Wednesday, March 11, 2009

An Example of Loving a Very Difficult Brother

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protests, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 
-1 Corinthians 13:4-7

In the 1800's, in a small town in England, in a very poor neighborhood, there lived a kind old pastor, Mr. Robert Chapman, who was well known, even outside England, for his loving and humble character. The church that he pastored for 70 years was very divisive when he moved to that town. As the years passed, he patiently loved these saints and taught them to love one another. Many years later, a short conversation was preserved which gives us a window into the soul of a man marked by unusual humility and love. Let us pay attention to his attitude that we might see higher into the heavenlies.

A Christian man moved to town and joined the church pastored by Chapman. Years later an enquiry was made about that man by someone from his previous church in another town. The enquirer was curious about how Chapman got along with him as the man had been very difficult to deal with. "Chapman replied that he was a valuable brother, a very valuable brother; and added: 'We did not know our need of patience till he came among us.'"


Did you notice Chapman's attitude? He considered the very difficult brother to be God's instrument to reveal the church's need to grow in patience. Chapman clearly learned that lesson of love well, seeing the man as a "very dear brother." Do you want to learn to love? Are you willing to welcome the difficult saints in your life as God's chosen instruments to reveal you need of patience? If not, what does that reveal about your real desire to grow in love? Does this bother you? How wonderful it is that our loving Father is patient with us when we are not so with each other.

Reading about God's gracious work in and through Robert Chapman has been a great blessing to me. The first post on this blog is a recommendation of Agape Leadership: lessons in spiritual leadership from the life of RC Chapman. If you want to grow in love, or become more sensitive to your lack of love, this books would be a great help. You friends would benefit from you reading it, too. The above excerpt was taken from a book recently reprinted entitled: Robert Chapman, by Frank Holmes
"Father in heaven, help us to see the difficult people around us as a blessing from your hand of grace to show us our need of more love. Convict us when we only tolerate them instead of loving them. Please do this soon. Thank you for loving us even when we neglect to love. Amen."

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