A Tale of Acceptance and Grace.
God makes life most interesting when you let Him in and He opens your eyes. This is my tale of my friendship with a dear friend of mine. We have something in common but yet so different. She grew up in the Lutheran Church but has changed to a Baptist church. Whereas, I grew up going to a Baptist church and now I choose to worship at a Lutheran church. We have both been baptized in the Baptist church and have a strong love for Jesus.
This tale is about acceptance and grace. Acceptance of the differences between us and the grace to embrace what we have in common. There was a time in my life that I was not attending a Lutheran church. I was attending the Church of the Nazarene where I chose to rededicate my life to Christ through baptism. My friend did likewise when she went to the Baptist church. A few years later, I returned to the Lutheran church and had to attend membership class. I was reluctant at first for my faith in Christ had not changed but it was to my benefit because I needed to be reminded of what Lutherans believe. There is a part of me that identifies with the Baptist but I need the affirmations that I find in the confession, creeds, and communion at the Lutheran service.
My dear friend refers to her change as a conversion. Yet, a convert is a person who has been persuaded to change their religious belief or faith or other beliefs? So what does it mean to convert from Lutheran to Baptist? Do they not believe in the God, the Father, God, the Son, and God, the Holy Spirit? For me, I have not converted from one to the other for my faith has not changed. Where I choose to worship has changed. I guess that the change lies not in our faith but in other beliefs.
On the key points of faith which are creation, the birth, life, sufferings, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I believe that the Baptist and Lutheran agree. Now on matters that are not of eternal importance, there is a lot of differences. Some of those differences are in baptism and communion and order of service. I don’t want to go into these.
Am I okay that my friend attends a Baptist service? By all means, yes! God knows her heart as He knows mine. Do we both believe in Jesus and have a personal relationship with Him? Most definitely so! Each person’s walk with Jesus is as unique as a snowflake. We both serve the same Lord. How we do so is different, that’s all and it is perfectly okay.
As Michael W. Smith writes in his song,”Friends are Forever,”
Friends are friends forever if the Lord’s the Lord of them…
A lifetime’s not too long to live as friends.