Monday, February 26, 2007

God's family

From Romans 16:1-16;
Not more than three or four verses into the reading of this passage did I ask myself this question: "How did Paul find love for so many people"?
Paul, so many times used words like: "My dear friend", "I long to come to you", "Beloved brethren"...etc..
It is so characteristic to find such a list of thank yous from Paul to people who have helped him in some way. He very aptly expresses love for the church as a whole and earnestly expresses love for all of the people he has met personally.
I think that people eventually come to an understanding that they will have love for mankind in general as the Holy Spirit produces growth in each of us who are Christians.
Paul has no difficulty loving the human race. Paul's transformation was supernatural. God snatched him up! Paul's zeal for God was very real. God could use him because of that. So, God pummeled Paul with the Holy Spirit saying, "This is the instrument that I will use to carry my name before the gentiles...". (Acts 9:15)
Paul was literally brought to his knees with the fear of God in him.
Paul's understanding developed quickly. He did not deserve what God was giving him. More than a second chance; grace - righteousness! God unmercifully gave Paul proof of what God's plan for man is. Paul would never be the same. In fact, his name was Saul (acts 9:4) and became Paul at some point between the events recorded at Acts 9 to Acts 13.
What is more sincere a sign of desire to want God's will than to have a sincere love for man?
I can't explain how this came to be for Paul. I do not know exactly how God manifested this love in Paul. In witnessing the lives of prison inmates, the one thing that I shared in common with all of them was a desire to be with my family and friends. This gave me an awareness that no matter the outward appearance of a man, somewhere inside him, he had compassion that would be displayed for the ones he loved. A longing for his family. As a young Christian, I turned that thought and my new revelation into a spiritual reality. We are all God's children. God wants us to be his family. A family that does not despise its' siblings.
Paul became a member of God's family on that day he fell to his knees on the road to Damascus. Others would not. Even, still, those who I thought to be scum, but found compassion for may never come to a real understanding. All that they need do is realize that the love they have for family, is the love God wants for humanity.

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