It's not what I have[.] It's what I have to give. A blog about resources--gaining, giving, and sharing.

06 March 2011

Equal Opportunity Judgment

12:47 PM Posted by steve flores , 1 comment
"Christians are the ones who believe in the God of love, right?  We’re the ones who love and worship the Prince of Peace, right?  Isn’t that us?  Aren’t we the ones who are to hold patience, kindness, and forgiveness up as ideal standards?  We’re the truth and grace people, correct?  Then why are we hammering others with truth (our take on it, anyway), and then neglecting to share the grace?  Those two things go together; one doesn’t mean as much without the other.”  -Dan Merchant, Lord Save Us from Your Followers

 “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor. (Matthew 7:1-5, The Message)

You have to understand context of this passage to fully appreciate Jesus’ words.  Jesus is still on the mountain teaching a crowd of people.  This sermon began with the Beatitudes and they were revolutionary statements (see older blog post).  This crowd of people at some point have been ignored, considered second-class, have not felt like they ever measured up to the religious of the day—the Pharisees.  The Pharisees made sure these people knew their place—oppression.  Jesus’ words created freedom and empowered people to think and feel valued.

Did Jesus want people to change?  Does Jesus want us to change?  Absolutely!  Jesus used an environment of love to create safety, security, and acceptance.  Love is the catalyst for change.  It’s this kind of love that creates value in someone.  And, I believe, it’s this kind of love that creates an environment where people will change.  You can’t change people, but you can create an environment where they will change and grow naturally with love.

Jesus loves us not because He needs us to make Him feel important or special. Jesus loves not just to get something out of us. Jesus loves us purely because it is his nature to love.  We need to make that our first reaction and response.  As followers of Jesus, love needs to be our nature too…and not just with those who love us.