Monday, May 31, 2010

this is what i think.

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I have a long way to go.

I don't always see people as God sees people.

I don't always love the way that God loves.

And tonight, as I sit here — up way too late, relishing in the fact that tomorrow is a holiday — I realize that I must try harder.

For months, my motto has been simple: I can only control me. I can only control my reactions, my tongue, my thoughts.

This is true, and it has helped me in moments when I knew I should keep quiet, in moments where I knew the Spirit needed to take over.

But it has served its purpose. I think it's now time to expand that motto, to force myself to grow, to stretch, to reach for higher places in my walk.

I think it's time to love deeper.

To love the people who I do not understand.

To love the people who are causing pain, hurt, and confusion.

To see them as Jesus sees them: wounded, broken, and in desperate need of a Savior.

Just like me.

There are so many things on this earth, and in God's precious church, that I do not understand. So many things I wish I could change.

But, I can only control me.

And I must see what Jesus sees. 

I must continue to control my thoughts, my tongues, my actions. I must continue to use my gifts, to pursue my Savior, and to worship Him in the best ways I know how.

But I must also love the unlovely.

This quote from Frederick Buechner in Francis Chan's book Crazy Love describes my goal:

"The love for equals is a human thing — of friend for friend, brother for brother. It is to love what is loving and lovely. The world smiles. The love for the less fortunate is a beautiful thing — the love for those who suffer, for those who are poor, the sick, the failures, the unlovely. This is compassion, and it touches the heart of the world. The love for the more fortunate is a rare thing — to love those who succeed where we fail, to rejoice without envy with those who rejoice, the love of the poor for the rich, of the black man for the white man. The world is always bewildered by its saints. And then there is the love for the enemy — the love for the one who does not love you but mocks, threatens, and inflicts pain. The torture’s love for the torturer. This is God’s love. It conquers the world."

We treat "love of enemies" as a simple command. Something fairly easy we can all do without much pain or frustration.

I think that's because most of us don't have enemies. Not in the traditional sense of the word.

Nobody wants us dead.

Nobody has voodoo dolls sitting beside their bed with our names on them. (I hope.)

Nobody sits around plotting wicked things to do to us as we go about our day to day lives.

And, as we all know, imaginary people are easy to love. 

But that's not the enemy I'm called to love.

It's the person who unintentionally hurt my feelings with thoughtless, careless words.

It's the leader who, in a moment of frustration, began to look less like a leader and more like a coward.

It's the friend who went behind my back, said things that shouldn't have been said.

It's the person who chooses to pass quick judgment without getting to know me better.

It's the acquaintance who sows discord and hurt in a place where there should be love and acceptance.

I think those are the people I'm called to love.

Because at the moment I was at my absolute worst, Christ loved me.

And so these people that I don't understand, who do things and say things that hurt and cut and just mess things up...

I've got to love them.

I've got to look past the grossness and the messiness and the ugliness

Because God saw past mine.

It doesn't make what they said hurt less.

It doesn't make their actions offend less.

But it's what God calls me to.

It's what will bring Him glory

What will bring me peace

And what will ultimately help them see Jesus.

I guess my old mantra isn't a bad one.

It is a good thing to mind my own business, to focus on my own thoughts and actions and words.

But it is an even greater thing to love the unlovely.

To look past my own thoughts and actions and words and to love those who maybe don't always deserve my love.

Because I certainly didn't deserve God's.


Jordan Jones said...

Well, I think you hit the nail on the head. It's one thing to love a poor child off in Africa somewhere. But the truth is, we're called to love our neighbor. And that's hard, because our neighbor is right here where we can see all of his weaknesses, right here where he can offend us! I love the quote as well...

Auntie M said...

thank you for this blog; exactly what I need to work on right now, myself! especially those who hurt me and mine - hurtful words, actions; even those who feel they are the ones wronged, and can't see that they've hurt me & mine...oh, well - "that job's taken" and now I have to work on me! Love you!

paula said...

so wonderfully said and a good reminder. It's so easy for me to stay in my comfort zone but I need to reach out.