and John had such inconsistencies on teams and in churches they led, what right do we have to get offended when someone has the audacity to cross us? Why we would engage in church life with the shortest of fuses and the lowest tolerance for difficulty? That's unfair and naive.
Sunday at Bethany Place, we will finish a two week series "FaceTime" from 2nd and 3rd John. 3rd John contrasts three characters who among them display both the heights of God's kind of love as well as Satan inspired, ego driven selfishness. The message is called Selfies or Selfless. The audio to the message should post here on the Bethany Place site in a few days.