A few years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a man named Peter Strople. He was at the Re:Write conference as a speaker. Honestly, I had never heard of him even though he was known as the most connected man in America. When he got up to speak, you could see and sense his humility. It wasn’t what I was expecting from “the most connected man in America”. I quickly understood his humility and his ability to connect when he said his personal motto is “When in doubt, love.”
In a room full of writers who wanted to bless God with our talents, there was one person in the room who didn’t appear to belong. He had jet black hair done up like an 80’s band member. I think he even wore a leather vest that showed how his arms were covered in tattoos. Peter called him up to the stage to demonstrate what he meant. As he asked questions, diving into this man’s story, it was like watching a flower bloom. The one who was different, and an outcast, became the most beautiful thing in the room and everyone wanted to get to know him more.
Peter demonstrated what it mean to show love to someone. He didn’t just talk about it, he showed us how to do it. My whole life, I’ve read that we are to love one another, and have been taught about it as well from the pulpit. This was the first time I remember watching it in action and saw the result. Peter showed this man love by genuinely getting to know him and listened intently. It wasn’t about making himself look good. It was about valuing this person and showing them that they mattered.
Romans 13:10 says, “Love other people as well as you do yourself. You can’t go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love” (MSG). Wherever you are today, there are people around you who need value added to them. Make a choice now to look for them and to show them love. Let’s not just talk about loving them, let’s do it. Don’t ignore someone because they’re different from you. Get to know they’re story and show them that they matter.
It’s Free Friday! Today is the day you let go of the things in your life that keep you down or hold you back from all God has for you. To celebrate, I’m giving away an autographed copy of “Free To Live: The Utter Relief of Holiness” by John Eldredge. Keep reading to find out how to enter.
I read something from Chip Ingram earlier this week that still has me thinking. He was discussing a book he read where the basic premise was that everyone is insecure and our behavior is a reflection of those insecurities. He said he no longer looks at the boisterous know-it-all the same way. He no longer got upset with the person who has to pay for everything so others will see. Instead, he started to have compassion for them because of the deep struggle that was going on inside of them causing this behavior.
Each of us are insecure in some way. Each of us hide it in different ways. We try to mask those things deep inside us. I think of Nicodemus in John 3. He was worried about what others thought about him. His behavior was that he approached Jesus under the cover of night. He believed what Jesus taught, but was so afraid of what his peers thought about him that he couldn’t publicly profess that. He went to Jesus for one on one time because he wanted to know more, but he did it in secret.
The woman at the well was insecure about who she was. She was looking to find her identity in other people. She had been married 5 times before and was living with a man when she met Jesus. When Jesus spoke to her, he spoke into her. He spoke to the insecure voice inside her and changed who she was. She went back to the town and told the people, “Come and see a man who knew all about the things I did, who knows me inside and out.” Jesus knew her past and her insecurities. Instead of judging her, He had compassion on her.
I think it’s our own insecurities that cause us to judge or look down on someone who isn’t like us. The truth is that they are just as insecure as we are. They express it the only way the know how. Our response shouldn’t be rejection. It should be compassion. We shouldn’t dismiss others because of their behavior. We should accept them and love them. Ultimately that’s what we all need. That’s what we crave. We are all afraid on some level of what others think about us. We all want to be accepted by the crowd around us. Why not act like Jesus and love the person behind the behavior?
I have my own insecurities and my own behaviors that put people off. I reject people because of their behavior. I’m as guilty as anyone. The good news is that Jesus doesn’t leave us where we are. His love changes us from the inside out. We have to admit our insecurities to Him in order for Him to change us. As with any remedy, the change starts with admitting our own problem, our own insecurity, our own sin. When we confess them, Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us. As we are forgiven, we are to forgive others. Look beyond the behavior in the person you least want to see today. See the insecurity that’s causing it and love them through it. Be Jesus to them. They need that more than anything.
If you would like to win an autographed copy of “Free To Live” by John Eldredge, all you have to do is go to my Facebook page here and “like” it. I will randomly pick one person tomorrow (June 7, 2014) who has liked my page. If you have already liked my page and enjoy reading these daily devotionals, you are already entered. Please invite your friends to like my page so they can receive encouragement from God’s Word too