This post is specifically for believers. No, this isn’t really a feel good post. It’s not even that encouraging. My goal is to step on your toes and motivate you to take action to what you are called to do. (This includes myself especially.)
It’s so easy to focus on self-growth or maturity in Christ. Yes, there’s a need for that, but don’t get caught in that alone. Let me backtrack. Have you ever heard of the acronym J.O.Y.? When I first learned it, I was told that it signified the order of importance in service: Jesus first, others second, and you last.
If you’re anything like me, I get that order mixed up all the time. If I’m being honest, most of the time my order is me, Jesus, and others last. Occasionally, it’s me, others, and Jesus last… This is especially true when I get caught up with socializing, work, or school. The point is I tend to not give my attentions, my service, or my efforts where they should be. Why can’t I ever get it straight?
To me, this process of service is kind of a juggling act, but I am completely inept at holding more than two objects at a time. In the end, something—or rather someone—gets neglected in the end and hits the floor. Do you ever feel like that? Do you ever feel like no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to muster up the motivation to care?
I know some people who just innately love people. It’s their second nature to be considerate and to go out of their way to befriend others. You know who I’m talking about. For everyone else, loving people just feels completely out of the comfort zone. If it was easy to love everyone, then we wouldn’t have as many problems in the world as we do today. Are we hopeless? No worries. We just need a heart transplant.
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. Ezekiel 36:26-27
How amazing is that? God gives us this new heart that is capable of loving people like Him. What’s stopping us from using it then? I ask myself this question ALL the time. I am truly dumbfounded and disgusted when I overlook others because I’m so wrapped up in my world. I mentally kick myself because I knew I could have spared a couple of minutes to just talk to someone or ask how they were doing. Even if it’s not intentional in the least, it still happens on a regular basis.
Then there is the Samaritan woman at the well. Confused? She had a very scandalous past with multiple husbands and a current cohabitating boyfriend, and she had to go to the well when no one else was there. Despite all that, Christ asked HER for a drink. He spoke to HER about living water that will quench her thirst. He chose HER testimony to reach her entire village with the Gospel.
What does the Samaritan woman look like in our modern world? Maybe it’s the girl in class who cuts herself and has forgotten how to smile. Maybe it’s that guy at work who swears like a sailor and smokes during breaks. It could be that tired person behind the register who takes your weekly coffee order with a plastic grin. It’s even possible that there’s someone right under your nose like someone from church or even in your own household. I’ve learned that it’s so easy to overlook the people who you are so accustomed to being around all the time. Who have you been overlooking?
Yeah, we are all pretty messed up, and that’s not going to change on this side of heaven. We will fail, stumble, etc., but we are still able to help lift others out of the miry clay because we know what it’s like to be there. My challenge to you is to love like Christ. Pursue the castoff, the rebel, the invisible, and even the unlikeable. Show grace and mercy when you have been showed much more grace and mercy from your heavenly Father. You just might be surprised by the outcome.