Thirty-three years ago a friend of mine gave me a book entitled The Reciprocal Commands of the New Testament.
Having never studied the “one another” commands of the New Testament as
a study unto themselves I was captured by this book. I was excited to
read and study the behaviors the New Testament commands us to employ
toward others. I found myself enthusiastic about some and casual
towards others. Little did I know at that time how my casual attitude
toward one of the most understated "one another commands" in the New
Testament would damage my soul.
is quite clear. We are commanded to accept (receive in the KJV) one
another. But that word isn’t as intriguing or as glamorous as love,
pray, teach or give to one another. In light of these incredible
words, to accept one another seemed so mundane.
Fast-forward to just more than three years ago. I was part of the leadership team at
my church when we decided to empower a new branch of ministry that
would reach out and care for the underprivileged and under-resourced
members of our community. What I witnessed when this ministry became
active exposed certain parts of my heart that needed an overhaul and
some deep repentance.
To accept someone
for whom they are and where they are in life is an incredibly powerful
statement. To the recipient the message is instant. The effect begins
immediately. As we enforce our initial acceptance, the message gets
stronger and has a deepening effect. It is in these moments where the
Kingdom rubber meets the road. The Gospel lives in these very unnatural
moments. The true unconditional love of God takes form and is
experienced by both the giver and the receiver. Two hearts are
changed—not just one.
For three years
I’ve been repenting. I’ve required myself to practice this behavior in
very practical ways. When our ministry (called LoveWorks) for the
under-privileged proposes a local project, I join them. When they ask
for furniture, clothing, or donations, I give what I can. In every
instance my heart has been changed a little more.
us not be too surprised that hidden in one of the simplest commands of
the New Testament lives one of the most powerful messages that can be
experienced. It is truly where the Kingdom rubber meets the road.
How about you? How have you seen the power of acceptance change lives? What has it done within you?