Tuesday, November 13, 2007

february: mixin’ it up

This is a ministry of love to people who can’t always love you back.
In the second chapter of Today at the Mission, [rwk] describes an environment that is so distant from my world.

While there are clearly stories of hope, optimism and redemption at the Mission – they occur within a larger context of fear, threats and danger. Ministering to the homeless means more than lending a hand to the poor – it means opening yourself up to abusive language, insults, victimization, theft, vandalism and untold hurts.

Is that what God asks of us?

I envelope myself in safety. The people I encounter on a daily basis are people I’ve met through college, work, neighborhood, church and kid’s sports. We are homogeneous in ways that go beyond demographics (white, educated, money) – everyone is simply nice. Pleasant. Easy-to-get along with. Because if they weren’t (nice that is) I would simply avoid them… leave them to someone else.

Does God expect me to have lunch with an annoying person?

Even when I think about my so-called missional life, it too is based on an expectation of safety. I’m attracted to church groups where I like everyone on the team. I visit two elderly gentlemen every other week and treasure their company. I hang out and play games with some fun-loving, special needs kids once a month and have a blast. Serve you? I have to like you first!

When God says love your enemies, he means pray from a distance, right?

I guess the one place my “safety plan” doesn’t always work is with family. Don’t like ‘em all as people, but am forced to spend time with ‘em once in a while. But let’s be honest. While my judgmental inner voice likes to highlight behavior that can be selfish, money-oriented, me-driven or sometimes just nasty – I can get through an hour of “how about them Yankees” unscathed with just about all of my cousins.

God expects more from me.

In the TV Show MASH, Major Frank Burns once remarked “It’s nice to be nice to the nice.” And those are certainly words I can live by.

In one moment, however, [rwk] comes to a revelation that struck my very soul. He writes:
The really difficult thing to grasp, however, is that the sins committed against me were also covered by the blood of Christ. They wrongs they have committed against my soul are also the things for which He died. They too were paid for.
Perhaps it’s time I started looking for trouble.


wilsonian said...

Ed, I'm really appreciating having another look at this through your eyes.

Anonymous said...

i have been reading his blog for a little while now, but, i have not read his book.

another good post
hearing about your reading experience.


Sidharth said...

If we were to isolate ourselves from "sinful" people we'd have to get out of this world. Scripture never teaches isolation, however, it does teach consecration.

Jesus dined with prostitutes, publicans and tax collectors. Imagine being there. I'm sure they're talk wasn't all that clean. Do you?

I have had to share my room with unbelievers who used vulgar language. But seeing the reality of God in my life, they respected me and never used bad language in front of me. I can testify that some in that group came to know the Lord and God worked with their language.

Another friend of mine used to use bad language too. But later came to know the Lord and the Lord cleaned up his tongue! =)

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