"In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets." Matt 7:12
When most people think about the "Golden Rule," they think more about how they want to be treated than how they treat others. In fact, treating others well can be a means to an end rather than a pursuit of virtue. The reason for pursuing this thought is that there are those who become disenfranchised with their local congregations, particularly around the time that they stop attending for one reason or the other. Members get upset if no one comes to check on them and see how they are doing.
Let it first be said that they have a point. Who among us does not want to feel cared for by our brothers and sisters in Christ? It is a fact that the congregation has a responsibility to its members. If we do not care for one another who will? We must love others as we love ourselves and as Christ loves us.
That said, it must also be considered why members forsake the fellowship. To be sure there are a variety of reasons and it exceeds the purpose of this writing to consider them per se. Instead, the question must be asked to some of those who feel wronged, "Do you visit the absent?"
Beloved it is easy to ask oneself, "What about me?" but not as easy to make the sacrifice and show the love for others by visiting them in their need, particularly when they may have, for one reason or the other, lost their way. Much is said about cliques in the church and how only certain people get the attention of the masses. While this can be seen in any organization (let us not forget that we are still humans and still short of perfection despite our calling) this can be defeated by being the friend we wish to have. If everyone focused on building relationships and reaching out to the person normally on the nearby pew that you have not seen in a while, the problem could be virtually eliminated. In so doing, we will likely find ourselves being treated the way we have treated others. Let us think on these things.