Daily Thoughts : April 19th
Rom 15:7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
I actually believe this incredibly practical verse is one of THE key verses to harmonious church life and also to reaching out to the surrounding community. Perhaps we see the strength of it if we consider NOT accepting people. For instance how does your church go on “appearance rating”? In other words, how important is it in your church how people look? Is being well-dressed almost a requirement for being part of your church? I know of one church nearby where an elderly man was upbraided by the minister for not wearing a tie.
Is that accepting one another? Does your church cope with people with strange hairstyles or even strange dress? If the answer is that it doesn't, you are offending this verse! Dare we mention colour? Dare we mention the poor? Does your church frown on people who are on benefit? These are a whole variety of ways that show that we are NOT accepting other people.
Jesus didn't have a problem with people with problems, whether they were the notorious tax collectors or sinners (and that term covers a whole range of ‘undesirables'). It is probable that if we look at the backgrounds of a number of ‘the twelve', they might be the sort of people some of our churches look down on.
The call to accept people is a call to take people as they are, love them as they are, and let Jesus go about changing them – in his time and in his way. There is a whole big group of people that we may not be accepting – those not as good or righteous as us!!!! Check it out; you may need to do some attitude changing!
Perhaps this failure to accept others is rooted in the failure to face what we ourselves are like? Perhaps we have forgotten our background, where we've come from, what we were like before we met Christ. Perhaps we need to remind ourselves that before we met him we were self-centred, godless sinners just like the rest of the world - and he accepted us and drew us to himself and then changed us. Enough said!
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