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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 12/13/17

Golden Rule "Othering"

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STORY: Like a Good Neighbor

While walking Jazzy, the silly Boston Terrier, a little girl voice greeted us. “Hello Neighbor!” I looked over to the patio and discovered her family, just moving in below us at the apartment complex. Four stair-stepped children petted Jazzy while we talked with their parents. Russ and I offered to help with their move, and continued our walk, with grins still plastered on our faces from, “Hello Neighbor!” It’s such fun when God introduces strangers into our lives, but not strangers for long!

It reminded me of a thought I had during a recent drive around town. Over and over, rude, aggressive drivers cut me off in traffic. With no one else in the car, I said aloud, “Didn’t you ever hear about being a good neighbor?” Of course, that stimulated the insurance jingle, “Like a good neighbor...”

Even if some schools won’t teach the Bible, they can teach the biblical concept of being a good neighbor. What would happen if each of us went out of our way to be neighborly to others?

Maybe I need to start my day singing a new jingle, “Like a good neighbor, I will be there!”

Read how Eugene Peterson paraphrased Romans 15:1-2 in The Message: Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?”

STUDY: Look Out for Each Other

Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. (Romans 14:10-13 ESV)

  • The word “therefore” indicates we need to ask, “What is the statement following it there for?” It always ties into what was said before the therefore. In this case, how do verses 10-12 connect to verse 13? This provides context for the principle.
  • What is the “one another” concept here?
  • When we give an account for our own lives, bowed before God, we are in a place of humility. When we judge others, we forget we are not God, and we put ourselves in a place of superiority.
  • Instead of condemning each other, how are we to live our lives?

May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. (Romans 15:7 NLT)

  • Here’s another “therefore.” What principle coming before that word ties into the section after it?
  • How has Christ accepted you? How are we to accept each other? How will that give God the glory?
  • The ESV Bible version uses the word welcome instead of accept. How has Christ welcomed you? How can we welcome one another?

But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. (I Corinthians 12:24b-26 ESV)

  • This passage talks about us all being members of the body. We are to feel the trials and victories of the other members of the body, as if we are breathing as one—united.
  • How does having no division in the body tie into caring for one another? When there is division, how do you feel about taking care of someone on the other side of the conflict?

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2 ESV)

  • Give some examples of bearing one another’s burdens.
  • How do you think doing this fulfills the law of Christ?

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT)

  • What does God want you to get rid of? Which one is hardest for you?
  • Instead of those negative traits, how are we supposed to bless people with our “othering”?
  • How has God through Christ forgiven you? Can you think of someone you need to forgive in that same way?

STEPS: Consideration, Care & Concern

  1. Name someone you tend to judge. Ask God to show you His love for them. Pray for them through that lens of love.
  2. Name someone you haven’t forgiven. Ask God to show you His forgiveness for them. Pray for them through that lens of forgiveness.
  3. Ask God to show you someone who needs to feel welcomed. Seek His direction on how to reach out to them with open arms. Everyone wants to feel like they belong and struggles with feeling invisible.
  4. Determine if there’s any division in your faith family. Ask God to give you enough grace to repair the breach and seek unity. One way to express unity is to celebrate someone’s victory and commiserate with someone’s heartache—even when we don’t feel like it.

Copyright © 2017 Kathy Carlton Willis. Used by permission.

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