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Saginaw, Michigan, United States
A sinner who may come before God because of Christ

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Accepting Others

1  We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2  Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, "The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me." 4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

Romans 15:1-7 (ESV)

Romans 15:7 tells us to accept others just as Christ accepted you.

Acceptance can be a tough act to engage in and we need to be clear what acceptance involves.  It used to mean that we can “agree to disagree”, but now the meaning seems to be “ we are both right and I cannot tell you that you are wrong”.

As a Christian, I cannot accept that as the concept. We believe there is only one Truth, and Scripture consistently points this out as true, that the only way to salvation is through Christ and in Christ and because of Christ.

Given that, though, we are also to love each person where they are currently at.  We need to remember that we all have a long way to go to attain the righteousness and glorification of God.  No one is beyond Christ, though not all will come to Christ, but it is not our duty or our role to make that choice.  We are called to be ambassadors.

A few years ago a couple moved into the house next door. They were not married and very young They generally lived a lifestyle far from that one that honors God and God was clearly not important in their lives.

As our new neighbors though, we accepted them where they were. I helped them work some on their house, Jill sent over cookies and food. We fed their dog when they went on vacation. These were small things to show Christ's love for them.

After a few years, they got married, then had a baby, and then another.  We have shared some of their struggles.  For a while they were going to church, but this soon ebbed.

Despite this,  we continue to pray for them and ask God working in their lives.

I have had some opportunities to talk about Christ to them, though nothing deep, and we strive to continue to show them the Lord.

Will this bear fruit?   Will they come to Christ through our efforts?

I cannot answer that, but I know that we are called to continue, to not give up.

Our call is to be faithful to Christ in loving others, even those who do not know Him, to accept them where they, and to continue to hope and pray and trust God that He will work in their lives to His glory.

That is the great joy and sorrow of being a missionary - to wait on God to change the life of someone you have come to love.   Even the neighborhood missionary…or the employee missionary…or even the bowling team missionary.

We must remember to have a passion for those around us to whom only we are Christ.

For His Glory, Tom Peck


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