January 6, 2010

More Than Meets The Eye

One of the things that God has reminded me of over the past few months (and more recently the past few days) is that you and I often have no idea what kinds of things people are dealing with in their lives. This lack of knowing the whole story can result in doing or saying something that is unintentionally hurtful and insensitive or cause us to feel an unfair sense of frustration and anger toward someone.

The store clerk that seems to hate you specifically...just found out someone in her family is starting a battle with cancer.

The driver who cut you off and follows it up with a flip...is trying to cope with a relationship at home that is falling apart.

The individual at your church that seems to have everything put together...is working through an addiction that is on the verge of taking over his life.

Remember the story of Jesus talking with the woman at the well (John 4:1-26)? Jesus interacted with this woman in a way that was sincere, respectful, and full of grace...despite the fact that He knew the rest of the things this woman was doing and dealing with in her life, things that were not worthy of respect or grace. Think of the difference it could make if you and I were to approach people, conversations and situations with an attitude of humility and grace because chances are, we don't know the rest of the story.


Matt said...

So, true.

What about when the person keeps their closet closed? Sometimes i wonder if everyone walked around with their doors open and their life out in the open how much more they could be helped. Its one thing to pray for someone and its another to tell that person why your praying for them. Just thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I have a small problem with this post. First of all, I agree that we ought to not make snap judgements about people, but treat all people humbly and with grace. My problem is with using this wonderful passage in John to make your point.

Do you think John records Jesus' interaction with the woman at the well to teach us to be more like Jesus and show grace to people or is it to show that he is living water given by God to quench the inner spiritual thirst of all humanity?

Showing grace and humility to people is a fruit of the Spirit. Those characteristics become more true of Christians as they choose to live by the power of the Spirit and depend more on Christ instead of our own abilities. I don't believe this passage primarily teaches Christians to be more like Jesus and show grace and humility.

As Christian leaders we should be wary of making Christ simply our example and not primarily our salvation.

Matt Lipan said...

Matt: thanks for the thoughts.

i agree that honesty and openness can make help easier to get and give but i also think this points out the importance of finding someone trustworthy to do this with. that's why i think having an accountability partner or group is HUGE.

thanks for sharing.

Matt Lipan said...

Anonymous: thanks for the read and comment.

i am in agreement that the primary point of this passage is Jesus demonstrating that He is the One who gives "living water". i also agree with you that if people fail to see Christ as being exalted as the Messiah then there are issues.

i think part of the reason i used this passage is because i believe Jesus did that by giving grace when grace was clearly not warranted and only He could offer grace in such a powerful way. i think Jesus demonstrates His "Messiah-ness" through this radical act of humility and grace.

i apologize for any confusion, i certainly could have done a better job of clarifying my point. i do believe however, there is plenty to be taken from this passage along with the primary point that Jesus is the source of eternal life.

great thoughts! thanks for being willing to share. i look forward to hearing more from you.