In today’s time, Christ’s church is divided into many “denominations”. Catholics, who seem to be the first organized christian church, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Baptists, Methodists, AME, Latter-Day Saints and a host more. I will admit that I am ignorant to the cultural differences among all the denominations but I don’t think that this segregation of the church necessarily has to mean segregation of biblical ideals. We all believe (or we should) that the Bible is God’s Word. So then we should be living righteous lives based on the scriptures. If we were all to go back and read all four Gospels or even just the Sermon on the Mount, (Matt 5-7) we would understand the Biblical life principals that bring us all together as one Church under Christ.
The Holy Bible is the glue that holds together the fractured Church of Jesus Christ (which we refer to as denominations). Remember Peter, the foundation onto which Christ built His church? (Matthew 16:15-20) He knew the truth about who Christ is only by divine intervention. Today, we know the truth by the divine context of God’s Word. What a true blessing! If we believe there is only one Holy Word of God, then we can all believe that we are all one church, built by the hand of Christ.
It has been almost 1 year since I lost my mother. This year will be my first Mother’s Day without her. I miss the nearly nightly phone calls and even though she lived over 1000 miles away, we were able to keep our special mother-son bond. The mother-child bond is something very special. It starts with birth and continues on taking years of mothers’ sacrifice, patience, playing, working – just spending time with their children, to develop. Mothers who don’t spend time with their children don’t have the same bond as those who are more nurturing. They may have a mother-child bond but it is not the same as a nurtured bond.
The same can be said of mothers who teach their children from the Word. The first three commandments speak of glory to God. The fourth, says to honor the mother and the father: “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee“. (Exodus 20:12). That’s how important this is – it’s fourth on the list of commandments! This is also the first commandment with a promise. Dictionary.com, in part, defines the noun, honor, as: “high respect, as for worth, merit, or rank:” and the verb honor thusly: “to worship” and/or “to accept as valid and conform to the request or demands of“. Then, to paraphrase, we should obey, respect and love our parents so that we may have longer lives.
Conversely, parents should live their lives as examples to their children, showing them how to live righteous lives in the Light of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4 (notice the footnote there)) If your children are not living godly lives, look first in the mirror. Are you setting a godly example for them? (Prov 30:5-16) (Matt 5-7) How else are they supposed to understand a righteous life if not seeing it in the place they spend most of their time? I’m not saying you can’t make mistakes. When you do, though, act on them in a godly way. Again, I ask you: are you acting out a godly life every day in the presence of your children? If not, it’s never too late.
Christ gave His life so that our sins might be forgiven. But forgiveness was an important part of a godly life even in the Old Testament. It was important for the prophets to teach forgiveness from God as an example of how we were to have lived. (Dan 9:9) (Eph 5:1) The Pharisees were against Jesus because they were stiff-necked and wouldn’t believe He was the Messiah. (John 10:31-33) But Christ knew what had to be done to fulfill the prophesy, and even while hanging on the cross asked the Father forgiveness for them. (Luke 23:34)
God wants us to be righteous, and to be righteous we must be willing to forgive, unconditionally so that we might be sanctified to Him. There is no “but” involved in this. We mustn’t judge others in our course until we, ourselves, can be called righteous. (John 7:24) (Matt 7:3-5) An unforgiving spirit is an angry, bitter spirit. (Eph 4:31-32) Jesus, as a part of His many teachings, focused heavily on forgiveness. (Matt 5:43-48) He taught if a dispute arises between us, we should be quick to resolve the matter and then “forgive and forget” it before we can be reconciled to God. (Matt 5:23-26)
What will happen when you leave this life? Will you take with you, damaged, the ONLY thing you can take with you – an unforgiving spirit? Christ loved us so that He gave His life for us so that we may be forgiven. (1 John 3:16) We should certainly follow His lead!