Some years ago I had lunch with my friend Jack. As we talked, he began to pour out his heart about questions he had about his faith - not about his faith in Jesus, but in the many doctrines he had been taught since his youth. As he spoke, I became quite uncomfortable and began to produce a list of facts in an effort to quell his questions. We parted ways with strife between us and following his move to another state, our friendship has wilted despite my efforts to reconcile.
It hurts, but I don’t blame him. So much of how I have related to people has focused on what they believe as the basis for love and respect. Do you believe in the “correct” atonement theory, baptism, interpretation of the Bible? If so, I have space for you. If not, I’ll huddle with my like-minded friends while “sharing” about my struggling friend and asking for prayers.
When I read about Jesus, I don’t see any of this. Jesus would enter a village, a home, a room and welcome everyone to come and be with him. And what I’m surprised by is who struggled to “come” when he asked people to “come, follow me.” It was not the doubters, the addicts, or the outcasts… no, it was the religious people like me.
This is something I struggle with every day - to welcome people the way Jesus did; to let them experience the love of Jesus and be transformed by it. And by the grace of God, I hope to be transformed too.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your love - you are exceedingly patient and extraordinarily kind. I pray that your deep love for us would be our North Star in directing how we love and interact with others.
Throughout this Day: Think about your interactions with those around you. Reflect on whether you find yourself focusing on whether they believe a certain way or on connecting with them where they are in life. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your thoughts and conversations.
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