This week has been all about welcoming people into our lives and treating them with the respect and dignity that they deserve. All of us on the team have been soul-searching this week, trying to think about what God tells us everyone deserves, and what this should look like in our lives. We’ve also been talking about why it is so hard for humans, including us, to treat each other with this respect, and to remember that each and every one of us is on a journey. So we wanted to use this opportunity to take us back to scripture and explore what Jesus said about these themes, and use this truth to guide us in our relationships with others.
Romans 15:7 (ESV) Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
When Christ welcomes us, He knows all of our sin, all of our failings, and all of our stubbornness. It’s not as if we can bamboozle the Lord. Christ doesn’t call us to only welcome those whose sins we understand or are okay with because all sins are equal in his eyes. Instead, he calls us to welcome others as Christ has welcomed us, which is with love and without hesitation.
John 13:34 (ESV) 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.
Loving one another can be super hard sometimes, especially when the person we are meant to love has done wrong by us. But love comes in several different forms, and knowing which way to love someone is a gift of insight from God. Jesus modelled love for us through His kindness, gentleness, welcoming arms, and compassion, but also through his rebukes, pursuit, and journeying. Loving someone well is a long-term commitment, and it’s also self-sacrificial, especially when we are meant to model this love after Christ who gave everything up for the very people who killed him.
Romans 12:5 (ESV) So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
The level of dignity and respect we should award others is very clear in the Bible. Not only should we love others like we love ourselves, but we should treat them like members of Christ’s own body. It can be difficult for some of us to love others like we love ourselves, especially for those of us who still struggle to grasp God’s unconditional love. But we are also called to love others like members of our own family, with grace and forgiveness, patience and understanding.
Galatians 3:28 (ESV) 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.
The salvation of Christ is not meant for a select few, it is meant for everyone. We are all on a sanctification journey, and God calls us all to be part of the family, so it is crucial that we don’t gatekeep the Kingdom of God.
Romans 13:10 (ESV) Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Our call to love and respect others isn’t something that we should do just because it’s nice, it is the fulfillment of the law of God. It is a very important charge that God has given us and it should be taken seriously by all those who call Christ their saviour. Loving people is not passive, it’s an active pursuit of helping somebody walk into what God has for us.
Through the Our Church Too project, we are hoping to provide a safe space for people to speak up about their journeys, their hurts, and their experiences so that churches around the world can hear these sometimes unspoken or hidden stories. We are not trying to save anyone, we leave the saving to Jesus, but we are trying to love people well by using whatever skills or privileges we may have to amplify the voices of others.
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