Romans 14: 7-12 We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live,
we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we
live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and
lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
10]Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you
despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat
of God. For it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.”
So then, each of us will be accountable to God.
When my son really wants something from me, he calls me “Mim” instead of “Mom”. The tone of his voice changes. It is more playful. I know he is about to launch the attack of arguments and rebuttals. I ready myself mentally for clarity of word choice, physically for a deep breath and energy to stay strong, and emotionally to make space for compassion. For clearly what is coming is something he assumes I might quickly say, “NO!”
I get the feeling Paul is tapping in to this “Mim” mode when he writes this letter to the church of Rome. Paul seems to be soliciting help and in doing so reveals a great deal about his own journey of faith and the early church. I hear passion in Paul’s voice. Sure, there is compassion, but passion rings through for me. Passion that is encompassing ALL and EVERY. Rome seems to be despising and casting judgment instead of loving and embracing.
Who do you need to love and embrace? Someone down the street, a community across the world? Live into the Lord loving and embracing these children of God.
Is someone despising and judging you? Are you oppressed at your job or in your home? Live into the Lord loving and embracing these children of God: the oppressed and the oppressor. This is how we bow faithfully before the Lord. It is perhaps the most difficult position to encounter, praying for someone you despise. Yet, it is really the only way. For if you try to “fix it” on your own, the oppressor will continue in the ways of this world. Pray for God’s love to intervene. The promise is this:
Christ died and lived again so that ALL may believe.
Your witness to true life as the one who is oppressed is beautiful music to God’s ears.
Thanks be to God!