Friday, May 2, 2008

What would Jesus REALLY do? - Tia
(The following post/rant/diatribe is directed at people who consider themselves to be Christians. I'm not talking to people who are "spiritual but not religious." I'm talking to those of us who calls ourselves Christians, have houses of worship, or at any point wore (or still wear) a WWJD bracelet.)

I'm really over a lot of Christians right now. Before you ask, I have not decided to lay down my faith. I will not be switching to Buddhism or anything. But I am going to take a minute to speak my mind about "my people."

I know that I'm guilty of this and that's why I think I'm so fired up about it. I've been noticing an unfortunate trend in a lot of the people that I sit in the pew with every week and I've seen it in myself as well. I don't know how it happened but somehow a lot of us have taken up residency in the Christian Bubble. All of our friends are Christian. We don't associate with "the world" in any way, shape or form. We look down at the people who don't believe like us. And if we do take a moment to tell them about Christ it's usually a "turn or burn" speech.

Seriously people, what happened to loving our neighbor as ourselves? I think some of us have taken on the attitude of "loving our neighbor if." I'll love my neighbor if he stops smoking. I'll love my neighbor if she stops coming in at all hours of the night. I'll love my neighbor if they get a reign on their bad-ass kids. Sorry, but last time I checked there was no caveat on the Matthew 22: 39. Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love the Lord your God with all your heart and the second was like it "Love your neighbor as yourself." We don't put quantifiers on how we love ourselves do we? I don't know too many people who wake up and think, "Oh man, I told a lie yesterday. I'm not going to feed myself as punishment for that lie." I know that's an extreme example but that's what we do when we don't love the people around us unconditionally because "they sin."

And just so we're clear, loving our neighbor is not just telling them about Christ. Loving our neighbor means LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR. It means taking the time to show Christ's love to them. It means actually listening to what they say when you ask, "How are you?" It means going out of your way to help them even if they don't ask for the help. It means....LOVING them.

The other day I went by the leasing office of my new complex to pick up some mail. The leasing agent was sitting talking with some potential residents when a little head popped around the corner. Two seconds later a little boy ran over to the leasing agent and tried to hop in her lap. Mildly embarrassed and slightly annoyed the leasing agent excused herself and walked the little boy, who was no more than 2, back into another room. Five minutes later, back Xavier came (I knew his name because his mom kept uttering it through her clinched teeth.) Xavier's mom once again walked him back into another room and told him to wait. But since he was only 2, waiting is a term that he doesn't comprehend. As I sat there and watched Xavier's mom try to do her job while fending off a toddler I realized that she really just needed an extra set of hands. So when that gorgeous little head popped around that corner again, I got up walked over to him, squatted down on his level and asked him to show me his toys. We went back in the room and had a grand old time. Then I started seeing the sleepy look. So while mommy was still talking to people I laid Xavier down, turned into the baby whisperer and got him to go down for a much needed nap.

After everyone had left, Xavier's very exhausted mom looked at me with the most gratitude I'd seen in a long time and told me "Thank you SO MUCH." It turns out that Xavier's dad had backed out on picking him up that day. And mom couldn't afford to miss a day of work. So without child care she was forced to bring him in. She went on to say that the morning had been hectic because it's hard to show people places with a toddler in tow. So the fact that someone had come in and taken the time to run interference while she did her job meant the world to her.

Now I don't tell this story to toot my own horn. I tell it to say that showing people God's love is sometimes the most practical, mundane thing you can do. It's not always about the big grand gestures. Bringing someone to church is great and I'm not putting it down. But sometimes God wants us to step out of our little Christian world and be Jesus to people who may have never set foot inside a church.

I know I'm guilty of it. I tell you that I'll pray for you as walk on by. I know you need a ride and speed past you with the fish/dove/flame on the back of my car. I tell you, "Hold on sister. Your help is on the way" when I could have been the help you needed. It's time for Christians to rise up. As Jim Morrison said, "The time to hesitate is through." It's time for those of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus to be what we claim to be. Stop being so afraid of being "of the world" and go get in it.

It takes no time whatsoever to be nice to someone. Maybe that cashier with the bad attitude just needs someone to look her in the eye, smile at her and acknowledge her as a person. Don't breathe all hard because she's not moving fast enough and then tell her "God Bless You" as you storm off. Take a minute and love on her. And instead of talking about the neighbor girl who is 14 and pregnant, ask her if she needs a ride to the doctor's office. Stop judging people for their circumstances (because ain't NAM one of us perfect) and start loving people for what they are: God's children.

Get off your butts, leave your Christian bubble and start loving people.

The Last Jesus - Kirk Franklin
I see you
I meet you
But I don't know your name
I touch you
Say I love you
But that's all you get for today
It's easy
So easy
To tell you
It's goin' be okay
When I don't walk in your shoes
Haven't been through what you've been though
Instead I push you away

Sunday everyone looks like you
But if our lives are cold inside, tell me what's the use

If I say I love Jesus
But you can't see my Jesus
My words are empty if they can't see Jesus in me
No more excuses
I give myself away
Because I may be the only Jesus they see

Too Busy
Forgive me
I've got problems of my own
It's easier to say your help is on the way
But I was your help all along
We're shouting
We're dancing
But can the world see a change

Am I just too selfish to see
The love they need You put it inside of me

If I say I love Jesus
But you can't see my Jesus
My words are empty if they can't see Jesus in me
No more excuses
I give myself away
Because I may be the only Jesus they see


If we say we love Jesus
But they can't see our Jesus
Tell me what's the use if they can't see Jesus in you and me?
No more excuses
We give it all away
Because we may be the only Jesus they see

If I am Your hands and Your feet
And if Your church is built inside of me
Where did we go wrong?
We've been here too long
We can't see Your face anymore, it's not the same anymore

Have mercy on us Jesus
Please forgive us Jesus
I lost my purpose if they can't see You in me
See I've lied too long
And I change it all today
Because I may be
Because I may be...

If we say we love Jesus
But they can't see our Jesus
Tell me what's the use if they can't see Jesus in you and me?
No more excuses
We give it all away
Because we may be the only Jesus they see


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