Ephesians 4:1-3Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.
I am not sure why God is bringing a certain memory to my mind this morning – but it really is “hanging in my heart and just won’t let go” so maybe He is using it to teach me more about this section of Scripture...
I remember a very early experience I had at Point of Grace. I was helping with child care for ALPHA. There was an extremely unruly child that was really testing all of my patience and teaching skills! I dreaded each week when Alpha rolled around – and secretly hoped maybe his single-mother-parent wouldn’t be there this time. (ouch – I’m not proud – just being honest!) I remember the other woman helping with child care and myself having a discussion something like this, “Ach. Parents these days. This child should know better than this. Why, we behaved as children. We knew how to sit still and obey and play nice. What are things coming to? Tsk, tsk, tsk.” (again, I am not proud of this.)
As the weeks unfolded, we learned more and more about this child and his home life. We learned more about the single parent and her background and her life story. She was not a Christian, she wasn’t raised in a Christian home, and she certainly never attended church were all the children magically sit still and behave like us! (ugh) When I learned her story, and understood more, my hard heart finally broke with empathy and compassion. All of a sudden, I looked at that child with new eyes, and a new heart, and treated him differently. Now, that time helping with child care, and the face of that child in my mind is one of my favorite memories of my years at PoG and how God was trying to shape us into a culture that loved and accepted His people - especially His people who did not yet know Him.
But the story doesn’t end there. I remember God digging just a little bit harder into my proud, arrogant, crusty heart and attitude toward others. “Dawn, why did you have to learn that child’s story before you began to love Him? Why couldn’t you show gentleness and kindness toward him just the way he was?” (I am so sorry, Lord.)
I rest in this memory and the Scripture this morning with these thoughts….
I beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.
*To live a life worthy of my calling, I need to love all people, regardless of their behavior, regardless of if I “like” them, and treat them with kindness, love, gentleness, respect, JUST AS CHRIST TREATED ME AND STILL TREATS ME even though I am very unloveable. I need to take time to get to know others, like we are learning in our BLESS focus where the E stands for Eat with them – spend time with them – get to know them - because of my love!
*BUT, I shouldn’t have to get to know them to love them. I should love all people I come into contact with EVEN IF I DON’T GET TO KNOW THEIR STORY! This would be living a life worthy of my calling!
I am so grateful that God prompted that single-mother-parent to NOT stop coming to ALPHA!!! I am so glad that she kept bringing her son. They did not know the Savior when they walked through the doors at POG. They came to know Him, and were instantly Bought Back by Him! The salvation was instant – but the growth and maturity and change of behaviors took time. I am so thankful God taught me this lesson and brought this memory back to me today.
Let's have a wonderful day loving someone that is different! Let's maybe ask them out for coffee! Let's get to know them – we may like them! Hey, they may even start liking us! Let's also consider loving them already – even if we never get to know their story! Let's live life today worthy of our calling!