We live in a fragile world. A world of deteriorating environmental quality, a world of natural disasters and man-made tragedies. And in it, we all struggle to live our lives. Daily.
Some of us struggle less than others. Some of us have been born into Western world material comfort, though many have less 'comforts' than the wealthy few. Yet many more of those who live on the planet lack even the most essential of needs: adequate shelter; food - of some description, not necessarily, even, good food; clean water.
Many have lost fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, friends and neighbours. Many have suffered great personal tragedy.
Yet beauty can come out of ashes. Friends can be family. Kindness can overcome cruelty.
So I need to remember - we ALL need to remember, but I am responsible only for my own actions - how to behave kindly.
To praise and encourage and say kind words to gladden other people's hearts.
To give the benefit of the doubt.
To be gentle with pointing out errors. And that, only if absolutely necessary.
To say 'Thank you. I'm so glad you did that.'
And, also, to be all that to myself as well. Because we are ALL fragile.
I was inspired for this post by Deidra:
"I have three passages of scripture I use as my marching orders. They rest soundly and squarely atop John 3:16, because where would I be without For God so loved the world?
... The first passage of scripture is in the letter we call Ephesians:
The Messiah has made things up between us so that we’re now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped. Then he started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody.
...Jesus is in the business of tearing down the walls we build to keep us separated from each other. We build the walls. Not Christ.
...The second passage of scripture is Matthew 18:15, which says, “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend.”
...I believe Jesus knew we’d get on each other’s nerves, even in the Body of Christ. I believe he knew we’d see things differently and step on each others’ toes, and that we’d be tempted to let that cause a rift between us. I even believe Jesus knew how we’d tend to take to Facebook and Twitter before we’d walk a mile or so to stand in front of the person who ticked us off and try to work it out between us. Jesus knows the way we think and so He said to us, “Hey, when you get on each others’ nerves, go to that person—face-to-face—and try to figure things out.”
The third passage of scripture is this: “This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” (John 13:35, MSG)
Church (as my pastor used to say), the world is watching us. Like it or not, it’s the truth. The world is watching us. And when we get it right, it’s our love for one another that the world finds attractive. It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard or read, but it’s not programs or numbers or followers or shares that make the world sit up and take notice about the things that matter for eternity. It’s not even miracles and signs and wonders. Jesus didn’t say they’d know we’re His disciples because of how much money we raise or how many books we’ve published. He said the world will know we’re His disciples because of our love for each other.
That’s something, isn’t it?
I have this crazy idea that if the Church—the Body of Christ—could figure this out and stop building walls and holding grudges and let the world see a new kind of extravagant love, we might actually be able to speak truth to power and let God set a table of grace, even in the presence of those who see things differently than we do.
...where is God inviting you to join him? It may not be as far as you think. What’s keeping you from saying yes to Him? What if God wants to grow that seed He’s planted in your heart and all you need to do is let Him do it?