The sermon last Sunday was titled “Widen Your Hearts” and based on the following verses from 2 Corinthians:
“We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. As a fair exchange –I speak as to my children –open wide your hearts also.” 2 Cor. 6:11-13
In this section Paul is telling the Christians of the church in Corinth that he loves and accepts them even though they seem to reject him. There are other Bible verses that speak of “enlarging” our heart or understanding. As the sermon progressed, I began to see that this widening or enlarging is the natural result of our freedom in Christ. When we live under the law, we judge others (and ourselves) and find them lacking. When we live under grace, as God’s beloved children, we are set free to love others in the same way and leave judgement to God. We can make room for people who are different from us, who disagree with us, even dislike us. Isn’t it a freeing experience to let go of prejudice, malice and hate? Those things bind and confine us. Love frees.
Here’s what Paul says about it to the Galatians:
“For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another.” Galatians 5:13
I have one more thing to share that speaks to me about this enlarging. It’s a poem called Love Them Anyway.
People are unreasonable, illogical, and self centered. Love them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Be good anyway.
Honesty and frankness will make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
People need help, but may attack you if you try to help them. Help them anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
So live large. Widen your hearts. Be free. God loves you and so do I!