Monday, October 5, 2009

You're my favorite...

Over the past several months, I have had quite a bit of time to just think about a lot of things. I tend to be a "thinker" anyway, but spending nearly an hour in the car each day going to and from work affords me a great opportunity to simply let my mind wander. My mind can wander while I am driving so long as my eyes don't, right? In addition to my predisposition to ponder, I majored in communication in college, which more or less means that I have become really good at observing and listening and analyzing both people's words and actions. 
So, what's my point in stating this? My point is this--I have been pained to see the judgment of people both in others and in myself. I will admit it. As much as I hate it, I make assumptions about people based upon their appearances. In Romans 7:19 Paul says, "For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice." This is exactly how I feel. And, I know God is working in me because I am learning more and more to look at others as He does and to have compassion and love for them regardless of who they are, what they look like, or what they are doing. It has really bothered me, though, how much I see Christians make judgments of others that are not theirs to make. I have taken to telling myself that it is God's place to judge, not mine. With that in mind, I know that it is my responsibility to think the best of others in every situation regardless of past (or present) behavior. A couple of months ago, I was reading through the book of James, which I have read numerous times before. However, during this particular reading I was stopped in my tracks by a passage I know I had read before. It was highlighted. It was underlined. Yet, I was almost sure I had never really read it before.
"My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, 'You sit here in a good place,' and say to the poor man, 'You stand there,' or, 'Sit here at my footstool,' have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called? If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself,' you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors...For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment." ~ James 2:1-9, 13
In reading this Scripture, I was stopped in my tracks when I thought back to all the times that I preferred those who looked as if they deserved it or potentially had something to offer me. Who am I to shame God's creation by loving one more than another? That may sound a bit extreme, and maybe it is, but this is the revelation that God has been giving me regarding those that He loves. I don't believe that God plays favorites because that implies that there is a differing level of value. If I say that my favorite ice cream is vanilla, that means that I like it more than every other kind of ice cream. I simply do not think God operates that way. I have heard other people say that everyone is God's favorite, which I think is simply a waste of words. His love for us is so far beyond anything that we can comprehend, and any word that we use is insufficient in describing it. So, I am working to claim God as my favorite. Above all else. Above all that I can understand. I want to see people as He sees them, and sometimes I think I can see the crack of light under the door, shedding some light in the darkness, revealing to me a new truth...

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