Living the Language of God's Love
Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep…I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” (Jn. 10:7, 9-10).
Who is on First, What is on Second, I Don’t Know is on Third, Left Fielder is Why, Pitcher is Tomorrow, Catcher is Today, I Don’t Give a Darn is the Short-Stop.
We have all heard this old Abbott and Costello skit. It’s a classic. Abbott gets so frustrated because he wants to know the names of his teammates and does not understand Costello’s explanation of the players’ names.
I must admit sometimes I feel like Abbott. The world is yelling very loudly these days and I cannot make sense of it.
I will confess to you that I am a “black and white” person. Please don’t take that wrong, but when the Bible says something like God created a big fish, I have no doubt that my God can create a “big fish” in which a man could survive for three days. When God says that there are things that He requires of us, like obedience, I believe He means it. There are things of which He detests as revealed in scripture; I stay away from those. But there is one thing that I know I still need to work on and that is being judgmental.
You see, I married a man that has 90% compassion and 90% mercy. So, since we are one flesh, what does that leave me? Not much compassion or mercy. Yes, that stinks!!!! But, I can’t just live on that old cliché of an excuse, “well, God, that’s just how you made me.” That doesn’t work!
So lately my prayers have been: “God, change me, give me a heart full of truth and grace.” Here is my confession, my flesh, before God answered my prayer.
Over the past several years, the influx of homelessness has been overwhelming. I used to think, like so many others, “Why don’t they apply for a job? The stores are hiring everywhere.” Well, a Christian counselor said to me, Vicki, many of the homeless people mentally cannot hold a job position. They have mental and physical issues that keep them from being able to get jobs. Most often, drugs and alcohol have covered up their pain and loneliness. They do need help.
Then there was this issue about LGBTQ, which I must admit I don’t understand it all. (Note: a local group organized a gay pride parade at one of our School Board meetings this spring). I remember watching them dancing around and parading around in outfits, and I was critical. “How ridiculous, what were they trying to prove?” That was my thought before God changed me.
God has shown me that these young people are lost and alone. They have found acceptance in the LGBTQ community. They do not know God, or some wonder if God exists, and others have assumed that God accommodates their lifestyle choice. They are confused about who they are, looking for something to fill that God-void in their hearts but not knowing where to look. When God showed me this, it really, truly broke my heart. I look at them differently and my prayer is that God will hopefully allow me to have the opportunity to listen to their stories.
Everyone has a story and if you listen closely enough you can hear their hearts and possibly understand their hurts. I don’t want to be judgmental anymore. I know that it is important that we love people as God loves them. I also understand that it is his job to convict and to convert … not mine.
My job is to help them meet God and to help them understand that he loves them, and he has a better way. That is where discipleship comes in. I know that with God’s help I can share with them his message of truth and of grace. It is my choice, and I choose to love.
I went to a parade this month (July), and I saw them in their group walking down the street, and in my heart, I must admit, instead of judging them, I “hurt” for them, I felt the love of God for those created in his image. They need God just as much as I need him!
So, from the confessions of a Pastor’s Wife—God is still in the process of changing hearts!
Lord Jesus, come in your perfect timing. Until then, help me to share the gospel and listen to those whom you have placed in my life and community. In Jesus name, amen.
First Baptist Church of Delta, Colo.