Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Outward, Visible Signs

Psalm 126:2
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."

When you are out in public, at your job or school, or at home, how do you comport yourself? Do you behave in ways that signal to others that you are a Christian, putting into practice what you believe? Are you loving others as you love yourself? I like to think most of us, despite our occasional relapses and pitfalls, act in such a way as to awaken in others a desire to have what we have: kindness; mercy; generosity; peace, and joy.

My most difficult challenge in displaying a Christian attitude toward others is when I'm driving and someone does something dangerously stupid like cutting me off or honking at me because they think I'm not moving fast enough when the light changes. How quickly I forget the sticker on my back window which reads "Forgiven by Jesus" as a torrent of accusations and reprimands pour forth and gestures communicate everything but love and understanding. I am, at those moments, miles away from modeling the behaviors Jesus expects from me in all situations. Once the rage subsides, I am always quick to ask forgiveness and, though He gives it, He gently reminds me that it is the offended party, now long gone, of whom forgiveness should have been asked. Regrettably, I can't take back a lost opportunity to show God's mercy.

We need to be ever mindful that having an "I love Jesus" bumper sticker on our car or wearing a cross around our neck doesn't make us Christians just as standing in a garage doesn't make us cars. These are just trappings which can too easily trap us and lull us into religious complacency. We are, instead, to boldly be for the world outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual grace. It is then the nations will know we are Christians by our love and declare, "The Lord has done great things for them". Amen

Readings
Psalms (120), 121, 122, 123, or 124, 125, 126, (127)
2 Samuel 18:9-18
Acts 23:12-24
Mark 11:27-12:12



4 comments:

  1. The hardest part for me is loving those who aren't lovable. I try to remember that I'm not always lovable, but Christ loves me always. Loving your neighbor is easy when you like them, but showing love to those who are difficult, that is really a challenge, and something I am always working on. I pray to be a vessel, that Christ will love them through me. Thought provoking post.

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  2. Sometimes I imagine how Jesus would have reacted in the rush and madness of traffic had they had cars back in the day. Being human like us, he may have been tempted to flip the bird a time or two :) But of course his coexisting divinity would’ve made him ever conscious of emulating what he saw the Father doing, and thus would have prevented such behavior, don’t you think?

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  3. Kimly, that is so true about loving the unlovable and it IS something that all of us have to work on.

    Debra, I think you are absolutely correct on that count. We are all striving to be more like Jesus as in "What would He do?" It's just, as Kimly pointed out above, not easy when confronted with a difficult person.

    Love and blessings to you both and thanks for the insightful comments!

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  4. Some great reflections. It's hard sometimes to maintain my composure when my kids are acting up. A lot of times it's just us, but I think it's important for us to serve as examples to our children and that definitely applies to how we respond in situations of stress...or obnoxious behavior lol In those moments I just try to stay centered in the present moment and dig deep, for patience and strength, knowing that God is soveriegn over it all.

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