The Person in Front of You

Read John 8:1-11 The story of the woman caught in adultery.

He isn't really being slow about his promised return, even though it sometimes seems that way. But he is waiting, for the good reason that he is not willing that any should perish, and he is giving more time for sinners to repent.

2 Peter 3:9 (TLB)

Beverly Marshall-Goodell is from Georgia. After moving to a suburb of a large metropolitan area, Beverly felt discouraged and frightened by news stories of nearby criminal activity. It was hard to read about an armed robbery at a convenience store, a hit-and-run accident that injured a child, or a group following a delivery truck to steal packages. Beverly's first response was to pray for the victims of these crimes. She could identify with the fear, grief, and anger they must have felt. However, the more Beverly let her prayers be guided by the news stories, the more concern she developed for the perpetrators. She asked herself, "What circumstances would lead my neighbor to these kind of actions?"

Second Peter 3 reminds Beverly that God has been patient with her failings and deeply desires for all people to repent. She now feels called to pray not only for the victims but also for those who have committed crimes in her community.

Beverly is also challenged to consider how she can offer God's love and forgiveness to the people she encounters daily. Her church encourages its members to "love the person in front of you." This means accepting people as they are instead of judging them. Beverly tries to remember these challenging words when she encounters people whose actions she does not understand. Then she asks Jesus to help her love them as he already does. Prayer: Forgiving Christ, help us to love and pray for people whose actions we cannot comprehend, in Jesus' name. Amen.

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