Here’s a question to ponder today. How would God grade our interaction with other believers? In the fourteenth chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans, He does just that. …And as always, our score is based on ‘do we look like Jesus?’
Do we offer ourselves to others as a haven of grace? Do those we meet see us as a people who gives them the freedom to be who they are, and the freedom to become who God wants them to be? Would these describe us as patient with them… willing to wait for God’s timing and plan for their lives to unfold?
To the contrary, do those we come into contact with know us only as a sermon waiting to unleash judgement and condemnation? Are they fearful of speaking and sharing their thoughts with us, knowing their words will be challenged and their doctrine criticized?
Paul would say a life of grace must display acceptance. He doesn’t tell us to agree with everyone, just to accept them. (Romans 14:1) The grace of acceptance gives others the benefit of consideration, and leaves a lot of room for differing preferences. Let’s face it, our tastes in art, music, worship styles, food, and an uncountable number of other things differ so greatly that if everything divided us, we would all live in secluded huts away from one another.
As believers in Jesus Christ, we should all feel safe in the midst of other believers, knowing we are all accepted, even when possibly wrong beliefs need to be challenged. The errors should be confronted, as acceptance doesn’t require truth to be ignored, but should always be administered with grace-driven love.
It is important we remember: (1) we don’t have the all-knowing ability of the Holy Spirit and we are not given His ministry… it is His alone. (2) God is fully capable of transforming those He is saving into the image of His Son without our condemning input. (3) We are privileged with the responsibility of sharing Jesus with others. God is not privileged by our intervention. (4) All of us must stand before Jesus and give an account of our lives. (5) Grace is the foundation of our relationship with God and others.
Before we become judgmental of another’s walk with Christ, we should acknowledge our inability to know all of the facts. We are not omniscient! We should realize that we are limited and that all of our decisions are biased and can be selfish in nature. We should take into account that while we are masters of condemning… we have no ability to redeem. The Holy Spirit can convict and, unlike us, transform.
In Christ, we must maintain a standard of excellence, but we must manage our relationships with others through principles of grace. This is the grace Jesus met us with, and expects us to freely give to others.