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Fight For Your Family
by Bro. Reggie Dowdy

1101 North Union Road
Dayton, Ohio 45417

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"I do not believe that the president loves America," so said former NYC mayor Rudy Giulianii this week. He drew his conclusion from his assessment of the things the president has said and done over the years of his administration. I will leave the validity of the mayor's remark to your own powers of observation. And, that is just the point: One can truly tell by observation whether or not a person loves something. Observe a human with his pet, an employee with his job, an automobile owner with his vehicle, a gun owner with his weapon, a husband with his wife or wife with her husband, a president with his country, a Christian with the Church, and you can tell whether or not one loves that object. It is the last example that I want to pause and reflect upon. The criticisms of our country by the president has led Mayor Giuliani to conclude he must not love our country. We are living at a time when the criticism of the Church has grown into a constant, incoming fusillade. Disturbingly, much of the criticism is being launched, not by enemies of Christianity, but by "Christians" themselves--former pastors and church leaders, church members, and those raised in church. Reflective self-examination with the intent of improvement is noble. Criticism with the purpose of dismissing, demeaning, demonizing is malicious. The first can be done with and because of love. The last only reveals a lack of love. I think of a renowned "minister" who came to fame as a pastor of a church who now belittles the Church while yet claiming to be a spiritual leader. I also think of many on a local church level who constantly find fault, pick apart, arrogantly harangue the body of which they are or have been a part. Almost always, those who speak such dismissive, condemnatory criticisms are those who have most benefitted from that local church (or could have had they been receptive). The point is, although they would insist it is only a particular local church or body they are faulting, they do not love the Church. A husband that loves his mate is not blind to her faults. But, his love governs his response to them. An American that loves his country is not ignorant of her historical and contemporary imperfections, but he loves who she is beyond those blemishes. He does not characterize her by her failings but by who she really is. Whether country, spouse, or church, any can cobble a list of faults together and build a case of dislike and disdain. But, if one loves country, spouse, church, he could compose a weightier itemization of reasons for appreciation, admiration, and gratitude. (One criticizes what he is not committed to.) One thing is for certain: Jesus loves the Church. "…Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;" (Eph 5:25). Christ better than any knows the church's faults and doesn't hesitate to point them out (Rev. 2 & 3). Yet, in everything He says or does, you can tell He loves her. I can say emphatically, "I believe Jesus loves this Church." It really shows.

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