Skip to main content

A new book is being written

Ever been somewhere, not dressed at your best, experiencing anything but your best hair day, and maybe not totally acting your normal "self", only to come face-to-face with someone you know?  How'd it make you feel?  Kind of self-conscious?  Or perhaps like you wanted to crawl under a rock?  We've all had those moments!  What did we fear the most in those circumstances?  Wasn't it that we knew perfectly well that people evaluate others by how they look and/or how they are "behaving" at that moment?  The truth is people evaluate people - don't they?  The danger is that we only see "in part" - most of what makes up an individual is actually on the inside, isn't it?

Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other.  (2 Corinthians 5:16-18 MSG)

Paul really gets at the crux of this idea of "not judging the book by the cover".  When we look at someone in a certain light just because they have or don't have certain things, we judge.  When we evaluate someone by the clothes they wear, we judge.  When we evaluate someone by the "title" they bear, we judge.  None of these are a true estimate of the individual behind the belongings or the clothes or the "title".  None of these truly "defines" them - their character (inner man) defines them.

Here are some things Paul reminds us:

* Deciding to follow Christ gives us the eyes to see beyond the outer appearance or the material possessions of another - and especially beyond the "titles" one bears because of past choices or current sins.  But...eyes don't ensure seeing, do they?  My mother has two perfectly normal looking eyes, but she suffers from macular degeneration - she cannot see details, color, etc.  She has "normal" appearing eyes, but she does not truly "see".  Seeing is a matter of perception - if the "receivers" are out of whack, what is perceived is also "out of whack".  True perceiving happens on the inside - because the heart has been changed by the grace and love of Christ.  When our "internal receivers" are all aligned as they should be with the heart of Christ, we begin to see others differently - apart from their appearances or past mistakes.  

* Anyone in Christ gets a fresh start - it may not be immediately evident on the outside, but it is very apparent on the inside.  This is the danger behind looking on the outside only - we miss the work going on inside (the true place of grace's work).  The condition for seeing others differently is being in Christ. The condition of us seeing others as different is Christ being in them.  The outward may take some time to actually catch up with the work being done on the inside, so we need to remember to NEVER judge by the appearance.  The fresh start we ALL get gives us equal grounds - none of us stands in any "better" place than the other - we are all sinners in need of a savior.  We are all "strugglers" needing a deliverer.

* God expects more of us.  The scripture is plain - we are called to "settle our relationships with each other".  Most of what causes us "riffs" in relationships is because of our inability to see what is on the inside of another.  We judge by the outward appearances - what seems "apparent" in the relationship.  Ever been with someone who is quiet, pulled inside themselves, and kind of not really present in the moment?  How did it make you feel?  Did you begin to think that maybe the individual did not want to be around you?  You know, the opposite may very well be the case - it just may take a while for someone hurt by others they trusted to finally begin to open up in relationship again.  So, don't get discouraged with them - give them the space they need - they are being made new on the inside first (where they are spending all their time at that very moment).  As the "newness" begins to affect them inwardly, it will become evident on the outside, as well.

* The new life burgeons.  Yep, had to look it up!  It means it is beginning to grow - to put forth shoots.  It is where we get our word "blooms" - it is the work of Christ on the inside, beginning to take root, then finding its way to the surface.  Tiny shoots take form - struggling to the surface.  No seed planted in the ground has an easy course to the surface - it takes some effort!  The same is true of our new character - it takes some effort getting those shoots out into the light of day!  So, be patient with the growth process.  

Just as we have been embraced, we are to embrace others.  We don't embrace their "sin", but we do embrace the person struggling to grow beyond their sin! Just sayin!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce …

Period!

When someone tells you that you need to wrap your mind around some concept, they are telling you that the subject at hand will take some effort on our part to actually get enough of a hint of it in order to even remotely understand it. The subject is complex, even a little overwhelming, and we will have to apply ourselves to really grasp it very well. We cannot wrap our minds around God's wisdom and knowledge - because it is infinite and our brains are sadly finite. We can only 'think' so far and then we have to 'trust'. Some of us think there is nothing we can trust if we cannot 'think' it through, but this will never work when it comes to our faith. Faith requires trust in what is unseen and not fully comprehended. The truth we believe is really building our trust, but until we approach God with more trust than 'thought', we will never fully grasp some of the things he has prepared for us.

We cannot wrap our minds around God’s wisdom and knowledge…

Give him the pieces

What or Who is it that causes division among you right now? Maybe it is more of a 'what' than a 'who' that is creating the division between you and something you need in your life. Perhaps you are struggling with an addiction to something that keeps coming between you and true liberty from the hold that thing has on you. Yes, addiction is really the worst kind of enslavement one can imagine - being so emotionally or psychologically attached to the 'thing' that any attempt to break free causes so much trauma in your life that you just cannot imagine being free. But...God is above that addiction - he is stronger than the emotional or psychological pull that thing has in your life. Maybe the dividing force in your life right now is a 'who' - a tough relationship challenge between you and a coworker, a spouse that seems to no longer share your interests or values, or even a relative that doesn't understand some of your choices and now chooses to withdra…