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Posts Tagged ‘accept’

Why is it that a lot of us who call ourselves Christians want to defend our beliefs so much? We do it not only to non-believers, but even to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

We know how Jesus lived, loved others, accepted those who the religious crowd did not like. He was kind, loving, forgiving, and caring to all he came in contact (except for the ‘religious’ self-righteous leaders). Then we go out and want to argue with those who interpret the Bible differently, or who don’t believe the same as we do.

It seems to me rather than fight and argue over doctrine, interpretation and belief we would do better to love, accept and show compassion.

This certainly does not mean we have to agree with everyone, or tell others anything goes, but we do not have to fight and defend our way of thinking. Many of us think we have it all figured out and our way of faith is the only way. We think we have to persuade others to come to our way of thinking or they are doomed to hell.

I’m not sure any of us have it all figured out, in fact I know none of us do. We all have room to question, learn and change. I know my wife and I are doing more questioning than we ever did, and we are finding new truths as we walk in the Spirit daily.

When it comes down to it, I feel we should be open to accept others no matter what their way of thinking. People want to be loved and accepted, they want to be happy and get along with others. When we get all religious and defend our point of view, it does more harm and drives people apart more than anything.

Acceptance

My wife and I have been asking God for strength to accept and love everyone. No matter what they believe, what their faith or doctrine is, no matter their religion, nationality, sexual preference or color, we want to see them as Jesus sees them. This is a type of love we cannot do on our own. It is only possible by the love of God within us. We want to love, accept and care for people. Naturally we will not always agree, but we want to look past those areas and love them in Christ. We feel this is the way that others will come to see the love of God, not through condemning and bashing them. Not in trying to prove we are right and they are wrong. Love doesn’t mean seeing eye-to-eye, it doesn’t mean we agree or even like some of the things people do, but it does mean we look past the differences and love them as Christ loves them.

Let’s try to look past the labels and see people who have feelings, who want love and friendship, people we can get to know, learn from, share thoughts and ideas with, and accept as human beings who were created in the image of God.

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Have you ever sat down and asked yourself this question….who am I? Not necessarily the ‘who am I, why am I here’ question, but who is the real me.

A couple friends and I were talking recently and we got on this subject. We were asking each other who truly knows us, the real us.

Most of us really aren’t known by those whom we have a casual relationship, and really, most of us aren’t deeply and truly known by those few people we consider close, intimate friends.

We are good at putting on the proper mask to hide the real us when we are around others. I do it, you do it, pretty much all of us do it. There is something down within us that feels if people knew the real us, they wouldn’t like us or accept us. I’m not sure why that is, other than a natural feeling from way back when Adam and Eve tried to hide from God.

Fortunately, our Father isn’t like that. He truly loves us. Even if we aren’t completely open with Him, He knows more about us than we know ourselves….and He still loves us.

If we could just get to the point to not worry about what everyone else thinks about us and know we are loved by God no matter what, I think our relationships with each other would actually improve. We could be ourselves, open and honest, and not store up all the frustrations, questions, lonely feelings and junk we all think.

If each of us could be more like our Father and love each other no matter what, our fellowship together would be so much better. No more putting on masks, no more covering up things we don’t want others to know.

Now truthfully, if that will ever happen this side of heaven, I don’t know, but it certainly is a goal to shoot for. I am so thankful we have a Father who loves us no matter what. We don’t need to put on a mask and hide our true self from Him. He knows us and loves us just as we are. Now, if we could just be the same with each other.

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After being in the organized church for well over 50 years, and seeing all the different denominations, beliefs, interpretations etc., one thing makes me sad. That one major thing is to see so many followers of Christ fight and argue over the different paths we take in our christian walk.

Now that isn’t saying the all roads lead to God, but while trusting in God and following Christ, we are going to take many different paths during our life here on earth. They are going to be different from other followers of Christ, but we are following the same Christ.

Those of us outside the institutional church should not divide and separate ourselves into the ‘in church’ and ‘out of church’ groups. In the same manner, those who are part of the modern day church should not look down on and separate from those outside the institution. We need to accept that we both love God and are following Christ along the path he has for us.

I think this is what working out our salvation means. Not that we have to work to earn our salvation, but we continually learn as we follow Christ in our salvation. We, as Christ followers, will take different paths in our walk with God. We shouldn’t expect everyone to walk the same path.

And I hear those of you who even want to argue over the phrase ‘Christ follower’. I’ve had people correct me for using that phrase. By using it I mean Christ is living within each of us, and we walk with him and let him live through us. We are following along with him and not out doing our own thing.

As brothers and sisters in Christ, we are to love one another, encourage and build up one another. We aren’t to be continually expecting everyone to act like us and walk in the same way we do.

We are to be accepting, loving and kind to all we have contact with each day, and especially to those who are fellow believers. It seems we are more concerned about acting and believing the exact same things, and when we don’t, we want to fight, argue and separate ourselves rather than accept that God works in each of us in different ways. He made each of us differently, and he leads us along different paths as we walk toward a common destination.

Rather than expect everyone to be just like us, let’s start loving one another the way Christ loved people while he walked the earth. Let’s not let different interpretations and ways of walking with God be a stumbling block to a loving fellowship with one another.

Besides, we aren’t going to lead anyone to a relationship with Christ when all they see is arguing and disagreements among brothers. We aren’t going to draw people insisting they conform to our way of thinking and following our rules and interpretations. The only way people will know we have something worth checking out, is when they see brothers and sisters in Christ loving one another, caring for one another and building each other up.

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I remember when I was a little boy waking up in the middle of the night and calling out in the dark to my mom.

I could not see her but I knew she was there. If I went by sight I would never have called out to her and I would not have received the help I wanted.

The same with God, we cannot see Him but we know He is there. We must realize that we live by faith or we will never call out to Him and receive what we need.

Faith1

In certain ways, I see all people as people of faith. That is not saying that all people have faith in God but all have faith. Some people have faith in science, some in various religions, some in humanity and others have faith in God.

God loves each one of us no matter what we put our faith in. He has come to call us to himself, to accept us and to love us.

None of us can prove beyond a doubt that there is a God or that there is not a God. None of us can prove Heaven or Hell. It is all by faith.

Just as it is by faith that we flip a light switch and expect the lights to come on, or sit on a chair and expect it to hold us, it is by faith we accept God and know He is there and has provided access to fellowship with him by grace.

Don’t worry about trying to prove God to everyone you meet. Live your life daily by faith in God. Allow Him to live through you to touch others and, in his way and time, prove himself.

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We know when the word church is used, we are talking about the modern day, organized religious organization that people attend on Saturday or Sunday, with the many programs, leaders and pastors.

I think an issue today among Christians, especially those of us who are not part of an organized, modern day church, is to feel those who are still involved in church, and those who think differently than us are our enemies.

Even though people attend church for various reasons…obligation, guilt, to meet with God, the thing to do, or for social purposes, we should remember there are many people attending church that truly love God and are trying to follow Him.

Many outside of church start thinking they are more righteous or further along in their walk with God than those who still attend church. In all fairness, we need to accept those who are our brothers and sisters in Christ no matter if they attend church or not, along with those who have different interpretations and understandings. Just as those who faithfully attend church should not look down on those who have left the organized system, looking at them as if they are backsliders. Our Father will lead His own in His way and His timing.

The important thing is our relationship and fellowship with Christ. No matter what we do on Sunday mornings, our goal is to decrease to self, our desires and plans and allow Him to increase and live His life in us.

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