Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Do They See Jesus?

I love coming home on a dark winter's night and seeing the lights shining from inside the house. That warm yellow glow spilling out from the windows, makes me feel welcome and brings me comfort. Who doesn't appreciate a sight like that?

my house is waiting for me.

I can tell you who. Someone who has evil intent. Someone who maybe has been casing your house, watching and waiting for darkness so they won't be seen. They have plans to break in and steal your stuff. Thoughts like that don't feel very good, do they? On the occasions I have come home to a dark empty house it definitely feels different. Its kind of scary and intimidating. I much prefer the light!

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Most of the people in my life, that I spend time with, are followers of Jesus Christ, like myself. I love what happens when our living room is full of my friends and we are talking about matters of faith and God and such. The whole room feels warm and soothing, yet exciting at the same time. We can feel the presence of the Holy Spirit and it both unites us and inspires us. It is a beautiful wonderful feeling.

I think we are automatically drawn to other believers. Ever start a casual conversation with a stranger and feel right away that your connecting? You find yourself nodding your head and maybe even wishing to engage in more conversation, and though it might just be the person behind you in the grocery line and the talking won't continue passed the checkstand, you'll walk away feeling lighter. I like to think that this happens because I have just encountered a kindred spirit and I would even venture to say they might have the Spirit of Christ in them.

Now, on the flip side of that, I have also encountered people who immediately make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up! My senses cry "stranger danger!" and I automatically step back, even if it's just inwardly. We can sense something about that person that doesn't feel safe and so we distance ourselves for protection. I might be more sensitive to this than others but I think you all know what I'm talking about.

But, let's flip it again and look at it from the other persons perspective. The pleasant encounter you just had with stranger #1 was probably just as enjoyable for them. Again, that kindred spirit coming out. And I'm gonna guess that for stranger #2, if they are indeed someone to be wary of, and you are a follower of Jesus, they might be finding their hackles raised. That is to say, their spirit senses your spirit-- which is really the Holy Spirit, who dwells in each of us, and they don't like it!

My husband loves to get involved with service projects in our community. Whether it's building a wheelchair ramp for a person in need, or a school bus stop for neighborhood kids, he wants to jump in and lend a hand. And then of course, there are the mission trips overseas. We have taken some flack for our willingness to make sacrifices and get involved. People who don't understand how Bruce would give up his paycheck (which we struggle for every month!) in exchange for a day or week of service with no pay. They criticize because they don't understand. A few times we have actually come up against such a contentious spirit  that we have retreated quickly, feeling like we've been scalded by their hostility.

This has brought about some interesting conversations for my sweetie and me. My first inclination when meeting someone who treats me with an attitude of dismissal, is to think I've done something to offend them, or they don't like me and somehow it is my fault. But as God has worked on my identity and built up my self esteem, I have come to realize and really believe, that how others perceive me does not define me. I also think now that those times I have interacted with unpleasant (ie: rude, obnoxious, angry, dismissive, hostile)
people, it's not me they are reacting to but Jesus living in me. They see my light and they don't want anything to do with it. To be in the light might reveal  things they wish to remain in the darkness.

The bible tells us that "men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil." (John 3.19) Being around Jesus sure stirred up the people in His time, didn't it? Those who did not choose to follow him what did they do? Well, ultimately they crucified him.  And the people today, who want nothing to do with the Son of God, are still just as reactive. They are repelled by the Spirit of Christ.

What can we do to change that? I don't know if I actually can do anything. Only Christ can do that. But I do think that if I allow my Light to shine bright, perhaps, someday that Light will draw them in. And instead of being afraid of being in the light, instead of fearing being exposed, they will see that Light for what it truly is: Life-saving, Life-giving.

This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine!

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