As I have gotten older, I have noticed I feel greater frustration inside me whenever I hear someone making fun of another person. Even in elementary school, I remember standing up for the kid everyone chose to pick on at lunch.
However, I am convicted tonight to realize that as my discomfort increases, my courage seems to decrease.
I am not so quick to stand up for those God created in his image – those God loved so much he sent his very own Son to die in their place. If I am, I back away quickly, for fear I have offended my neighbor who just verbally maimed God’s most precious creation: a man or woman he longs to call son, or daughter.
Hear me, I am guilty of saying vile things about men and women, who I know and do not know, as well. I feel the same frustration inside me when I recognize my tongue has just spoken that which is not reflected in my heart.
My heart is captivated by the love of Jesus. And just as I sang as a little girl, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.”
In moments like these, I wish Jesus was with me in the flesh, partaking in my conversations. That way, I could easily follow his evident lead and know I am walking in the light, for he is the light. But I have to believe Jesus meant what he said when he told his best friends it is better that he leave, so we might have the Holy Spirit (John 16:7).
So tonight I am revealing my imperfections. I am admitting I do not know how to walk the tightrope that is the fine line between loving my neighbor and loving our neighbor who is not being loved.
But deep inside me, I do not think Jesus invited me to walk a tightrope with him. I honestly believe it is for freedom Christ has set us free (Galatians 5:1).
Reflecting on tonight, all I can do is ask Jesus to breathe more of himself into my everyday life. I do not know how to reflect him in every conversation. The demonstrated love of God is not a formula to be calculated.
When Jesus felt compassion or anger, those emotions were rooted in love, and they expressed themselves in different ways. However Jesus expressed his emotions with different people in different circumstances, he never failed to bathe his interactions in the hope found in believing in the one who sent him.
Jesus is my example. He lives in me. Long ago, I heard him calling, “Come follow me,” and I responded, “Yes!” Each day since, he continues to invite me to follow him further, deeper, wider and higher.
Jesus, help me to say, “yes” to follow you in the messy circumstances of life. I cannot navigate my own way. I so badly want to honor you, but I desperately need your Spirit to guide me every step of the way. Quiet my soul, I want to follow you.
“For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.”