Make Room in Your Hearts
Make room in your hearts for us.
Have you ever had a person in your life that you know is hurting, but it’s hard for you to feel compassion toward them? Maybe someone who is a little harder for you to love than someone else is? Amazing, isn’t it, how God frequently puts those very people in our lives? Why do you suppose He does that?
The apostle Paul had a special relationship with the Corinthian church. He wrote at least 2 important letters to them, and one other that is now lost. The two letters we have are, of course, known as 1 and 2 Corinthians. In them, Paul is at times firm and direct, and at other times he is tender and gentle. What a fine pastor! But there is something else that can be discerned in Paul’s letters to his Corinthian friends: he pleads with them.
Maybe he had a strained relationship with some of the members of the church there. He knows there are some in their church that are a little harder to love. And apparently it’s a two way street. There are some in the Corinthian church who might respect Paul, but they seem to have a hard time loving him.
So in the middle of his great announcement about the triumph of Christ and that we are the heirs of His promises, Paul says, “Make room in your hearts for us.” (2 Cor. 7:2). There is a fuller context in which he says, in effect, ‘when I think of you, my joy is overflowing.’ But in our verse he pleads with them, ‘make room for me in your own hearts, too.’
God is deeply concerned with the unity of the brethren and that every Christian make room for another in our hearts. Jesus even prayed specifically for you and me, “That they may all be one, just as You, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us…” (John 17:21a) Unity and love for one another does not always take the shape of uniform opinion. In fact, it probably never does. But because we are all made in God’s image, and by grace are restored to His family, we all have a common inheritance and a common connection. That means that we must take care to make room in our hearts for every son or daughter of God that He brings into our lives. And we must run from the temptation of shutting some out because they are less comfortable to us.
You understand, don’t you, that when you make room for something, it means you have to move one thing out of the way on behalf of the other? Who can you make room for in your heart this week? Is your heart too crowded with affection for lesser things like personal preferences or reputation? My love for this world can crowd out my love for God and His people. You too? Pray for them. Serve them and reach out to them. Look for the work of God in them, and your joy will overflow in them.
Jesus knows that there is an evangelistic component to our affection for one another “…so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:21b). This is my prayer for our beloved church this week, that we may experience the joy of making room for one another in our hearts, and that through our sacrificial love, God will build His church.
Keep pressing, my brethren.
Very warmly yours,