Love One Another

Have I told you about the one day I threw a wrench into an already messy family environment when I bid a fond farewell to the Catholic church and decided to continue following Jesus without a denomination?

extend more grace to others today

This news was bigger than Watergate in my household. My dear mom swore she could hear our ancestors rolling over in their graves for my injustice! I tried to calm her nerves by affirming that I was not breaking up with God, or Jesus or the Holy Spirit for that matter. The Trinity was still cool; I just felt the Lord calling me in a different direction. But no matter how hard I tried, my explanations were never good enough. Being un-Catholic was just unacceptable. It drove a huge wedge into an already messy relationship.

Extend more grace, less judgment to others today.

My mom passed away several years ago. And she certainly wouldn't have won any 'mother of the year' awards while she was alive. She had her struggles and her flaws. *don't we all!* She was abusive and an alcoholic. She was cold and impersonal. On the outside, she was put together, a high-level executive beloved by her church and the community. On the inside, she was a total mess. *just like the rest of us!*

In her defense, she came from a very abusive home environment, and I'm not sure she was ever shown real love as a child. I'm not sure she ever laid those heavy burdens of hers down at the foot of the Cross, even though she spent a large portion of her adult life serving others, the Church and our Lord.

My mom thought I was in a cult (i.e. a bible based non-denominational church). I thought she was totally missing the boat on redemption and salvation and a personal relationship with Christ. But the reality is, we both got hung up on things that tore us apart and built walls, instead of coming together with the things we had in common: our love for Jesus.

Only Jesus knows the true state of our hearts.

We both gave praise and glory to God our Father. We both served our church and our community. We both were (I still am) broken creations in need of a Savior; humbled and awed by the beautiful sacrifice Christ made on the Cross for our salvation. We had a lot more in common than we ever realized. 

We are called to love, not to judge.

If I had a 'do-over day,' I would go back and make some of those conversations right. I would have showered her with grace, instead of banging her up for her beliefs. I could have been more civil and allowed her to explore her convictions with me, instead of jumping down her throat and telling her she was theologically off the mark. Being aggressive and "right" as I defended my convictions didn't get us anywhere, except build a bridge between us that was miles long.

As we continue to meet people who are at different places in their walk with the Lord, I pray that we will extend the courtesy they deserve as children of God. The type of courtesy I desired from my mom. The type of courtesy I should have given her.

We need to uphold God's truth and His word always. We need to share the gospel with unbelievers in our churches and our community. And we can do this with courtesy, love and a listening ear, instead of condemnation, judgment and a need to be "right." 

Heavenly Father, today I pray we will strive to look past our church labels and see people for all that You desire them to be. I pray we will get to know each others hearts and choose to discuss all the beautiful and marvelous ways that You are working in our lives. I pray we do not get so caught up in the type of church building that we worship in or the theological viewpoints that we hold dear. {*there are Biblical limitations to this of course.*} At the end of the day, Father, I hope You will be able to say 'well done good and faithful servant,' if we are able to help each other strengthen our personal relationship with Jesus and learn to love one another as Christ loves His church.
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
~ John 13: 34-35 ~

How can you strive to be more courteous to the people God places in your path today, including other Jesus followers that have different theological viewpoints?

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37 comments:

  1. Well, I can relate to this. I was catholic, but I'm the most difficult situation of my life Jesus found me. My family was catholic, but when I gave my life and heart to Jesus in an non denominational church, all my family within months were there too, giving their lives and heart to Jesus. I have no words to describe my happiness and joy to know that my parents and my sister are serving the Lord and having different experiences with Him. It was just matter of the perfect time and plan of God for my family. I didn't have to judge them, I just needed to wait for the response of my prayers. I think no matter what church or denominational you are in, the Lord wants unity. The Lord wants true worship in spirit and truth. Jesus accepts everyone, no matter where we come from and what we have done. That's grace, that's love. And we are called to do the same if you we have Jesus in our hearts. What a blessing reading this post. Have a blessed day and keep doing what you are doing.


    Love,


    Tayrina from TGAWrites

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  2. Nicki, yours is a beautiful post, written from a gal who obviously "gets it". While I'm sorry you no longer have time on earth to converse all things Jesus with your mom, the lessons you've garnered and shared with us are valuable. You're a brave Jesus lover. Keep writing bravely. Visiting for the first time today, and thrilled that I did, via #RaRaLinkup.

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  3. Love this Nicki! We all need grace. The older I get the more I realize just how much. Thanks for encouraging us with your story and with His grace. Blessings and hugs!

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  4. Nicki,
    So glad I was linked up after you over at Jen's UNITE today! Love the new look of your blog. -- I needed this reminder today -- to walk in grace, not judgment... Family can be so hard, but I am thankful that God loves my crazies more than I do. :) -- Thanks for sharing your story. It really encouraged me to re-examine mine.
    Blessings to you!
    Lyli

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  5. Nicki ... I love how you wrote about showering each other with more grace. When all is said and done, it's not about denomination. It's about faith in Jesus. And loving each other well.


    Thanks for sharing your learnings with us. So many lessons here about doing life with our families ...

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  6. Nicki - wow. My heart rejoices with you in every word you have penned today. Your posts are always met with a resounding Amen! from me :) Thank you for sharing your heart and reminding us to shower love and grace upon others and not judgement! xoxox

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  7. This post touches my soul as I agree with you completely, let's find more similarities and try to give grace for the differences!

    “So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.” Romans 14:13 (NLT)



    Thanks so much for this Nicki, visiting from RaRaLinkup today! :)

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  8. What a neat story about your family coming to know the Lord more intimately Tayrina! Thanks for sharing. :)

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  9. Awwww, thank you for your sweet words Kristi. I don't know about brave, but I try to speak truth here. Hope you pop over again soon. Blessings! :) xoxo

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  10. We all need grace. Amen sistah! Grace that is greater than all our sin, as that old hymn goes. I agree with you, the older and "wiser" we get, it's so much easier to offer grace to others instead of condemnation. Blessings!

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  11. God loves your crazies more than you do...now that dear Lyli has the fixings for a great blog post! :) It's so hard to walk in grace, not judgment, but thankfully we can overcome because He overcame...and when we don't, well, there's that beautiful gift of grace that comes full circle again. I encourage you, honestly and truly, if you are dealing with the head butting of denominations, ideologies, even theological viewpoints with someone close to you to try and encourage dialogue and see their heart and really share Jesus with them instead of slamming the door shut. My door can never be opened again. But I hope yours can to reveal more of Him to someone you love. Blessings!

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  12. Doing life with our families dear Linda is the most rewarding, and sometimes exhausting, thing we can do. All in His grace. And His timing. Blessings!

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  13. You are so sweet dear Ruth. I pray you can shower others in an abundance of grace this week. And maybe give yourself a little in the process, as it's all in His timing dear one. All in His timing. Great things ahead for you! xoxo

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  14. Thanks Rachel. Love that verse. Love Romans. So much deep theological truths in there, that even a lifetime of study couldn't sufficiently unpack. Blessings!

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  15. Your post reminded me of something Brother Andrew, a dutch pastor who smuggled Bibles into communist Europe, and continues to do so all over the world, said.

    He said "I don't have to attack any other group or religion. I just have to exalt the Word of God and magnify my Lord Jesus Christ." I thought that was beautiful and really encouraged me to not worry so much about others agreeing with me. It's more important that I just share His Word and magnify Him in my own life.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts here!

    We
    as Christians are called to share the gospel, not attack other
    religions, not to put down others beliefs, but to lift the name of
    Jesus. - See more at:
    http://thoughtsonbookss.blogspot.ca/2014/06/gods-smuggler.html#sthash.HLbx9m7b.dpuf
    We
    as Christians are called to share the gospel, not attack other
    religions, not to put down others beliefs, but to lift the name of
    Jesus. - See more at:
    http://thoughtsonbookss.blogspot.ca/2014/06/gods-smuggler.html#sthash.HLbx9m7b.dpuf

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  16. This is really great. I've been feeling very convicted about love versus judgement lately. The LOVE that Jesus came to give and show and witness and model should be our guide.

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  17. I've not always done this very well, Nicki. Even though I did not leave the denomination (per se) that I was raised in, I did leave many of the practices that denomination held as sacred. My parents, especially my mom, had a really hard time with that and I can remember arguing with her on all the truly "unimportant issues" so that she would "wake up" to my way of thinking! ha! I think this is born out of our love, but gets twisted and perverted by our pride and blindness. Thankfully, you've learned from this and I have to say, so have I. I regret those times, but God is a redeeming God, so I rest in that truth. My mom died several years ago and thankfully our relationship healed for the most part before she died. But even if she had died without that healing, I'm sure God is able to overcome my deficit! Looks like you are doing a lot of soul-searching, my friend! My prayers are with you in that process!

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  18. Totally, Nikki. That's not to say we shouldn't forget God's wrath and judgment, as without that the point of the cross is missed. But the Lord commands we love others, and I'm sure that includes even those who may be theologically misguided. Blessings. :)

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  19. I so wish the relationship with my mom would have healed before her time ended on this earth Beth. It saddens me that we didn't get a chance to put some big issues to rest, but at the end of the day you are spot on, God is way bigger than our shortcomings. I am so glad you were able to heal with your mom before she left this earth. Praise the Lord for a beautiful gift in a redeemed relationship. :)

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  20. Wow, been there done that too... and yes if I could go back I would say and do things differently. I suppose the statement "different horses for different courses" is true and God leads each of us in different ways and really we are in no position to judge. Thank you for the reminder to love others as God does. Thank you for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

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  21. "different horses for different courses" I have NEVER heard that before, but I suppose it's like "different strokes for different folks." :) God leads, we follow. Great truth there Terri. Blessings!

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  22. You know what? I have a situation like yours. This post spoke to the deepest places of my heart Nicki. You convicted me and are encouraging me in what I need to do. Darn! Why is it so hard! Love you and your words today. Cheering you on from the #RaRalinkup on Purposeful Faith.

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  23. My heart breaks that you have a situation like mine. But yet it rejoices that you will take steps to love and not judge...it IS HARD. Holy cow, it's hard girlfriend. But trust in the One who has you in the palm of His hand. He will give you the words. And the love you need. xoxo

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  24. You are so, so right that we need to show more love and grace and less judgment and condemnation. Nobody is 100% right; we all believe something wrong because we're all human. Who can know the mind of God? But showing love to each other is what he has called us to do. Thanks for reinforcing that call here.

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  25. "nobody is 100% right..." spot on lady! We are all human and flawed and can't possibly know the totality of God in this lifetime, but we have the Bible as our road map, and as long as we stick to that as our guide, we're good. Everything else outside of His word gets tricky. We are called to defend His word and must uphold truth, no matter what. But we can still do that through grace and kindness instead of condemnation and cruelty. Blessings!

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  26. Lovely post. I'm sorry to hear you were unable to make things right with your mum. Beautiful prayer; thank you for sharing this so I could find you at Faith Filled Friday link up. Many blessings!

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  27. Good day mate! :) I love your reference of "mum." Thanks for stopping by.

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  28. Hi Nicki, I'm stopping over from Faith 'N Friends blog hop. It sounds like you've made peace with the memory of your mom. You understood her to be the broken person she was and that we all are. So often we cling to our denominations and rituals instead of focusing on what we have in common which is Christ. My parents are not believers and they cannot understand how I can be one. It is a difficult situation. Thank you for this heartfelt post.

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  29. Earlier this week I read this quote ... “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity.” (St. Augustine) I think your post speaks along those very same lines. Nicki, may God bring you the confidence His grace covers it all. May we all learn to judge less & love more. Blessings!

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  30. I am sorry you are in such a pickle with your family Yolanda. But what a shining example you can be of what it means to shine the love and light of Jesus onto nonbelievers. Grace covers it all! Blessings!

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  31. Nicki-I am thinking if we met in real life we wold have a lot to talk about. I also left the catholic church for a non-denominational church and still try to explain to my dad what it is all about. Luckily one of my brothers left first so that helped me. My dad has learned more about through my writing and how important my faith is so he has gotten better but he does believe that the catholic church is the one true church. Love seeing you at The Weekend Brew.

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  32. I just wrote a guest post for another blog last month about when to lay our convictions (even doctrinal ones) aside for the sake of the Gospel and the expansion of His Kingdom, so I totally get you on this post! Thanks for linking it with us at Grace & Truth!

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  33. Oh, I know a few people who need to be reminded that we can stand for truth and be gracious about it at the same time (I'm one of them.) This is a much needed post and beautifully said. Thanks for linking with Grace and Truth :)

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  34. Judging less and loving more...such hard but fruitful pursuits on this earth, that will only be truly realized in His kingdom. Love Augustine! :)

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  35. Yeah, it's tough, for sure Mary. I do think we'd have alot to talk about, but I have to say that through the journey with my mom it really has taught me how to extend grace more fruitfully to others, even when, and esp. when I feel they don't deserve it or need it, that's when it's the best and toughest thing to do! ;) Praying you will grow closer to your dad thru this journey. Glad he reads and is encouraged by your words. I am too! xoxo

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  36. That is a tough place to be Holly...share the link, I'd love to read it! :)

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  37. Oh sweet lady, thank you for the words of encouragement in my email this week. I have had a crazy couple weeks and it's taken far too long for me to respond to this note too. Our sweet little furball of 12 years died 2 weeks ago, my heart has been hurting...not on the ball with comments lately. Praying you are well. xoxo Nicki

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