Not too long ago I was with friends when conversation came up that made me uncomfortable. We were in a neighborhood that they did not often (ever) frequent, but that I had grown up in. It surprised them that the prosperous and well adjusted people we were visiting would live there voluntarily. Then some other comment was made, and I felt my temperature rising. I chose to remain silent. I did not trust myself in that moment to speak up without offense coloring my tone and delivery. I think I’m ready to share now.
In this world we have a pretty clear idea of who is broken, messed up, really needs help or whatever you want to call it. Often times that image does not look like us. And if we are in such dire straights that we can acknowledge we need help, we can think of at least five others who really need help because they’re worse off than we are and really, you see, we’re not that bad off in the end.
If we are going to be effective carriers of the gospel, we have got to be able to recognize the brokenness in our borders. Jesus calls us to cover ourselves in the sweet smelling perfume of serving in humility and authenticity, but so often we Pharisaically parade around like white washed tombs, unaware of just how bad we actually smell. The unacknowledged gunk accumulated in us then never gets a washed out, and we keep skunking on.
I choose today to examine myself, and ask Holy Spirit to reveal to me that which needs to be taken care of. Then, I’ll let God lead me in taking care of it. I choose to recognize the brokenness in people who look like me and share a similar story, so that I can bring my story of victory in some of the same places they may still struggle, and vice versa.
I choose to recognize the brokenness in those who do not look like me or share a story similar to mine, so that we can build and encourage each other up in the same way as those who I more readily connect with. See, there is no ‘easy button’ with living out the Gospel. That call for loving on people is for everyone. Even the ones you wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole.
Spend some time this week with God and let Him show you how to love better. Let Him make you more like Him.