"Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with— even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.
For instance, a person who has been around for a while might well be convinced that he can eat anything on the table while another, with a different background, might assume all Christians should be vegetarians and eat accordingly. But since both are guests at Christ’s table wouldn’t it be terribly rude if they fell to criticizing what the other ate or didn’t eat? God, after all, invited them both to the table. Do you have any business crossing people off the guest list or interfering with God’s welcome? If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, GOD CAN HANDLE THAT WITHOUT YOUR HELP.” - Romans 14:1-4 Message Remix
I came across this passage today, and it really struck a chord. This is honestly how I try to live my life, and I wanted to share this with fellow believers and non-believers alike. I can’t tell you how many people in my family and in my daily life have criticized the way I live. They make nasty comments about my hair, question where I go to church and who I hang out with; they freak out at any mention of tattoos and worry that I’m falling by the wayside simply because I live my life to a different taste. This is not how Christ has called us to live. It is simply enough for me to know Christ— the way I choose to live the life he’s given me is not any one else’s place to judge. Christ has placed something within me that is different than what may be in another. Let us not bicker with one another over fickle things. One day we both shall kneel before the father in judgement.
I have friends who have tattoos. I have friends who aren’t virgins. I have friends who cuss and friends who don’t. I have friends and even family who’ve chosen a homosexual lifestyle. I associate with people who have multiple body piercings and pink hair. I have friends who get drunk on a weekly basis. I also have friends and family alike who don’t like alcohol. I have people in my life averse to tattoos and piercings. I know people who won’t even cut their hair because they think it sinful. And you know what? I love each and every one of them WITHOUT judgement because that is what Christ has called me to do. We are not here evaluate how another follows Christ. We are here to understand each other through God’s eyes, and love from the center of who we are. So today, hug that person who believes differently from you. Let them know you love them as a fellow brother/sister in Christ. Despite our differences, all of us have the same thing in common: We are bathed in the blood of Jesus Christ, and to our Father we are washed clean.
My Uncle Ronnie passed away this week, but despite the sadness I feel, I am incredibly strengthened by the love God showed while my family was struggling in the hospital.
I was laying in bed Wednesday night trying hard to fall asleep, but for some reason I couldn’t manage it. Something within me told me that I needed to stay awake a little longer. My cousin, whom I am housemates with, began running to and fro about the house before she raced out the door and took off quickly in a car. I didn’t know what was going on, but I knew something was wrong. I quickly began praying for Courtney and whatever the situation was. Before I got any further in my prayer, a voice spoke in my mind over and over, “Uncle Ronnie had a heart attack; Uncle Ronnie had a heart attack.” At first, I pushed the thought from my mind thinking that it couldn’t be true, and I was just being paranoid. A moment later, my cousin called and told me that her father had just had a heart attack. I became silent at her words as I realized that I had just heard the voice of God alerting me to the situation.
When I got to the hospital the next day, I was overcome with grief and tears as I saw and felt the pain of my family. There were at least twenty of us all gathered at the hospital 24/7 . My uncle had surgery to clear the blockage, but it wouldn’t clear. He had open heart surgery following this. We live in a small town, and our hospital doesn’t have a heart doctor so four different doctors rotate from Birmingham each week. It turns out that the doctor that just happened to be at the hospital this week was the only one of the four who could perform the surgery my uncle needed, which was an immense God thing. The doctor was also a God fearing man who prayed with us and cried with us as he tried his best to save our uncle. Had he not been the doctor we had, none of us would have been able to say goodbye.
After a few days, the doctor told us things weren’t looking good. I began begging and praying for God to give us hope. All along the way, He’d been giving us tiny miracles; we needed another. God gave us that hope to remind us he was listening. The doctor said if we transported my uncle to Birmingham with him, he would have a better chance. The bad thing was that the temperature was 105 that day, and the temperature could effect my uncle poorly. My grandma and I prayed for cloud cover even though it was supposed to be hot and sunny all day. We need rain to bring the temperature down, and let me tell you; when we got outside, not only was there cloud cover, there was mountains of it. Huge thunderheads covered the skies over the hospital. Once you got a mile away from the hospital, they were gone and it was sunny. The clouds followed him to the airport and all the way to Birmingham where it rained to bring down the temperature. God was reminding us that He is listening and He is there.
Looking back now, I realize that it was best for my uncle to go home with Jesus. He didn’t want to suffer years of illness like my grandfather did, so this was God’s mercy not allowing him to go through that. We will miss him terribly, but it’s not goodbye. From this experience, I can assuredly say to you folks on tumblr that God is real, He is listening to us and watching over us every day, and without Him and the love of Jesus Christ the world is lost.