Monday, May 23, 2011

Whom Do You Love?

Yesterday in church the message was a powerful lesson to be learned. And as the speaker shared, this is the conversation my daughter and I whispered....
CC: "What is the gospel?"
Me: "The word of God"
CC: "How do we obey it?"
Me: "By loving God most of all and loving others too."
CC: "But I already love you."
Me: "Not just me and family, but others... those that are strange, ugly, poor, sad..."
CC: "Ugly?" (giggles....)
Me: "Yes, ugly..."

I remember in high school a boy named James.
James was awkward. He was not attractive, he dressed funny, talked to himself, and had greasy long hair. James was what we called a "nerd". His locker was right next to mine. And for some strange reason, James liked me. I guess it had to do with the fact that I quickly learned his name, and whenever I saw him, I'd call out to him.... "Hi Jaaaames".

He'd blush every time, and my friends would laugh.
You see I didn't genuinely like James. In fact, I knew nothing of him, except that he was not popular and that he was "different".
I was never actually mean toward him, but I did know how to get a reaction out of him.
One day James saw me walking down the school hallways with what was then my "boyfriend", and he became very upset with me. He began rambling on and on about how I had betrayed him and he even used foul language to offend me.
At first, I was confused by the whole thing. Yet, later I realized I was responsible for the way he felt. You see, in my pretending to be very friendly with James, I lead him to believe that I genuinely cared for him. And as I made light of my almost "flirtatious" remarks toward him, he was taking them very seriously. James was special that way, and I had taken advantage of his naive ways.

Ironically enough, today's speaker at our school's outing was focusing on those who are "different". He mentioned that he suffered from Tereks' syndrome, and he shared the difficulties that came with it. He pointed out that while he sees his condition as his greatest weakness, it has also become the avenue in which God's power can manifest itself in his life and the life of others.

I mentioned that he focused on those who are different, and their weaknesses. However, the reality is that we are ALL "different", and we all have weaknesses.

Weaknesses. What's wrong with having them?
Okay, so I can think of many reasons why we don't like weaknesses and we rather focus on our strengths. But just imagine if we were all without flaws. Imagine a world in which everyone was just right. No one with the need to ask for help. No one to help.
We all look just right and feel just right.
So much so that we wouldn't need God.

You see it is in our weaknesses that we can finally acknowledge that we need God. Without them, we become our own god.

And so first of all I'm encouraged to embrace my weaknesses and struggles, and to see them as my avenue to draw closer to God.
I will never be strong enough or just right. And that's okay because God's power is manifested in my life and the life of others because of it.

The other lesson is that I would see the weaknesses of others in a different light. That I may be sensitive and show compassion. That I may be slow to judge. That I may be reminded of God's power because of someone else's weakness.

That I may see God in everything and everyone. The strong, the weak, the just right, and the totally wrong. That all may lead me to Him.

But greater than that lesson, I find that I not only should consider others with compassion, but truly love them as Christ would.
That I may pray for a stranger. That I may see God in their eyes. That I may seek the homeless. That I may feed the poor and lead the blind. That I may be willing to do this for anyone ... even the ugly.

(I'm so sorry James.)

1st John 3: 17-18, "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."

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