December 14, 2016

Hope of the World

Romans 15:7-13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope.

—  Romans 15:13

We get along well with people who have a lot in common with us or who are similar to us. But what about those who are in other groups, those who are different, those who make us uncomfortable, or even those who are our enemies? We’d rather stay away from them. We may even imagine that God doesn’t love those people as much as he loves us.

Thankfully, God’s ability to love is much broader than ours. God promised the people of Israel that they were his people and that he would love them. In Jesus Christ, God broadened and extended that love to peo­ple of all nations. Now the Gen­tiles, people who are not from the line of Israel, can have hope in the promises of God too.

I am a Gentile. I am so thankful that because of Jesus, God has included me in the love he has for his people. Paul reminds us that this broad love of God empowers us to love all who are different from us. “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”

Even when it doesn’t come naturally, I pray that God will strengthen me to love people who are different from me. I pray that for you as well. After all, that’s the kind of love God has for me, and that’s what gives hope to us all.

God of all nations, thank you for offering salvation to all people around the world. Give me grace to love all who are different from me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Rebecca Jordan Heys

Rebecca Jordan Heys serves as a pastor at Calvin Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She and her husband, Kyle, are the parents of two children.

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