Through the years I have found that these four things are what all my Christian life revolves
around. Love one another as I have loved you - Forgive as I have forgiven you - Accept one
another... as Christ accepted you - Be merciful as your Father in heaven shows mercy.
All scripture, all to be obeyed and done as God did them. Not suggestions, not good ideas,
but commands of the Word to us to carry out.
Unconditional is the way we were loved by God. Is it how you love others? Or do you put little asterisks next to love and set rules and regulations on who you will love and who you won't.
We must truly do this as Christ did. He didn't demand anything to be accepted, He did however never leave anyone where they were. His words were 'follow me'. To follow Him we must allow change. But we never had to change to follow Him. Do you accept others like Christ accepted you? Do you do what Christ did and empower others to be the greatest they can be by following Christ? Or do you set your own little ideas as to who can and can not follow Christ?
It is funny that we commonly say things like "I will never forgive that person for what they have done to me" - "That person doesn't deserve forgiveness" - or how about "I don't have to forgive them because they haven't asked for forgiveness". Jesus put it pretty bluntly when He said "if you don't forgive men their sins against you, your heavenly Father will not forgive you your sins". God's forgiveness comes through the blood of Christ which was shed on the cross when He died for us. It was extended to us without asking. The need of forgiveness must be acknowledged by us, but it was given to us through the work of Christ not through our asking. Who haven't you forgiven today? Last year? In your life? The lack of forgiving others can lead to many harmful things, but the most harmful is that of eternity apart from God. Won't you forgive like your Father in heaven has forgiven you? You can you know. Just ask Him to help.
And Finally, Mercy
Are you merciful???? Do you have a good definition of mercy? I like to say that mercy is when you have someone 'dead to rights' or in other words no one would ever blame you for anything you would ever do that person because they deserve whatever they get because of what they have done. Sounds good doesn't it? However we are commanded to show mercy as our Heavenly Father shows mercy to us. Think about it. We broke covenant with God, we disobey, we even mock and put down what His word says. He could at any time demand punishment, give punishment and no one could deny His right to do so. Yet instead of destroying us or punishing us with eternal damnation He chose to take the punishment Himself. He chose to not give us what we deserved but to give us His love instead. Unconditional love. Not based on who we are or what we have done but on His desire to love us. How about you? Are you showing mercy to others like God shows us mercy? Or are you extracting every ounce of payback that you can from people who have wronged you?
Love, Acceptance, Forgiveness, Mercy - where do you stand? If you follow Christ it is commanded where you are to stand. If we fail to obey - well no wonder the world is going to hell in a hand basket. For the scripture says 'they will know you are my disciples because you love one another' and for the most part if we chose to only love those we want to, accept those who we like, forgive those who we think deserve it, and instead of mercy extract every ounce of revenge we can, is it any wonder the world and the church are as messed up as they are? Will you join us in turning this around? In honestly accessing our lives to love, accept, forgive, and show mercy as Christ did for us.