What happens when Christians step down off their soapboxes and start to actually practice the love they preach?
I suppose there’s more than one answer to that question, and I suppose it depends on what God’s love is calling us to do. But I’d like to share one concrete example of how a ministry’s effort to “not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth” (I John 3:18) is leading to positive results.
Our Christian brothers and sisters in Vietnam – where believers are often held in suspicion and even persecuted for their faith – have been reaching out to their communities in a way that is softening hearts and changing lives. With support from Cross International, the Evangelical Church of Vietnam-South’s SoMedCo program is blessing its needy neighbors with medicine, house repairs and clean water wells – and their communities are taking notice.
Our Vietnamese partner recently sent us this encouraging report:
The result of the project is not only installing wells for the communities but also building the relationship between members in the community and especially between Christians and non-Christians…There were some Christians in the church rarely helping or contacting their neighbors before, but through this program they’ve changed their thinking and their understanding of their responsibility for God on earth…
In several places, the local government officers usually caused troubles for the church, or they would not allow them to gather for worship on Sunday. Now they’ve changed their reaction to Christians and the local church. People gather freely in these local churches without any persecution. When we asked some officers about the reason why they changed, they said that for a long time, they thought incorrectly about Christians. People feel (taste) the love of God through the church and its people. They do not hear about the love of God but they feel this love through the heart of people who are following him.