￼I have filters I operate with. They’ve been there for a long time and they are hard to avoid. When I’m not thinking about them, they slip into place and force me to view everything from their perspective. They prevent me from seeing you well and they even prevent me from seeing me well. I’m so used to them being there that they’ll usually show up at the worst possible moments. Sometimes I am a hypocritical Christian and my love has to do with me. I don’t #lovelikeJesus, I #lovelikeJohn.
Interstate traffic for example. Why does every first-time driver get on the I-17 when I do? Don’t they know that I’ve got places to be?! How about my favorite unnamed coffee shop? Does every person that wants to count pennies have to get in front of me AFTER they tried to remember that one order they had a few years ago recommended by a friend of a friend that may or may not have had two pumps of mocha and possibly had espresso… or worse! How about when I’m in a hurry and someone that needs help shows up? I mean, if I really like them it’s okay, but what if I don’t? Ugh! The struggle is SO real!
This Thanksgiving I was very intentional (cough, cough) about praying to be more like Jesus. I prayed that I would have an opportunity to encounter someone that I could love like Jesus would love them. I found myself going to Walmart a couple times to get the necessary things and on the drive I imagined an elderly woman dropping her things and me being there to help pick them up and walk her to her car so I can tell her about Jesus and my church!
So off I go! I drive there with the windows down because it’s Phoenix in November and pass by a guy at the corner holding a sign about needing food and money. I acknowledged him with a wave and entered the parking lot. I went in and got my stuff and never once saw that elderly woman. I went out the other entrance on the way home because of traffic and wouldn’t you know it I passed another person asking for food. This time I was sad because I didn’t have cash and was too busy with my mission to do anything. I couldn’t even look her in the eye.
In the moment, I seriously never even thought twice about what I was doing or how hypocritical I was. I just drove my car with the intentionality of fulfilling my missions; take care of the shopping list and find that elderly woman. I know, I know. Who does this? As I lay there that night I was confronted with the ugliness I operate with in my daily life. I teach #LoveLikeJesus but I live #LoveLikeJohn.
I have filters I operate with. I view everything through them. I see people and moments through them. They prevent me from seeing what I need to see. They also prevent me from loving like Jesus would love because it’s not what I’ve planned or what I find easy or convenient. I judge the guy on the corner and determine that any donation will go to something I would find irresponsible. I question the validity of a sign that says “need food, 2 kids, homeless” and pass on by slightly bothered that I live in a master planned
community and I shouldn’t have to work to avoid things like this. Remember that hypocritical thing I mentioned?
I have a hard time believing that Jesus healed people assuming that they would never do the wrong thing. I have a hard time believing that Jesus withheld His love from the people He knew would someday betray Him. Loving like Jesus will not require that I ask for a resumé or references. Loving like Jesus will not always be what I imagine it to be or easy. Loving like Jesus will however be worth it. Every single time.
It’s time for me to remove some filters.