Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Musing I Hope’s Not Confusing

I love that God created us with so many different personalities and expressions thereof. And that our relationships with Him are so individual and personalized. And that our standing with Him does not depend on us having a certain personality or the diversity of our personalities, but depends completely on His character and love and unchanging holiness.
Let’s take the subject of Thanksgiving, since we are coming off the annual weekend of gratitude. How do you express thanks to God? Are you loud and demonstrative? Or reserved yet sincere? Does thanks come in the form of tears perhaps? Or shouts? Or maybe just a smile of true contentment?
Here are two historical occurrences, recorded in the Bible, about two different but equally thankful people whom Jesus touched in a profound way.
First is the story of the tenth leper found in Luke chapter 17. (CLICK to read the whole story) Basically, ten lepers were standing on the side of the road, far enough away to comply with the laws of the day concerning those suffering from this highly contagious and debilitating disease. All ten were calling out to Jesus as He passed, begging for mercy. Jesus healed them and they went on their way rejoicing. Of the ten, only one went back to Jesus after being cleared by the priest (the official ‘proof’ or seal of being healed) and demonstrated his thankfulness by falling at Jesus’ feet and shouting in a loud voice His praises to God. If we had any concept of the magnitude of his healing, we could understand why this man made such an outward show of his thanks.
Second story is of the woman with the alabaster jar found in Luke 7. (CLICK to read the whole story) Though still a public display, this woman, who had led a sinful life, anointed Jesus feet and head with very expensive oil then shed tears of gratitude over Him and dried them away with her own hair. Overcome by the love Jesus had shown her in forgiving a life she had always known was unforgivable, her heartfelt demonstration of thanks involved tears, not shouts.
I believe both of these people were equally thankful. Their expressions, though different, showed the depths of their gratitude, the sincerity of their changed hearts. Neither expression impressed Jesus more or less. Each touched Him on the individual basis of His relationship with them.
I guess what I’m trying to say is people are different and God is holy. There’s one true God who is the same yesterday, today and forever. He doesn’t change. But we are all different, as designed by this one true God, and our expressions of love and thanks will be as unique as our own fingerprints and heartbeats. We get mixed up sometimes, placing ourselves in the center, having everyone else, including God, revolve around us and how we see things. This not only skews our perspective of God and temps us to mold Him into our image (totally backwards) but also puts us at odds with people.
I am not trying erase right and wrong here. The opposite actually. I’m trying to say that God has right and wrong in His possession. We have the freedom to celebrate Him and commune with Him on an individual, intimate basis.
When we grasp this, we might just start to love people as God wishes we would.
Happy Monday, Dry Ground friends! Be blessed!