LOVE FOR THE BRETHREN


STANDING STRONG THROUGH THE STORM

LOVE FOR THE BRETHREN
=====================
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and
dearly loved, clothe yourselves
with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each
other and forgive whatever grievances
you may have against one another.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over
all these virtues put on love, which
binds them all together in perfect
unity. Colossians 3:12-14

Salim Manayer who heads a significant
reconciliation ministry in Israel
between Israeli believers and Palestinian
believers tells this story in his
newsletter of learning about true love for
others in the body of Christ during
a visit to Denmark:

I experienced
something so beautiful. The love and acceptance of the Messiah
through the
lives of the people who took me around, opened up their homes,
took me
shopping, took care of me when I was sick and took time out of their
busy
lives to drive me from one end of the country to the other. I was so
moved by
their kindness, their hospitality, their compassion, their honesty
and their
love. Through long country drives they shared and explained to me
their
reasoning for various traditions and teachings.

And who were these
people? Well, if you want to get technical they were
Lutherans. Lutherans who
belong to the state church – many of them pastors.
Yes, we are different – I
am an Israeli believer who does not hold to these
traditions, but we are
called to love each other in spite of our differences.
Put all of these
labels aside, these amazing people were my brothers and
sisters, they are my
family because we belong to the family of God and they
embraced me as their
family.

I was moved as I sat around the kitchen table drinking coffee
after
confirmation class with one pastor and while eating apple crisp on
Rosh
Hashanah with another pastor, attentively listening to them as they
shared
their passion to see the lost people in their communities and parishes
find
God and believe in him. It left an impression on my heart and encouraged
and
inspired me to reach the people in my own community.

Sometimes
stereotypes and prejudices are there in the back of your head and
you don’t
realize it until God places those same people you held stereotypes
about in
your face and they begin to show you the love God requires of
his
children…

Maybe I was sent to Denmark to impress upon, encourage,
challenge and impart
to the Danish believers to become reconcilers in their
local communities; to
bless them and show them that it is possible to break
down the walls of
bitterness and hatred, demolish their stereotypes and
prejudices and to love
their brothers and sisters. And yet, that is exactly
what they taught me.

RESPONSE: I commit this day to show true love to my
brothers and sisters
breaking down prejudices.

PRAYER: Lord, I need
Your help today to follow Your command to love all my
brothers and sisters.

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