Monday, June 29, 2009

A Lesson in Community

I find it so easy to be selfish. It is so easy to be consumed with me, my world and my agenda. Not that I don't consider others, but certainly not to the degree that I'm concerned with myself. I think this is why Jesus gave us the instructions to love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. Ouch! That really is a lot of love for my neighbor. Do I really want to love others that much? Hmm.

I have had several conversations lately about community. In fact I was sharing with someone how a third person just seems to not engage in a particular setting. I stated that I had been trying to persuade and encourage this third person to jump in but to no avail. I felt like I had been trying and trying and was just about done trying. My thought process being; at some point, you have to take responsibility for yourself. There comes a time when I can't keep pulling you in.

When I shared these thoughts my friend said to me; "Why? Why does there have to be that time? Why would you draw a line that says I will only go this far for you? Why would you stop tyring to engage this person you care about? What if the very time you gave up was going to be the time they engaged and you missed it?"

Great questions. It made me think, "Why do I do that? Why do I get lazy with people? Why do I give up? Why is there a line that would define the end of my love or at the very least my actions?"

Selfishness in full display.

Fast forward to another conversation with a girlfriend who is going through a most difficult time right now. She opened up the littlest bit to me and my heart began to break for her. Having no words or wisdom to offer, I quickly prayed for her and just asked Jesus to hold her and to draw her near. She said something to me that really impacted me. She said "Sometimes we can't get to Him on our own and need our friends to carry us like the paralytic."

The Lord taught me a lesson last year I will not soon forget about realizing that we never really know where people are and what they are going through. I had no idea the depth of my friend's pain and probably will never fully understand. I was so honored that she would open up to me like that. It was a privilege to pray for her and to use her words; "to carry her to Him". It really was all I could do.

So this morning as I was pondering all these thoughts I looked up the passage of the paralytic my friend referred to. You can read the whole passage here. What jumped out to me was verse 5. It says that when Jesus saw their faith he healed the paralytic. It was someone else's faith that brought healing to this lame man. That's a pretty heavy thought. Someone else's life might be changed because of my faith.

How could I be so quick to judge and abandon my first mentioned friend that is clearly paralyzed to opening up? Jesus may very well be waiting for someone with faith to bring this person to Him so He can bring instant healing. I want to be that faith filled friend. I want to have a front row seat to watch the miracle. I want the joy of seeing my friend restored.

Jesus, how patient you are with me and how slow I am to get the big picture! Thank you for your grace. It is amazing! Thank you for my friends you have given me. Thank you for the opportunity to love and be loved. Teach me faithfulness as you are faithful. Help me to love like You love - sacrificially and selflessly. I am such a mess. How amazing that You would use me to bring healing to others. Thank you for Your amazing love that first carried my paralyzed self to Your Father. I can only love because YOU first loved me! Take me to the end of myself.

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