Lifting Them Up… or Knocking Them Down?

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.

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About mtsweat

Seeking the rest that is only promised and found in Christ Jesus, along with my treasured wife of more than twenty-five years, we seek to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, walk with the Holy Spirit as He moves our hearts, loving others always as Jesus loves us, and carry the news of His glory, the wonderful gospel, that gives light and life where there once was only darkness.
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13 Responses to Lifting Them Up… or Knocking Them Down?

  1. writinggomer says:

    Spot on, words of wisdom these are. Thanks for sharing.

  2. matilde5 says:

    Love the image. It really got my attention. My our Lord Jesus Christ bless you everyday!

    😀

  3. cwfkys11 says:

    Some elements of the Asian culture confuses the virtue of grace for the Asian Christian. Some examples:
    a. Tendency to keep one’s thoughts and opinions to oneself (projecting an accepting facade), but only to “grumble among closer circles”, and so the issue never gets resolved but only snowballs;
    b. Tendency to assess the “status” of an individual in deciding whether to be truthful or not (i.e. giving “face”);
    c. Tendency to adopt an individualistic stand that is ultimately reflected through indifference towards issues (the Chinese adage of “sweeping only the snow stacked against one’s door”).

    May God’s wholistic grace redefine our ungracious beings beginning with our own hearts! Thanks mtsweat for the needed reminder!

  4. ptl2010 says:

    Grace –
    a. Divine love and protection bestowed freely on people.
    b. The state of being protected or sanctified by the favor of God.
    c. An excellence or power granted by God.
    When it is God’s grace it must be with His help and beyond self. and will always lift.
    Grace
    1. Seemingly effortless beauty or charm of movement, form, or proportion.
    2. A characteristic or quality pleasing for its charm or refinement.
    3. A sense of fitness or propriety.
    4.
    a. A disposition to be generous or helpful; goodwill.
    b. Mercy; clemency.
    5. A favor rendered by one who need not do so; indulgence.
    6. A temporary immunity or exemption; a reprieve.
    When it is for show that others may think better of us – it could pull others down.

    • mtsweat says:

      This is the single best response I have ever received to any post I have ever written. You are so right with these definitions… and their probable outcomes. Unfortunately, all of us contend with the desire to lift ourselves in the eyes of others. We may not think we are doing that, but deep within something (eyes, flesh, world) is always persuading us that direction. We try to convince ourselves that our hearts are pure, but we know better. We will always stand with Paul crying out to our Lord, “Who will rescue me from this body of death?” If we are wise, we cling to your first definition… “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!”

      Thanks for your words of wisdom!

      • ptl2010 says:

        To be forewarned is the best weapon and when we know our position it is then we know what action to take to preempt a threat. Praise the Lord He does not leave us hopeless, helpless, the Holy Spirit our Comforter comes alongside and helps us overcome or stand in His might. Jesus! He is the answer. Yes! for us to have the grace to carry on.

  5. Pingback: Knowing My Limits « It Just Dawned On Me

  6. April says:

    Great post. God must be touching a lot of hearts on this topic right now. Many have spoken about this topic which we ALL need to hear.
    I am sharing this on with other friends.

    • mtsweat says:

      Thank you, April. Our God calls upon us to respond to all with the same grace that He responded to us with. While we were yet sinners, Jesus came and died for us. God bless, friend.

  7. granbee says:

    OH, it is grace that has set us free, and in Grace we should live. The T.H.I.N.K. motto is just very “spot on”, especially in the 2012 election cycle in the U.S.!

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