Monday, March 6, 2017

what we should expect

St Ephrem the Syrian talks to us about being children of God today in A Year with the Church Fathers.

He gives us good advice about being protected by the power of the trinity. But the phrase that stuck with me was "You yourself are a child of God who is high over all." That made me pause and think about the way that we treat people who aren't Christians.

So, as a Christian, you realize how hard it is sometimes to be loving? Or kind. Or good. Or gentle. Any of those attributes in the picture above. It ain't easy, is it? And that's with God Himself HELPING us demonstrate those attributes. That's with the spirit of the living God inside of us, bringing that "fruit" to bear in our lives.

Now think about the poor folks who DON'T know Him. Who don't have His peace in their hearts. Who don't experience the joy of His spirit inside of them, bringing these fruits to bear. Of course they're impatient! They don't have the spirit giving them patience. Of course they sound unkind. Of course they find it hard to love. Of course they aren't always good. Even with God working on us (for years, in some cases!) WE have a hard time being good every day!

So maybe let's take a look at how Jesus treated "sinners". Patiently. Lovingly. Forgivingly. He healed them. He fed them. He took care of them. Not in a manipulative way, not requiring anything in return. Just like God the Father, who gives sunshine and rain on the just and the unjust, so Jesus healed and fed and shared good news with "good people" and with "sinners".

Does this give us any idea how WE should treat those outside of "the household of faith"? Maybe be gentle and true and kind to them? Maybe EXPECT them to be lost in their sins, and to believe outrageous things? Maybe ANTICIPATE that they're going to have disparaging things to say about us and our savior?

And maybe we love them anyway.

God, please overflow our hearts with Your love, that we might spill onto those who need to experience You.

1 comment:

Barbara Fisher said...

Yes! I agree. It actually makes it easier to understand and not be frustrated or upset, especially, when we consider our unsaved loved ones. They do what they do because the light has not yet shined in their hearts. Great reminder!