S: 2 Chronicles 30:17-20 Since many of the people had not purified themselves, the Levites had to slaughter their Passover lamb for them, to set them apart for the Lord. Most of those who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not purified themselves. But King Hezekiah prayed for them, and they were allowed to eat the Passover meal anyway, even though this was contrary to the requirements of the Law. For Hezekiah said, “May the Lord, who is good, pardon those who decide to follow the Lord, the God of their ancestors, even though they are not properly cleansed for the ceremony.” And the Lord listened to Hezekiah’s prayer and healed the people.
O: People sometimes think that the God of the Old Testament was all about the letter of the law while the God of the New Testament is more about the spirit of the law. This passage illustrates that this isn't the case. God doesn't change (Malachi 3:6); Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
Sometimes, we as Christians who take the Bible seriously, can fall into the same trap the Pharisees of Jesus' day fell into. We get so fixated on the "dos" and "don'ts" that we forget that God is love (1 John 4:8) and He provides grace in His love to cover a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).
Some homosexual activists have been going to town with Pope Francis, even naming him their "Person of the Year" (well, so did Time Magazine, so the gay pride people are not alone.) In fact, Pope Francis did not change the Catholic Church's teaching on homosexuality -- a teaching which is virtually the same for Evangelical Christians.
Pope Francis was emphasizing the need for grace and winsomeness. The Gospel means "good news", yet so often Christians end up communicating it in a way that hearers hear it as "bad news". Jesus welcomed the adulterers and other sinners. The incidents with the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-12) and Zacchaeus (Luke 9:1-10) illustrate this.
A: We need to have a balance between communicating God's standards and His grace. Eschew legalism, share the love of God that was so great that He sent His only begotten Son while we were still His enemies to save us. (John 3:16, Romans 5:10)
P: Father, help me to speak the truth in love, yet full of grace and truth when I communicate Your principles to my friends. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)