Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Serving God in Respecting Others...

"With the tongue we bless the Lord and Father, and with the tongue we curse those who are made in the likeness of God." ~James 3:9
"Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker,// but those who are kind to the needy honor Him." ~Proverbs 14:31
Even when people do not respect and honor themselves, those who call themselves Christians ought to respect and honor ALL people: "So God created humankind in His Image,// in the image of God He created them,// male and female He created them" (Genesis 1:27). Perhaps individuals at times do not deserve respect, but that is beside the point, because our treatment of others is a reflection of how we view God. And He always deserves our respect. 
Even our good deeds, in the name of Christian charity, can be misplaced in our hearts. If a person truly wishes to help one's fellow human beings, of whatever creed, ethnicity, or similar group, this person does not help in the nature of Christ if he or she sees himself or herself as "doing the other a favor," as if this person's status here on earth makes him somehow worthy of doing others "favors." 
If I have ANYTHING to give to the other, I only have it because God first gave it to me. We are not called to simple charity for our fellow man, but we are called to serve. I have no true hope to offer another if I cannot place myself beneath the other to serve, as I wash the other's feet. Only then can I understand, in some small way, the other's dreams and fears, hopes and needs. If I cannot or will not serve the other, I need to keep my grand suggestions and enlightened thoughts to myself, for I am unworthy to help this person made in His image. 
If Christ, our model, who was deserving, showed us the way of God by placing Himself under us, as to wash our feet, how much more should I, an undeserving sinner, humble myself in the service to others:
"Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
"who, though He was in the form of God,// did not regard equality with God// as something to be exploited,// but emptied Himself,// taking on the form of a slave,// being born in human likeness.// And being found in human form, He humbled Himself// and became obedient to the point of death--// even death on a cross." ~Philippians 2:5-8
It doesn't matter if such service seems practical, for the way of Christ appears to be anything but practical: "For the message of the CROSS is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (I Corinthians 1:18).
If respecting others is not popular for the right or the left, and I see little example from either side that it is, I will err on the side of grace. 
He still has a lot of work to do in my heart. Thank God for His mercy