An actor admitted the story about his September 11 escape from the World Trade Center was untrue. For 14 years he has been repeating this lie. Doesn’t it make you wonder why people pull stunts like this? While I don’t positively know his motives, I do know that many people are desperate for acceptance. The church can make a difference when we accept others as Christ has accepted us.
Here are some questions I used for a time of reflection and self-examination based on a readin of Romans 14 and 15.
When I feel a judgment coming on…think of Jesus rather than myself as the one to whom that person needs to answer.
When I feel a judgment coming on… think of Jesus as the one who died that I might have acceptance in spite of my shortcomings and sins.
When I feel a judgment coming on… remember that people are all equally sinners.
When I feel a judgment coming on… remember I am saved not by how much right I have done, I am saved by Jesus through the grace of God.
Who am I going to try to stop judging this week?
Who am I going to bear with this week?
Who am I going to accept this week?
Loving and gracious God,
You have accepted me in spite of my sins.
You accept me in spite of my sins.
Thanks be to You, O God!
Create in my heart a desire to bless rather than judge.
Create in my heart a desire to accept rather than reject.
Help me keep my eyes on Jesus!
In the name of the One who has made my acceptance possible,
News outlets recently published a story with the headline above.
The owner of a laundromat actually posted signs banning dirty clothes in his establishment. To make matters more interesting, he also owns a car wash where he banned dirty trucks.
Why? People who had been his loyal customers for 15 or 20 years were tired of dealing with the messes left behind in the laundromat and the car wash by some of the new customers.
Churches don’t usually put up signs banning messy people. They don’t have to. Ministers and members can communicate the message without posting a sign.
“No messy people allowed.”
Why? The messes left behind by some of the new prospective members are just too much to deal with. The members who have been loyal for 15 or 20 years are offended.
Or…the leaders decide that new prospective members will never find their church attractive as long as the messy members are allowed to stay around, even if they have been around for 15 or 20 years.
Imagine a church where messy people are welcomed with open arms.
Our Father in heaven,
We call you Father.
We call You Father because You have adopted us.
We call You Father because You have accepted us into Your family.
You have accepted us as Your sons and daughters.
Thank You, God. Praise You, God.
Father, You gave Your Son to offer acceptance.
Jesus, You sacrificed all for us to be accepted.
Holy Spirit, You have been poured out into our hearts to assure us of God’s acceptance.
Thank You, God. Praise You, God.
Gather us Together Sunday, O God.
That we might remember how You love us.
That we might remember how You have accepted us.
So that we can start loving each other.
And start accepting each other.
Because too often we keep each other at arms length.
We get annoyed with one another.
We judge one another.
We feel superior to one another.
We give up on one another.
We need transformation, O God.
Transformation that is possible
through the power of Your Holy Spirit
making us into the likeness of Jesus.
We pray in Jesus’ name,