“From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.” - 2 Corinthians 5:16
As we have seen throughout this week, Paul’s reputation and standing in the community had declined. He went from the most distinguished earthly resume to the most outrageous resume of suffering on behalf of Christ. Even within the church, he had detractors and accusers. However, just as the love of Christ transformed Paul’s self-image, it changed the way he viewed other people.
Human beings have a tendency toward judgement. Sometimes that judgement is good and helps us discern wise decisions. Other times, it can be quite detrimental to our Christian witness. During my years of ministry, I have encountered many people who think they are justified in writing off a brother or sister, a work colleague, or even someone they just met. Maybe these people have hurt them, betrayed them, or offended them. Paul had many such people in his life.
Before his conversion, Paul judged others according to the ways of the world; now he saw them through the eyes of Christ. If Jesus could transform a sinner like himself, no one was beyond redemption. Every event in the apostle’s life presented an opportunity to share the radical grace God demonstrated through his Son. When Paul was imprisoned, he preached to the guards. When he was shipwrecked, he led his fellow passengers to the Lord. When beaten by the Roman soldiers, he modeled God’s grace and forgiveness. Paul would not be hindered in any way – not by physical pain or limitations, his own anger or need for justice, race, creed, or religious beliefs. Paul knew that, at the foot of the cross, we are all sinners in need of a Savior.
Are the people who have who have hurt you, betrayed you, or offended you worthy of Christ’s love and grace? Absolutely not! You are not worthy either. Yet, in his mercy, God chose to lavish his love and grace upon you. How can you receive such an amazing gift and not share it?
Reflect and Respond:
How might the Lord want to change your perspective on people? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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