I get to deal with all kinds of people. Some of them have been around a while or even been involved in church for a long time. Others are young and might have very little or no experience being part of a church. There are times that I am floored by what people tell me about the way people interact with them.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of talking with a young couple that I have known for several years. They have a couple young kids and have had their own struggles due to their choices, the economy and more. But they shared with me about a recent experience that bothered them a great deal, and to be honest, what they told me made me mad.
A friend had invited them to church one Sunday, and they went knowing that this might be tough. It was. They aren’t your typical middle class couple. Their families are poor. They were raised in tough circumstances. They don’t have dress clothes like many people would wear to church, and then they have tattoos, several of them.
I have seen and heard people talk about people who come to church that aren’t like them, but what struck me in our conversation was the fact that people went up to this young couple and told them they needed to dress better and maybe come to a worship service that didn’t have very many people attend. Needless to say I got a chance to reassure this couple that they would be accepted and loved at The Community Fellowship and at other churches, and I shared with them that God knows who they are and loves them no matter what.
You get my point already, but I share with you today as a reminder to do what Jesus did. Be honest with people. Love people as they are and where they are. I am looking for, Jesus is looking for people who are willing to help people see and experience God. I am not talking about overlooking sin or compromising the word of God. I am talking about helping people understand the grace of God. If they see God’s grace in action, they might just see and experience God.
Romans 15:7 NLT
Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.
God didn’t tell us to clean up and come to Him. He forgave us as we were as we came to Him. By accepting people we act like Jesus and share what Jesus as done for us.
Ephesians 4:32 NLT
Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Kindness goes a long way. Praise God that He was kind to us and continues to be kind. When we are sensitive to the place and needs of the people we meet, we will have the ability to share the grace of God. God forgave you and me. We can forgive others.
1 John 4:12 NLT
No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.
By loving people we do what God did for us. Forgiving and loving people goes a long way.
1 John 3:18 NLT
Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.
We can say we love people, but when we treat them poorly or without kindness, we are 100% wrong. Love is more than what we say. Real love is seen in what we do.
Colossians 4:6 NLT
Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.
I close with this final thought: so we can share Jesus with the people we meet, we must treat people with grace. My prayer is that this young couple and thousands of others will experience Christ as we accept them.