Preparing for Church Camp 2018: Treat Others with Kindness

Last Sunday, I emphasised that if we were to benefit from the church camp, we must have a good heart, “A Heart with Good Soil.” Then the Word of God can bear fruit in you. For that you must prepare a heart that says: “I will obey God’s Word no matter how difficult my circumstances in life.” In today’s pastoral letter, I wish to share about the second preparation you need to make: “I will be kind to people.” Why is this preparation so important? As you live with each other for at least two full days, the probability of doing or saying something that might offend another person is there. The Bible says: “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs” (Prov 10:12). In situations of conflict giving up your rights out of love for that person will protect this precious relationship as brothers and sisters in Christ. I wish to point out several areas about which you should be careful.

Using Toilets: One person might use the toilet for a long time and you need to wait for that person for almost an hour. Things might be worse during the morning rush hour: you need to rush for breakfast and rush to clear your bowels, so that you can rush to be in time for the camp message (and you need to know this: you must not be late for camp messages; must not be late . . . must not be late . . .). But here you are—stuck because you can’t use the toilet. This is when temperatures rise which can result in an unhappy exchange of words. This happens even between husbands and wives.

Here is a possible solution: if you foresee that you need to use the toilet for a longer time, get up a bit early to use the toilet. Remember also your roommate needs it. You might also want to use the common toilets in the resort.

Snoring: Your roommate might snore at night. If you think you have a snoring issue, alert your roommate. Sometimes shifting your sleeping position might stop the snoring. If so, allow your roommate to gently “shake” you. You might consider putting on ear plugs. Alternatively, sleep before he or she does.

Passing Comments: You might also offend another person by what you say: “You should do this . . . You shouldn’t do this . . . Why are you like that . . .” Everyone is different. We also have our strengths and weaknesses. On the one hand, we need to ask the Lord for wisdom to help us to be sensitive to each other’s feelings, so that we would speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Let us also give each other time to grow as the Lord also gives us time to grow. Moreover, your point of view may not be right or important—in this case the one who needs to grow is you. On the other hand, if you are the one who is receiving the comments, do not be too upset if some things said are “not too nice.” No one is perfect. You and I have also at one time or another said things that we later realise should not have been said. This is simply part of a conversation between sinners. How should we react? “Love covers over all wrongs.” If what is said makes sense, learn a lesson. If what is said does not seem reasonable and is offensive, tell yourself: “He/She is my brother/sister. I will forgive and love him/her.” When you do that, all anger will disappear.

Finally, I urge everyone to do this: if there is an opportunity, say something encouraging to one person each day of the church camp. It can be something this person has done well or something that you have learned from that person’s example or testimony as a Christian. Remember: life is very tough. Everyone is carrying a burden which can be a personal, family, or work issue. We need lots of encouragement to push on with life. Do as Paul tells us: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).

Prepare to receive God’s blessings in Church Camp 2018 by doing two things. First, resolve to have a heart that will obey God’s Word even when circumstances are difficult. Second, resolve to treat each other with kindness as we interact with sinners—us.