As usual, Pastor Lipsey got my mind running a mile a minute this morning. The most impactful line that spoke to me was "we are as close to God as we want to be." That's dangerous stuff. A bit like flying a metal kite during a lightning storm. All of a sudden, we're acting different. We begin shifting from selfish to selfless. Where's it all end when you realize that you truly are a friend of God?
Why, the next thing you know, we won't be putting down all those people who make us crazy at work or in the neighborhood. They deserve what they get because they are control addicts hungry for power and make the rest of us feel bad about ourselves. It's only natural to talk bad about them at the water cooler. Pull them down from their lofty palaces and ... but then, why doesn't that feel good when you walk away from the water cooler knowing that you just sank even lower than the people you were putting down? You tried to make yourself look more important by taking someone else down lower than you ... but you walk away knowing you failed at pleasing God.
What else can we do to help others grow instead of pulling them down?
Help them by affirming their value to you. We all have value so they must be doing something that is of value. It's not as easy to show appreciation to those we find less lovable, but that's what we are called to do when we join a community of love. Loving the unlovable was the prime model that Jesus set for us all. He did it. Shouldn't we?
Pray for others to get the help they most need from God. Let them know you care about their happiness, their success. We must nurture one another. Prayer holds the power to change lives.
"I pray God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace while you trust in Him." Romans 15:13
"I pray you will always be eager to do right." Hebrews 13:21
"I pray that God will give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation." Ephesians 1:17
"I pray the Lord will guide you to be as loving as God and as patient as Christ." 2 Thessalonians 3:5
"I pray God ... may strengthen you with power through His Spirit." Ephesians 3:16
"May ... God develop maturity in you, so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all." Romans 15:5
Another way to help others is to take a good, hard, honest look at ourselves and admit our own failings. When we become humble it is easier to see the worth in others. We make mistakes. Others make mistakes. But we play the part ... we hide behind what we imagine others see us to be instead of facing our own weaknesses and limitations. By admitting our own failures, we end the masquerade of hiding ourselves from view. It sets us free to become better. It enables us now to reach out in a more meaningful and positive way to others.
We cannot be successful on our own. We need a community around us. But we have a responsibility to that community to help others grow while they help us grow.
"Encourage each other and build each other up." 1 Thessalonians 5:11
"Love one another with brotherly affection as members of one family." Romans 12:10