Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tend to Your Knitting

"As I live and breathe," God says,
      "every knee will bow before me;
   Every tongue will tell the honest truth
      that I and only I am God."
So tend to your knitting. You've got your hands full 
just taking care of your own life before God. 
Romans 14:12

I'm having one of those Quiet Times this morning.

It started out when I discovered a chapter or two in Romans that I had not yet read in The Message.

As I read Paul's words in this fresh way, I immediately saw how they related to something going on in the life of a dear friend of mine.

I quickly found myself wanting to type out several verses and zip them off to some people that I thought could learn a thing or two from the passage I was reading. 

I practically giggled with glee at the thought of proudly proclaiming these verses to those I think need them and seeing them crumble under the Truth.


That's when I could almost feel a tap-tap-tap on my shoulder.
A feeling of unease and realization crept in to my belly. 

Once again, I saw that these verses are for me. 

I need to read them.

I need to learn from them.

I need to incorporate them into my life.


Here are some of the verses I was reading:

Welcome with open arms fellow believers 
who don't see things the way you do.
And don't jump all over them 
every time they do or say something 
you don't agree with—
even when it seems that they are 
strong on opinions but weak in the faith department.
Remember, they have their own history 
to deal with. Treat them gently. 
Romans 14:1

None of us are permitted to insist on our own way 
in these matters. It's God we are answerable to—
all the way from life to death 
and everything in between—not each other.
That's why Jesus lived and died and then lived again:
 so that he could be our Master across the entire range 
of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other. 
So where does that leave you when you criticize a brother?
And where does that leave you when you condescend to a sister?
I'd say it leaves you looking pretty silly—or worse.
Eventually, we're all going to end up kneeling side by side
in the place of judgment, facing God.
Your critical and condescending ways 
aren't going to improve your position there one bit.
 Romans 14:7-12

Forget about deciding what's right for each other.
Here's what you need to be concerned about:
that you don't get in the way of someone else,
making life more difficult than it already is. 
Romans 14:13
So let's agree to use all our energy
in getting along with each other.
Help others with encouraging words;
don't drag them down by finding fault. 
Romans 14:19

Cultivate your own relationship with God,
but don't impose it on others.
You're fortunate if your behavior and
your belief are coherent.
Romans 14:22

Life can be pretty hard sometimes.

We are all fallible.

We are all loved by God.

And we all need Jesus.

I want to be stepping in the direction of grace.

I want to offer gentle words of encouragement, instead of harsh words of criticism.

It is so easy to see the fault of someone else. 

It is so easy to be offended.

It is so easy to cross to the other side of the road and just keep on walking.

It is so easy to read some Bible verses and think that they apply to someone else.

Oh, Father, please, help me to stop taking the easy way. 
Just as You have been so gentle and patient 
and full of grace with me, 
help me to be the same 
to those You have placed in my life.


Anonymous said...

Gracias, Amiga.

-Geoff Nelson

Anonymous said...

Thanks! I needed to be reminded of this today!

Brenda @ Tie That Binds Us said...

Wow. I'm a critical person by nature and this hit home with me. I could use a quick swift kick in the pants, my friend. I'm glad it was you that kicked me because it was a gentle kick. Love you!

Christa said...

Oh Brenda, my dear, thankfully it was not me who did the kicking... it must be the the Holy Spirit was taking care of us both!