Romans 12:16 (NIV), “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”
Innocent but charged as guilty. Locked behind bars and confined to a jail cell for a crime you did not commit, perhaps even serving a life sentence. Maybe it’s a case of mistaken identity, but still the verdict remains the same…guilty. Can you imagine the agony of that? No matter how loud you scream out that you are innocent, you are still considered guilty and are treated as such.
There have been times driving down the street that I have passed a group of police cars with a person standing there in handcuffs, and I was overwhelmed with both compassion and gratefulness. I felt compassion because although they may deserve to be arrested, I cannot help but wonder what went wrong in their lives that caused them to end up where they are. I felt gratefulness because I am thankful that God has allowed my life to work out the way it has. I realize things could have turned out differently for me, and a few wrong choices could have landed me in the same spot with the same fate, trapped behind bars.
We must be careful to realize that no matter how much success we have, it’s all a blessing from God. Every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17). His mercy, grace, and favor have kept us and caused us to experience His goodness in the life we live here on Earth, as well as the one we will forever enjoy in eternity. Although many of us may not have committed any crimes to land us in a physical jail, spiritually we were in bondage and guilty of sin against the God of heaven. Can you see yourself going to jail in the place of a man or woman who is guilty so that they can go free? Or even more extreme, can you see yourself dying for the sins of the world, dying for every man or woman that ever lived? That’s what Jesus did for us. He was innocent, but chose to take on a guilty sentence and pay the price for our sins. He paid the price for crimes He never committed. He was willingly arrested, charged, and put to death for our sins. He gave up His home in glory to come and die for us.
As we live together, we should live in harmony. We must be quick to abandon pride and realize how good God has been to us, while being willing to associate with all people regardless of their status. Let us pray for one another that we would stay on the path that the Lord has laid out before us and not go astray (James 5:16).
Thank you for sending us your Son to be the ultimate example of humility and the sacrifice for our sins. Help us to abandon pride and always realize it is Your goodness that has kept us and blessed us. We pray for those who have experienced misfortune in their lives such as being imprisoned. However we have all sinned and fallen short of Your glory, so teach us to stay humble as we live our lives.
In the name of Jesus. Amen.