Acceptance and Love

This will be a difficult post to write. Not because of any earth shattering thing. Not because I failed miserably, but because it will be hard to not sound like I’m patting myself on the back.

The other day a very dear person to me confided and confessed a sin that will have long term effects in his life and mine. Now because of our relationship, I have the authority to speak into his life. At that moment I had a choice. I could condemn his actions and heap shame on him, blame him for acting foolishly, or reproach him for bad decisions. OR, I could model God’s love to him. I could empathize with him in the pain. I could help him to formulate a plan to move forward. I could let him know that no matter what he has done, he is always welcomed and loved here.

Our model in all things is Christ. What would he have done? To the Samaritan woman at the well, He brought her to the knowledge of sin then offered her the hope of relief. To the woman caught in adultery He defended her from the mob who wanted to punish her then offered her forgiveness. To the rich young ruler, He invited him to lay aside everything else and follow Him. To Nicodemus, He offered a new start and a new life.

I’m happy to say that God won the day. We were able to calmly and lovingly work through the issues surrounding his sin and what might happen. I believe he felt loved and accepted. That has not always been the case. Many times in my life (even most) I have been hard and unforgiving. I believed the way to keep someone accountable was to clearly lay down the law and rigidly hold to the consequences of violating that law. But what did that get me? A wife who was afraid to speak freely around me, kids who hid from me, friends who didn’t include me in their plans.

What has made the difference in me? Forgiveness. Truly understanding that I am not the shining example I thought myself to be. Realizing that I am a terribly flawed man. Accepting God’s forgiveness for my sin and welcoming His correction in my life. While I am not the man I want to be, thank God, I am not the man I once was.

Resolution or Covenant?

Today many people will be making promises to themselves to ‘do better’  this year. Whether it’s to lose weight, get in shape, get organized, or any number of other good things. We lightly call these resolutions. As we all know, these resolutions last, uhh, a short time! I too have made my share and very few, if any, were really followed for any length if time.

Instead of a resolution I am instead entering into a covenant with God.

What is the difference you ask? A resolution is a decision that I make and unilaterally implement. As such, anytime it becomes hard I can choose to reject that decision without any regret because, after all, it was just my own choice. A covenant involves two persons and is an agreement between them for a particular purpose and for a particular time. So, while I may still break the covenant, I know that I will be disappointing the other person if I do. This gives me accountability and gives me pause to consider should I want to abandon my decision.

I covenant before God:

  1. As He gives me the grace and power, and

  2. Until He gives me leave to stop,

  3. I will devote myself to fulfilling my life’s mission statement:

To know and be known by GOD through regular study and worship, and to make HIM known to family, friends, co-workers, and strangers in need, by speaking the truth in love, acts of service, and sharing GOD’s provision. Ever more consistent, honest and open, quick to forgive and ask forgiveness. Choosing to make evident the Fruit of the SPIRIT in my life, asking in all circumstances, “What Would Jesus Do?

  • Practicing daily spiritual disciplines as He leads, and

  • Reviewing and refining my daily actions to conform to the goals laid out here:

Upward – My experience with GOD


Inward – Learning to live as He would have me


Outward – Relating to other people in His name