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May 1, 2007 / beidson

Chicken Casserole and The Golden Rule: Fulfilling the Law of Christ

A few years ago, my wife’s first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, and we were completely devastated. She was about 6 weeks into the pregnancy, and we had already dreamed a million dreams of what our little one would be like. We were so excited. In fact, we were on our way out of state to meet her parents half way to tell them the great news; we just knew they would be so shocked when they found out. But we weren’t even half way down the road when we pulled over for a break and my wife came back to the car with tears in her eyes. “I think something is wrong,” she cried. I just couldn’t believe it. Surely she was overreacting; it had to be normal. Well, we stopped by the nearest emergency room, just to make sure everything was fine, and what do you know . . . they said everything was okay and there was no need to worry.

We went on to meet her parents and told them the news, and of course, they were excited. But my wife just couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. Later that night, we crawled into our hotel bed and prayed that the Lord would let our little one make it to see the light of day. And we went to sleep holding on to each other and holding on to the hope that our little one was going to make it.

My wife got up a few times that night, and each time I listened to hear the sound of crying, but she never did. I was so relieved every time she came back to bed. But early the next morning, she got out of bed and went to the restroom, and I followed her. Somehow, our worst fears were realized, and right there in that cold hotel bathroom, in the early hour of the morning, our little one passed from my wife’s shaking body. We cried together as it all sank in.

We went down the hallway and told her parents, and then I called my parents and told them. Everyone was so comforting. They cried with us. We never thought this would happen. We didn’t know it was so common. But as common as it is, it was uniquely painful and real nonetheless.

When we returned home, I shared the news with several friends from our church, and they too shared in our pain and sorrow. Many of them had experienced the same thing and completely understood what we were going through.

But here’s where things got really “biblical” if you will allow me to explain myself. Though they shared in our pain, and spoke comforting words to us, they did much more than that. Many of them sent letters and stopped by to visit. Some of them even made us meals for a few days. I’ll never forget the chicken casserole that one couple made for us. It satisfied our bodies, and in a very real sense, our spirits too.

As I thought about their love and kindness, I realized, “This is the glory of Jesus Christ . . . this is what the cross has accomplished.” Cain murdered his brother, but these people, my brothers and sisters in Christ, did not come to my door to mock me or hurt me; they came to comfort me. The resurrection of Christ has turned the hearts of sinful people toward each other. People need no longer be bound to their sin and hatred of others. They do not have to be enemies of God and one another. Through Christ, people can love each other as Christ loves them. Through Christ, people can make chicken casseroles for one another.

That chicken casserole was more than just meat and cheese and sauce. It was evidence of the Spirit’s work in sinful people’s lives. Jesus said that the greatest commandment was to love God completely, and the second commandment was like the first: love one another, completely (Matthew 22). It was obvious that these people loved us. And to think, without Christ, we might have been enemies.

The law of Christ is fulfilled when we love one another, through our sin and in spite of our sin. The fact that we are all sinners is not a reason to excuse our sin, but rather a reason to treat each other with gentleness. We must stick together in Christ, because one day we will stand alone before Christ, and what we have done together will determine what will be done to us when we stand alone.

The Golden Rule isn’t just for kids. It’s for teens and singles and parents and grandparents; it’s for liars and murderers and adulterers and thieves and drug addicts. The glory of Jesus Christ is displayed when two people, who would otherwise be enemies, are the best of friends because of the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them. This is why our friends came to our rescue. This is why they made us a chicken casserole. And that is why I can say I saw the glory of Christ in that little glass dish.

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