Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. 15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Hebrews 12:14-15 (NLT)
When I first came across this text, I applied it to discipleship. You know, no matter where you are, who you meet, no matter what you are doing, look after each other. Offer God's Grace. OK. I can do that. Then this weekend, I attended a family wedding.
It's been a really long time since this many of us has gotten together and still some of us were unable to attend. We were missing a couple of my nieces, my daughter and some cousins. As we all began to arrive, we greeted each other with hugs and joy. It was really nice.
As I watched my family, these verses popped into my mind. Our family has history. In reality, after some of it we might not want to be in the same room with each other. But what family doesn't? I don't know of any family that doesn't have something they look back on that causes sadness or anger.
And then I started thinking about each of us individually. We all have history. There is someone in our life that has caused us pain AND there is someone that we ourselves have caused pain. None of us are exempt from sin. None of us have escaped hurting someone or being hurt.
In verse 14 it says "Work at living in peace." Living in peace doesn't just happen. It's something we work at. It is something we choose. And in verse 15 looking after each other is something we must choose as well. Can we look at the history we carry and write someone off? Sure. But that is not what God wants. He wants us to look at the mess and share the Grace he has so overwhelmingly offered to us.
He wants us to do what he does. He looks at us, looks at our mess and he chooses us. He offers us love over and over and over again so that none of us fails to receive his grace. That is the only example we need to follow.
As the music started and my family filed onto the dance floor to be crazy, act silly and laugh together, I was thankful for family and I was especially thankful for God's grace. This is one woman who is a recipient of God's grace...over and over again. For this I will be forever grateful.