Kindness Over Customary

“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” – (Matthew 9:13, NIV)

“You need to go and learn what this Scripture means: ‘I don’t want animal sacrifices; I want you to show kindness to people.’ I did not come to invite good people. I came to invite sinners.” – (Matthew 9:13, ERV)

“Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.” – (Matthew 9:13, MSG)

This passage is Jesus’ response to the Pharisees after they questioned Him about His dining with Matthew, the tax collector and the fellow “sinners” that had been invited. In their pseudo piety, they saw the tax collectors and sinners as those who were beneath them and unworthy of the teacher’s time. Jesus, in His wisdom, pointed out that it is the sick who need medical attention; in the same way, sinners need salvation. The Pharisees were already well versed in scriptures and the laws, yet they saw following them as routine and religion, not as love, grace, mercy and sacrifice. Their priorities were all out of place. Time with Jesus was not meant to be an exclusive club or gathering, but rather He prioritized His time for those who were hungry to know more. We are no different today. Often, we get caught in the trap of thinking that if we do enough, or study enough, or pray enough in the four walls of our sanctuaries, we will have somehow arrived. The reality is that we are all called to do as Jesus did. We are charged with going forth in love. This means actively loving those around us; reaching out to those who need hope and help. It looks different for each of us, but the common threads are love, mercy, grace, goodness and kindness. Though we cannot make a difference for everyone, we can have a positive impact on the people whom we encounter;one person at a time. Sometimes it is as simple as a smile or an encouraging word, whereas other times there may be more action required. God is faithful to meet us and show us how to love each person we encounter with His heart. It is up to us to seek Him and trust Him to lead and guide us in the ways that He has for us to love. May we ever seek the Lord to equip us to go forth and love well, in the same way that Jesus chose to reach out, include, serve, honor and love.

For sinners He came,

To seek and to save;

Jesus led with love,

As we should today.

Love is inclusive,

It seeks to meet needs;

Love chooses reach out,

The hungry it feeds.

Sick and the hurting,

Those who’ve lost their way;

Are those Jesus loved,

And pursued each day.

He willingly left,

The flock for the one;

To lovingly lead,

Those who’d come undone.

For it’s through Jesus,

We each come to find;

A loving Savior,

Who has us in mind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be merciful and kind. Thank You that You first loved us, though we were sinners. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to reach out in love, or think somehow that we are good in our comfortable safety circle. Teach us to reach out beyond our four walls to love all those we meet. Show us how to love the lost and the broken in ways that point their hearts to the truth of Your love and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in love, with all people at all times. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

Peace Through Understanding

Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. – (1 Peter 3:8, NRSV)

So, all of you should live together in peace. Try to understand each other. Love each other like brothers and sisters. Be kind and humble. – (1 Peter 3:8, ERV)

And now this word to all of you: You should be like one big happy family, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds. – (1 Peter 3:8, TLB)

 

We are called to live together in peace. To do so, we must try to understand one another. Understanding does not mean that we agree with every viewpoint and perspective that another holds, but rather that we hear and respect them, and choose to love as family with humility and kindness. Love is not meant to have limits. Our call is not to just love those who view the world as we do, nor show kindness to only those who are kind to us. Rather, we are invited and equipped to love others with kindness and humility, without conditions. The remarkable result of truly seeking to understand one another, is so often a new perspective and respect for that which would have not otherwise been known is discovered. God is good, and He calls us to good things. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom and strength to love one another with tender hearts and humble minds, in such manner we may come to understand one another and live together in peace.

 

We are all called forth,

Peace Through Understanding

To love and be kind;

Seek understanding,

Heart, spirit and mind.

For love in this way,

Promotes lasting peace;

Sense of belonging,

Family increased.

Trust in His goodness,

Go forth in His grace;

Love with compassion,

Build lasting safe space.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to live at peace with one another. Thank You that as we seek You and rely on Your grace and strength, You equip us with kindness and humility to love those around us well. Forgive us for not investing nor seeking to understand others in a way that leads to peace. Teach us to listen so others feel heard and known. Show us how to love in the same way that we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to form family wherever we are planted, through kindness, humility and grace. Let Your lavish love show us the way. Amen.

 

 

© Shannon Elizabeth (Moreno) Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace. – Psalm 37:37

Obedience is Walking in Love

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love. – (2 John 1:6)

To truly live a life of love, is to live one of obedience to that which Christ has commanded. All that Christ asks of us can be summarized quite simply; we are to love God and love people. If all that we say and do is governed by our love for Christ and our desire to show His love to others, we will be operating in obedience to His commands. Though seemingly quite simple, it is much more easily said than done. Without investing in Christ and His created, we are not able to love well. We must know and trust God, and be invested in the world around us to actually touch lives with the love that He gives. Often it requires that we listen, even when we’d rather speak; help, when we’d like to have help ourselves; give, when we’re not sure we have enough, and show kindness, despite disdain that may be extended toward us. Love is a choice that we must choose to make if we desire to obey what the Lord is asking. He grants us wisdom as to when it is unhealthy to come close to those who could bring harm, and grace to extend to those who feel unworthy of being loved. May we each choose to walk in obedience to His commands as we walk out this day in His love.

To truly live life,Tether Our Hearts

obeying the Lord;

we must choose to love,

as we are adored.

For Christ grants to us,

all that we will need;

to go and love well,

let His Spirit lead.

Though it seems simple,

it is quite a task;

to love each other,

as Jesus has asked.

For people are flawed,

broken and cause harm;

it takes total trust,

to love as He arms.

Our obedience,

is well worth the price;

eternity sure,

our most sound advice.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it is to walk in obedience to Your commands. Thank You Jesus that You modeled a life lived in love. Thank You that You loved us so much that You gave Your very life for ours so that we could live forever with You, and love as You love us. Forgive us for not walking in obedience to Your commands, as we neglect to love You or others as we are called to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will love with wisdom and grace, showing others well the way to seek with their whole hearts, Your tender face. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk in obedience to Your commands and walk in love. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5