I love being "comfortable." Comfort gets priority! My recliner, my bed, my whole house, and my car are comfortable. When guests visit, I want them to be comfortable.

This country makes priorities on comfort possible. Americans easily decide life is about comfort. When something makes us uncomfortable, we tend to avoid it or get rid of it. The uncomfortable is replaced with the more comfortable!

Our lifestyles seek comfort. Our society emphasizes comfort. "Discomfort cannot be in our best interest!" Yet, often it is. Some good things are uncomfortable: healthy diets; exercise; sacrifices made to build good relationships; surgery; many medical treatments; discipline of every kind; altering lifestyles; etc. Such things can be unquestionably good, but unquestionably uncomfortable.

Salvation contains elements of great comfort: the destruction of guilt; forgiveness; mercy; compassion; kindness; grace; redemption; atonement; and reconciliation. Nothing equals the comfort these gifts provide.

Salvation also contains elements of great discomfort. Repentance, when understood, is uncomfortable. So is acknowledging personal flaws and weakness. So is confession. So is learning humility, unselfishness, forgiveness, mercifulness, kindness, and compassion.

Perhaps our greatest discomfort is experienced by learning to be God's church. No, not the "rules and regulations," but the godlike spirituality. Learning to care about others as God cares about us. Learning to forgive those who have sinned against us as God forgives us. Learning to respect those who are very unlike us. Learning to care about others' real needs when we never felt those needs. Being God's church is difficult!

We easily define everything the church does from worship to work in terms of our comfort. Doing things "comfortable to me" just makes sense--to me. That is not new. We are not the first to feel that way.

Many first century Jewish Christians were extremely uncomfortable with Christians who were not Jews. How could God love people who, in the past, worshipped idols; did not know God; and needed to learn God's morals and ethics? They had to learn right from wrong! They did not know scripture! They had not obeyed and practiced God's ways! They were ignorant of godly diets, proper sacrifices, and holy days! Their worship assemblies were completely undesirable!

Yet, God did love those people. In Jesus, God stressed an eternal truth. Unity is not about comfort. Unity is about belonging to each other because we belong to Jesus.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 25 March 2001

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