Entering the Mess

“The danger for most of us is not that we’ll become bad people who don’t care about things that matter. No the danger is that we’ll become good people who don’t do anything that matters! Within you lies a person who desires to love. God’s Spirit is pulling you and inviting you to become more of that person. The Spirit never guilts you, shames you, or bullies you to become loving. He compels you!”  ~Tim Mannin, Doing Things That Matter (YouVersion devotional)

The words above went well with what’s been swirling around in my heart lately. The devotion also shared the Parable of the Good Samaritan where Jesus illustrated so well that everyone is our neighbor.

Jesus showed us in this story how sometimes those who looked put together, those who society deemed acceptable, good, and respectable were the ones who avoided the opportunity to show compassion.

A priest happened to be going down that road. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  In the same way, a Levite, when he arrived at the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan on his journey came up to him, and when he saw the man, he had compassion.

Learning from the Samaritan

Love does not evade the mess. Love doesn’t cross the street to avoid different, uncomfortable and inconvenient.

No. Love moves toward the mess. Love takes the time to engage the different, the uncomfortable and the inconvenient. Love looks beyond appearances

But sometimes, it’s easier to cross the street on the other side, isn’t it?

Life is easier when we choose to avoid “the different than us” and the people or situations that threaten to disturb our idea of comfortable and familiar.

But, over and over, that’s not the examples Jesus gives us. He engaged the adulterer at the well. He invited the tax collector to follow him. He enjoyed meals with sinners. He welcomed the touch from a sinful woman who poured out her tears and treasured oil onto His feet. And, yes, even in His darkest hour on the cross, He let one such “different” man know that he would be with Him paradise.

Love is our armor.  It’s the clothing we are called to put on. And when we do, it compels us to move toward the mess, the different, the inconvenient and the uncomfortable.

Just like Jesus did for us.

He crossed the street and moved into our neighborhood. He healed our wounds and restored us back to health.

“The Word became flesh and blood,
    and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
    the one-of-a-kind glory,
    like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
    true from start to finish.”  John 1:14 Message

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.” Matthew 23: 25-26

“You judge by human standards. I judge no one.  And if I do judge, My judgment is true, because I am not alone, but I and the Father who sent Me judge together. John 8: 15-16

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

“Love other people as well as you do yourself. You can’t go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love.” Romans 13:10 Message

“For you are all sons of light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or the darkness.  So then, we must not sleep, like the rest, but we must stay awake and be serious. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.  But since we belong to the day, we must be serious and put the armor of faith and love on our chests, and put on a helmet of the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.” 1 Thess 5-11

“For am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ. ” Galatians 1:10

***Just a song I heard earlier this week and wanted to share

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