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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
Pastor to Pastor

In the Worst of Times

Friends are friends at all times, even the hard ones.

Growing into Christ (4)

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5.44, 45

Spiritual Friendship
Aelred of Rievaulx (1109-1167)
“However, in this respect friendship is more probable and its virtue is more clearly proved, when a friend does not cease to be the friend he was, even to one who harms him: he loves the one by whom he is not loved, he honors the one by whom he is despised, he blesses the one by whom he is cursed, and he does good to the one who devises ruin for him.”

This is a tall order, indeed. It’s hard to imagine that we could continue as a friend to one who consistently inflicted harm or caused offense to us. But if we are called to love our enemies, who always abuse us, how much more must we continue to love our friends who sometimes fail us, though we know they continue in love for God? We take comfort in knowing that Jesus perseveres in loving us, though we fail and betray him often. He has called us to love one another as He loves us; therefore, we can do no other than to love those who cause us pain. Friendships are strengthened by such love, and friends grow together into Christ, Who loves even His enemies. When the world sees this kind of love among the members of Christ’s Body, it will have reason to believe that something truly new and mysterious is at work.

What do you consider to be the keys to continuing to love someone who has wronged or harmed you in some way?

Loving God
But what does it mean to love God? What does love for God look like? Our Loving God Taxonomyoffers some useful categories to help you assess the state of your love for God. Download your free copy of this worksheet by clicking here. Included in this download, you’ll find our Loving Neighbors Taxonomy, which can help you assess the state of your friendship with others.

The calling to make disciples
As pastors and church leaders, making disciples is our primary calling. But we need to make sure we’re growing as disciples, and that our tools for disciple-making are in top condition. Our book, Fan into Flame, provides an overview of the work of disciple-making, together with helpful assessments to discover areas where you most need to grow. Order your copy by clicking here.

The Fellowship of Ailbe is supported through the generous and faithful gifts of those who benefit from and believe in our work. Does the Lord want to use you in this way? Please look to Him in prayer over this question. You can contribute to The Fellowship of Ailbe by using the Contribute button at our website, or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452. Thank you.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
All quotations from Aelred of Rievaulx, Spiritual Friendship, tr. By Mark F. Williams (Scranton: The University of Scranton Press, 1994, 2002).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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