I hope people aren’t getting tired of honest, transparent thoughts. This might not be the place for them.
I think that life’s woes have two general sources.
1) Stupid crap that you can’t control. (For example, a tree might fall on your house.)
2) Other people.
This is over-simplifying. But I think that sometimes life would be easier if other people were not so people-ish. Sometimes I am hurt by other people, and other times my expectations are unfair.
And I get stuck there.
I am reading a book unrelated to this topic, but was still struck by a series of verses/thoughts.
Be generous to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians)
Be generous to one another. This probably doesn’t mean materially. It probably means I should give people the benefit of the doubt. I should be gracious, and allow them room to be imperfect.
And there’s this one:
It is by this that we know what love is: that Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for one another. (1 John)
After pondering, I don’t think this is just referring to the taking of His life on the Cross. He gave up a lot more. He gave up really lush accommodations in whatever “paradise” is. He lowered Himself. He became human, which I acknowledge is a pretty foul state of being. He gave up what He was entitled to as the Creator of everything. (The Creator of everything). He was entitled to being worshiped, and adored. He came here and essentially said, “You people can have everything that I am. I am yours. I’m giving myself to you.”
And I think to myself, oh yeah. That’s what I’m supposed to do. I’m supposed to forget about my rights, and what I feel entitled to. I think that if I am going to care about other people’s needs, they should give me their quality time (which is what I need). But I should give that up. Give myself up.
And for about 10 seconds, I think That’s it. I understand. I feel all better now. I’m going to lay down my life like Jesus did.
But it’s not complete.
Because almost immediately I think,
But why isn’t anyone laying down their life for me? Why do I have to give of myself, but no one else does? Who is going to take care of me, while I am taking care of everyone else?
I have been stuck there for a really long time. Like two years time.
This exposure of my self-centeredness is probably not going to win me any adoring fans.
“It is often mistakenly held that the key concept of Jesus’ ethic is the ‘Golden Rule’: ‘do to others are you would have them do to you.’ This is stated by Jesus, however, not as the sum of his own teaching but as the center of the law. But Jesus’ own ‘fulfillment’ of this thrust of the law, which thereby becomes through his own work a ‘new commandment’ is different, ‘Do as I have done to you’ or ‘do as the Father did in sending his Son.’ (- John Howard Yoder, The Politics of Jesus)
My heart assents to this Way.
It is so very much in the nature of Jesus to transcend what we understand is the normal way of doing things. “Do unto others as you would have them do to you” is child’s play. He flips everything on its head. Everything.
It matters how people make me feel. It matters how I make other people feel. But sometimes I’m too focused on my actions and the actions of other people. Thinking about what Jesus has done is different. Life-changing. Heart-changing. Healing. I can see Him do things in me, and in other people, and through other people. He is not exhausting. His Way is not exhausting. His yoke is easy. His burden is light. It’s all true.
He’s so kind to keep dealing with me. I am grateful that He would choose to keep revealing Truth (Himself) to me in tiny glimpses, and not just let me rot. Rotting is unpleasant.
Jesus is always the cure, isn’t He.
Jesus, the Person. Not His rules, or His code of conduct, or His wise proverbs. Himself.