Posts Tagged ‘care’

Chances are extremely high that your religious activity and dogged understanding of Jesus are keeping you from Him.

Luke 10:38-42

Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

“To develop a broader vision we must be willing to forsake, to kill, our narrower vision. In the short run it is more comfortable not to do this – to stay where we are, to keep using the same microcosmic map, to avoid suffering the death of cherished notions. The road of spiritual growth, however, lies in the opposite direction. We begin by distrusting what we already believe, by actively seeking the threatening and unfamiliar, by deliberately challenging the validity of what we have previously been taught and hold dear. The path to holiness lies through questioning everything.” -M. Scott Peck

“The treatment of Jesus at the hands of the authorities and the official paranoia over every radical dissenter in history demonstrates the deep fear of the principalities and powers when the legitimacy of their authority is challenged and a confrontation with the truth exposes the idolatrous nature of their power.” – Jim Wallis, Agenda for Biblical People, p.106

“There is an age when one teaches what one knows.
But there follows another when one teaches what one does not know…
It comes, maybe now, the age of another experience: that of unlearning…” -Roland Barthes

“You’ll keep losing people until you find yourself.” – Max Sterling

Our son said this to a friend recently, I won’t go into the details of their conversation but this thought alone says so much. How often does our insecurity cause us to push others away or being uncomfortable and unsure of who we are make it difficult for them to be around us? Be yourself, love yourself, God does, we do, you’re amazing!

I was having a conversation with a dear friend the other day, he hadn’t been feeling well for some time and we were trying to figure out what might be going on. I asked about diet (healthy eating) and exercise and after some thought he told me that he ate pretty much like every American and was as active as most people he knows. Our talk veered from there but it’s stuck with me since, here’s why:

Comparing ourselves to others is destructive!

Many of us can see the negative effect of comparing ourselves to the extraordinary as it can be very demotivating. (How could I ever be as good…?) But have you ever thought how harmful comparing yourself to the average is, how detrimental being better than most can be? Can settling for “good enough” keep us from being our best selves? I think it’s obvious it can.

Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting becoming perfectionists, there’s always a balance, besides the vast majority of perfectionists only hold others to their standard, rarely themselves. What we’re exploring here is, How can I be the best me, the me God knows I’m capable of becoming? The answer just may start with being able to put comparisons aside.

Health and wellness are good examples for us; couldn’t we all take better care of ourselves? Another area I’m always thinking about is our relationships, both with God and with each other so here are some questions I’m asking:

Am I pursuing a unique deeply loving relationship with God?

Does my knowing the uniqueness of His love for me cause more compassion and understanding for others?

Do I engage in competitive religious activity keeping score in relation to others? (Isn’t this religion in a nut shell?)

If the answers are yes, yes and no, that’s a great start to being real, being who you are made to be and fulfilling the one thing God has asked.

He loves you like He has loved no other! Comparing yourself to anyone else is fruitless. Nothing can compare to you!

I see two ways you can read this headline: Wow, you’re right I’m not or You’re crazy, I’m killin’ it.

To be clear, I’m not talking about sports or things that actually are competitive. I’m talking about life and of the two reactions above the first is the honest one and the second is a cover up. Deep down there’s a part of each of us that feels like we’re losing, maybe not always but certainly at times. The saddest thing about this is that we’re doing this to each other. This world has a way of pitting us against each other under the illusion that if I can prove I’m better than you or at least convince others I am, then maybe I’ll start to believe it myself and If I really dominate, it may even come true.

The truth is, you’re not winning but the great news is you’re not losing. Life is not a competition, it’s a collaboration. We have nothing to lose by lifting people up. Caring, supporting and valuing others is infinitely more fulfilling than spinning our wheels trying to be superior. If you want to feel great about yourself today, make someone else feel especially loved.

Are you kidding? You’re amazing! There are countless things about you that are absolutely astonishing. There is no one like you, never has been, never will be. You are exactly who God made you to be just, well, wonderful. Oh sure there are some things about you that are a work in progress but you make  a much bigger deal out of these few things than you should. When you do that it makes it way harder to change and also tends to make you more critical of others shortcomings. It’s easy for me to see how remarkable you are. I want you to know it too.

“Don’t run after fame and glory for yourself, thinking that such things are the way God keeps score. They aren’t. God doesn’t keep score at all. Such things are not God’s gifts to you. Instead, be generous, loving, gracious, and kind, for it is in these things that God reveals Himself to you, and reveals Himself to others through you.”

Jeremy Myers

Jesus didn’t and doesn’t play to the crowd; He’s always seeking the person as opposed to the people. We on the other hand are repeatedly sacrificing individuals in the name of what’s best for all. The greater good is usually a smokescreen for having it my way which doesn’t seem like Jesus at all.

Every day our lives are filled with tragedy. Death, heartbreak and catastrophe dominate the media and too often get much closer. What can we do? I see three general options:

  1. Ignore what’s going on unless that proves to be impossible.
  2. Rant, rave and demand others do something.
  3. Engage, get involved and make a difference ourselves.

Option one is the path most chosen. The day to day busyness of our lives has a way of making this seem like the only option. Combining our hectic lives with the overwhelming volume of bad news makes it easy to think there’s nothing we can do.

Option two is smoke and mirrors. If I can make enough noise, maybe no one will notice things are only getting worse and I can put the blame on others. The distressing aspects of this option are; it’s primarily focused on the past and few hearts get changed.

Option three changes the question altogether. Instead of asking, “What can we do?” We’re now asking, “What can I do?” This is how we change the world! And the answer to, “What can I do?” is Love. We can’t legislate it and we can’t expect others to do it for us. Each day we encounter hurt, lonely, angry, insecure people. They need to be loved and they need to know someone cares. We can do that! We probably won’t make headlines but imagine the difference that can be made. What shooter or bomber could have their heart changed by real love before they ever even consider…

Gospel means Good News. The Gospel of Jesus or Jesus’ Good News is that He is God and that He loves you! We who know and understand this are asked to share this message with no strings attached. Unfortunately too often what is heard from us is “god loves me and he would love you too if you were like me.” This is not the Gospel. People are desperate to know they are loved and the world is persistently presenting overwhelming evidence that they’re not. We have to be different; we must present the truth of God’s unconditional love, not just in word but also in action.

“When we follow Jesus, we follow Him, not away from the world, but more deeply into the world.

When we follow Jesus, He leads us deeper into the world; not away from it. This initially confuses most of us, because we thought we were following Jesus to be freed from this world, and yet He wants to lead us right back into it! Why would He lead us back there? We don’t want to go back. We left it all behind so we could follow Jesus in peace and safety. But it is into the world He leads us. Why? Because God has a plan for us.” -Jeremy Myers/The Skeleton Church

And the plan is for us to bring His love to everyone. Not judgment, not condemnation and certainly not fear. The love God wants us to reflect to this world must be rooted in trust and neither love nor trust is real if attached to conditions. God loves you if… is not the message!