A few years ago, when I served as a chaplain for Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child, I led the staff and volunteers through a devotional study of the verses featuring “one another” statements. Turns out there over one hundred of these in the Bible.
This morning, reading my YouVersion Bible app, I was reminded of one of these phrases found in Colossians 3.
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”Colossians 3:13 (New International Version)
I miss being a chaplain, especially at the Processing Center during Collection season. Those were great times highlighted by people working toward one common goal. It was a period filled with great joy that grew exponentially with each shoebox gift that was packed into a big box destined to bless children all around the globe.
The last couple of years have been hard on all of us. My heart aches for our country as we seesaw back and forth through this crisis of divisiveness. From where I sit, it seems like the biggest challenge our nation is facing because it threatens to break us apart. And that, my friends, is simply unacceptable. We need to find common ground. If at all possible, we need to move forward and find our way out of this cesspool that has us land locked in a dogfight of us against them. After all, our Constitution begins with “We the People”. WE. In other words—ONE ANOTHER.
While he was imprisoned in Rome, the Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the church located in Colossae. As far as anyone knows, Paul never actually visited the church. However, it is believed that Paul’s brother in Christ Epaphras had planted the church and during a conversation with Paul shared his growing concern that some members of the church were beginning to teach false doctrine. Therefore, Paul decided to reach out to the church in hopes of counteracting the false teaching. He urged them to remember to keep the main thing—-Jesus Christ—-the main thing. The same holds true for us today—-if we compromise biblical truth in favor of relevancy, our message quickly loses relevancy.
Back in those days, a letter served as valid substitutes for the personal presence of the letter’s author. So even though Paul had not been to the church in person, his letter was delivered and received with authority.
Paul reminded the Christians at Colossae that as believers we must demonstrate who we are in Christ spiritually, morally, and ethically. Having received Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are no longer the same as we were before. Our hearts and minds have not only been renewed, but transformed.
Christianity centers on community. A healthy Christian community must anchor itself with biblical truth if it is to continue to thrive. Focusing on the truth of God’s Word helps keep false teachers at bay. It is vital that we remain in the Word of God if we are to serve as true witnesses of Christ to an unsaved world. That was true then and remains true today.
What we believe is best demonstrated by how we live. Especially, when it comes to how we treat one another. We must model forgiveness to the broken world around us if we expect the world to have any chance of becoming a more forgiving place. Community is built on forgiveness. Bitterness and anger destroy bonds and decimate community.
In serving the homeless, I have grown to realize a lack of community is the one key factor that leads to chronic homelessness. Without community, there is no one to catch us when we fall nor anyone to help us up once we hit bottom. God did not intend for us to be alone. He made us for fellowship with Him and with those around us. Forgiveness is necessary in order to do that well.
I pray your week is filled with blessings and that you stay grounded in God’s Word.
The Devotional Guy™