Beauty through the Pain

In today’s fast pace, on-the-move world, where the latest technological gadgets and action-packed movies constantly bombard us, our culture has lost sight of the value of personal relationships. People walk down the hallways of work, school, and even church, exchanging nothing more than a quick, thoughtless, “How are you…good…how are you…good.” And if someone were to respond with what was really going on in their life, the listener would most likely not be prepared to hear their whole life story or even care to really know how that person is doing.

Recently, my best friend’s mother past away. Through the pain and sorrow of losing someone who was dearly loved by not only her family, but by many others who she mentored and influenced, those she left behind found love and support through community. The value of strong, personal relationships was priceless. I witnessed the great outpouring of love and community that surrounded her family during this dark time and was able to see how the body of Christ carried out its responsibility to lift up those in need during hardship.

But how can we carry out this mentality to the secular culture that surrounds us? It may be easy to love each other within the Christian community, especially during a time of sorrow, but how can we reach out to all people in day-to-day life?

Sometimes, something as simple as really asking how someone is doing can make a huge difference. This small act shows that there is more behind the common greeting. There is caring and the willingness to listen. Even though it may be difficult at times to step away from our hectic schedules and take the time to listen, the relationships we build are so much more important in God’s eyes than the minor details of everyday life. If we, as Christians, continue to see life through ‘eternal’ glasses, we will be able to see past the “me-centered” culture in which we live. We will see the beauty through the pain; the joy through the sadness. This can only come from God and keeping our eyes focused on Him.

Even the smallest gesture of caring can change a person’s life. My friend shared that she sometimes wished that Christ could physically hug her, but through this experience, she realized that He does – everyday – through members of the Church. We are called as the body of Christ, in the simplest terms, to be Christ’s hug and lift each other up in times of crisis.

Not only are we called to be there for other Christians, but many times, reaching out in love can be the best witness for Christ to non-believers. The Providence motto “In Christ All Things New” shows that even relationships can be renewed and restored through Christ. Relationships should be Christ-centered with the perspective of building relationships for eternity. And the only way we can do this is through God’s grace because we know that, “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).