As I relayed in my phone tree message yesterday, I am so thankful to all of you for your calls, cards, texts, emails, gifts, words, hugs, any and all expressions of love, support, care and concern during this period of bereavement after the loss of my father. As I have shared with some, I have learned that when someone asks, "Are you okay? Are you alright?", there are different shades, levels, and degrees of okay and alright that I am going through at any particular moment. And, I am so thankful to God that I am experiencing this as I know it will strengthen my empathy and strengthen my ministry.
You see, we are all weak in some areas of our lives and in our weakness, we can express the humanness that is a part of all who still exist on this side of glory.
Our falling, failing, stumbling, and shortcoming does not mean that we are not still saved, sanctified, Holy Ghost-filled, and fire baptized. Instead, what it really means is that we are Christians, Christ-like, but we are not Christ.
Our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ, was fully human and fully divine. He felt everything that we feel but he did not succumb because He was also God who looked and lived like a man for a brief period of time. By doing so, he could attest to the fact that we all get weak sometimes which simply demonstrates our need that much more for our all-sufficient God. Amen!
Beloved, if God knows this about us, I pray that we will know this about ourselves and, most importantly, we will know this about others too.
You see, sometimes, when we see a brother or sister in Christ slip, we can run to extremes of questioning their holiness, their salvation, their Christianity. Oh what cruel tricks of temptation Satan can play on us.
Knowing this, the Apostle Paul had a word for us in Romans 15:1-3, "We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Each of us must please our neighbor for the good purpose of building up the neighbor. For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written, 'The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.'"
Beloved, it is easy to see sin and call it out; but, can we separate the sin from the sinner? We cannot offer salvation to sin. We can only offer it to the sinner.
We can see the evil that exists in a person; but, will we see that the person does not have to be evil because they do evil?
We can know that the wrong path someone is on will lead them to Hell; but, will we work earnestly to bring them back to the straight and narrow road of right and righteous living so that they mean spend eternity in Heaven?
And, I am not simply identifying those who are not saved. I am intentionally addressing how we deal with each other as saints of God.
Your maturity in Christ does not give you license to verbally, mentally, emotionally or spiritually beat the Hell out of someone. NO!
It should lead you to love and encourage the Hell out of everyone. YES!
Why? Because God sent Jesus to do that for us.
In the process, people may say things to you and about you and do things to you that simply reveal more about who they are and how far they may be from their best selves.
Expect it. It happened to Jesus. Christian, Christ-follower, if you live for the cause of Christ, it is going to happen to you.
Know what? Love and encourage anyway.
Why? Weaker Christians are still Christians. And, it is the work of the church, the bride of Christ, to help all of God's children to grow and mature into who and what our Heavenly Father would have us to be.
You see, when I strengthen you, I am also strengthening me because we are all a part of the same body, the body of Christ.
So, the next time you get ready to bless somebody out, pause and think, "Should I bless them out or should I bless them?"
At the cross, Jesus chose to bless you and Jesus chose to bless me...in spite of our weakness.
You have got to love a God like that. Or at least...
Remember, God loves you and I love you too!