I just finished reading yet another book for my internship at church. This week's book was "Jesus Style", by Gayle Erwin. I'm kind of combining some of the things I've gotten out of this with the last book I read for intern, "Revolutionary Parenting" by George Barna.
Stuff that's hitting me:
Being real. Being real about where you've been, where you are, who you are. Transparency.
Being humble, not in faking your inability but in being realistic about who you are and what you can do.
A lack of coercion, instead relying heavily on love, faith, and patience to dissolve the barriers in others' hearts.
Lack of grabbiness.
Intentionality. Being in a mindful place when interacting with others.
Goal-oriented, but in the mud. Coaching rather than instructing.
I am in the field most of the time, serving and witnessing. Not the way you think of it, really - I witness with my actions. The two directions of imbalance are permissiveness and totalitarianism. What did Jesus say to those he healed? "You are forgiven. Go and sin no more." You meet people where they are, where you are, and you react with love. At the same time, you don't stray from the truth. There is right and wrong, and there are consequences for all choices... yet, choice remains. That's the point of free will. Choice. Mostly humans make a mess of free will. Consequences - that's why Jesus had to come, to offer us the possibility of freedom. It's an offer, though - you can refuse. Lots of people do.
I want to force people to choose Christ, to choose right. I want to force my kids to study. I have more control over my children, because I can choose the consequences and the timing thereof, but I have only so much power even over the kiddos. I want these things because I love. And yet the incarnation of love (and justice) allowed those who interacted with Him to make their own choices. Even those healed by Jesus sometimes chose to walk away and never think about Him again. Love allows choice.
I feel so inadequate... nothing about me seems to lead others to Christ. "Jesus Style" reminds me that people refused Christ in the face of His face, in the face of His miracles, in the face of perfection. My Bible tells me that after 1000 years of being ruled perfectly by Christ Himself, some people will still choose not to align themselves with Him.
It's time to embrace humility, embrace transparency, and stop burdening myself with outcomes. I'm responsible for daily choices. I'm responsible for helping my kids develop good habits, teaching them their lessons (I homeschool), guiding their choices, setting consequences... but some day they'll grow up. I know too many adults who were functionally making their own (poor) choices at the age my son has already achieved. I don't have the luxury of lying to myself about their ability to choose evil, even though I'd do anything in my power to prevent it.
I'm responsible to show Christ, to stand for what's right and true, and to be loving. To point the way, to sound the call... I'm not responsible for what people do with that. And I'm responsible for my prayer life. Faithfulness in prayer - my God can do *anything*.
It kills me, because I'm very results-oriented... but it's the truth. And the Truth will set you free.
Step one with humility and transparency: Admit your deepest desires.