Posted in Thoughts

Faith of Inclusion.

1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—

Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 3)

Some people don’t like the Apostle Paul. He’s too liberal, to revolutionary. Paul’s my favorite and I’m pretty conservative about a lot of things. Then again, I’m pretty common sense about a lot of things as well.

Did you know that the early Christians didn’t see themselves as a new religion? As far as they were concerned they were Jews. They were Jews who believed the Messiah had come. Honestly, you can’t get much more Jewish than believing in a Messiah. That’s not a Gentile thing.

Paul sort of forced the hand of other Apostles. He went outside the box and started in on the Gentiles, the non-Jews. He did as Jesus did and reached out and spoke to non-Jews. Surprised at that? Think about the Samaritan woman at the well, the Roman Centurion.

One thing I like about Christianity is the inclusion factor. I know, another surprise for some. For Christians who follow the Christ path and the Bible, we see how we are all sinners, we all do things way beneath deserving of Heaven, Salvation, and anything else to do with Jesus and God. Even after accepting Jesus, God knows we will still do wrong things but He still made the sacrifice.

“Oh, but He knew Jesus would be resurrected!”

Have you ever felt the sting of a whip? Let’s say you have, now magnify that by millions. Each lash of the whip carries with it the punishment of millions. Imagine the agony. Imagine what goes through the mind during all of that. I personally would be like, “Did I sign up for this?”

Paul did a wonderful thing by reaching out to us. He didn’t say that if you do this and then stop you’ll be kicked out or killed. He also didn’t say it would be an easy job. A lot of us Christians talk about how difficult it is to be a Christian. We talk about following teachings that are so not in line with the ‘cool’ way of doing things. I’m good with that, no problems. Being cool is only a thing I’m trying to be as opposed to being burning forever. What is most difficult about being a Christian is failing every day and knowing God sees it. Living with that, knowing I disappointed Him and Jesus. Lot of guilt there, not so much I’ll hide in my room and flog myself until my skin bleeds. No repeat of the Scarlett Letter here, even if I were a preacher.

I’ve learned to let go of a lot of the guilt and live a carefree life in many ways. It occurred to me, okay it occurs to me every time I start feeling guilty, that God knew even before He sent Jesus that I would fail. No, I’m not cheering when I fail, but in those dark moments, I grab hold of that thought and it pulls me up.

Inclusion. God included me in His decision making from the very beginning. I’ve been included in His thoughts from the beginning. I’m included in His plan.



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Author:

Ronovan Hester is an author, with a debut historical adventure novel Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling now on available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. "5.0 out of 5 stars: Now, I want to warn you… this is not your typical pirate tale! It’s BETTER!" "5.0 out of 5 stars: Totally unpredictable and a real gem of a discovery - Highly Recommended" "5.0 out of 5 stars: An action packed journey to piracy and revenge – all in the name of the crown, queen and county – set in 1705." He shares his life of problems and triumphs through his blog RonovanWrites.WordPress.com. His love of writing, authors and community through his online world has led to a growing Weekly Haiku Challenge, Weekly Fiction Prompt Challenge, and the creation of a site dedicated to book reviews, interviews and author resources known as LitWorldInterviews.com.

8 thoughts on “Faith of Inclusion.

  1. A good reminder Ronovan. One that gives me hope. And also left me with a parting thought…”who am I to judge…” The inclusion extended to me through God’s grace compels me to pass along the favor. It’s the very least and perhaps the very best thing I can do. Peace to you.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It is interesting that you wrote about inclusion today because I did too.
    Here is mine:

    Inclusion is the act of including someone or something. That does very little to help us to truly understand what it means, so what does include really mean? Here are some definitions that make it a bit clearer: comprise or make part of a whole set. A second definition is to allow somebody to share in an activity or privilege (Google, 2016). An activity or a privilege does not begin to describe the way that I, and other disabled people want to be included. We want and deserve to be included, as much as humanly possible, in every aspect of our own lives! For almost all my life, I have accepted exclusion as a fact of my life. After all, I have thought that people and the laws were making progress toward allowing me and others with disabilities to have more freedom and equality, weren’t they?
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men {and women} are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.” –Declaration of Independence as originally written by Thomas Jefferson, 1776.
    As we prepare to celebrate America’s birthday, it’s 240th, how far have we come in nearly two and a half centuries? We, as people with disabilities, are people with the same natural rights to life, libertyworkplace and the pursuit of happiness – just like everyone else. In my opinion, we have so much farther to go!
    In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. To say I was elated that day would be an understatement! If I could have leapt for joy, I would have done it. At long last, there were laws on the books that protected me and others from discrimination! I felt that in only a few short years that I would be able to join the workforce. I tried to go back to school in 1999. I was treated just as I was before the ADA passed, obstacle after obstacle was thrown in my way. If I enrolled, I would not be allowed to take a full schedule of classes because I had no caregiver.
    Fast forward to the present – 2016. I started an internship in order to complete my BA online program. I was finally finishing college. The agency’s motto and mission statements seemed to mirror my own: “Opportunities for Everyone.” It also had its roots in Christianity, something else I appreciated. Of all organizations, this place would surely respect me, my skills and the ADA laws. By now, I had less than a year before I would get my Bachelor’s in Human Services. To be completely fair and honest, I was told in the beginning that there was no possibility of a paid position, however, I was given no reason for this. I thought that perhaps all that I had to do was impress them with my passion, empathy, education and skills. Some wanted me to stay, one was willing to modify the job so that I would be able to stay, but the agency administration would not go along with the idea. The “Opportunities for Everyone” slogan was/is a complete fallacy; this was/is equally true of the mission statement: “Empowering individuals with disabilities to enhance their quality of life.”
    The ADA says this: “If you have a disability and are qualified to do a job, the ADA protects you from job discrimination on the basis of your disability. Under the ADA, you have a disability if you have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.” However, agencies can and do get around the law by adding job requirements that many people with disabilities cannot do: have a driver’s license, have the ability to lift 30-50 pounds, have the ability to stand for long periods etc. During my internship, I worked in the main office for the supported living division. I was not alone with clients. I did task analysis, behavior analysis, writing functional and positive behavioral support assessments. I also took part in writing goals and working one on one with the client. However, it was stated in an email that I did nothing that anyone else could not do and nothing that I did was worthy of a paid position. I could be not alone with clients, could not learn to perform CPR and other home care aid requirements, including driving.
    Thank God that Jesus did not feel this way. “Matthew 20:16 New Living Translation (NLT) states:
    16 “So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.” Here is another example that means a great deal to me. I will give some background to clarify my point. A man with leprosy approached Jesus. Everyone was encouraging not to waste a moment on this poor man. There was not a single individual that wanted anything to do with this man because he was diseased and demon possessed. Yet, Jesus ignored all of those around him and spoke to him with love, respect and dignity: “Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. 2 Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”
    3 Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. [a] This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.” (Matthew 8: 1-4.).
    Lord, please let people see the gifts and talents that You have blessed me with, allow their eyes to clearly see my abilities, not my dis-ability {Emphasis intended}. I also ask this for anyone else in similar circumstances. In Your name, Amen.

    Like

  3. I love this post. And I also like Paul, not least because a) I could understand his writing pretty well and b)he acknowledged the powerful contribution made by women to the early Christian church. Like you, I wonder how people can be anti-Jewish and still say they are Christians. And (maybe not like you) I also wonder how people who resort to the Old Testament for all their answers can call themselves Christians. So much of what Christ preached was different from the Old Testament gospel. Christ was an inclusive guy who looked out for the outsiders and the vulnerable, and welcomed them. He also believed in forgiveness and kindness.

    Liked by 1 person

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