Romans 15:7 “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”
I realize that this verse is speaking about Christians accepting one another, but as I’ve been thinking about our church opening up again, I’ve felt challenged to include those that are not yet Christians in the “one another” part.
Not long ago, when our Bible study was studying the letters to the seven churches in Revelation, Pete asked us what we thought our letter to Northway Church would say. It was brought up that we are very good at loving and taking care of each other, but that if someone came along to our church that wasn’t as much like us (different lifestyle, struggling with something none of us are/have, needing more help than we’ve experienced, much different socio-economic status) we may struggle to accept and welcome them in. Something that I need a reminder of probably more than anyone, is that it is my job to love and God’s job to judge. Christ died for EVERYONE… murderers, thieves, alcoholics, drug users, homosexuals, adulterers, liars and gossips etc. If Jesus, who is perfect and has every right to pick and choose, can accept and love them, then I can too. Their (and our) sin is between them and God, they are to be accepted and loved in church in the same way that I am accepted and loved, even though I still sin. This pleases God. This human acceptance and love shows the worldly a glimpse of the love God has for them. This love that is SO VERY IMPORTANT to Him brings PRAISE to the one that created such redeeming Love, and it lets us participate in His Kingdom work by being his hands and feet.
Lord, open our eyes to the hurting and soften our hearts towards them, whatever their situation. Give us your love that sees beyond circumstance to the soul within. Let us be known, more than anything, for sharing your love…not just telling people about it, but truly showing it. Forgive us, Lord, for the many times we haven’t, and please take away our fear of loving the “unacceptables”.