Our Welcome Witness

I am interested in seeking ways to show God’s love in deeper and longer lasting ways. As we are awakened to the issues of the emotional and spiritual mechanisms that hinder God’s love from working through us for others, I believe that the radical welcoming of people around us is one of the best ways that we can become consistent sources of God’s love.

Extensive welcoming of people, especially people who are different from us, is one of the highest and most blessed forms of showing genuine acceptance. It also opens doors to connection and hospitality for people in God’s name.

This type of full-bodied welcome of all people gives help, hope, healing, and wholeness to those who receive it. Most people desire to be welcomed extensively, but they do not believe that it will happen habitually across the board, and do not even expect that type of welcoming from the people of God. As the people of God, we are welcoming by nature, but too often our welcome comes with conditions attached to it.

One of the main questions I have heard some people ask of believers in God is if they would genuinely welcome a family member, loved one, or friend completely if they had a sharp difference of opinion regarding how they practice their belief in God. What if they thought very differently about what is sacred and or lived an alternative lifestyle you did not agree with or their views about social justice issues related to God clashed with the way you feel and was not acceptable?

Would you judge that family member, loved one, or friend harshly due to how they acted or what they believed in that you think is against your understanding of God?

As a believer in God how would you answer that question? After all, there should be a standard that every person believes in and not back down from regarding their faith in God and what is right or wrong, even if it causes them to disagree with those close them. However, it would be painful to admit that you could not find it in your heart to welcome a family member, loved one, or friend completely, like you once did or maybe not at all.

Paul, the author of the book of Romans, wrote about offering an extensive welcome to people who are believers in God in ancient Rome. The passage we will use this week comes from Romans 14:1-12. When you read it, you will find a straightforward interpretation of how Paul sees the need for extensive welcoming to those who you think are not where you are in your belief system without harshly judging them.

After reading the passage, pray about how Paul’s interpretation of widespread welcoming can include most of the other parts of our lives too.

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