You are a Person

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In all the world, you alone bear the divine stamp of the Creator. You alone have a spirit. There are seven million yous on the face of the planet, but that doesn’t detract from your value, the value that you have because you exist, because He made you to exist. You are a person.

So you deserve that I value you, too. You deserve my respect for the kind of person that you are. You deserve that I listen, even when I don’t agree or I’m not interested or tired. You are worth more than my time, my schedule, my to-do list. You deserve my attention, my acknowledgement that you do exist and that you do have value, even if you talk different from me, even if you talk different from me, even if you enjoy different things than I do. You are a person.

It doesn’t matter how young you are, how old you are, or what the world might say is wrong with you. You are a person.

You might be from a different country or speak a different language. That doesn’t change your value. Despite the label that someone else might paste on you, you have just as much worth as the richest, most famous, most beautiful celebrity out there. No matter what you have done or what your family has done, you are a person.

I can’t say that you are perfect. None of us is. But I’m not the one to judge you, because God is. He says I’m His ambassador. I might be telling you that you have sinned against Him and deserve eternal death. I’m not telling you because you don’t have value. Because you do. And that’s why I’m also telling you the good news – that God indescribably loves you and sent His Son to take all of God’s wrath in your place. In order that you – a person in His image – can believe in the blood of His death and the power of His resurrection and become right with God. Although none of us deserve this gift, it’s there, and those of us who have it have the responsibility to tell you. Because you are a person. Jesus died for people – people who are sinners – so that people can become God’s children.

I’m bad at sharing it. I’m bad at treating you how you deserve. I want to get better at it through God’s strength and grace. So that this love and value that He places on us through the cross of Christ, He Himself will be glorified and enjoyed and lifted high and loved and worshipped above all else.

We are but people. He alone is God. Let us give Him the glory that is due Him and honor one another as He has taught us.

Rachel Sue

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Four Things I’ve Learned about The Church

God has shown me some beautiful and freeing things about His children the last several weeks. At first it seemed like a bunch of individual lessons—but today, I realized that each “lesson” falls under the heading of the Church, the Body of Christ.

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1. If you’re a true follower of Jesus Christ, nothing makes you better than other believers.

No teaching, group, or denomination that I can ever be a part of will make me any godlier than my fellow believers. In fact, if I take what someone says about the Bible more seriously than what the Bible says, there’s a problem. We are sinners justified and being sanctified purely by the blood of Jesus. If we are children of God, we all have the gift of the Holy Spirit to understand God, and we all have the ability to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we can discern His will. We have the Word of God, and nobody’s going to get any more special revelations equal to it. If I box myself in with some exclusive teachings, I will miss so, so much that God is showing the rest of His people.

2. Focus on unity, not differences.

Because we’re all so different anyway, it’s my natural tendency just to see the differences between me and my brothers and sisters in Christ. And my focus on differences inevitably leads to comparisons. And comparisons lead to judgment—and the conclusion that I’m better than everyone else.

How wrong that is. God has made us all different, but sin makes divisions sharp and ugly. But the Gospel is the only thing in the world that can join us. Jesus earnestly prayed that His followers would be one, just like He and His Father were one. “There is one body and one Spirit” (Ephesians 4:4, ESV).

Several evenings ago I was gathered in prayer with some wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ. We pray differently. We come from different homes. We listen to different kinds of music. We dress differently. We talk differently. We enjoy different things. But there God reminded me that we were all His children saved by the cross of Jesus Christ. That’s what changes everything, and the love that we are to have for one another will make all those differences fade away.

“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3:14)

3. Talk with fellow believers, not about them.

Being so different from all my fellow believers gives me a lot to talk about. Good stories, right? Talking about them helps me figure them out. But wait … is that understanding them or judging them? I admit that usually, I’m placing a false verdict on someone—because I don’t really know. But when I talk with my brothers and sisters in Christ, I understand them better. When I talk with them, it softens my heart to their perspective. When I talk about them, I tend to see the bad and try to make up some good. When I talk with them, my eyes can be opened to how God has gifted them.

4. Be concerned with what God has called you to do instead of comparing it to what other believers are doing.

Earlier this week, I was really upset because of some things another believer had done and set that seemed to fly in the face of what I believed something that God wanted me to do. I couldn’t rejoice with those who were rejoicing or thank God for what He had done.

But God is so faithful to show me the truth when I look to Him. He kept reminding me of 1 Corinthians 3. We are all workers in His field, and whatever our efforts may be, He is the One who determines the outcome, and He brings the outcome. Not only that, but any good that I do is really from Him. It’s not my job to tell another believer, “You can’t do that! That’s my job!” Well, maybe God does want them to do that. I may not know why He doesn’t let me do it, but a slave doesn’t ask “why” or micromanage. A slave does as he is told, all the while trusting that his Master is working it all out to perfection.

I pray that this will encourage you in your walk with Christ and relationship with other believers. May we never stop thanking God for what He has done for us!

~Rachel Sue

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Why I’m Trying Not to Judge

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Sometimes Facebook makes me paranoid. People—great Christian people that I respect—post great-looking things. But I admit that I’ve posted similar “great” things with an ulterior motive (I’m sorry, but I don’t promise that it won’t happen again). So I can’t help but wonder, “What is YOUR motive?”

Maybe it’s only me, but this can basically make me lose faith in the whole human race. Since I can’t see the human heart behind the Facebook post, the truth is left up to my imagination. And when I stop to analyze your heart via your timeline, I honestly can’t tell if you’re being real or insincere, heartfelt or fake. If I have to come to a conclusion, it probably won’t be right.

If I wonder, I start to doubt. I can’t trust you. I can’t learn from you. I’m afraid to count on you because you might let me down.

God showed me this week, amidst my distrust and caution, that I don’t have to worry about it.

“Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls” (Romans 14:4, ESV).

I am, you are, each of us is individually responsible to God. He sees the heart; He will judge rightly. In the end, He will make it all right. So this means that I don’t have to walk around with guard walls around me. I don’t have to judge people and be afraid of trusting them in case they don’t have everything quite in order.

If you don’t have the right motive behind what I see, it’s not my problem. It’s between you and God. My responsibility is to obey God for myself, not for you. This is actually rather relieving.

Over the past several years, there were Christians who seemed infallible and wise, people whom I never dreamed could take the wrong path. But the outcome surprised me, and they weren’t who I thought they were. Even though it can be painful confusing, I am not responsible to judge them or decide how it should turn out.

I can pray. By God’s help, I can discern what is—or what is not—pleasing to Him. I can appreciate the good coming from people around me. But I don’t have to worry if you are one hundred percent worth believing and trusting. I don’t have to carry the responsibility of knowing if your heart is right or not.

“So then each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12, ESV).

Looks like making sure my heart is right will keep me busy enough.

~Rachel Sue

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