At our church, we operate under the principle of “Love God, Love People”. It’s easy to say, not so easy to do. I’ve told myself for so long that I agree with this motto and I live it out every day, but do I really? Truthfully….no. I had a mirror put in front of my face yesterday, and like seeing dirt on your cheek that needs to be wiped away, I saw very clearly an area of me that needs cleaned up. An area where I need to become better.
I operate with the ego that I treat people well. That I’m fair with people and extend grace where needed. And, I like to think that this is true most of the time. But, as I listened to the message from Pastor Joe yesterday, I discovered that somewhere along the way I’ve lost sight of that. I have let my self-awareness become a picture that I take out and look at. A picture of a moment frozen in time when I was kind to someone. When someone did me wrong and I forgave them. So, I look at that picture and think that is me, that’s who I am. But, that is a memory. It’s not my reality. My reality is that I’m flawed. I’m short-tempered, I’m impatient and I’m quick to become irritated. That’s the cold hard truth. My job as a Christian is to realize that every other person in this world is flawed.
I have allowed myself to become the rule maker. If people don’t act and re-act the way that I would, then they have broken some unspoken “Me law” and I feel justified in becoming impatient and irritated. That person has broken the law and is not worthy of my kindness and grace. Who am I to do that?!?!? That makes me just like a pharisee, and Jesus had plenty to say about the self-righteous pharisees. They made up rules and laws on the spot to make others conform to their personal beliefs about human behavior and faith in God. Mirror + Me = pharisee. I don’t want that.
I need to set myself aside and reach out to others. I need to love others where they are. Jesus loved people where they were, he didn’t make them change in order to win his love. What makes me think I’m better than Jesus that others have to conform to me? I am not and I’m humbled and ashamed that I let myself believe, even unconsciously, that others should act and be who I say they should be. How stupid and proud am I to allow myself to reach that point of thinking?
I’m human. That’s who I am. I’m a person with real emotions and an ego. I am a flawed person who needs Jesus more and more each day. Thank you Lord, that you will meet me where I am. Thank you for forgiving me. Thank you for loving me in spite of my selfish behavior. Thank you for loving me when I’m irritating. Help me to see through your eyes. Help me to love people right where they are.