That's what I saw when reading through Luke 6:27-35 tonight. It's a very well known passage about loving our enemies; so well known that I would imagine we all can remember this even if we haven't opened our Bible since Sunday School. However, while the command is incredibly difficult in of itself, it ends with an equally strong point. After summarizing about what He commands us to do, He says:
"... and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil."I know that at times when I'm sending my children away to a sleepover, a friends house, a party, school, or something else coming up where I know they will be on their own making their own decisions, I remind them of what I expect. I don't remind them just about our rules or expected behavior, I remind them also of "why" we behave that way, and "why" these actions are expected. Do they always listen? Ha! I wouldn't be having these conversations if they did ... but we still have them.
(Luke 6:35b ESV)
And He wouldn't be writing these words if we didn't need the reminder either. We represent something far greater than ourselves. At the end of the day my desired reflection comes from Someone very specific, Jesus Christ; I have no universalist/unitarian beliefs. However, it's my character that is seen first by others, not my knowledge of the Word, Theology, or my support of the deity of Christ. Arming myself with information to have a gentle, loving, and open discussion about my faith is critical, but if I walk out the door acting like an idiot, mistreating my wife and kids, road raging, surfing for porn, and being short with people who are in the way of my daily agenda, my knowledge means nothing, absolutely nothing.
Which is why I'm looking forward to buffing that mirror more in 2012! Hoping to get it clean enough so I can see a little less of me, and a little more of Him. It took work for me to get my reflection out of the way in this picture so I could see past it to that beautiful smile behind! May we learn to get of the way and let His beauty shine through!
I wish you all a wonderful 2012, it's going to be a great year! Joy, tragedy, blessings, suffering, laughter, and tears will likely all be encountered, but I will take a deep breath and know that I will not encounter a single one alone. I leave you with this quote as we enter the new year:
Two lies the devil tells us:Reflect Him. Embrace Him.
(In a time of suffering) "This will never end"
(In a time of blessing) "This will never last"
- Steven Furtick
God loves you and so do I,