We embraced. I held her close and pulled her near, so she could hear me whisper “God loves you.” She whispered back, “He loves you too.” In that moment nothing separated us from the love of God. No color of skin. No social or economic status. Nothing. Just the love of Jesus meeting two women on a cold February evening that warmed our hearts to overflow.
The issues surrounding racial injustice in our world today has my heart broken into a million pieces for all of us. I have been quiet. I have been prayerful. When I zoom in on this beautiful picture that I have saved on my phone tears fill my eyes. I can remember everything about this moment in time. I can remember wiping her tears without a care or worry of COVID19 contaminating me. We were having an intimate moment together. She was sharing her struggles, and in return I shared mine. We connected. We were sisters in Christ despite of our differences, our hang ups and bruises. We were united in the most beautiful and amazing way…JESUS!
Did you know that before you and I even took our first breath, actually before we were even conceived, Jesus prayed for our unity as His believers?
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, THAT ALL OF THEM MAY BE ONE, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, THAT THEY MAY BE ONE AS WE ARE ONE: I in them and you in me. MAY THEY BE BROUGHT TO COMPLETE UNITY to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:20-23
My NIV Life Application Study Bible has amazing footnotes that help break down the verse for further understanding. Look at what it says:
“Jesus’s great desire for his disciples was that they would become one. He wanted them unified as a powerful witness to the reality of God’s love. Are you helping to unify the body of Christ, the church? You can pray for other Christians, avoid gossip, build others up, work together in humility, give your time and money, exalt Christ, and refuse to get sidetracked arguing over divisive matters.”
What a powerful question. Are you helping to unify the body of Christ, the church? I want that answer to always be a resounding YES, so I leaned in and asked the Lord how I could do more. His answer came to me as I stared through the photo of the embrace.
The whisper I felt come over me was, “Go and meet people right where they are and love them.” So that is exactly what I am going to do. I have intentionally reached out to 3 different people that I don’t normally share life with. I am going to get to know them. I am going to invite them into my home, meet them for coffee or lunch, and I am going to listen intently to their stories and try to meet them right where they are and love them like Jesus.
The Apostle Paul, while imprisoned in Macedonia, witnessed to 3 people who became Christians. Not 3,000. 3! These three people are how the Philippian church was started. Paul reached a woman that was a slave that was possessed by a demon, a woman that was wealthy named Lydia who was having a prayer gathering outside of her house, and a jailer (Acts 16:6-34). He met each one of them right where they were, and the gospel went forth and it changed the world.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, let’s do it. Let’s change the world 1 person at a time. We are called to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39). We do not have time to waste in arguing with each other over divisive matters. There are souls at stake. Instead of looking at what makes us different, let’s look at what makes us the same. We are all uniquely made and created in His image (Psalm 139). He came to save us ALL. The real question we should be asking is are they lost or saved. And if they are lost, what are we doing to tell them about Jesus Christ, the Savior of the WORLD?
When we stop to really lean into why Jesus prayed what he prayed we find the reason…SO THE WORLD KNOWS THAT GOD SENT JESUS and He loves us. When we are unified as His, we are witnesses to the world. People will see God for who He is. LOVE.
Who do you need to embrace? Who can you get to know better and have a deeper understanding of who they are? Will you take the challenge with me? Reach out to someone that you want to get to know better. Lean into them and their struggles. Share your struggles with them. Be vulnerable. Embrace. Love.
May your obedience to step out in faith and love like Jesus have a ripple effect on God’s Kingdom that brings many into the fold. God’s abundant blessings upon you as you GO!