I have been stretched yet again. That is what this blog will be about, and probably what my many upcoming blogs will be regarding. Things have happened in my life that has led me to be challenged unlike I have been challenged recently.
Do I truly see others as God wants me to? Do I even sometimes see others as God does?
This is my dilemma. It has me really thinking of others – those outside of my immediate family. I believe, as a follower of God, it is my job to take care of my wife and kids. If I’m not doing that, then my priorities are out of whack. Outside of that, it is just “make it through the day”. I many times think that I have no strength left over to be patient and compassionate with others.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a nice guy. Those that know me understand that I’m fairly nice and compassionate. I’m not talking about my immediate relationships; I’m more talking about my attitude with those that differ from my “world view”. Those that are quite different from me. This is where I’ve been less than understanding.
I’ll take an example that is a hard-hitter – gays. I don’t understand them, never will. I don’t see how someone can be attracted to the same sex. BUT that shouldn’t alter in any small way the way I feel towards them. That shouldn’t alter how I love them or interact with them. They are God’s created beings, just as I. They need the love of God just as anyone else does. Their issues are no different than my shortcomings from God’s perspective. To think differently is so wrong it is weird.
Why do I even bring this up? I believe it is because of the way I was raised. I was raised to think that I was better than those that practiced sin, and I looked down on those that sinned more than I. What a serious excuse for being a Christian. I am no better than others. I am just like them because I know myself and know that I struggle EVERYDAY with things.
This new view has me ashamed of being labeled a Christian – if that is the way that Christian’s behave. Matter of fact, I do not want to be labeled a Christian any longer. For with it carries so much baggage in today’s world view that is sickens me to the depth of who I am. I am a follower of Christ, a disciple.
Think of Christ and who He was (and is), how He interacted with sinners He came in contact with. I believe that they left their interaction with Him thinking: “That is a nice guy”. For sure, they understood that their sin was not on the front of how He thought of them. Christ ALWAYS saw though the sin and drove into who they really were.
- Think of the woman at the well (John 4). She was a Samaritan, Jews NEVER even spoke with them. Jesus interacted with her then told her that she could drink water that would satisfy her soul.
- Think about the woman caught in adultery (John 8). She was actually caught in the act and brought to Christ. What did He do? He disbanded those that wanted to stone her with one statement then told her: “I don’t condemn you, go and sin no more”.
- Jesus chose Matthew to be one of his first followers (Matthew 9). He was a tax collector – one of the most despised people in the Jewish community. They were so looked down on that they had their own category of bad. The bad people in that day were known as “sinners and tax collectors”. He invited Matthew to follow Him, then had dinner at his house that night with Matthew’s tax collector friends!
He had compassion on those that were bogged down in their sin. He loved them and showed them love. There are many more examples of how He interacted with sinners. He never made those who practiced sin feel condemned. He never thought of Himself higher than them. He loved them and with compassion showed them a bright light of hope and love in this world. I believe that He hurt for those people, truly wanted them to sense that there was a better way. He was a nice guy.
The only people He was not nice to were those that were “righteous leaders” – the Pharisees. How He despised them! They were the ones who looked down on others and thought they were better than others.
Christ is what I want to be like. I want to have compassion on others. I want to be known as a man that sees through other’s shortcomings – no matter what they are, doesn’t look down on them, but shows them with my actions (not my words only) that there is a way though this life that offers peace and joy that they can experience now.
This is my wish. I have far to go. This new light that I’m experiencing is something that I never want to leave me. I want it to become who I am. Other people are no worse than me. I don’t care who they are or what they have done. They are important to me because they are important to God.
More later, I’m sure…