Romans 15:7 (NKJV)
7 Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.
Receive one another; for sometimes the prejudices of the weak Christian make him shy of the strong, as much as the pride of the strong Christian makes him shy of the weak, neither of which ought to be. Let there be a mutual embracing among Christians. Those that have received Christ by faith must receive all Christians by brotherly love; though poor in the world, though persecuted and despised, though it may be matter of reproach and danger to you to receive them, though in the less weighty matters of the law they are of different apprehensions, though there may have been occasion for private piques, yet, laying aside these and the like considerations, receive you one another. [Matthew Henry Commentary]
Gordon MacDonald shares the following story about visiting a small group of men and women affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous. MacDonald said that he visited the group because he has friends who are recovering alcoholics and he wanted to see for himself what they were talking about. Here's what he found:
One morning Kathy�I guessed her age at 35�joined us for the first time. One look at her face caused me to conclude that she must have been Hollywood-beautiful at 21. Now her face was swollen, her eyes red, her teeth rotting. Her hair looked unwashed, uncombed for who knows how long.
"I've been in five states in the past month," she said. "I've slept under bridges on several nights. Been arrested. Raped. Robbed (now weeping). I don't know what to do. I � don't � want � to � be � homeless � any more. But (sob) I can't stop drinking (sob). I can't stop (sob). I can't � "
Next to Kathy was a rather large woman, Marilyn, sober for more than a dozen years. She reached with both arms toward Kathy and pulled her close, so close that Kathy's face was pressed to Marilyn's ample breast. I was close enough to hear Marilyn speak quietly into Kathy's ear, "Honey, you're going to be OK. You're with us now. We can deal with this together. All you have to do is keep coming. Hear me? Keep on coming." And then Marilyn kissed the top of Kathy's head.
I was awestruck. The simple words, the affection, the tenderness. How Jesus-like. I couldn't avoid a troubling question that morning. Could this have happened in the places where I have worshiped? Would there have been a space in the program for Kathy to tell her story? Would there have been a Marilyn to respond in this way? [Gordon MacDonald, "My Small Group, Anonymous," Leadership Journal (Winter 2014)]
These type of stories are happening every day. There are those who are in desperate need of help. They have lost their way in life and often trapped by addiction that holds them in despair. The church I attend formed a Ministry group for people like those above called HopeQuest Ministry group. There are many other organizations that offer help as well. Let us pray that brotherly love for others will be shown so these people may be helped through the difficulties of life.