2 weeks ago
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Sometimes I envy Jesus.
Reading through the gospels He just surprises me. For the longest time I've wondered how he could hang out with tax collectors and sinners and still be Jesus. There's no way they were on their best behavior around him. Tax collectors were thought of as a plague, basically. Through taxes the Roman Empire drew their funds with which to keep nations under their feet and conquer new ones. They weren't just looked down upon for taking more than they were supposed to, they were looked on as thieves and garbage. The Jews were nationalistic people, tired of being slaves. They hated tax collectors because they had to pay them so that the Romans could keep them in their empire. I can't imagine how that must have been. I think I would have hated them, too.
How did He do it? How could He hang out with gross people and still remain holy? How did He love them when their minds were so full of evil?
The other day I was sitting in Sugar Brown's and there was some guy sitting by himself. I was watching him because all he did for like two hours was flip through some comic book. I looked at him in passing mostly, and then I suddenly really took notice of him. What was he doing in a coffee shop? I wondered about his family and his upbringing. Mostly I wondered what I would say if I walked up and started talking to him. Did he even want to talk to someone? A lot of people like their privacy, especially Americans. Who knows, but it's not talking to that guy that shows my immaturity in faith I think.
It's so hard for me to be in a group of people being sarcastic and living by completely worldly lifestyles, seeing life through a dirty lens I think. How do I interact with non-Christians and not constantly say things like "Yeah, sorry man. I don't do that kind of stuff". People just think I'm self-righteous, but really I just want to live life like God made it... and I want to love. Jesus made us different, but how do we act and react around people who aren't yet? I thank God that He's started wafting into flame a love within me not just for His precepts, but for the people He has made. I'm just starting to learn what this is all about, but I know I should have talked to that guy.
Being in a foreign country it's really easy to grow into the habit of becoming accustomed to people. They're everywhere. But Jesus noticed them. And then he did something about it. As He said, it's so easy to love people who love us back. Everyone does that. But someone who is really growing in the love of Christ will meet people unlike himself and love them even if they never accept Christ. When he was at the cross, none of the people He taught, and He taught thousands, were there to help. But still He loved them and cared for them.
It's so easy to rationalize my way out of love. But I pray that God continually be working within me to teach me how to take leaps of faith in noticing people it's easy not to.