Back in the '60s and '70s, the Church got it wrong...A LOT. People with long hair – "hippies" they were called – would feel drawn to come inside the Church, but many were turned away because they didn't dress right, do their hair right, nor did they necessarily smell right.
So many were turned away...only to turn away from Christ.
God's giving the Church a do-over! However, this time, those coming into the Church will have far bigger, more complex issues than long hair and different clothes.
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I had a vision about the reopening and great reset of churches in America – this is what I saw and heard:
I see myself, bloodied and beaten, in a desert place outside the walls and gates of the city. I have been outside the gates a long time, wandering without a home, thrown out of the safety of the city, like a scapegoat abandoned to the wilderness after the elders transfer their sins onto its head...alone like Hagar, after she was taken outside the gates and left to die with her son in the wilderness.
Now, strangely, I am being drawn back to the very gates of my greatest pain. I am an outcast. I accept this. I understand its familiarity. It has been my lot, first with my own family, and then with other cities in which I sought sanctuary. So I have learned to survive outside of the city. And in a strange way, it seems safer outside the gates than inside.
Still, I drag myself closer to the gates, drawn by something greater than myself. The gates begin to open...slowly...inwardly. I stumble forward and barely make it across the threshold. I fall face down. It is as if my legs are broken. I cannot stand. I cannot lift my arms. My throat is parched, my tongue is swollen; I cannot speak. I can only barely see out of my eye slits, swollen from ten thousand tears.
I am vaguely aware of the shadows cast by people coming towards me. I am afraid – no, I am terrified. I am helpless...vulnerable. I fear what they can do to me. Even if they welcome me and promise to care for me, all of the former humiliations, abandonments, judgments and condemnations come flooding back to my mind. But I know I am supposed to be right here, right now, because I know I am not being called back by them. I am being called back to the city by the One who invites me now to trust Him.
But I cannot go any further alone; I cannot continue on my own. I have to allow them to carry me. I have to yield to being helped. I have to be willing to depend on them. I need to know that I need them.
Revelation of True Kindness
I cry out from deep within myself for MERCY! I beg Him to let them be kind to me. I want to beg out loud for kindness but I wouldn't know how to ask. Instead, I weep and I just keep praying to the Merciful One for kindness...not kindness as in sweet or gentle or tender words and deeds, but "kind-ness" as in being of "the same kind." I am longing to be "like-kind," to belong, and to be accepted as their "kind." (Photo via Unsplash)
This is the revelation of true kindness – treating another person the same, as "kin," and therefore, as kindred to you. It's all I've ever wanted – to be like-kind in a family...to belong...to be accepted for who and what I am and, even though I need to continue to grow and change, to not be rejected for what is not yet perfected in me. I long to be like-kind in a place where it is safe to be me, where there is community (common-unity) that includes everyone within the sanctuary of the city.
Open the Gates!
I believe the Lord is now also saying to Church leaders as the churches reopen: "OPEN THE GATES! BRING IN THE BLOODIED AND THE BEATEN!"
I hear the Lord saying, "They are returning to the Church! From the north, south, east and west, they are returning. Young, old, weak, strong, small, big, men, women – welcome them IN. Show them kindness. This is a do-over for them. This is a do-over for the churches! This is the opportunity for everyone to do this right. It is the chance for all to do it well.
"It is MY 'Great Reset' for the churches, and for those who have been away, to all return TOGETHER and do things My Way, according to My Word, and to welcome ME back into their midst...in unity, in community. This is how the churches can fulfill Exodus 25:8, to 'make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell there!'"
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Linda Freeman is a former network television news writer, producer, and on-air talent. She has more than 20 years' experience writing for national/international broadcast news outlets (CBN/The 700 Club in Virginia Beach; NBC/MSNBC in New York City), followed by a second career in corporate communications with IBM. Linda specializes in writing screenplays based on or inspired by true stories, and is working on several TV series pilots. Two of her projects have been optioned by a Hollywood producer. Called to scribe, God has developed Linda's giftings to express themselves in exhortations, words of knowledge and wisdom, visions, and in all kinds of storytelling. Linda now lives just outside of Austin, in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. She has been happily married for 30 years, and has raised four children.
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