For the past seven days our family has been on the run. Meaning we have been very busy. We went to Ft. Worth earlier in the week to visit family and now we are getting ready for a family camp out this weekend. I said all of that to say this. We had to get our home ready for fellowship tonight, and I had not had a whole lot of time to think about or prepare for the evening. However, I am learning the meeting does not depend on me
As busy as we have been, it was not a burden to get ready. We had another great gathering. The potluck was very tasty tonight. Sharing meals together are always a blessing. After we ate, the men ended up in the living room for a time, while the ladies chatted in the dining room. Soon every one gathered and we sang a few songs while my oldest son played guitar. Sometimes we sing at the beginning, sometimes we sing at the end and sometimes we don't sing. We don't come with a plan. However, we do enjoy the singing and it helps turn our focus toward the Lord.
While singing I felt I needed to share a little about how encountering the Lord in these meetings is changing my life. After I shared, things got a little quiet, and whenever this happens I get a little uncomfortable. I feel I need to keep things flowing, but I fret needlessly. I did turn to one of the men and asked him what he had for us tonight. He brought up something we had been discussing earlier. "Judge not that you be not judged", Mt 7:1.
This led to another night of the Holy Spirit weaving and intricate message for us. We talked about receiving or accepting one another per Rom 15:7. This led to Rom 14:13 - Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.
The Lord is showing us that loving one another, not judging one another, and receiving one another is more important than our doctrine. To be sure doctrine is important. It is the foundation of what we believe. However, Jesus said, "A new commandment I give you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another." So how did Jesus love his disciples? He taught, encouraged, admonished, rebuked and a whole list of other things. But, He rebuked the pharisees for their focus on their doctrine, law and traditions.
People have killed through the centuries over doctrine and religious beliefs. Is it our job to protect the purity of doctrine? Or is it our job or calling to love one another? This is the question I wrestle with. I think if we concentrated more on all of the "one another's" toward our fellow believers, doctrine would take care of itself. Sometimes I wonder if we get too caught up in defending and debating doctrine at the expense of just being a blessing to one another.
We talked tonight if we would put limits on what type of people we would invite to our group. It was a good discussion. Some sensitive subjects were discussed. The bottom line is we have to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and extend Christ's love to whomever we encounter.