Finding Common Ground

August, 2019 – Tampa

“First, we have an incredibly weighty existence which requires that we respect God and our neighbor whether the latter is a Christian or not. It means that we should expect to find common ground with non-Christians as a natural part of human existence.” – Michael Horton

I find myself thinking about my neighbors a lot lately, mainly because I’m still new in the neighborhood. When I meet someone, I try to remember to write down the person’s name when I get home and something to remember them by, like a house number or a dog’s name. I’ve met 14 neighbors on my street so far. I’ve found a little common ground, such as other dog owners, someone who recently lost a family member, and one who likes strawberries. There are differences, too, such as a practicing Buddhist, the young couples, the single mom. But we can all talk about yard work, termites, and good restaurants. I just want the conversations to one day go beyond watering the yard to something more substantial. All in good time; all in God’s time.

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  -  Matthew 22:37-39

Grace and Respect

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One definition of grace is a manifestation of favor, especially by a superior. There is none more superior than GOD, and no grace greater than what He gives. So, we as Christians are called to show grace. One aspect of this grace is respect.

“ The grace life respects not only elders and people of authority but everyone it encounters.” – David Jeremiah

I work part-time in a small office and have been impressed by the respectfulness of those around me when they are talking to customers on the phone. I love shopping at Publix because of the wonderful customer service that is extended to everyone, rich or poor. I feel good when I see Publix hires learning disabled adults, giving them self-respect.

 But, Jesus is our best example when it comes to respect. He was respectful, yet truthful to the woman at the well. He was respectful to the little children when His disciples would have turned them away. He was respectful to those who came to Him, in their broken and sinful state, seeking forgiveness. How much more should we, then, who have received grace, extend that grace to all around us?

 I am reminded of these verses from Luke:

11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

 

My challenge today is to show grace to all I meet, for God has reached down in His grace and forgiven me.