Monday, April 14, 2008

The Soft Place

From Authentic Relationships by Wayne and Clay Jacobsen

Some of this is what jumped out at me after a visit with "meeting of one" or "walking church" yesterday. There is so much stuff involved in being a "community". It may take us out of our comfort zone and it may make us have to share some of the unpleasantness of our flesh life and our journey thus far. Christ in us....knows all this and helps us continue to grow in that community as we listen to Him and extend His love, His forgiveness and His grace to each other.

I want Him in me to be that pillow, that soft place that safe place for people to fall.

1 Thessalonians 5: 14-22 CEV

14 My friends, we beg you to warn anyone who isn't living right. Encourage anyone who feels left out, help all who are weak, and be patient with everyone.

15 Don't be hateful to people, just because they are hateful to you. Rather, be good to each other and to everyone else.

16 Always be joyful

17 and never stop praying.

18 Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do.

19 Don't turn away God's Spirit

20 or ignore prophecies.

21 Put everything to the test. Accept what is good

22 and don't have anything to do with evil.

"Being a soft place to fall does not mean we become a doormat for everyone who wants to walk over us, nor that we ignore people's actions. Forgiving and accepting others simply means that we won't hold them accountable to us for their failures but will continue to respond to them with love and grace. Forgiveness frees us from the destruction others cause. It does not make us a further victim of it."

"We are a soft place to fall when we love people through their failures and hurts as God draws them closer to himself and transforms them from within. We will still speak the truth firmly but will do so with gentleness and patience. One thing that has helped me with particularly difficult people is the realization that hurting people do stupid things. Usually the more stupidly they act, the deeper their pain. When someone lashes out at me or treats me with contempt, I am tempted to respond in kind. When I realize that people who do such things are in incredible pain themselves, it helps me to be patient with them, hoping that my love and gentleness might open a door for their healing."

"For the body of Christ to stay relationally healthy, we will need to jump freely and often into the waters of forgiveness. We all are works of progress overcoming different weaknesses. The better we know one another the more we will need to overlook, but the rewards of doing so are great."

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