As our pastor finished a summer-long Fruits of the Spirit series, I couldn’t help but look a little further up in my Bible. I like to bring my Mom’s, which is in the Living Bible translation. The paragraph above Galatians 5:22-23 talks about how when we follow our own way, we will not inherit God’s kingdom. Most translations of verse 20 use the words “factions” or “divisions,” but not the one I read. Alongside impure thoughts, jealousy, anger, selfish ambition, and fighting, factions was more defined. God wanted it to go straight to my heart. This translation called it “the feeling that everyone else is wrong except those in your own little group.” Well, OK then. Typically I think of politics when I see the word faction, so having it said differently spoke to me. Since I have never been a part of an exclusive group, the word “clique” wouldn’t have grabbed my attention.
Oh, but how often do I seek out someone who I know will take my side, a person who thinks like me and agrees with me? How many conversations do I have where only my view is right? When I get going, I am comforted by another person who backs me up.
Looking at how a neighbor treated me and discussing how wrong it was, for years.
Thinking a person’s parenting style that differs from mine must not be right.
People who spend their time and money on other priorities than I do are incorrect.
The perceived tone of an email can make me think the person doesn’t like me.
We all go about life in different ways and as a Christian, I am not winning any souls for Christ when I slight someone. If I am to really be effective, I need to get over my “rightness” and put myself in their shoes. I need to try to understand their motives and not just write them off. A difficult person may be lonely, but that doesn’t mean their ideas don’t have merit. Someone who does things different than me may be able to teach me.
God didn’t put us here to be divisive. We are not to exclude anyone, but to love them. Just like Jesus didn’t come here for the healthy, my friends aren’t here to validate my opinions. I am here to invite everyone to a relationship with God. I am here to find common ground and make people feel loved and wanted. Because they are.
If I am to be effective here on earth, I need to remember that God sees everyone with love. He loves me, despite my sin. He wants me to round up as many souls as I can and show them grace and acceptance. I need to remember that people won’t always agree with me, and that doesn’t make them wrong. I need to see life from their perspective, on whatever level they are on. If I can do that, people will see God and be drawn to Him. It is definitely worth taking the time to be a friend if it can change their eternal home.
Is there anyone you can think of who needs your acceptance and understanding right now?
Last year, I wrote “Family Night In” as a way to help my church knock out our debt. (Yes I said this in my last post and will be talking about it for a while!) Each of the 26 weeks has a verse, a paragraph about it, a dessert, and an activity. The price is $5 if you would like it emailed to you, and $10 if you would like it printed and mailed. $5 from each copy goes in our name to the NorthStar Church Bold campaign. If you are interested, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for helping to support an amazing church and community!
Linking with the Saturday Soiree blog party!