Given our political climate, we could use a dose of Paul’s philosophy.

Romans 15: 1-2, 7 1 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. 

Radicals, bunch of radicals. That’s what Paul and his crew were and my guess is the Romans really weren’t having any of it. The very idea that he was slinging the idea of helping out somebody from the other side was just way out in left field. To hear Paul tell it, the folks in Roma had PLENTY of their own misdeeds to try and take care of. “Take care of your own.” Ever heard the phrase? Not much changes does it?

Now I’m sure you’re not guilty of the things Paul accused the Romans of, that’s some pretty nasty stuff. However, I don’t think anyone can look at how they operate and say they’re always pleasing their neighbor. Do you even know yours? I have to confess, I couldn’t tell you the first names of mine next door. But, you know, they’re not like me.

They’re young, they cut their lawn funny, and they’re attorneys! (Who am I to talk, I’m in insurance) My point is, the Romans were being told to work for the betterment of people that weren’t just different from them, they were on the other TEAM. The call here is to act, not in a way that’s never been done before, merely to reciprocate how we were treated by a man who knew our behavior was going to cost him his life. That’s our model. Some guy named Jesus. And we’re not told to just accept some or the ones that are the easiest.

Acceptance runs the gamut of difficulties from looking beyond someone who takes a paperclip from work to someone picketing at a soldier’s funeral. Unfortunately for us, Christ didn’t make a differentiation. (Rotten luck!) Still, if our aim is to bring praise to God, that’s part of the deal. I told you, bunch of radicals.

The Everyday Question: What would it take for you to accept and work for the betterment of the person/group that is the most different from you?

Actually helping someone who is “from the other side” has probably never sounded so foreign given our recent election. If you know someone who still has a sore spot here, pass this along. It might give them some perspective. 

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