Friday, December 6, 2013

Community Parte Uno

People are made for people.  If there is anything this year has taught me it's that we can't do life alone.  And being alone in it makes us unhealthy and takes us further from God, instead of closer to him.  In the midst of this aha moment, though, comes another truth.  People are a mess. 

It's true in the church and it's true outside of the church.  The human race is made up of people who don't live what they believe and are hypocritical and fail.  People without Jesus do it continually because without Jesus that's all we know how to do.  Please ourselves.  Fill up the holes however we can, usually most quickly with what feels best.  With Jesus, the goal is when we fall down, to get back up.  To operate out of forgiveness and grace to ourselves and to those around us.

With the expectation, that our Jesus family and friends will fail.  Will fall.  Will hurt us.  Because we are human, not divine.  And we will do the same to them.

Jesus makes us new.  Babies.  Born over to grow again.  Part of the growing process is falling down and getting back up.

So in community this is what it looks like:

Jesus starts with the individual.  He says you love God with your whole being and then you love the people around you the way you love yourself.

So guess what.  It doesn't start with how people are treating you, it starts with how you are treating other people.

Love your neighbor.  Not that your neighbor has to love you.  That's not what the scripture says.  In fact, it says the opposite of that.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  Matthew 5:43-45

And here is what love looks like: (paraphrased)

Love is patient.

Love is kind.

It does not boast.

It is not proud.

It is not rude

It is not envious.

It does not dishonor others.

It is not selfish.

It is not angered quickly.

It keeps no list of faults or wrongs.

Love loves truth.

Love does not enjoy wickedness.

Love protects.

Love trusts.

Love perseveres.

Love hopes for the best.

Love does not end.

How is that for a list to start with.  I look at that list and I know how many times I fail to treat the people in my life that way: my husband, my family, my friends, my Crash girls, my clients.

The point is not to hold ourselves to a standard of perfection.  The point is to start asking God to change us into people that behave like that list.  No matter what situation we encounter ourselves in.  We are called to be like Christ.  To pick our crosses up and deny ourselves.  Die to pleasing ourselves first.

James 3 says this:

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

For where you have envy and selfish ambition you have disorder and every evil practice.  So true.  What is envy?  It is wanting what someone else has.  Position or possession, and it's wanting them not to have it.  It's a wall between you and that person.  It's greed.  Selfish ambition is about making sure it's me first.  Everyone notice me.  I'm good, great and so fabulous you should know about me.  It's taking God off his throne in your life and putting yourself squarely on it.  It bears no fruit of life in you or in the people you are around.  

In fact James here calls that kind of thought process demonic.  


But the wisdom from heaven is peace loving.  



Full of mercy.  



What if we all start from that place with our church family?  Not what have they done for me lately, but what am I doing for them?  

Paradigm shift. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I have to remind myself constantly - "what am i doing for THEM... not what are THEY doing for me" . gotta love innate selfishness.

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