"For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again."
I like the idea of everyone being part of the same thing... the image of the trees being grafted into each other and God caring for us and helping us grow. And in these verses it is paired with a warning... to not be complacent when it comes to our own salvation and spirituality. Sometimes I think it is easy to fall into thinking that God understands us, and so he will save us no matter what... and that isn't true. We have to learn, and change, and become more than what we are. We can't sit around and stay the same... we have to overcome our faults and keep getting better. God helps us with that, and he definitely loves us... but we have to remember "the goodness and severity of God" ... parenting isn't just loving and supporting. It is also correcting, and helping children learn lessons that they have to learn in order to be capable adults. And God has to teach us some of those lessons. It frequently isn't fun, and is often painful, to learn our lessons and enlarge our spiritual muscles and discover more of who we are. But as hard as it is to fall off a bike and hurt ourselves, or embarrassed as we are when we fail our first driving test... no matter what the pain is, just stopping and not learning doesn't work, and our perfect parent, God, would never let us ruin our lives by giving up. He'll present us with new opportunities to learn, and he'll be severe if he needs to be to get us off our butts and out there learning some new ways to travel. Let's continue to accept God's instruction, and get more goodness than severity. ... and remember that we are part of each other as well. God teaches us all, and accepts us ALL back into the tree where he can take care of us, if we want to come back and are repentant.