“God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him (Christ),
and through Him to reconcile Himself to all things,
whether things on earth or things in heaven,
by making peace through His blood,
shed on the cross” –
Colossians 1 v 19-20
There’s plenty of people I don’t like. Especially right now. The political situation in the UK with Brexit, and of course in the US, is increasingly dividing people who were once friends. Hate crime and gun violence is on the rise
Division is all around.
Yet, in truth, we are all one.
When Paul wrote this scripture, the language He used was very clear.
All things. (and by the way, the literal translation is, ‘all things’ – as in, everything).
Not some things. Not some people. Not some religions or groups. Every single one of us. No one is excluded from the love of God. No one is excluded from the infinite value and worth He puts on us, simply because we exist.
We are all enough. We all belong. Just as we are.
Every. Single. One of us.
One of the reasons our world is so full of hatred and division, is because of fear. Simple as that. People are afraid – afraid of being hurt, afraid of being left behind, afraid of being ignored and forgotten. And so they retreat into self-protection, and hatred against anything or anyone remotely different.
We are suffering from a lack of grace.
Because grace tells us that we’re enough. Just as we are. All of us.
Now, I struggle with this as much as anyone. I will try to blunt every word of encouragement, support, praise, love and positivity which comes my way. Indeed, I’ve become almost an expert at it.
I got a book contract and turned into a sideshow piece of news which didn’t matter, and said it wasn’t a big deal. I’ve barely talked about it, and when I do, I don’t make it into a big deal. I try to minimize its importance.
But in truth, it is a big deal. It’s a gift, an opportunity, which God has given me. And although we should never boast, or let our egos get in the way, it’s right to acknowledge those gifts and opportunities we receive, and express gratitude.
There is one gift though, which is arguably the toughest. Grace itself.
Unconditional love and acceptance, for who we are. Just because we’re breathing. The love that a parent has for their children. My Dad has seen me at my very worst, most undeserving and shameful. But one day we were talking, and he says without blinking, or even without emotion, that he’d die for me in an instant if it came to it. It almost brought me to tears.
And this is nothing compared to God’s love for all of us. Just as we are.
So as believers we need to set an example in this world. To be one, whatever our particular perspective is. To not allow theological or denominational lines to divide us. To put our egos aside. And instead, to accept each other as we are. Love each other, as we are. Recognize we are all one in Christ, all reconciled to Him, all belong to Him.
Just as we are.
And to our enemies too, we must show love. The people who are the advocates for fear and hatred. The people we can’t stand, who make us angry. Those trying to divide us. The challenge of grace is to love them too.
Just as they are.
This is the challenge of grace. The challenge to accepting we ourselves our enough as we are. Accepting others who disagree with us and even that our enemies are enough – as they are.
I close with the words of Jesus:
Insight & Inspiration
“Love one another, as I have loved you…by this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13: 34-35)
“Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6: 27-29)
Do we believe we are enough, as we are?
Are willing to accept those who disagree with us, who may be our ‘enemies’, as they are?
How can we practically be more inclusive, and more loving to those people in our communities?