People are a mirror reflection of your own heart
Ever have those moments where you want to have the last word, or counter someone else’s comment with your own insight? Ever have conversations that grate and irritate you to no end, and you just wish it would move on? Ever have those people that come into your life, and you feel compelled to try to “fix” them, meaning that you want to make them more likeable, more like yourself, and in conversations you find yourself correcting their comments or challenging their thoughts and through the processes? Ever feel like your competing with others in the room, and you feel like your being squashed by the voices in the discourse? I have. I plead “guilty” on all counts.
Very often, the most irritating things we find in a person, are actually a mirror image of the the things that are issues in our own heart. The ones that really push out buttons, are those things that we have deep within us that we still have not dealt with. That “irritation” I feel, is a signal to me, if I am listening, that God it trying to get me to deal with. I have often “muted out” that still small voice, all because I don’t want to deal with my own “junk” and instead I want to “fix” someone else’s stuff.
We are simply commanded to love God and love others
The Gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus point out that the Great Commandments are reduced to two commands by Jesus, and those commands are to love God and to love others as ourselves. The ratcheted up, ramped up teaching of Jesus, took the Ten Commandments to a whole other level. He said that in obeying these two commandments, to love God, and to love your neighbour as yourself, encompassed the entire law of God. When you break down the application of these two commands, and they are not the “two great suggestions” but exhortations to obey, all of our relationships, with God, and with others, compels us to act in a way that fulfills the requirement of the other eight commandments through the work of grace through the Holy Spirit applied in our hearts and conscience. If I will myself to love God and love people, the other eight commandments just flow out and are applied to the ongoing relationships and interactions with God and others. All Jesus has ever asked of those who are called by His name is to love God, and love others. The entire New Testament bears witness to the power of that love, and Jesus modelled that love all the way to the cross, His death, resurrection, and glorification, and no His intercession on our behalf before the the Father.
Loving those who are in the faith, and even in the same faith community can be a real challenge
I was praying just the last 20 minutes about that very thing and them in particular. The Lord told me to be there for people, to hear Him and see Him in the and the situation at hand, and told me love and listen, and that it is not my job to change people, but it is His. The biggie for me was Him telling me that I have nothing to prove and to relax and be myself. To learn by watching and listening and looking for the presence of the Spirit, as in the wind in the trees revealing He is there.
It is not our burden to bear.
For too many people in the Evangelical church, church relationships are used as a form of either a sin management system or as glorified 12 step program where people attempt to fix people
I believe that we are in the hour of the best hour in the Church’s destiny. Jesus Himself said that His Bride would be spotlessly white and pure, and He is the One who makes her so, not you or I. We are called to live lives that honour God and His character, and to live by the power of His Spirit at work within us, and the plum line that guides us is the internal witness of His coupled with His written word. When we do the simplest thing of hearing His voice, and then obeying that voice, the results being manifested in the change that takes place in our character and how we relate with God and other people. The fruit of a changed heart, is the change in attitude and actions we take when we walk. With other people on life’s journey.
One of the ironies I have found is how in thinking I was helping others, I was actually helping myself
Years ago in the early years of of my marriage and after graduating from Bible College, I saw the need for more counseling courses to help me to help other people. The old adage was that I needed more education in a field where more expertise was needed to do some effective help and assistance to those with many emotional and spiritual problems. At the time I was really going through much reading and training in dealing with dysfunctional families. I wanted to help people that I surmised were more messed up than the average, and in was with great compassion that I felt that way.
Little did I realize until later just how much it was I that needed all that help to deal with he dysfunctions that were inbeded in my own psychological and spiritual and emotional makeup. Here I thought I was going to help all kinds of people, and help fix people and the heart and relational issues, when all along it was me that needed all that emotional and spiritual help to deal with the issues that had formed me as the man that I was at that time. In the same fashion today, as much as I have grown up as a man emotionally and spiritually, I still have so much more growing up to do, to become more like Jesus, my Lord, my Redeemer, and my Mentor. I need to imitate Him in how I deal with adversity and relationships.
Now I want to listen more and watch more
I realize that the only one I am called to critique and evaluate is myself. I am not called to do that for others. I am called to love others as I love myself. I am called to respect and protect others. I am called to stand in the gap for others, pray for them and intercede on their behalf before God. I am called to love them sacrificially. I am called to honour and prefer them ahead of myself. I am called to do all I can for them and to serve them. I am called to love them. THIS is what every Jesus follower, every disciple of Christ, every self-confessed Christian is called to be: A lover of God and a lover of his fellow men. Jesus Himself said, “You shall be known by the love you have for one another.”
In the end “love wins”
Rob Bell wrote a magnificent book, Love Wins, which got him into rouble with fundamentalist Evangelicals, because he dared believe Jesus and the words He spoke concerning love. Bell’s words pierced the heart of hardline Evangelicals where few dared to tread, and that is in the realm of pure grace based love of others. I we are to take the words of Jesus seriously, then His command to love others unconditionally has to be lived out as Jesus Himself lived them out. Jesus did not revile Judas, not even when Judas betrayed Him. How can we be any different?
How dare I judge and criticise another believer, who is my brother or my sister in Christ? Who do I think I am that I can rebuke and demean a believer in private or in public? Only Christ can confront His own in a real loving corrective manner with the purest of heart motives and pure love. The best any of us can do is to move in love and grace and treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves. All the New Testament epistles written by Paul, Peter, John and others, are written to to believers who are trying to live out lives that honour and respect God and His word, and bear witness in the world about the grace and mercy of God available to all. These letters appear to address a lot of behaviour related issues, and that is because it is addressing the relationship we first have with God, and the relationships we have with fellow believers, as well as the relationships we have with those who are pre-Christian living in a world that is hostile to the Kingdom of God and God Himself.
Living in this world from the perspective of the end of the story
On thing I believe I can do as a believer is to view each person as being Christ Jesus himself. Would I speak to others the way I do, or even speak ill of people or criticise them, or judge them, if it were Jesus Himself? In the end, when we do all the above, and speak ill of others or judge them, we are indeed judging not only them, but the same Jesus that resides in their hearts. I don’t want to speak that way in front ofJesus. I don’t want to put Him down or judge Him. So I need to honour other Christians and cease from being critical or judging. Plain and simple. When we live in a manner where we love each other, defend each other, respect each other, just as we honour Jesus in all we say and do, then this is how in the end, love wins.
~ Sam Buick