THE CHALLENGE

Jesus says in Matthew 22: 37-40

“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

This scripture passage sure got me thinking. Especially after hearing about a saint (not St. Francis) that overcomes his fear of lepers and devotes the remainder of his life to serving them. Although I see this act of charity commendable, I don’t think it is precisely the kind of love Jesus was referring to. My reasoning is this, when we see people who are less fortunate than ourselves it is much easier to love them. If we choose to deny them, I refer you to this scripture from James 2:14-17

What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

The challenge I pose to you today following this scripture is this, “can you love the neighbor who knows exactly what to say to get under your skin?” You know who I’m talking about, the person in your circle of friends or in your family where every time you’re around that person you feel friction. You may even feel friction upon their name being mentioned. They know just how to provoke you or push your buttons. They may insult you, provoke you, consistently want something from you or just call you out on everything you try to do or say. Can you love them with the same compassion as you would the leper?

That my friend is “the challenge” and it is not easy. I call these people our sandpaper people, because it hurts to be close to them, but they smooth our interior rough spots so we can slide easier into heaven. (If you click on this word  “SANDPAPER PEOPLE” you will find my blog where I expand more on them.) I bring this up, because the Holidays are quickly approaching, and you are bound to be around at least one love challenge and we don’t want to resort to such tactics like this,

thanksgiving

I once heard that if the generous act you do does not put you out in some way then it isn’t a true act of charity for it only solidifies the scripture in James. I can recall most vividly a time when I experienced this to be true. Periodically I would have prayer meetings at my house and this one particular time two of my neighbors came. Both women were very involved in the church; one was in her early 70’s and lived one block to my left. The other was in her upper 70’s and lived one block to my right. The older one had just suffered some serious health issues, was frail and needed help up my stairs. We had a great gathering, praying, singing and sharing our faith together. When the meeting was over, I noticed the two ladies were leaving at the same time. When I saw the one struggling to get down the stairs, I had asked the other to please help her and would she walk her to her home to be sure she arrived safely. Her response totally floored me and enraged me when she responded, “NO! She is going that way, and she pointed to her right and I am going that way and she pointed to her left. I was so stunned I could not believe what I was hearing. For crying out loud, we just got done praying and praising Jesus, is this what He would do?

For many of you that know me you know that I challenged her to change her mind. She chose not to and for that I will never forget this lesson. If you aren’t being stretched or inconvenienced in some way with your charity, you need to check your motives and why you are doing what you are doing. True love is sacrificing if you don’t believe me just look at the cross.

Advertisements

One Comment

Add yours →

  1. I find LOVE to be a powerful feeling which most have no idea what it truly means. I don’t try to love all but I do try to be kind to all. I hear mrs turners song in my head quite often “What’s love got to do with it. Love is just to powerful and as far as you go up, you must come down.
    This is why I stay away from LOVE and live by being kind to all gods children and being kind to myself. I also think too many people live with tremendous inner pain. I call these people pain bodies. When I say be kind to oneself I mean stay away from these people, they are in to much pain. Yes be kind to them, but do it in an elevated state. Understanding that they are in pain and the only way to help them is to be kind to them. Give them there space but don’t engage. We are all surviving this world til we go home to our creator. Many of our expierences are beautiful but most are difficult, because their are a lot of people in tremendous pain. Again we need to be kind to these people but we also must be kind to ourselves by not engaging in their personal pain. I think you only can have LOVE with those people god sends you and we all know who those people are. For me its my sister LIZ. With her I have true love. She calls it unconditional LOVE. I think that is the only true love. If you have one person in your life that you have unconditional love with you are blessed. Of course most of us have this love with our children. To have it with another adult is rare. It is a gift from god.
    I live to be kind to all people. Otherwise I live to be kind to myself. One way I do that is to recognize when a person is in pain, forgive them and hope they find god again.

    Daniel

    Like

Be Sociable, Share!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Winning With Jesus

Experiencing Victory in Jesus

Dawn's Faith Connection

blogger, writer, speaker

Neal Obstat Theological Opining

Theological thoughts on current happenings

Dating God

Franciscan Spirituality for the 21st Century

Stop Running

Fr. Geoffrey A. Brooke Jr.

I Have to Sit Down

blogger, writer, speaker

%d bloggers like this: