Do you get along with others? Have you ever had to make new friends?
How do we know that Jesus is really living inside our hearts? How do we know that we are connected to Jesus? How do we know that we know that God loves us no matter what?
The answer is found in how we treat others. We know we have Jesus in our hearts when we are able to be kind and considerate to others. We know that we know that God loves us when we are able to love others – even others who we don’t always agree with.
That’s what Paul is talking about here in Romans 15. Listen to how he asks the church to live with each other:
Romans 15:5-7. 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus,6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
Do you think that Christians who are very different can live together and go to church together? Can they be nice to each other? Can they get along (“live in harmony”) with each other?
God says that we can. God says we can welcome each other. God says we can sing together in one voice and glorify God.
Have you ever welcomed someone new at church? Have you said “hello” and been nice to them? Have you ever made friends with someone who is different from you? God says that you can.
How? How do we learn to welcome and be nice to those who are different from us?
We do it by remembering that Jesus Christ “welcomed you for the glory of God.” Jesus is the same but different from you. He is a person like you, but unlike you he is also God. But Jesus welcomed you when he saved you. He welcomed you into his family and into his kingdom. He is nice to you, and shares with you, and talks to you even though you are different from him. Why is he so nice? Because his kindness shows the glory of God. His kindness shows how gracious God is.
And so does your kindness. When we are nice to others, especially those who are different from us it proves that God is gracious and kind. It proves that God loves everyone. And it proves that we are connected to Jesus.
Because of Jesus we have been welcomed by God into his family.
With Jesus we can be welcoming and kind to others.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Talk about how you can welcome someone new at church or in your class or community. What can your kids say or do to be more welcoming? Possibly make a plan to invite over a new family for dinner.
You were kind to me and welcomed me even when I was still a sinner. Help me to treat others the way you always treat me.
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