The Blessing of the Burdensome


At Faith Family Church, we seek to build community through R12 groups. “R12” is short for Romans 12, where we’re instructed to use our various gifts to promote unity within the church body. An R12 group consists of three or four families who meet in each household once a month for a simple meal over four months. However, you don't get to choose your R12 group--they are randomnly reshuffled every four months. It’s a great way to get know people you would not otherwise know simply by seeing them in church once a week.

Maintaining unity within the body of Christ has become a great challenge these days. You have to be willing to get out of your comfort zone and make time for others. Perhaps you're avoiding R12 because you have a busy schedule. Or perhaps the lack of control makes you nervous, and the chance that you might have to share four meals with someone you don't know--or frankly don't like--seems like too big of a risk. Actually, those situations are opportunities not only to be a blessing but to grow in Christlikeness.

No Christian should ever avoid any other Christian, even if they require extra grace. We all need extra grace sometimes, and God has a purpose for bringing difficult people into our lives. Here’s why:

1. They remind us that no one is perfect and even the best men are men at best. We all have our flaws and shortcomings, and problem people remind us that we’re all sinners in need of God’s grace. The truth is all of us have the potential of being a burden to somebody else. Remember, the Bible says the Lord has set the members within the body as it has pleased him.

2. They are opportunities to demonstrate the love of Jesus who said, “If you [only] love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.” (Luke 6:32) Was it not our Lord who taught us to love our enemies? Certainly, if we can love our enemies we can also choose to love difficult people. Let the person who grates on you drive you to prayer. Make a conscious choice to love them and serve them. You’ll be surprised what the Lord will do. That extra grace we talk about will become a reality in your own life.

3. They need to be discipled. If a person is difficult and requires extra grace, think about how you might minister to them. There could be something they’re dealing with or some emotional wound that’s eating at them. By extending compassion and investing in them you just may learn what's driving their behavior, which can help your understanding. Sometimes, a person can become a tremendous blessing when transformed by the love of those within their church.

I truly hope and pray that we will see more of our folks at FFC get involved in R12. It’s an essential ministry that sometimes requires selfless dedication to make it work effectively. If you were once involved but no longer participate, I ask you to reconsider investing your life in the lives of those who most need grace. Don’t allow selfishness to rob you of a blessing or of being one.

God has a purpose for bringing difficult people into our lives and we all need extra grace sometimes.