I love our Pastor. I love the excitement and energy she brings to the Lord’s word. I love how Jesus is using her to reach out to the community around us. One that is often overlooked and forgotten. One where passing residents turn their noses to because the dynamics of the area has changed. It’s sad really because this area used to be thriving and full of life. The point is, she inspires me. I listen when she speaks. Partly because she is my Pastor and it would be rude to not listen, but it’s mainly because she is normally speaking directly to me even when she is unaware of it. Let’s take today for instance….
Her sermon today was titled, “Gotcha”. She shared the scripture from Like 20:27-38 showing how the Sadducees were trying to get Jesus to look like a fool. To see if he would answer their questions in a way that would make him look like he was stupid, crazy, and less than who he was. In their need to be right and in power, they were okay coming at him. The beauty of Jesus was that he didn’t let them get to him. He stood on the truth of God and he let that be his guide. He wasn’t snarky or degrading back. He was kind, rational, and simply told the truth. He stood firm in who he was and didn’t allow their pettiness to get the best of him. Their need for power got so bad that it cost him his life on the cross, but their quest could not keep him from rising from the grave as our Savior. Their mission, ultimately, failed.
Listening to the sermon my mind started racing to my own life. I have had people go out of their way to belittle me, degrade me, and make me feel unworthy. I have no idea what I did to them for them to treat me this way, but they did. For me, these were people whom I thought were my friends. Silly me, I know. I stayed committed to these relationships because I am not one to dump another person if we have different priorities. I also want to be a source of light and not darkness in this world. I don’t pre-judge people. Everyone starts off with a clean slate because I do believe there is good in every heart… just some hearts are a bit hardened and the good can’t escape easily. I will befriend people even when my gut instinct tells me to run fast because I want so badly for the good, loving, and simple truth of Jesus to triumph. That sounds dramatic, but it’s true. How can I claim to be a Christian if I can’t show kindness to people I know are going to hurt me? Jesus did. He showed constant love and kindness to every type of person. I can too. It doesn’t mean that I am okay with being hurt, it just means that I am not foolish enough to believe that someone isn’t going to try to hurt me. Our personalities might not mesh, our lifestyles different, our priorities too far apart. This might make others uncomfortable and they will, in the end, hurt me. I will stay true to who I am.
I have never had an agenda when becoming friends with someone other than to get to know them and embrace who they are in the world. I have no “Gotcha” moment in store for anyone, however I will not allow people to “get” me more than once. If you fool me once, I will stand up for myself and I will do so in a way to that is respectful and in truth. At least that I what I aim for. I will stand in the simple truth of who I am and know that my spirit is good.
I have another friend who is experiencing someone who is literally trying to catch her doing something wrong. It’s sickening. She is one of the most kindhearted, loving, non judgmental person I have ever know. She is a true light in the world, living out the mission Jesus set forth for her. It’s not a pretty mission but one she follows strong. For someone to try to belittle her, bully her, and try to “get” her baffles me. It’s people like my friend that the world needs more of. We have no idea why the lady coming after her does not like her or her ways, but it’s been hard. It was hard on Jesus too. To know people hated him for existing, to know that he was constantly being challenged and to know that he was ultimately going to die at the hands of these power hungry people had to be extremely overwhelming. He stayed true to who He was. Jesus, the Messiah. I pray my friend stays true to who she is is. She will rise above this stronger and more firm in her mission than ever before… I just know it!
Have you ever been that person? The one that decided you didn’t like a person for whatever reason that you wanted to do everything you could to bring them down? Were you the person on the receiving end? Have you ever wanted to be in control, power, or considered as right all of the time that you put others down? Were you the one that was put down? Whichever one you are in this situation, you have a choice in how you react and deal with it. You have the simple truth of Jesus. You have His word, unconditional love, grace, and mercy. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s easier said than believed. I get that. In the midst of our raw emotions we feel abandoned and alone. When we want power, control, applause we are engulfed in its fantasies that we don’t care who we hurt in the process. Jesus had more power than anyone at the time and he never resulted to playing a game of Gotcha. He stayed true to who he was and the simple truth of God. Choose this. Choose to be the person who chooses kindness, love, openness…. the results are not as immediate but they are far more rewarding and powerful than any “Gotcha” game ever played.
Choose to live and behave in the simple truth of God’s love for you.
In peace, love, and health,
*Disclaimer…. I am sure I have responded to pesky people in pesky ways… I am by no means perfect. I am 100% positive I did not respond like Jesus and played my fair share of Gotcha games once started. I am a work in progress and work hard to be like Christ. Just wanted to be clear and speak in truth.