“…we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.” I Thessalonians 5:14, 15.
Read this while sitting one the kitchen floor this morning with my cup of tea. I told you I love my mornings :)
I am struck by the verbs: admonish, encourage, help, be patient, do (good). For the second half of last semester I felt like my heart was being tenderized to live a truer and deeper love/compassion for people in my life (whether or not I call him or her “friend”). It’s easy to get used to those around us, isn’t it? Our routines become “old hat” and the people we see everyday are not always new or exciting, they just are. How can we live new expressions of love and compassion for these?
I find it necessary to understand something of what love looks like in the mind. For me, this is where things simmer. I’m a thinker. I mull things over. I think about people. How often do we consider our thoughts as a form of loving action?
My perceptions of people, held deep in my own heart and mind, are not always right or true, and yet I base everything on those perceptions, allowing them to dictate how I think about, act towards, and pray for people.
I am remembering how God wrung some of these poor understandings of myself and others, revealing what it might mean to actually see people as image bearers, carriers of life, endowed with a certain grace and glory. Viewing people with these new eyes changes everything. Sometimes it causes me to tremble a little. I can’t think too casually about interacting with my roommates on a Friday night or shrug off a friends’ need to be with someone. Does this make sense? Even fun and “simple” things like a night on the town or an afternoon at home with family take on new meaning, for we are always interacting with people who bear the divine stamp.
We are all so thirsty for relationship and community. We are poor at living healthy relationships and weak in living honest community. I find myself so utterly and completely plea-full for new expressions of His faithfulness in promoting health among us—His working redemption into this needy creation is a remarkable thing…and we take part in it everyday as we admonish, encourage, help, be patient, seek, and do good…