Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

The Popular Church Girl & The Other One

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photo credit: azntaiji via photopin cc

Two young, married women join a local church around the same time. While both ladies are married and have children, they are different in appearance, personality and background. One of the women (we will call her Rachel) is lovely physically. She is slender, fit and lives a healthy lifestyle. She has four beautiful children, all perfectly behaved. Her husband is charming and popular. They have a comfortable income and a beautiful home. Rachel is sweet and friendly. She loves the Lord. There is nothing at all to dislike about her.

The second young woman (Leah) is also kind and loving. She is generous with her friendship and quick to serve where needed. She is well-studied in the Word and has a burden for the lost. She also loves Jesus. Leah is in a difficult marriage. She has made mistakes and the consequences linger, but she and her husband work hard to honor the Lord in their marriage. They love their two children and are committed to their family. Leah’s family struggles financially. There is rarely enough money each month to pay all the bills. Leah also struggles with health issues. She is overweight and doesn’t feel attractive by worldly standards, but her husband loves her and says she is beautiful.

Rachel and Leah are both welcomed into their new church home with open arms. They are both treated with kindness and shown hospitality. Yet, as the weeks go on, Leah begins to wonder if any of her new friends at church will seek a deeper friendship with her. A few months later, she is at church and is talking with Rachel. Rachel shares about how she has been invited to another lady’s house for a little get together with a few of the ladies. Rachel is surprised to hear Leah wasn’t invited. Leah also notices that Rachel seems to be surrounded by ladies after service each week. She is making lots of friends. In fact, they all seem to want to be her friends. Despite Leah’s efforts, she still hasn’t managed to make one good friend. Leah is feeling the pangs of loneliness and unwanted battles with jealousy. She prays for a friend…just one person who wants a deeper friendship with her than the typical Sunday chit chat.

The months go on. Leah watches on Facebook as every post that Rachel makes ignites a long list of replies. She and her family are invited to birthday parties, bridal showers and other events. During the week she receives no calls or emails. She doesn’t get invites to lunch. She is keenly aware that, for reasons she can only assume, she has not be counted worthy of relationship. She has no one who will check on her or know if she is going through a trial. She has no one to turn to when she needs a listening ear. She has no one to call a best friend…at least not from her church family.

This “Rachel & Leah” story is nothing new in church today. It is common. It is disappointing. It often goes unnoticed. The truth is, the church is sometimes a breeding ground for being a respecter of persons. Cliques and preferential treatment is far too common. There are always Rachels, who walk into the church and are immediate hits. They are popular, loved and preferred. People flock to them and seek to have meaningful friendships with them. There are always Leahs, who are the ones that are left unchosen and unselected as a friend of importance. They may be very pleasant and loved by others in the church, but they are never the ones that people choose as close friends. It’s really quite sad.

What is this preferential treatment based on? It’s usually the same criteria that the world uses, which is extra sad. Appearance. Wealth. Popularity. I think most people don’t even recognize what they are doing. It is a subconscious working of the flesh to prefer one person over another for these reasons. They are just drawn to them.

At the end of the day, both Rachel and Leah need close friends within in the church. They both need relationships. It’s so important that every Leah who walks into the church is singled out and pursued by someone. We need to keep watch for those Leahs who are slipping through the cracks and going home hurt every week because no one is trying to get to know them.

Sure, be friends with Rachel, but don’t forget about Leah!

A few years ago my world was rocked when a woman from our small church took her life. She had relapsed into alcoholism in a moment of weakness and was overwhelmed with guilt. I remember weeping and being filled with conviction because I knew I missed so many chances to get to know her better. She needed relationships. She had some, but maybe if she had more she would have had someone she felt she could turn to. I don’t know. What I do know is that there are too many Leahs out there, of all ages and backgrounds, who are getting completely overlooked in church. It is a shame. It is wrong.

I’ve committed myself to loving Leah. I’ve committed myself to seeking out Leahs who need friendship. I am completely committed to loving all of my sisters, regardless of how the world would measure them up. They are daughters of the King and so precious to Him. Thus they are precious to us!

I am committed to Leah because I know Leah. I understand Leah. I have been Leah at times.

If you are Leah, I pray you will understand that your worth is not measured by worldly standards, but by the Creator of the Universe. He made you wonderful and well worth friendship and love. Don’t give up. Perhaps you will find another Leah who needs you as much as you need her.

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture,“You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said,“Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty.13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

James 2:1-13

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