I recently wrote another post with a very similar title. This morning's reading has me thinking that there are some very specific things for me to take a hard look at amongst the body of believer's I worship with, both those in the present and those in the past. The verses I focused on this morning were Romans 15:5-7. There is a theme running through these verses about unity, about being of the same mind and in one accord. Then the clincher comes in verse 7, "Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us (me) to the glory of God." Follow that with this verse from Psalm 119 that I read today, "Keep me from lying to myself," (v. 29a-NLT) and I come to some difficult realizations.
For the past couple of weeks I have been in the 14th chapter of Romans. It is all about setting aside yourself for the sake of others. It is all about not fighting within the church about the things that are not crucial to the faith, and even more importantly not causing our brothers and sisters harm by insisting on certain things. Today leads me to the tough questions. Have I been a person who builds up or tears down? Have I made issues of things that are not vital and caused harm to fellow believers? The awful answer is there are mistakes in my past that I am very ashamed of and my confession time this morning was a tear-filled one as I finally acknowledged my terrible failings in this area. There are times I should have simply walked away. There are times when I stood so firmly on something that has no lasting value that I made no room for those with opposing opinions. I have been judgmental and harsh rather than accepting others as Christ has accepted me. I am praying this morning that the God who restores will be able to bring healing to those I have left hurting along my path. I am praying that God would replace distrust, anger, resentments, and hurts among the body with love, grace, peace, and mercy.
There is a song I love to sing by Natalie Grant, Make Me Over. As I seek to be more like Christ within the body of believer's this is the prayer of my heart.
I've been silent instead of speaking up
Gave my advice instead of giving love
I have been unfair, faithless and unkind
I have shut my eyes just so I would stay blind
It's not what I meant to do
'Cause I want to honor You
Make me over, Make me new
Make me a mirror, a reflection of You
Take me all apart
Take me to Your heart and pull me closer
Sweet Savior, make me over
I was working on my second quilt block yesterday. It looks like this as I get ready to pick it up this morning and finish it.
Grace, peace, and mercy dear ones.