the other day, my wife, who is filled with goodness and kindness, was helping out a friend. i, who am filled with selfishness and meanness, was wondering why we were helping out this friend.
couldn’t this friend handle his/her own situation. (i know this reads awkwardly, but i’m more concerned with protecting the friend’s identity, and less with your ability to handle awkwardly worded sentences.)
couldn’t this friend just suck it up and deal with it like the rest of us.
couldn’t this friend realize that we had just as much to do, and really didn’t need to pick up his/her “to dos” as well.
i was already stressed out enough from work.
i didn’t need any more crazy.
and that’s when the Holy Spirit reminded me of a verse. now when i want to remember a verse, like in those moments when i want to sound super smart and throw down some Biblical wisdom, i can’t remember a verse. but those verses never have a problem appearing when the Holy Spirit is pushing them to the front of my brain.
in james 2, the writer is addressing an issue of favoritism in the church. people are giving the wealthy who come in the doors the VIP treatment. and the poor are being ignored. i’ve always looked at those verses and thought, “what snobs.”
but i think this verse has multiple layers. not like onion layers, more like parfait. (because everyone likes parfait.)
you see when a rich person comes in the door, i might think, “if i’m nice, this person can help me one day.” when a poor person comes in the door, i might think, “i’ll be kind, but i hope this person doesn’t require anything from me.”
and this is where it all started aligning and the true depth of my wicked heart was bubbling up. (like i said, i’m the mean, grumpy one.) you see, the reality is that this friend had nothing to offer me and or my family at this point. but this person had the potential to need a lot more than this one moment would require. and i personally wanted to nip that in the bud.
because i keep a running balance in my head of how much i’ve helped or been helped by someone. i don’t want to be too needy and i don’t want to be taken advantage of. and i don’t want others around me to need too much from me.
but in that way, i’m playing favorites. i’m showing favoritism to those who require little from me, and keeping people at a distance who may require something from me.
Jesus said it like this—“If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that” (Matthew 5:46-47 NLT).
yeah, that stings.
i know i over think all of this. my wife just simply does—she loves people, serves people. she doesn’t keep a ledger in her head, or expect anything in return. it’s one of the many reasons i love her—even though it sometimes drives me crazy.
so in the midst of my indignant, mental tirade, the Holy Spirit basically told me “to get over it.” and i just watched while my wife showed that unconditional love of Christ to someone else, and i slowly cooled down in the corner.
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