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Posts Tagged ‘standard’

I love people watching. I could sit for hours and people watch. I love wondering about their lives and where they have come from, or where they are going. I even love eavesdropping. I admit that I will sit somewhere with my headphones on and no music playing just so I can listen to other people’s conversations. It’s fascinating.

As I admit to eavesdropping, I will also admit that I find that I compare myself to the people I am wondering about. I compare styles of clothes and conversation. The truth is that we all compare ourselves to other people. Somewhere along the journey of life we took on the pattern of deciding whether or not people fall above or below the line of ourselves.

The comparison habit involves all things about another person. We can compare ourselves to the outward appearance of someone else such as: clothes, hairstyle, walk, politeness, car they drive, job status, popularity, or house they live in.

We also compare ourselves to what is no the inside of a person. This one might be tricky to identify, but they are there. We can compare ourselves to another person’s attitude, how they treat others, favor or blessings on their lives, attention, ability to lead, content of conversation, thoughts on love, money, relationships, and world views. We can even compare our relationship with God to another’s.

All this comparing is exhausting.

Every time I catch myself playing the game of comparison, I remember a statement that Jesus made to Peter. In the last chapter of John, Jesus is talking with Peter regarding the restoration to his calling, as well as giving Peter a preview of his death. Jesus asks Peter to “follow him.”

Do you think Peter responded by saying, “ok, Lord, I’m in, I will follow you?” No. Peter turns right around and starts comparing himself to John. Peter asks Jesus, “what about him?” Peter is asking Jesus what will happen to John? He is wondering what kind of life, calling, and death will John get compared to Peter.

Jesus reminds Peter of his place. He looks and Peter and says, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”

These words pierce my heart. I hear these words whenever I start to go down the comparison road. The minute I start to compare myself to another person, I hear Jesus’ words, “what is that to you? You must follow me.” Whenever I grow jealous over the favor or blessings I see for another, I hear, “you must follow me.

Everything in our culture feeds off of comparing. Jesus once again goes against the culture and asks us to trust in his plans for us. He simply asks us to fix our eyes and follow him. There is freedom in surrendering our bars of comparison. It also allows us to celebrate instead of envy another person. I want freedom and not slavery to the bar of comparison.

How do you play the comparison game in your life?

How is Jesus asking you to follow him?

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I am definitely not a patient driver. I can go from singing a nice Christian song that’s on the radio to yelling, arm motions and all, at another driver. I am even known to call a  time-out on the phone to yell at another driver. I don’t know what that is. I can’t help but wonder where that comes from in me. I am not a very angry person, in fact I really don’t like being angry. But in the car…dang!

The thing about the car is that my anger is very much a double standard. I know I cut people off, or make decisions that affect someone else’s ignition of road rage. I am not the best driver, and in times of confession, I drive while texting. I can pass people in their cars, who are talking on the phone, and hear myself say, “GET OFF YOUR PHONE!” and two lights down the road I get on mine. What is that!?

I know this attitude and mentality plays out in more areas of my life. Some things I am aware of and some are still surfacing in me. I am not the best at extending grace after I have received the huge blessing of grace and forgiveness. I resonate all to well with the parable of the unmerciful servant. Embarrassingly, I catch myself slamming others for the things I do.

I feel convicted this week by the words of Jesus as he confronts Simon and his friends. In Luke 7, Jesus is hanging out at Simon’s house for dinner. At that dinner, he loved a woman and forgave her of her many sins. Jesus ends the discussion about the woman by saying, “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”

Those words are piercing to my soul. I know I do not get the depth of forgiveness and grace for me. The woman forgiven that night by Jesus knew the depth of forgiveness. I can speculate that from that night on she loved deeply and forgave freely. This woman loved much and knew much forgiveness.

Forgiveness and love are connected. Jesus doesn’t say,”to whom little is forgiven, the same forgives little.” Jesus harnesses the depth of how one loves with the understanding of forgiveness. By taking the time to look my heart over, I see how much I don’t get forgiveness for me. I am one who shows little love because of my lack of understanding. That wrecks me inside. I am really learning how much the two are connected together.

I crave being a deep lover of the heart. I so desire to understand how much that was sacrificed to forgive me. This requires humilty on my part. That is really hard for someone who is a professional at being self-sufficient.

How we love has everything to do with our understanding of our own need for forgiveness. Out of this place will we be able to forgive others. Everything stems out of our relationship with Christ. Forgiveness does not have two categories. Meaning forgiveness of self and forgiving others. I think that the ability to forgive others comes out of our own understanding that we are forgiven.

The more I have been marinating on forgiveness the more I find myself knee bound. I can’t seem to say “forgive me father” enough. There is humility in that recognized need. My heart feels soft and my love big.

I know I will teeter back and forth for a while. But this week I can honestly say I have “tasted and seen that the Lord is good.”

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