John 13:35 “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.”
Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think there is one of us who hasn’t worried at one time or another (maybe even multiple times) if someone was thinking, I wonder if anyone things I’m a little weird? Is that word too strong? Okay, how about quirky, a little strange, or cut from another cloth. You get the idea. I think everyone wants to be thought of as normal and okay.
At the same time, how many times have you looked around and thought, that person is weird, she is really quirky, he’s a little out there if you know what I mean, she has got some major issues, or I’m not sure what planet he’s from.
On one hand, we’ve had this reoccurring thought, “I hope people think I’m normal and nice,” and on the other hand, we see a lot of people who we think might qualify for the not quite normal list. There may be a few perfect people out there but I don’t know any of them and I am not one of them.
Because we have to deal with people on a continuous basis, we can begin to categorize people without even realizing it and create judgments and mindsets about the way a person is. That might lead us to treating them in a lesser way than they deserve. It happened to John the Baptist. Jesus was teaching His disciples when he explained that the religious leaders of that day categorized John because of the way he looked and conducted his ministry. “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He has a demon.” (Matthew 11:18) Later, Jesus was preaching and teaching among those same religious leaders and they accused Him also of having a demon. (That must have been the popular word or phrase to put someone down with in that day.) So, there is nothing new under the sun. People were judging and categorizing and putting down people then and continue to do so today. We are all tempted to do so at times.
It is such a temptation to feel superior in some way over others. You might say, I would never feel like that! The truth is, you do have times where you feel like that. None of us want to admit that we would ever feel that way. But, our words slip out categorizing people. Our actions sometimes reflect that we want to avoid types of people because we think they are something less than us. Tell-tale signs that we do see ourselves as better than someone else occasionally show up in our words, thinking, and behavior.
God’s Word has that way of piercing our heart and putting us back in our right place. Many people might look like dented cans on grocery store shelves because they’ve had a difficult life, but inside, they are people who just want to be loved by God and others like you do. It is the love of God that shows them that there are good people left in this world. It is the love of God that gives them hope to press on. It’s the love of God that comes as a smile, a kind word, a prayer, an act of kindness, a benevolent action, or a promise of God that can lift their heart. Some of those people that you could be tempted to categorize or judge have real issues that might make you want to avoid them. They might be caught in a cycle of rejection. You might never know what their issues are and they could be difficult to interact with but, a smile, a kind word, and a touch of God’s love as He leads you can be a seed planted that eventually triggers a life-changing experience that helps them move forward.
Some people might look like dented cans on a shelf but the touch of God’s influence upon their life through you can be a seed of supernatural help and change. God wants us to see others through His eyes and be that touch of His love, not avoidance in their life. It’s important to the Lord and carries His reward for you. Mark 9:41 (NIV) “I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.”
We are not superior. We are servants. We want to love others knowing that they, like you, need hope, love, and encouragement daily. You may not know who the person is or how you are affecting their life, but God knows. You may not realize that it’s the backslidden hurting son of a minister of the gospel who has been praying for him. You may not know that this person has been crying out to God for help. You may not know a thing about them but, you can know that God knows what He is doing and because you’ve yielded to become His vessel of love for the moment, you are making a difference. When we do this, then John 13:35 becomes true. “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.”
Philippians 2:3 (NIV) “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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