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Monday, August 17, 2020

Blemishes? What Blemishes?

By Joe Chesser
 

            Oh to be willing to see other Christians the way Jesus does!! Specifically, I’m thinking of how Jesus encourages husbands to see their wives as he sees his Bride, the Church.  Ephesians 5.25-28:
            “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave
            himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with
            water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church,
            without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”
God gives us choices when it comes to what we see in each other.

            The most natural choice is to see the warts and blemishes. That’s the easy thing to do because we all have them. They’re glaring. They’re obvious. I mean, who could miss the humongous moles on the lip and chin of Nanny McFee?! (If you haven’t seen the movie, just imagine them). Even if they are not that conspicuous, if we choose, that’ll still be what we focus on. (I know you’re thinking of someone.) It’s bad enough when the blemishes are physical (warts, scars, baldness, whatever). But it’s worse when we choose to focus in on each other’s spiritual flaws. Some are more obvious than others, but we all have them too, don’t we? (Weak faith, greed, divisive spirit, anger, unforgiveness, gossip, selfishness, etc.) Everyone has sinned (Romans 3.23). Everyone continues to sin (1 John 1.8-10). And so, the natural, the worldly thing to do is to allow blemishes to be what we see in each other.

            However, Jesus wants the church to choose to see each other differently, like he chooses to see us. He knows we have warts and wrinkles and blemishes, even after he has washed us clean with his blood. But he doesn’t choose to see us as anything but a radiant, blameless church. And neither does God! When because of faith in Jesus we are baptized into Christ, we are covered with Christ’s blood like clothes covers our bodies (Galatians 3.26-28, Romans 6.3-7). All of our past sinful blemishes are taken away. All of our present and future blemishes are continuously washed away by Jesus’ blood as we walk in the light (1 John 1.7). Consequently, all that is visible to God is a radiant, holy, blameless church. “In this same way, husbands are to love their wives.” Loving each other like Jesus loves the church means to choose to look beyond the blemishes and see the beauty of Christlike purity in each other. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a  multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4.8). Loving like God chooses to be patient … kind … to keep no record of wrongs … to always protect, trust, hope and persevere (1 Corinthians 13.4-7). “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2.5).

This does not mean to ignore flaws.  We are to help each other overcome our sins (Galatians 6.1-2). It does mean that we refuse to let their blemishes define who others are.

How would refusing to focus on other’s stains and blemishes help your personal life … your family life … your church life?  Can you say, “Blemishes? What blemishes?”

- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO.  He may be contacted at joeandareva@yahoo.com     

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