|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “Character and integrity”
Our Bible verse for today: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “You’re a ragamuffin, so am I, and so are they”
Recently I’ve begun reading Brennan Manning’s “Ragamuffin Gospel” for the fourth time. I love this book. The term ragamuffin comes out of the novels of Charles Dickens and describes an orphaned child living on the streets of London in the 1800s. He is a poor, ragged, dirty, messy waif and he needs help.
Manning argues that we’re all ragamuffins. At different times and in different ways we’re all bedraggled, beaten down, and burnt-out. We are filled with sorrows, regrets, and insecurities. The gospel of Jesus Christ was written for such people. It was written for you and for me and for them. For all of us. And through the Gospel we find freedom and renewal. That’s the truth we need to experience, and it’s the message we must share with the world.
That brings us to our theme of character and integrity. As we near the end of this theme I want to bring us back to the illustration of steel and velvet – especially the velvet part. Many Christians have the inner core of steel part going on just fine. It’s the outer covering of velvet that often seems to be a problem. In this bitter and often angry society that we live in, with all the shouting, debating, charges and counter-charges, Christians can sometimes become cultural warriors bent on victory at all costs. Our language becomes charged with talk of fighting the fight, seizing the day, defeating the enemy, and winning the victory. And in our zeal, our manner and language can become harsh and unkind. I believe we have to guard against that.
In Galatians 5:22-23 the Apostle Paul describes the velvet part of our illustration. Those characteristics of the Holy Spirit should be what people experience from us and should be what they come to know to be true about us. Godly men and women of character and integrity are known for their moral virtue, yes, but they are also known for their kindness, compassion, grace, and mercy.
Remember, every person you meet has something going on in their lives that they wish wasn’t there. Every person has one thing more going on of which you know nothing. Down deep, we’re all ragamuffins. We’re all bedraggled, beaten-down, and burnt-out. And we all need love, grace, and mercy.
As you go out into the world today, by all means contend for the truth of the Gospel and promote Biblical values in our society. But also bear in mind that you’re just a sinner saved by grace and that others also need the grace and salvation you’ve experienced. You’re a ragamuffin, so am I, and so are they, so let’s give each other a break.
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