It's love that reaches people. You don't argue people into the kingdom of heaven. You love them into the kingdom of heaven.
We accomplish that by doing the following to the pedestrians in our lives.
1. Accept everybody.
Have you ever been in a church of spiritual snobs? We got it and you don't. Do you know why people have a hard time accepting others? They confuse acceptance with approval. There's a big difference between acceptance and approval. You can accept somebody without approving of his lifestyle. He may be doing something totally contrary to the word of God, but you can accept him as a person without approving of the sin he's involved in.
"Accept one another just as Christ accepted you." Romans 15:7. That's a start -- acceptance. At Freedom Life we are trying to cultivate an attitude of acceptance. The church is a hospital for sinners, not a hotel for saints. The church should be a place where people are growing. This is a church for people who don't have it all together. It doesn't matter where you've been, it matters where you are going. It matters where you are now and if you know Jesus. If you want to grow up more and more like Him every day, that is the goal. In the essentials we have unity. Jesus is Lord. The Bible is God's word. In the non-essentials we have liberty and in all things we have charity. Acceptance is the key.
2. Appreciate everybody.
This goes a little bit further than acceptance. Philippians 2:35 "Do nothing from selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself. Each of you should look not only to your own interest but also the interest of others." Appreciate everybody. Find something you can like about them, not just what you tolerate. Tell them about it. With some people this may require a little creativity. You may have to look a little while. Maybe you just need to value them for their uniqueness even if you find it incredibly annoying.
3. Affirm (encourage) everybody.
Give everybody a lift whenever you can. I Thess. 5:11 "Encourage one another and build each other up." When people stumble, don't criticize, sympathize. Be an encourager not a complainer, not a condemner, a critical person. You can encourage people just by smiling at them. It was said of the New Testament church, "See how they love one another." "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples that you love each other." You accept, affirm, appreciate. Jesus Christ breaks down all barriers and the ground is level at the foot of the cross. We are all equal in God's eyes. God wants you to know Him.
Galatians 3:26-27 "For now we are all children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. We are no longer Jew or Greek or slave or free, male or female." We're all the same. There is no distinction in the body of Christ. We are Christians. We are one in Christ Jesus. We are all a part of the family of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
Let's give people the right of way this week in our lives and obey the light of God's law by how we treat others!