What Love Requires

 So I kneel humbly in awe before the Father of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah, the perfect Father of every father and child in heaven and on the earth.  And I pray that he would unveil within you the unlimited riches of his glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with his divine might and explosive power. Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life.
Ephesians 3:14-19 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Earlier this week I was helping a gentleman at work who is one of our regular customers. He’s one of those folks it’s just a pleasure to be around, always encouraging and friendly. No matter what kind of day you’re having, people like this have a way of making it better. On this day in particular I noticed he was wearing a unique cross. It had a sort of steampunk metal look to it, and I told him I liked it. In reply, he said it was a gift from a friend when he moved years ago. Here’s the story. My friend worked for one of those laundry delivery companies that serve businesses. One day, as he was making his rounds, he came to one shop in particular where he had established a friendly rapport with a lady who worked there who happened to be African American. He told her he was leaving the area and this would be his last time delivering to them. She said, “Wait, I have something for you.” She disappeared into the back, and when she came out she had the cross in her hand and asked him to take it. He was surprised, and when he told her as much, she said the reason she was giving him the cross was he was the first white man who had ever called her, “ma’am.” I was both moved and taken aback by the story. Thinking this must have been a very long time ago, not that racism should have ever been the norm, I asked him what year this happened. He said it was 1995. It seems to me our relationships with people of different colors and cultures have been moving forward at a snail’s pace, that is, when they are moving forward at all. I’m concerned that not enough attitudes have shifted since my friend was given his cross.

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit . . . Next to the blessed sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.
C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses (New York; Harper-Collins, 2001, first paperback edition).

Jesus said to love God
with everything you have
and love your neighbor as yourself.
How many days have I begun,
leaving those words on the shelf?
It’s easy to treat well
those who do the same.
It’s easy to not fear
those with similar skin
and names.
Let me be the bridge
to Jesus’ love
even when it’s not natural
or easy.

© Joel Tipple 8/10/2019

I’d Rather Be Blind

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.
James 2:8-9

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
“I Have a Dream” Martin Luther King Jr.

If what my eyes tell me when I see you
prevents me from getting to know you,
I’m better off blind.

Jesus died for all
and He admonished us to be kind,
no matter what kind.
Even “that kind.”
And what is “that kind?”

The lazy, hateful, divisive,
assumptions
we make,
make us all poorer.

If we claim to have Christ
in us,
then we should be all about
breaking down barriers
between ourselves
and the “different.”

After all,
some rules
were made to be broken…
not just bent.

© Joel Tipple 11/16/2018