Observation: Paul is taking the time to talk to believers about how important it is to not tear other believers down. He goes on to say that God is the one who will ultimately judge us, so why should we take it upon ourselves to judge our brothers and sisters in Christ? We should be striving for harmony in the church by building each other up.
Application: Hi everyone! It’s Madison again. Thanks so much for responding so well to my post last week. And thanks to Abby for allowing me to come back and talk to you guys again.
((Editor’s Note: Madison’s blog was by far the most popular blog yet! I wanted to be jealous, but I’m actually just really proud that I have friends like her who are so talented and agree to write big, bold, vulnerable things that I get to share with the internet. My life is the best, y’all.))
This passage is has so many amazing things we can takeaway, but since it’s December 22nd, I’m going to focus for a bit on Christmas (...even if it feels like late spring here in Delaware. 70 degrees on Christmas Eve?! What the heck, Mother Nature?!) *Cue your favorite Christmas carol here*
Let’s take a look at my favorite verse from this passage (verse 13):
So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.
This time of year is always one that gives me a lot of anxiety. I am not good in crowds and small talk is the bane of my existence. Needless to say, chit chat with relatives I never see and mingling at Christmas parties is enough to make me want to stay in bed until 2016.
Fa la la la la la la
When I read this passage, I realized how important my words are during this holiday season.
Who here has had an argument over politics or religion with someone at a family gathering? I know I have....my brother and I argue over most dinners. We are close but anytime the presidential election comes up, we go for each other’s throats. It’s like Hunger Games and sometimes the odds are NOT ever in my favor.
Maybe you’re not the political type, but I’m sure everyone can identify with the moment where you get into the car after a party and you say: “Can you believe that _____ said that?”
What if we chose to look at these conversations and moments a bit differently this year? What if we decided to show so much grace to each other that we can’t help but build each other up?
I can hear some of you getting ready to write me off right now. You’re thinking, “I know I should be nice, but honestly, Madison, you’ve never met my sister.”
That’s actually exactly what I thought when I first read this passage: “God, I know I should be nice -- thanks for the reminder.”
But this goes so much deeper that just being nice. Our words, our actions, what we do can completely change people’s perceptions on God.
I know, I know. If we go to church, we all have heard this before. But humor me, just for a minute let this sink in: what you say in a moment of frustration or fear could be the difference between an eternity with or without Jesus.
The whole point of this season is not the parties, or the gifts, or even to spend time with the family. Jesus is the reason.
Christmas is a way for us to remember that God sent his one Son to earth to die a human death so that we could spend eternity with him.
So let’s focus on him. Let’s be present with each other and keep our words kind and our hearts full of grace.
Prayer: God, help me stay calm during this holiday season. Let me remember that you are the reason we celebrate. Help me be someone who will spend time building others up and encouraging them in their own lives. Your gift of coming to earth is the greatest present we could ever receive. Help us remember that.