When you shared that some one refused to listen ….
When you cried that some one stomped upon your work…
When you expressed that some one pushed you aside…
When you whispered that some one ignored you…
When you conceded that some one failed to appreciate your kindness…
When you voiced that some one didn’t understand your loneliness…
When you struggled when some one said they were a Christian, yet showed little love or compassion…
What do I say in response to encourage you…that hasn’t already been said?
I acknowledge that this world is a difficult place to maneuver at times…especially when you expect something better.
And yet, two thousand years ago, interpersonal relationships were just as challenging and just as discouraging at times. Paul acknowledged these difficulties when he wrote to the Philippians…
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. Philippians 2:14-16 NIV
How do we as children of the living God shine like stars in a crooked and depraved world?
I think we do it with the grace, mercy and discernment that we have been given in Christ. We share in the wonder of His grace so that we may offer this incomprehensible grace to others who desperately need it.
Often times it is the rejected who have been rejected. We can include and accept them.
Those who fail to listen may not have been heard. We can respond to them.
Those who are quick to criticize and judge may lack confidence. We can encourage them.
Those who push others aside may have been brushed over as well. We can honor them.
Those who reject kindness may have been treated with contempt. We can affirm them.
Those who do not understand loneliness may not like to be alone. We can be patient.
Those who say they’re a Christian, but demonstrate little love or respect of others, may have never been shown how. We can disciple them.
I really believe we can.
It would be easy to take the rejection of others at face value and self protect. Why care for some one who has hurt us? Why bless some one who has ignored us? Why honor some one who has shown us only disrespect? Why should we love when we were shown no love?
Because we have the word of life and hope in our grasp!
We have the comfort, compassion, honor, grace, mercy, kindness, forgiveness and hope that this hurting world needs in Christ. Others may strike out first in order not to be struck. However, our Savior, Jesus Christ, endured every merciless blow this world inflicted upon him with humility. His divine purpose was to overcome what was meant to destroy with his transformational, life-giving love.
He offers that same power, love and forgiveness to us so that we in turn, may offer it to others; no matter who they are or what they have done to us or those we love.
I am a disciple of Christ. As His follower, He asks two things of me. Love His Father and love people, not just His people or the people that are easy to love. He wants me to love, honor, and respect all people.
It starts with where I am. So that’s what I’m saying to you. It’s time to love…and show this crooked and depraved world an entirely different way of living. When we do, we’ll shine like stars and gleam so bright that Christ can be recognized in us. His love will flow out of us…from the fountain of His joy, His strength, His grace.
Hold on, Friend. This world is a difficult and mean-spirited place sometimes. But we don’t have to be. We can be different. We can shine like stars.