“I see my brother”

Matthew 5:43-48The Message (MSG)

43-47 “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

48 “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”

This is what makes Jesus a radical. He calls us to a radical love. A love that is not easy, but actually can be quite difficult. Just because it is difficult and hard to understand doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. If we are looking for excuses to dehumanize people, I think we are finding excuses to live in sin. We are called to love all and embody the grace of Jesus, no matter what may come at us, and maybe especially if persecution comes. The early church grew in massive numbers and power when they were under a greater persecution than anything we can even imagine. Are we so busy crying that things are unfair that we miss the opportunity to love those that don’t look, act, or believe like we do? We need to bring a revolution of love and grace back to the church. And this doesn’t mean we shy away from hard conversations, but that we actually embrace them because it is the loving thing to do, but we always always always start with love and relationship before anything else.

 

Teamwork isn’t always easy

“Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” -Henry Ford
I’ve been on a lot of different teams. Sports teams, work teams, ministry teams, project teams, and almost any kind of team you can think of. My wife and I have always said, “we make a good team”.
But after four years of marriage, sometimes I’m not such a great team player. I get moody, selfish, and really don’t represent the man I want to be for her, or the man I want to raise my son to be. When I do this I undermine the team. I try to be an MVP personality, while forgetting that the success of the team is way more important that my own personal success.
I must continually and daily die to myself. Die to my own selfish ambitions. Die to my own carnal desires. And pursue Christ who gives me wisdom, strength, and hope to be a better husband, father, man, and team player. Lately Kasie and I have had some great successes, and some great frustrations. Most of the frustrations happen when I lose sight of the team. When I lose sight of putting her before myself as I always should. She deserves better, and thankfully God’s perfect grace allows me to be changed, but it often takes work.
Ironic to be feeling and thinking this way as I spoke on Philippians 2 on last Wednesday night. Jesus just seems to work like that.