Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. Romans 15:7
Do you remember when you first met the Lord Jesus? Do you remember the time you ask Him to be the Lord and Savior of your life? You didn’t get a response like: You will need to go clean up first or I can’t be bothered by someone as low as you are right now. Think about it . . . the King of the universe bent low to hear your voice when you called on Him the very first time. You didn’t have to make an appointment and you didn’t have to persistently ask until He acknowledged your calling out to Him. He was waiting to hear from you and ready to receive you into His family with open arms. He didn’t care about your background or what mess you were currently in, He was only interested in opening wide the door to His home for you to walk through by faith into His love and sacrifice.
Such a great reception, yet do we receive others that way? Do we look at people who are lost and hurting and quickly turn away so we don’t have to look on their sin? Or do you receive them as Jesus received you. I know we do not condone their sin, but when you think about your own salvation, did you immediately change and get rid of all sin in your life? Most likely it was a growth process where you worked on getting closer to Him by spending time with Him in prayer and scripture reading. After some time you were able to step away form sinful habits that had a grip on you. Even then, you were not able to attain perfection. We still miss it at times and when we turn back to Jesus, He welcomes us back with open arms. He doesn’t try to make us pay for our offenses. That would be like making His payment non-effective. No, the price Jesus paid for our sin was more than enough for ours and the sin of the whole world.
So why do we turn others away or ignore them because their sin is hard to look at. Even worse, why would we ever look down on someone that is trapped in a sinful lifestyle, when we have the answer and lifeline to get them out. Not by condemning their behavior, but by loving them as a person created in the image of God. It is bad enough when done to those who don’t know Jesus, but how much worse when done to a new believer that is learning how to trust God through their struggles?
Today’s passage sums it all up by saying: receive others at Christ Jesus received and keeps receiving you. Open up your heart and your life to love others who may not be so lovely. By treating people different than the rest of the world does, you impact their life in a way that opens the door for the love of God to get through. In that way you can complete the end of the verse that says: by receiving others, we give honor and glory to God our Father.
Today I want to encourage you to receive all people into your life as Christ Jesus wants to receive them into His love. Have an open heart and hand to help those who are trapped in the clutches of sin. Do not despise or look down upon those who have struggled through a hard life. Instead, show them that God loves them by loving them right where they are right now. It is not your job to change people anyway, it is the work of the Holy Spirit to change a heart and life. Your job is simply to love and let Him do the rest.
Today’s scripture reading: Romans 15:7-13