Today’s scripture: Gal 6:1-18 (NRSV) (The Message) (KJV) What might God be saying to me?

My thoughts (Lynnette Pullen-Bradford):

Let’s face it, living courageously for Christ means not playing it safe. It means taking some hits and sometimes getting the wind knocked out of you. It means facing danger and pressing forward anyway. It means standing up when everyone else is sitting down. It often compels us to say what needs to be said with a courageous love and to do the right thing when the wrong thing feels right. Living for Christ is humbling and hard. And sometimes it leaves scars. It’s the scars that no one else sees that seem to hurt the most.

When I decided to declare to my family that I love both my partner and Jesus, I was isolated and rejected in a way I had never been before. I went from hosting large family get-togethers to not even being invited to the yearly family Thanksgiving dinner. I think I would have been more welcomed if I had even said I was no longer a Christian, but I love my partner. They probably would have wanted to reach out to me in a loving “Christianly” way in the hopes of “winning me back to Christ.” But the fact that I maintained my love for Jesus and my spouse was mind-boggling and appalling to them. It offended them that I would even suggest that Christ would not just approve of, but celebrate my relationship. This rejection, disapproval, and ultimately isolation caused a deep and jagged scar in my spirit that seemed to throb anytime I reflected on life before they knew.

I knew that telling my family would cause some issues. I could have played it safe. I could have said that she was just my friend (been there, done that). My family relationships would have been intact, and I would have spared myself this pain and these ugly scars — but that is not what following Christ is about. I knew deep in my spirit that I needed to make a stand with them. The Christ I know and love received many scars on my behalf. Who am I not to receive a few for HIM? I knew Christ was calling me to be honest and transparent, regardless of the outcome. In The Message translation of Galatians 6:17, Paul says “I bear in my body scars from my service with Jesus.” I like that translation because it reminds me that scars can be inside or out, seen or unseen.

Prayer for the day: GOD, thank YOU so much for your grace, especially when life gets tough. When YOU call us into unsafe situations of life, give us the courage and strength to press forward. Help us to remember that the scars we receive are temporary and that YOU make all things new. Amen.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.