It's interesting how I can read things into scripture that aren't really there. Actually, "interesting" is the wrong word. It's actually scary how I can read things into scripture that aren't there. I wonder how often I do it and pray that God would point it out and correct me when I am reading what I THINK the Bible says instead of what the Word really says.
This is the verse I've had on my kitchen sink windowsill this week (as evidenced by the water spots!) but it wasn't until this morning that I realized I was reading it wrong.
2 Corinthians 13:11 (NET) "Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice, set things right, be encouraged, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you."
It's all good stuff. I think I'm going to have my kids memorize it this next week. :) Now that Summer vacation is over and we've started homeschooling again, we all need to be reminded to agree with one another and live in peace. We need to remember to REJOICE! (Which by the way, I learned last year doesn't have to mean being noisy and exhuberant. Because let's be honest. I'm not always feeling that way. To "rejoice" can also simply mean to "be glad". And that makes me glad!) And we need to live encouraged especially when we're in new places doing new things.
But the last part is where I was getting off track. See what it says there? "and the God of love and peace will be with you." I kept thinking that somehow that last part was conditional on the first part, event though it didn't really made sense. (And how could it?) I was thinking that IF we rejoiced enough, and IF we set things right and were encouraged, and IF we agreed with one another and lived in peace that THEN the God of love and peace promised to be with us. "But doesn't it already say He is with us always?" I wondered. So I set out to figure out what it really meant for Him to be with us. Maybe it meant He would be with us in a different, special way. But the more I looked at it, the more I realized that it didn't actually say "IF" in there at all. It's a simple declarative statement. "AND THE GOD OF LOVE AND PEACE WILL BE WITH YOU." It's not true only IF I get it all right. It's true even and especially when I don't. It's actually WHY I can set things right (because the God of love and peace is with me!), why I can be encouraged (the God of love and peace is with me!), why I can agree with my husband and 13 year old daughter and my boys (the God of love and peace is with me!) and why I can LIVE IN PEACE. (You know what I'm going to say... The God of love and peace is with me!)
There ARE plenty of "If, then" statements in the Word of God. I just want to be more careful not to be mistaken about which promises are conditional and which promises aren't. And I trust God will help me... Because the God of love and peace is with me. And He is with you, too.