Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I'm actually a jerk

Confession time: it turns out that I am not a very nice person after all. If you know me well, you are probably aware, this isn't a news flash. I suck.There are a lot of reasons why I am not a good person, but the big ones are,I am selfish, judgmental, quick to anger and slow to forgive. Maybe you can relate, or maybe you have somehow reached a higher plane, grown some bigger fruits of the spirit, are closer to Jesus than me. I probably shouldn't admit this as a leader in a church, but I have to be honest, I am a mess and in the worst ways.

Yesterday I got pictures from my sister's wedding across the country. One I wasn't invited to and wouldn't have attended if I was. Both she and my mom texted me pictures from the wedding. I could barely respond. I didn't congratulate her. I rolled my eyes, and got sick to my stomach. Now, I can be a very encouraging person to others, but not my sister. I love writing notes to students, friends, people who have helped me over the years and been a part of my life, and letting them know how much they mean to me, and that their impact is great. I don't write often but when I do, I love to do it. I love to remind people that they are valued and what they do matters.Yet I couldn't type a simple congratulations to my sister on her wedding day. I couldn't, and what good are all the encouragements I give to others if I can't even give words of love to my own sister?

Now there are lots of seemingly good reasons for this. Lots of hurt, lots of mistakes made, things that I don't think have been repented for. Things that aren't going to be remedied soon. On paper it would seem reasonable to feel so yucky about this whole thing. But the paper doesn't matter. It really doesn't matter what she has done, and who am I to assume where she is at with those things and with God. It's what I continue to do, by not letting go of those things, that is really crappy, because I claim to follow Jesus and I teach other people to follow, to love and forgive, so I am held to a higher standard.

Jesus calls us to forgive, to not condemn, to reach out with love even if we think someone is unlovable. Jesus calls us to push outside our comfort zone. I am willing to do that for some people. I am willing to stay up all night so my students can stay up all night. I am willing to carry around small, booger dripping kids, and get sick from their pestilence. I am willing to stretch out my body and make myself sick and tired to birth a stranger's baby. But I can't text my sister. What a hypocrite!

My parents showed amazing grace and love, by attending the wedding. They flew across the country to help serve food, and my dad officiated. They are such amazing examples of Jesus' love, compassion and grace. They display the qualities I should, but can't.

I am the prodigal's brother. I am the pharisee. I am the judgmental Christian I want to distance myself from. I suck. Whether I can make space in my heart for awkward middle schoolers, or strange fetuses, I still can't extend basic kindness to my own flesh and blood. I try, I think I can for a day, and then something reminds me of the pain, of the problems, and I return to my bitterness. When I manage to get past that, all i find is indifference. Not love, but indifference, and that isn't right either.

Thank goodness, God doesn't hold my paper of sins against me. Thank goodness he sees me was worthy of his love. Thank goodness Jesus doesn't look at me like I look at my sister. And hopefully she can forgive me, forgive me for not reaching out to her, forgive me for not taking an interest in this new life of hers, forgive me for hurting her with my indifference and my hypocrisy.

"But there's also this, it's not too late-God's personal message- 'Come back to me and really mean it! Come fasting and weeping, sorry for your sins! Change your life not just your clothes. Come back to God, your God. And here's why: God is kind and merciful. He takes a deep breath,puts up with a lot, This most patient God, extravagant in love, always ready to cancel catastrophe. Who knows? Maybe he'll do it now, maybe he'll turn around and show pity. Maybe when all's said and done, there'll be blessings full and robust for your God." Joel 2:12-14 MSG

Now if I could just see her that way, if I could have the eyes of Jesus, and the thumbs to send that text...

No comments:

Post a Comment