Monday, July 22, 2013

Just How Inviting Are You?

Who do we invite into our lives? How many people do we push out because they offend us or don't agree with our beliefs? Over the weekend I went to dinner with my cousin. We had a lovely waitress. She was funny and sweet. She was a fabulous waitress with a personality that bounced with laughter. She was a lesbian. 

I began thinking of others I know. Others who would have asked for a different waitress. Others who would have made remarks or complained. Not just others, but Christians.

Me too. I cannot leave myself out. Oh mercy, it's easy to point fingers isn't it? We do it all the time. We point with judgement and condemnation. We look at the sin before we see the person. Shame on us. Where is the love we are suppose to be sharing? Giving? There are times I am downright ashamed of myself. Just because someone is different than me isn't cause to treat them any different. Jesus didn't do that. His love was great for everyone. We are to love people and hate sin. How are we going to reach a world in need of Jesus if we are not ready to invite them in?

The Lord is forever teaching me that just because someone is different doesn't mean I cannot show them love and kindness, wrapped in grace. This world is filled with all kinds of people and if I remember correctly, we are ALL sinners in need of grace. 

We are a country who divides itself and sadly as Christians we can be those who are dividing the most. This is what I know. God is in the business of souls and I am to be in the business of people. Friends, I could preach the gospel all day, but if people don't see the love of Christ through my life they aren't going to accept much of what I have to say about Jesus. 

I am to be His hands and feet. I am to be His vessel for Him to live through. To do that I need to be focused on Him. Not the sins of others. Not the actions of others. They don't need my judgement. They don't need me to change them. My goodness, I have enough sin and issues in my life. I simply need to love other people and love them enough that that see something different in me. I need to walk in such a way that others see Jesus through me. 

We can learn so much from others. If we could take off our blinders long enough and set aside our judgement specks we might just be able to see what the love of Christ is really about. We are ALL created in His image. We may be different, yes. Our sins may not be the same, but the last time I checked, sin is sin. 

Might we remember we don't know the pasts of others. We don't know how others were raised. We simply don't know the issues that others are facing as they wake each morning. What can know is Jesus is near. What we can do is pray. 

I pray I am more inviting. If others could see my table, it is my prayer that all would be welcomed. Jesus welcomed this sinner and accepted me just as I was. May I never forget that sweet moment of grace and may the list of those I invite into my life be long and filled with a love that surpasses all. 

"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
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