Friday, 8 August 2014

Love/d On A Friday: 'Those People' Who Make You Feel Bad About Yourself

You know the people - the ones you always manage to look silly against.  You say things that would be sensible and interesting were you with anyone else.  But with those people, what you say seems so dumb.  You wear clothes that would make you look ok were you with anyone else.  But with those people, the same clothes look childish or grannyish or just plain wrong.

Whether those people look down their noses at you or not, you feel they should, that they have every right, because they have a plan for how life is meant to go and somehow it does.  It all seems to work their way.  Whether they mean to or not, they make you feel small.

And you can Christianise it in lots of good ways.

By going back to what we really have and who we really are.  Rehearsing your true status and parenthood to yourself.

Feeling small?  That is a good thing.  It always makes us remember who is big.  And whose glory is meant to be on display.

Because it's not about us.  Never about us.  It's about Jesus, the One who has given us all we need for life, who is in us and in whom we live and move and have our being, whose very oxygen we breathe.

And they need to see Jesus in us.  They need to see Jesus FULL STOP.  And I might be their only brush with Him today.  And He looks differently into their eyes than anyone else does.  Unwilling to break even a bruised reed, snuff out the dimmest, most lifeless flicker that's not even a flame. 

He is warmth and gentleness and gratitude and grace.  He is God and Man and everything in between.  He is Defender.  Pursuer.  Helper.  Friend.  He is life itself and He lives.

I can tell myself that in Him I bring everything.  That I have more than any earthly thing.  That I am blessed.  The cross declares it loud and clear.

And feeling foolish?  Who cares?  The Bible says Christianity looks like foolishness.  That God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise and the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  Lowly, despised things.

I can tell myself that I used to aspire to a perfect life before it didn't go that way and I discovered the richness and riches of real.

And thoughts like these make it easier to brush those people off and rise up to live another day.  To ask Jesus to touch them, reveal Himself to them.  Because TRUTH strengthens and empowers.

But for me there's something wrong with all that GOOD.  I can find myself rehearsing those Christianising thoughts because I feel a mixture of intimidated by those people and full of dislike for them and I know I shouldn't feel those things.  So I harshly impress on myself that Jesus is what they need; I have it good because I have Him and I should let His glory show forth.  And it's true.  He loves them.  No one else will look into their eyes today how He does.  But...

No one else will look into MY eyes like Him either.

I don't believe that in the midst of my wrong thoughts, God turns away from me.  But when I feel bad for my wrong thoughts it is as if I push Him away.  I rehearse truth because I feel guilty about my reaction to those people.  I want to make amends for my sin.

But instead of pushing myself around because I feel bad, I need to come back to the love.  In those awkward moments where I am with those people and I feel really stupid, first I need to come back to that briefest thought:  "He loves me."

That tells me He is still with me, still loving me because Jesus has already made amends for my poor reactions.  I can breathe a lot easier.  Perhaps I'll look for more truth then but it will be through different eyes and a different heart.

In the midst of the mess, first coming back to the love - to the God who knows us and loves us, to the realisation that my greatest dream has come true just to be loved by Him.  That's what I think we need.  And the good?  It will follow quite naturally - it couldn't not.

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