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I have the privilege of being a member of a rather eclectic church. It’s a pretty stunning cross-section of race and age and socioeconomic status. Which is great in some ways, but difficult in others, because as hard as everyone tries to fit together and care for each other, some of us just don’t jibe and maybe never will. Some people at the church are programmed to do things one way and others are programmed another way, which can cause friction and downright animosity. But we still come together on Sundays in the same place, to worship the same Lord and Savior, who is gracious enough to know and love us all. Forget walking on water, the fact that Jesus can spend more than five minutes with some of these people is a miracle enough for me! So how can we get over these, or any, differences we may have with others?
First, let me throw a couple questions at you, but let’s use a more relatable community, like the road and a universal offence like being cut-off while driving. Have you ever been cut-off while driving? I know, it’s the worst! How could they not have seen me?! Where did they learn to drive?! Who do they think they are?! We all hate being the person who had to stop, or swerve to avoid something that someone else caused. Now, let me ask, have you ever cut someone off? OF COURSE YOU HAVE! We all have, because there are times when we need to, or we’re not paying attention, or we’re acting crazy. I’m just saying, sometimes we’re the other person who almost caused something, which is easy enough to understand, but how do we relate it to our Christian lives.
There is a verse in Ephesians that I reread a couple weeks back, that helped me with this very idea. Ephesians 4:25 (NIV) says, “...speak truthfully to his (your) neighbor, for we are all members of one body.” I thought, speak to people truthfully? Like, “Don't, you might want to brush your teeth before uttering another word. Your breath smells like an old running shoe.” Or, “Excuse me, Stephanie, but a wild boar could organize the Advent Faire better than you.” If God wants me to be honest, I can definitely do it, but then the passage goes on to say in verse 31-32, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you.” Oh, so, speak only kind truths? In other words, don’t EVER be mean, or mad, or jealous, or hurtful. Be to others like you are to yourself, but even better! Be like Christ and honestly LOVE one another, for we are all one.
So, next time you get cut-off, or find someone annoying and you feel yourself getting angry, remember this, forgive them, because you do that stuff too sometimes. God’s love reminds us to forgive and let go and that’s good news.
By Andrew Dunn, contributing writer