Do you wonder about grace? Do you find that you have the most trouble extending or receiving? I suspect we all end up in both places.
In the book of Matthew, chapter 11 – we find this:
25 At that time Jesus said, “Father, Lord of heaven and earth! I thank you because you have shown to the unlearned what you have hidden from the wise and learned. 26 Yes, Father, this was how you were pleased to have it happen.
27 “My Father has given me all things. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28 “Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. 30 For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light.”
And I am thinking that if this is what we need to do to be near Jesus – this is also what we need to offer to others. For some getting to Jesus means seeing Jesus in us and then knowing the path. We are not Jesus – but if we strive to be like Jesus – then we show others the value of knowing Jesus.
This past weekend the definition of love came up in a group setting. It is so easy to define love in a certain way when we are giving love. We share “tough love” – we share “love them by telling them the truth” – we say “I can love them but I cannot accept what they are doing”. Many times it is so easy to talk about love from that direction.
How do you feel when someone tells you that they love you – but they cannot love who you are? They love you – but they really don’t agree with … For me that is simply not my definition of love and I am not going to go running to those people for them to tell me more.
The responses are obvious … If I am their friend/parent etc… of course I must tell them what is right and wrong. If I really love someone then I will have the hard conversation. If I …. If I ….
At some point stop looking at this from your side and start listening to their side. Even the teenager – even the “wayward” young adult – even if you completely disagree with every ounce of your being. STOP. Listen to them and find a way to ease their burden.
There is a good chance that your child – friend – person in your life will choose to do something that disappoints you. But the choice is not about you. Understanding why and how the person got to that point is the important part. Realizing that their life is not about you – is the first step.
You may continue to be on opposite sides of the situation but as long as you don’t slam the door – you have the opportunity to learn. Jesus doesn’t slam the door on us – even when we do all the things that keep us from him. We must learn to do the same for our neighbor.
Quotes that I am considering this week: