“Acquit One Another” (Romans 14: 8, NEB) by Carley Evans

Jesus dies and returns to life again; therefore, He becomes Lord of both the living and the dead. Therefore Paul asks: “You, sir, why do you pass judgment on your brother? And you, sir, why do you hold your brother in contempt? We shall all stand before God’s tribunal.” (Romans 14: 10)

Each of us — whether we live or whether we die — belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. “Each of us will have to answer for Himself.” (Romans 14: 12)

“Let us therefore cease judging one another.” (Romans 14: 13) Rather, writes Paul, let our conduct be guided by love. (Romans 14: 15) The apostle reminds us that “[we] may speak in tongues of men or of angels, but if [we] are without love, [we] are sounding gongs or clanging cymbals.” (1 Corinthians 13: 1) “If [we] have no love, [we] are nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13: 2)

Jesus says, “Pass no judgment, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; acquit, and you will be acquitted; give, and gifts will be given you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap; for whatever measure you deal out to others will be dealt to you in return.” (Luke 7: 37 – 38)

“As Christ Forgives Us” (Colossians 3: 13, NEB) by Carley Evans

If you have cause to complain about another, Paul says that “you must forgive as the Lord forgives you.”

“Let Christ’s peace be arbiter in your hearts.” (Colossians 3: 15) Let His peace be the judge between you and the one with whom you have a disagreement. Let His peace have the final authority, thereby resolving your dispute.

“There must be love, to bind all together and complete the whole.” (Colossians 3: 14)

Jesus says, “Peace is My parting gift to you, My own peace, such as the world cannot give. Set your troubled hearts at rest, and banish your fears.” (John 14: 27)

He also says, “I give you a new commandment: love one another; as I love you, so you are to love one another.” (John 13: 34 – 35)

Allow the peace of Christ and His love settle your complaint against your brother or sister in Christ. Let Christ be the answer to your dispute. He is our Head as we are only members of His body, co-dependent upon Him. Who are we to fight? We are the same. God calls us to walk in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Paul reminds us that “[we] have strength for anything through Him who gives [us] power.” (Philippians 4: 13) Surely we have the strength to forbear with one another, and to forgive each other as Christ forgives us.

“Get Dressed Already!” (Colossians 3: 12, HCSB) by Carley Evans

We are “God’s chosen people,” writes Paul. As such, we are heading to a banquet. Paul says, “Get dressed already! For what are you waiting?”

He says to us that we are changed on the inside, and past time to change on the outside!

“Put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another.” (Colossians 3: 12 – 13)

Paul expects us to accept one another — not try to change one another. He tells us that “above all, put on love — the perfect bond of unity.” (Colossians 3: 14) In acceptance, we find forgiveness. “If anyone has a complaint against another,” they are to forgive the other, “just as Lord forgives.” (Colossians 3: 13)

“Whatever [we] do, in word or in deed, do everything in the Name of the Lord Jesus;” and as such fulfill the law of love. (Colossians 3: 17) Once we are dressed in compassion, kindness, patience, gentleness, humility and love, our relationships will be dressed for the wedding feast.

“Our Comfort Also Overflows” (2 Corinthians 1: 3 – 4, HCSB) by Carley Evans

Paul strongly reminds us that God is “the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction.”

As we receive comfort in all troubled situations, so we are able and expected to comfort others as they face any affliction.

“For since [Jesus] Himself is tested and suffers, He is able to help those who are tested.” (Hebrews 2: 18) Since He helps us in our sufferings, we should help others as they face hardships.

Often the best person to aid another in a troubled place is the one who has been in that same difficulty. Unless you have experienced a particular hardship, it is impossible to honestly say to the other, “I understand how you feel.”

Additionally, God expects us to show others mercy as He is merciful to us. How can we hold a grudge against another when Jesus so readily forgives us our sins?

Jesus says, “{God] is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6: 35 – 37)

Let us remember that “as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so through Christ our comfort also overflows.” (2 Corinthians 1: 5)

“The Good Portion” (1 Corinthians 13: 1 – 3, ESV) by Carley Evans

“If I have not love, I gain nothing.”

Paul is very clear in his letter to the Corinthian church. You may be able to speak in tongues with interpretation for the edification of others; you may be able to give all your possessions; you may be willing to sacrifice your body for the glory of the Lord — but, if you have no love in your heart, then you gain nothing.

Martha invites Jesus into her home. Her sister, Mary, sits at Jesus’ feet “and listens to His teaching.” (Luke 10: 39) Martha is busy with serving, distracted. She is also resentful that Mary is sitting while she is working. She asks the Lord to intervene, but He says, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10: 41 – 42)

The good portion is Christ Himself — not what we do for Him; but what He does for us.

The one who loves most is the one who is forgiven the most. Jesus says that those of us who are keenly aware of our need of His forgiveness are those who are the most grateful. David is a man after God’s own heart. Why? Because David is acutely aware of his need of God’s grace. As we are aware of how much God loves us, though we are undeserving, we are able to love others, though they may be undeserving.

We are to forgive as we are forgiven.

Peter asks Jesus, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus responds, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18: 21, 22)

Love keeps no record of wrongdoing. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” (1 Corinthians 13: 7 – 8)