Several years ago on New Year’s Day, 20-year-old Nicholas Simmons went missing. His family did everything they could to find their son, including contacting the police and starting a Facebook page. Unfortunately, since Nick had left his wallet and cell phone at home, no one could find him. For days they diligently searched for him, all to no avail.
As the bitter cold swept through the country, a photographer took pictures of some of the weather-beaten homeless people on the New York streets. One photo depicted a young man huddling under a thick blanket with his face pressed against a steam grate, soaking every bit of warmth he could as he battled the freezing cold. This person was Nicholas Simmons.
This very picture showed up in USA Today. As Nick’s mother was looking through the newspaper, she saw the picture and realized it was her son. Using this information she eventually was able to find and reconnect with Nick.
We don’t know why Nick went missing or what caused him to leave. No matter the reason, one thing is clear; Nick had a loving family who desperately wanted him to come back (CNN).
It’s always heartbreaking when a person goes missing, especially when a person goes missing from the church. Maybe it was an argument. Maybe they felt abandoned by the church family. Maybe the leadership hasn’t reached out to the person enough. Maybe something cruel or hurtful has happened. Or maybe the person just didn’t want to be in the family anymore. No matter the reason, it’s heart-wrenching to watch people go missing.
Every person in the body has a responsibility. If we hurt someone, let’s go make it right. If we’ve been negligent toward each other, let’s immediately remedy this. If we’ve been lazy with our relationships, it’s time to get to work.
At the same time, if you’ve been hurt, neglected, or ignored, will you consider forgiving? Come back and help figure out a solution.
Let’s not forget the powerful words of John, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love…Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:7-8, 11).
The love that should be found in the church should be so unique, so special, and so powerful, it can’t be found anywhere else on earth. This love is displayed in selflessness and sacrifice. When love goes missing, people are soon to follow.
Can it be said of us that we “love each other”? If not, then it’s time to make changes.