Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | December 13, 2021

Avoiding Merge

“And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:2 (ESV)

I’ve never been a fan of merge lanes…especially a few on my commute to the office.  Early morning traffic can be quite crazy.  Guess we’re all headed to work with a few minutes left to spare. Running late never serves us well and neither do those merge lanes which also serve as exit lanes.  Cars merging into traffic and cars attempting to merge onto the exit ramp. Despite my careful maneuver into traffic there have been several times when “Thank you Jesus,” flowed from my quivering lips as I barely avoided a crash.

Found it interesting that Webster defines merge not as something to avoid but as combining, gradual blending and unifying. Our world could definitely use more of merge especially when it comes to the people we do life with.

Amazing how the holidays automatically merge us into spaces with people we haven’t seen for a while or just plain avoided.  And sometimes that merging finds us carefully trying to maneuver different personalities and past wounds to simply keep the peace for 24 hours.  Perhaps the hardest merge is with those we truly love – family.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if instead of staying in our corner, we courageously sought to merge. A gradual blending which requires seeing good in those who may not do life the same as us.  A determined peace which holds back unnecessary words for the sake of unity around the table.  A quiet resolve to showcase God’s love, mercy, truth and grace versus demonstrating our own judgmental rights.

Now don’t misunderstand merge – it doesn’t’ dictate that we lower our values, morals or standards to blend in.  Rather merge simply suggests we seek to see value in the person.  We actively resist the urge to isolate, dominate or manipulate.

Jesus was the greatest demonstrator of merge.  He did life with a crazy brood of fishermen, tax collectors, etc.  He sat and ate with sinners.  He had a conversation with a Samaritan woman at the well.  Jesus drew near to the sick, wounded and unclean.  He came as a unifier – a bridge between God and man. Nothing stood in His way.  Merging the hearts of mankind with His Father’s. Even in His darkest hours on the cross, Jesus promised to welcome the repentant thief into paradise.

Holiday gatherings can be challenging and hard – not everyone has the Norman Rockwell perfect gathering at the table.  In a just a few weeks the merge will begin, so how will we handle those uncomfortable moments?  Will we demonstrate our love for God by loving people or will we choose to avoid merge and stay in our own lane?

Don’t get me wrong here – there are definitely situations which require boundaries to ensure our safety – that’s not what I’m referring to.  Wise godly discernment leads us to know the difference.  If we’re real here, we know the difference and for those relationships which simply challenge us -let’s prayerfully choose to come to the table with hearts bent towards love and unity.

“Father, You know our circle, the dynamics which can often drive us crazy and broken at the same time.  Show us how to demonstrate Your love and share Your hope during the holiday season.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

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