Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.
— Romans 15:7
Have you ever been taken totally off-guard by someone who behaved in a way that was far different from what you expected from him? When this occurred, did you walk in love and forgive that person for what he did?
I’ve learned through the years that most people who act offensively don’t do it on purpose. Sometimes they just inadvertently act in a way that gives a wrong impression to others. Often people who have done something offensive or hurtful to others aren’t even aware of how they are being perceived by others.
*[If you started reading this from your email, begin reading here.]
Think about it. Haven’t you had times when your actions were perceived differently than how you meant them to be perceived? Have you ever been misunderstood? Has anyone ever called your motives into question? Did it shock you to hear what others thought about you, especially when you knew your intentions were right? You may have meant one thing, but everyone seemed to perceive something totally different from what you intended. When you learn that others have misunderstood you, don’t you wish they would believe the best about you rather than rush to judgment and condemn you for something you never intended to project?
Just as you want others to believe the best about you, you also need to reverse that grace and believe the best about others. So consider this question: If someone does something offensive, do you rush to judgment, or do you assume that the other person would never deliberately intend to be offensive?
A good rule to live by is to give the same grace to others that you want them to extend to you. You’ll never go wrong by extending mercy to people. In fact, according to the law of sowing and reaping, if you give mercy to others, you are guaranteed to reap mercy from others when you need it the most.
So before your flesh becomes stirred up and upset the next time someone offends you, remember this: The chances are very good that you’ve done the very same thing to others that this person has done to you! That’s why you need to speak to your emotions when you are tempted to get offended or to get into strife. Remind yourself of the many times you’ve been loved, forgiven, and freely accepted in spite of something you’ve done.
In Romans 15:7, the apostle Paul gave us a helpful word to assist us in our endeavor to walk in harmony and peace with other people. He said, “Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.” Do you see the word “receive” in this verse? It comes from the Greek word proslambano, a compound of the words pros and lambano. The word pros means toward and carries the idea of being close to something. The word lambano is the Greek word that means to take or to receive. When the two words are used together, the compound word means to receive closely. An even better rendering would be to receive with a welcoming attitude.
- Isn’t this how Jesus received you?
- Didn’t He take you just as you were at the time you came to Him?
- Didn’t He take you with all your attitude problems, defects, inconsistencies, and blemishes?
According to the meaning of the Greek word proslambano that is used in Romans 15:7, we are to receive each other with wide-open arms, just as Jesus Christ received us when we first came to Him. But for us to obey this divine command, we’ll have to do a lot of forgiving and overlooking in this life!
I strongly advise you to quit concentrating so fiercely on the faults and flaws of others and to start concentrating on how to be more forgiving and merciful. If you give mercy, you’ll be shown mercy. Take the route of mercy, and you’ll never be sorry. Believe it or not, there are times when you’re supposed to shut your eyes to what you see other people do and just let it go!
If you’ll take this approach to life, you’ll have far less emotional disappointments and problems with your nerves. So determine today to give people the same forgiveness and mercy you want others to extend to you!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, please forgive me for being so harsh and judgmental of other people when they make mistakes or behave in ways that shock me. I know I become judgmental when I forget the mercy and grace that has been extended to me through the years. Therefore, I ask You to help me walk in a constant awareness of all the times I’ve been loved, forgiven, and accepted in spite of my behavior. Holy Spirit, help me now to be an extension of this same mercy and grace to others who need it from me.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that I walk in mercy and grace! I don’t rush to judgment when others do things that are less than what I expected of them. I realize that everyone makes mistakes and that no one who truly loves Jesus would intentionally do the offensive and hurtful things I’ve seen some people do. These people don’t realize how they are being perceived. I know they’re making these mistakes because they need to grow and mature. So rather than judge others for what they have said, done, or failed to do, I will walk in mercy, grace, and forgiveness toward them just as I would want others to do for me.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. How did Jesus receive you? Did He require perfection of you before He would accept you, or did He take you just as you were at the time you came to Him?
2. Since you started walking with the Lord, have you ever done anything to cause Jesus to turn His back on you? Or have you found Him to be completely committed to you regardless of your behavior?
3. Since this is how Jesus has accepted you, how should you respond to other people in your life who make mistakes and are less than perfect?