Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus…Therefore accept one another, just as the Messiah also accepted you, to the glory of God. (Romans 15:5, 7 - HCSB)
Sometimes, I feel that I’ve been in ministry (church work) my entire life. I was raised in a pastor’s home and then married a pastor. As the decades have passed, I’ve seen patterns in human behavior - the same cycles, the same mistakes, the same outcomes time and time again.
One thing I’ve noticed is that we are not very good at truly accepting one another as commanded in the verse above. As Christians, we banter Christian phrases around, either because they sound good or we feel it's expected. On the surface, these trite phrases seem to project true love for one another. Yet, I’m often amazed at how little we really try to see things from another’s perspective, or to put ourselves in someone’s shoes.
I’m sure you are responding the same way I responded when I began to challenge myself on this issue. I don’t judge others. I’m empathetic. I’m kind. I’m….Really? I was taught good manners by my mother, so I rarely speak unkind words, especially in public, but what about my thoughts? I have hung on to unkind thoughts at times. Then, I am unkind, even if I didn’t utter a single unkind word. (Proverbs 4:23)
If we would apply the same guidelines to our thoughts as we do our public deeds, then I think we would truly be able to love and accept one another as Christ commanded us. Too often, we are too easily offended, too quick to have our feathers ruffled, too fast to assume others have negative intentions.
Psalm 119:165 challenges me: "Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them." Nothing causes me to get offended, nothing causes me to stumble, nothing causes me to get negative. Nothing? That's a high standard! So then if I find myself offended, if I find myself becoming negative, if I find myself harboring bitterness, then I have begun to lose my love for God's Word. I'm certainly not at peace in that state.
Oh, dear fellow believers, let's stir up the passion for God's Word in our hearts. Let's set aside every weight, every hindrance and every distraction that causes us to get off course and re-commit to following His truths in obedience. Then, we will truly be able to live in harmony as our Lord commands us.
I will not forget
Your love for me and yet
My heart forever is wandering.
Jesus, be my guide
And hold me to Your side.
I will love You to the end.
Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet
And a light unto my path. (written by Amy Grant, Michael Smith)
My name is Lynn Pauley. I'm just a normal woman, with normal struggles. Any success I've found comes from following the Scriptures. I'll update this blog as time and inspiration permit.