Tag Archives: acceptance

Reconciling the Differences

American psychiatrist Morgan Scott Peck, author of the popular book A Road Less Traveled, states that, “The overall purpose of human communication is – or should be – reconciliation. It should ultimately serve to lower or remove the walls of misunderstanding which unduly separate us human beings, one from another.”

Jesus is the perfect example in demonstrating the heart behind reconciliation. Humility provoked Jesus to leave His heavenly domain to reconcile mankind with God the Father. As ambassadors for Christ, reconciliation must become an integral part of our daily living.

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Reconciliation is the solution to division or strife, which can include racism, class-division, religious warfare, and relational rejection. However, only by first being reconciled with Jesus Christ can we reconcile with others. The grace of God is present and sufficient for us, and we’ve each received an honorable call that will impact us for eternity.

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20-21

But what about reconciling with non-believers? Is it permissible to allow strife and rejection to exist with these fellow colleagues, family members, or acquaintances? Hear me out on this: If someone we care about rejects Jesus Christ, we must not reject loving them in return. Because the choice for someone to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord is their choice; it’s not ours.

“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” John3:16-17

As ambassadors for Christ, our formula is quite simple. We must love others as Jesus loves others (believers and non-believers), and we must allow God to work out everything else. Because He is the Creator of all, He knows every detail in the hearts of believers and non-believers alike (which we cannot see). In His great love, He will guide us in what to do and how to act. Keep in mind that repentance and salvation are the byproduct of Christ’s love and kindness, and love  covers a multitude of sins. Gentleness is what people respond to in Christ, not rejection and fear.

“Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, tolerance, and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you towards repentance?” Romans 2:4

Pay attention to this, beloved. I have come across many hurt people who have been rejected by the very ones who should have been consoling them, loving them, and leading them to the truth of Jesus Christ. Jesus set boundaries in establishing who He would personally invest significant time into (the 12 disciples) and those He would share deep intimacy with (James, John, and Peter). However, He was still in community with those who didn’t revere Him as the Son of God.

“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’Then Jesus told them this parable: Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent’.” Luke 15:1-7

Without Christ, we ourselves could have been in the same place as the family members that we find disagreeable, or the colleagues who are “so worldly” that we cringe when hearing about their weekend. We must focus on truly hating only the sin (just as God does as a Holy Creator) and loving the sinner (just as Jesus did when He hung on the cross). If we hate both the sin and and the sinner, we do not represent Christ. Because all mankind bears the image of the Creator, we are all valuable to God.

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.Do not be conceited.Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:14-18

In order to fulfill the Great Commission, we must be willing to reach out to everyone and anyone in real need. Therefore, making disciples out of all nations means that we must forsake discrimination and rejection of those who are different than us.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”Matthew 28:19-20

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34

Here’s some food for thought:

What if we grabbed lunch with our atheist family members and treated them with dignity and respect, instead of pushing ideas on them (trying to be the Holy Spirit)? Or what if we grabbed a cup of coffee with our homosexual neighbor, trying to get to know them and and truly valuing them as a person? Or conversed in the break room with our Muslim colleague, first understanding where they are coming from, and then asking God what He wants you to do or say?

Instead of criticizing these people or avoiding them like the plague, we should take a real interest in loving those Jesus deeply loves. In the past, the Lord has specifically asked me NOT to say the name of Jesus while building certain relationships. Often times, in the very beginning we do not even need to say a single thing because our behavior will say more than enough.

“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18

“For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’.” Galatians 5:14

Who can you be reconciled to today through the grace of Jesus Christ? Know someone who would be encouraged by this message? Please pass this along through our various social outlets below. And thank you for choosing His Daily Dose!

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The Gift of Grace

An unknown author once stated, “Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours if you’ll reach out and take it.”

Imagine waking up one morning to a shiny, wrapped package with curly ribbons resting on your doorstep. It’s been delivered to you. Especially for you. And inside this beautiful gift awaits an assortment of treats; a holy provision in order that you might fully experience and enjoy the day ahead of you.

The gift of grace.

Delivered overnight by a Holy courier and left on the doorstep of our hearts.

The question is not whether the gift exists, Jesus is the gift. Jesus is grace. But, the question is rather “will we accept the gift He gives each day and will we open the surprise?”

I’m not talking about salvation here.

I’m talking about breathing in deeply and exhaling out slowly, while fully relying on the ability of Christ to help us complete our day. And the ability to extend grace to others and to ourselves when we make mistakes.

Grace causes us to relax and refocus. It gives us permission to be who we truly are and to enjoy complete freedom from perfectionism.

(sigh) What a relief for our lives!

How is grace defined?

According to Websters it is: unmerited divine assistance, ease of movement or bearing, mercy, charity, kindness, and tenderness.

Let’s glance at what the Word says:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

“But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” Romans 11:6

“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Grace is undeserved. We can’t earn it, because we’re never worthy of it, no matter how hard we try. And in this case, it’s a great thing to not measure up, because it cultivates a sweet dependency in our hearts towards our Lord Jesus Christ.

Yesterday while reading an article on “Codependent Behaviors” (any therapist out there knows this term very well), I was intrigued by the fact that many of us don’t know how to extend grace to ourselves. I am one of them.

Grace opposes performance. And I have found that God’s expectations are generally much lower than the ones I place on myself. I strive when I need to abide.

If Jesus (The Lord over all creation) freely extends grace to us, shouldn’t we also model His behavior by extending grace to ourselves? 

And what does grace look like in our lives?

This is what the Holy Spirit has been teaching me this week:

  • Each day acknowledging this gift of grace from Jesus, and then applying the contents in order to meet the demands and decisions I face throughout my day.
  • Giving myself permission to be weak, so He can be strong.
  • Forgiving myself and others when mistakes are made (critical in marriage, and any relationship involving other human beings).Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
  • Allowing people to be who they are, even if I disagree with them.There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
  • Enjoying my day while allotting time just for me. Have FUN.The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
  • Laughing A LOT. Laughter is an amazing preventative measure to combat stress.A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
  • Focusing on the best qualities about myself and those around me. Jesus sees me as a new creation, He focuses on the positive, I must also do the same.Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

His grace abounds. Will we accept the gift He gives each day?

Do you know someone who would be encouraged by reading this message today? Please share it through our various outlets below. And thank you for choosing His Daily Dose! To God be the glory!

Are you currently a subscriber? If not, we would love to have you! Just click HERE to begin receiving daily, encouraging posts sent straight to your inbox each morning. Thank you!

 

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Loving the Unlovable

NeverStopLoving

Loving the unlovable is a topic that piques the curiosity of all mankind.

Why?

Because it contradicts the very nature we possess. To our carnal minds, love is conditional. Loving someone who isn’t returning our efforts or affection feels like a waste of time. We love to be loved.

What is love?

Love is a choice. Yes, that’s correct. It is a choice, not an emotion. And God is love. Guess what this means? Love is not a feeling that we can passively muster up on our own for the benefit of others. We need God’s help.

More significantly, this topic of love is of the utmost importance to the heart of God. If we are truly interested in becoming more like Jesus, we must learn to love like Him. There’s really no way around it: the Christian faith is about love.
Beloved, if we are loving others (colleagues, family members, friends, spouses, associates) in any other way outside of what scripture identifies as “love,” then are we really loving them?

Let that soak in for a moment. Did we as human beings even partake in defining love? I can’t recall God ever asking man how to love someone. Can you?

From the dawn of creation, God created mankind with the need to love and to be loved. To be in relationship with Him and with others. Especially Jesus. Our sweet, sweet Jesus that shook the very core of the earth by demonstrating the rawest and deepest form of love ever expressed: laying down His life for each of us.

So, is it really appropriate for us to say that we are “truly” loving others, if we are not in fact loving people the way God does? The way He instructs us to in His word?

Here’s an activity for today. Think of that someone. You know who they are. And reflect on their name(s) as you read this scripture.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

How did it go? Difficult? Humbling? Eye-opening? Yep, it was challenging for me too. Unfortunately, I am realizing that there are quite a few people that I don’t even come close to loving well. But, I’m so grateful that God already knows we come up short (and will as long as we live on earth), and He extends a bounty of grace in helping us to fulfill His commands (sigh of relief).

If we make the choice to love and to seek Him, He will teach us how to do it. Praise be to God!!!

What marks a person as unlovable?

The term “unlovable” is defined as not attracting or deserving love from another, or one who is not easy to love. Let me clear up a few things here.

  • There are (and will be) people in our lives that are more difficult to love than others.
  • No one has been created without the need to be loved and the ability to love, since we are made in God’s image and He is love.

Therefore, we can conclude that all people need to be loved, whether the task of loving is difficult or easy. Whoever the person is and regardless of what they have done, they need love. This will never change.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

Love should be the factor that separates us from the world.

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35 NLT

Most often, an “unlovable” person is one who is driven by fear. They have not been loved well (if at all) and are afraid to be hurt again. Therefore, this person projects an image of rejection through withdrawal, contempt, and criticism towards themselves or others. They could act independent as if they need no one, or they could feel unworthy of other people’s time. I know this well because I was one of them.

Deep down, they long for someone to be kind to their soul and show them acceptance. But, this does not come naturally to a human being. Our natural inclination is to do they very thing they fear – to reject them. We must intentionally choose to love through the aid of the Holy Spirit.

How do we love the unlovable?

Ask God for help. It’s really this simple. Here a few things that have made it easier for me to love difficult people:

  • Focus on the positive. Even if it is just one good attribute they possess, focus on it.

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more   important than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3 NASB

  • Pray that God will show you this person through His eyes. Whatever He shows you is true, because He is truth. And that truth will set you free from any negative feelings and misconceptions.

 “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

  • Pray before you meet or speak with the person. Be prepared.  This way you are on the offense (ready to love), never on the defense (ready to react negatively).

“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15

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