Ministry of Love

The intention of this blog is to share Biblical messages at least on a weekly basis. Any response is appreciated. I do not expect everyone to agree with my interpretation of Biblical passages. I will try to respond with love and thoughtfulness.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Musing 03/15/10, Plus or Minus? by John.

Plus or Minus?

In prayer this morning, I thought of a young man. I met him years ago. He was just four. Now he's a fine young man, and I am so happy to have been his pastor for about ten years. He was fourteen when I moved to another city. He has Tourette's syndrome, and I had trouble being comfortable with his condition as he grew, but I loved him from the moment I saw him. The question in my mind is, is his condition a plus, or minus?

Most, if not all, of us want everyone to be "normal," and we really mean "like us." All of us think we are normal unless we have some marked difference from others, but not even twins are exactly alike. Twins are different even though they may be "identical." Is being different a good thing? It took me a long time to realize that it is. All sorts of scenarios show us our shortcomings. For instance, you can take a person who is really good with children, put them in a room alone with a teenaged person having a spell of anger, maybe someone with Downs syndrome, and they may just come out screaming that they don't have to, and they will not put up with that kind of behavior! Or they may be perfectly at ease.

Remember the ancient story where Achilles mother dipped him in the river Styx, and he instantly became almost impervious to injury? His mother failed to completely immerse him. She held the baby by one heel. Eventually, he was slain by an injury to that heel, and people have called such a condition by his name ever since. The story showed how that event changed him and his life.

All of us have at least one Achilles' heel somewhere in our personality. We think of it as our weakness.
We may strive to be perfect as Jesus told us to be. The word "perfect" by the way in Greek is, "telios," and although it is translated "perfect," it is perhaps more accurately translated "complete." It means nothing lacking, rather than sinless as so many interpret it today. For instance, we have a perfect Oldsmobile. It's old, and it shows signs of wear and tear. The headliner wants to drop down on our heads. It's pinned up here and there, but it's still perfect! It was designed to be comfortable, handsome, and to get us where we want to go without failure. Every part needed to do those things is still there, so it is perfect!

I believe God allows such great diversity in our humanity to let us know how much He loves us, and how much we need to love and accept others. My young friend may discover sometime in his life that his syndrome is in itself a great blessing. It may have already caused him to develop strengths and talents that would never have been developed without it. He may be a greater blessing to the human race because of it. We frequently say, "Only time will tell!" But the truth may not come out until we stand in the presence of God. We human beings are well known for not getting things right, right?

I remember reading that the famous pastor, Dr. John Broadus, and a friend were walking down the street one morning when they met a fellow obviously crippled in more ways than one. He shuffled along toward them, and as he neared, he said, "Good morning, John!" As they passed each other, he said, "Thank you, John." Dr. Broadus' friend was shocked that he even knew such a person! Dr. Broadus explained that the man was quite disabled, but that he had been able to say yes to Jesus several years before. Since then, he always spoke and said "thank you" because Dr. Broadus had taken the time to sit down with him and tell him about Jesus. I think that is what Jesus would have had him do, don't you?

I like to remember that God loves that man just like he loves this man, meaning me. He loves us because we are His creation for sure. There may be more to it than that, but pick out the lowliest person you can imagine, and God loves him just like He loves us. Pick out the highest in value, and God loves him just like He loves us! That is a hard concept for most of us to accept, I know, but that agrees with Jesus' command that we love our enemies as well as our friends.

In short, there is not one soul on earth who has not been loved by God, and there will not be one that is not loved by God. The unpardonable sin Jesus mentioned is to continually consider the obviously good works of the Holy Spirit evil. It is persistent rebellion against God. A person who does that is unpardonable because he will not come to Jesus for salvation.

The next time you see a paraplegic, or a person in prison, or with any other socially unacceptable problem, try to remember God loves them. Perhaps God had a specific work for the person who is crippled, or mentally deficient to perform. Instead of avoiding them, making jokes about them, or anything like that, pray for them! Pray that they will discover what God has planned for them. Pray
for yourself, too, and see if you can't be of some service to them. You may discover that you are the one who is blessed. That person may become your dearest friend. God may bless you by what you do for them. Bringing out generosity on our part may be the reason God allowed them to not just like us. Remember the man born blind in John 9? Who sinned, the disciples asked, this man or his parents? Jesus answered, "'Neither this man nor his parents sinned,' said Jesus, 'but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.'" (John 9:3).

Crimes are a criminal's own responsibility, but our responsibility is to touch their lives with the Gospel. It may change them into servants of God, and if it happens only one time, think what a great service you've done for the Kingdom of God and the whole human race!


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