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Friday, September 23, 2016

ACCEPTING OTHERS

Romans 15:5-7 New Living Translation
“May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.  Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.”
       Paul’s letter was to a very diverse Roman church.  It was made up of both Jew and Gentile, those who were both slaves and free, rich and poor, strong and weak.  There was some difficulty due to such differences to accept one another.  To accept someone is not just to take one into your heart, but also your home.  They were being encouraged to share meals and activities together, while avoiding racial or economic prejudice.  This is the same problem church members grapple with today.
       Paul mentions two important characteristics that God exhibits, both patience and encouragement.  Just as he is patience with us in our quest to imitate his Son, we too are to be patient with those who are different than us.  The Lord created us all, making each of us unique in our own special way.  Some of us have a lot of cultural and familial baggage that we either may not be aware of or may have difficulty getting rid of.  The Holy Spirit can help us shake such baggage if we seek his assistance.  To shun others that do not line up with our definition of normal is unacceptable. 
       The final statement of this passage cuts right to the bone.  We are to accept others within the body of Christ, all others, just as Christ accepted us.  We shall receive no glory for acting in such a manner.  All glory goes to God as it should.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Resource: The Life Application Study Bible, published by Tyndale House.

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