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An Open Door Policy
Photo: Benjamin Earwicker
Where Jesus lives, the great-hearted gather.
We are a door that’s never locked. 

If you are suffering any kind of pain,
stay near this door. Open it.


Every one of us knows what it’s like to suffer. We all have felt pain, sadness, loss and depression, and each person on earth understands what it means to grieve, mourn and feel hopeless. It’s a cruel fact of this world that we will all be touched by sin and sadness; none of us can avoid the birthright handed down from the original sin.

As members of the church body, we should be able to find comfort and safety from pain within our church. One of the main reasons Christians and other religious groups gather together is to take strength in common beliefs and understandings, and to support each other through times of trial and happiness. Church is not only a place to sing and pray and praise, but also a place to share who we are and what troubles us, and to find solace in others who believe as we do.

Likewise, we need to be ready to help those hurting in our midst—whether they are church members or not. A shoulder to cry on, a listening ear and a helping hand say more about our God and our earthly purpose than any sermon.

Beacon's of Light

Our churches need to be beacons of light; places where individuals with hearts open to love and forgiveness come together to encourage each other through life’s battles. In fact, Jesus said that our love is what would cue others in to our choice to serve God. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). It is through this open-hearted love that we prove our sincerity as Christians.

Christians and Christianity have come under fire since the beginning of the movement, and it doesn’t take much imagination to understand why. The same attitudes, prejudice, and unkindness that plague the world have found their way into our churches since the early days of Christianity. All you have to do is look at the arguments between the disciples recorded in the Bible to see the root of the negative press.

Instead of finding a way to project love, honesty, purity and a model lifestyle through our common beliefs, too many Christians have adopted actions and thought patterns the opposite of how we should conduct Christ’s namesake organization.

Rumi's words slammed into my heart. Those four simple lines spoke to me as a Christian. I long to be the kind of person that can be described as great-hearted, and I wish our brand of Christianity could be as accessible as a never-locked door. I believe that with a little more kindness and a lot more effort, Christians and our places of worship can become known as a refuge for those suffering the pains of humanity.

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By Lauren Bongard Schwarz. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture take from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

*Rumi, a scholar, teacher, poet and mystic, lived in Afghanistan and Turkey early in the thirteenth century. Although he was Muslim, Rumi felt a strong connection to Jesus and His merciful love that extends to every individual.

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