You may be aware that we had some unwanted intruders in our church premises during the night last weekend.
My children and I opened the front door here at ECF to find some of the chaos that had been caused in our main hall. In other parts of the building there were a number of other signs of damage and mischief – the worst being just a few discharged fire extinguishers, a damaged lock and a nearly emptied box of Freddos from my office!
So how do we respond to an incident like this as a Christ-centred community?
We can experience anger – yes. We can want justice – yes. But above all we should endeavour to express a heart like that which God has expressed toward us. A heart by which mercy triumphs over judgment, forgiveness defeats offence and favour trumps anger.
“For his anger is but for a moment, and his favour is for a lifetime. Psalms 30:5
So our heart is to seek to reflect the heart of God – even toward those who have wronged us. I think this means forgiving and praying for those who wrong us and in our situation hoping that the offenders somehow experience and are transformed by the presence and love of God. We need not live in fear whilst ensuring we remain vigilant and aware of security matters.
This kind of response is easier in a situation where the damage done is relatively minor, but our experience can help us grow in expressing God’s heart in this way.