Its seems like a primary focus of the Father's work in my heart for the past year has been in the area of judgment and love. It makes sense, as his purpose for us is to reproduce His love in us, but its been amazing to me how judgment continually shows up in my experience. I see so much of it in myself, and others. And we see it as normal. Its so much a part of the fabric of our culture, and this entire fallen world for that matter, that we don't even recognize how much we do it.
I had coffee the other day with an acquaintance. We don't really know each other all that well, but I felt she was someone I needed to talk with to process a situation I found myself in. We chatted for a few minutes, and then I began to explain why I had asked her to meet with me. A few minutes into the conversation, she proceeded to tell me why I was REALLY there. I listened for a bit, and then started to explain that no, she was mistaken, and that I was really there for the purpose that I was trying to explain. With anger in her face and tone, she said no, you are here to manipulate and control the situation we are discussing. Then she explained to me exactly what my strategy was. She had arrived at our appointment with preconceived ideas about me. She pre-judged my heart motives, and was ready with very little provocation to begin the process of setting me straight. And she didn't see the need to take the time to explore the accuracy of her opinions. At that point I became just a little bit angry myself. With more than a little intensity I began to make it very clear that she was wrong, and that she had no business telling me what was in my heart as if she knew better than me what I was thinking and feeling. And we all do that sometimes. I know I have done it many times. We watch someone's actions, we listen to their words, and we draw conclusions. We decide that we somehow can look into their hearts and understand exactly WHY they are doing what they are doing. We think we can see into their soul as only God can. The scripture tells us clearly, "Man looks on the outward appearances, but God looks at the heart." Please understand, I am all for pursuing that understanding. I am all for long conversations with honest sharing, and questions and answers that lead us to a true understanding of one another. I want to know the heart of the people that I call friends, and I want to be known. I want to walk through life with people who care enough to take the time to get to know me. I want to share my life with people who will be vulnerable enough to be known. But that all takes time, and hearts that are opened voluntarily. Its not my job or right to judge your motives when you have not invited me in to do so. My job is to love you unconditionally. My purpose should be to demonstrate the immeasurable value that God places on you. And if we open our hearts and get really honest about what we think and feel, we may come to a deeper understanding of each other. We may discover each other's heart. But until then, I don't have the right to tell you who you are, or what makes you tick. I have one right. I have the right to lay down my life and show you the love that Jesus demonstrated on the cross. And I have this funny feeling that when I do that, the door to your heart may open, at least a crack. And that is the beginning of true friendship.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Okay... I was talking with a friend tonight about our calling and purpose in God. You know, a lot of theology makes God's need of us sort of like England's need of a Queen. Its all for show. I don't think that is how it works. God doesn't need us because He is insufficient in some way. He doesn't need us like that insecure boyfriend or girlfriend that calls ten times a day. He needs us because He created a world where love is the goal. He needs us because love requires that we humans have the power to disobey Him. We have the power to thwart His will. We have the power to say NO to God. Think about that. He wants to have a loving, intimate friendship with us. By its very nature, love is a choice. So, in order for us to be able to love, He gave us the power to choose. But, the danger is, the power to say yes is also the power to say no. The power to say no has resulted in all the pain and suffering in the world. Giving us the power to say no was an incredible risk, but absolutely necessary if we were to be able to learn to love the way He loves. And now He is entirely committed to bringing our hearts into the experience of His love. He needs us because he created a world where we play an integral role in that redemptive purpose. (Man.... does this ever sound religious. I just cant think of better words right now.) The bottom line is, He REALLY does need us to cooperate in His purposes. Its not like His will wont be accomplished if we don't join in. But.... when we are living our lives in a genuine relationship with Him, that is a powerful tool in His hands to win the hearts of those who don't trust Him. He loves everyone around us, and desires for them to experience that love in a tangible way. And He needs us to make ourselves available for that. He needs us. What an incredible idea.....