Monday, June 1, 2009

"Treat Me As I treat My Neighbor"

By Max Lucado

Hi! Before you read some Max Lucado, here’s a thankful post (I read Adaeze & Lolia’s thoughtful thankful posts and they reminded me of what someone once said: “When you hear the appreciative words God’s children say to Him, you fall in love with Him”).

I seriously appreciate:
1. Company, as in, people I’m comfortable with. Whenever I’m chanced to have meaningful conversation, discuss/listen to interesting issues, learn things, laugh etc I do it with passion.

2. Christ – the exciting possibilities we have because of what He did/is doing for us. For example, imagine the power God has given us against all evil, not because we’ve done (or have promised to do) anything holy, but because of Christ (Matthew 10; Titus 3:5).

3. ‘Comic Relief’- truly, a sense of humour is a blessing. A newspaper columnist admitted that he’s really tired of writing about the same problems our country is having, and has decided to cultivate his sense of humour to help him cope. Country aside, life can be horrible. But I have a question- it may have an obvious answer: Do you believe Nigeria can be transformed in our own generation?

4. Churches – When I was in university I stopped attending church for over 2 years. It was a double case of “too much Church, too little results” (in my life and in others’ lives- yes, I was very judgemental), and “too many Churches, orishirishi (different) doctrines”. It was an uncomfortable period for my roommates and I, and eventually they became very annoyed with me (you know how religious we can be) but in the end clarity came: with the Bible as a reference point* or ”anti-virus”(or anti-antiChrist), one can learn so much from different churches- from how to pray, to receiving God’s blessings. Now for closing hymn, let me sing “Years I Spent in Vanity and Pride” :- )

5. Creative, courageous people.

6. Cute actors like Freddie Prinze Jr, Ryan Reynolds (Van Wilder, Wolverine, Just Friends), Denzel Washington… etc (ok I was watching a witty Prinze Jr. film -Jack & Jill vs The World - when I wrote that).

*See Galatians 3 & 4; 1Cor. 1. The early christians faced the same confusion many of us are facing, so it is a merely a case of DHCN - ‘Doctrine Has Changed Name’.

And now for some Max Lucado>>>

"Treat Me As I Treat My Neighbor."
Are you aware that this is what you are saying to your Father? Give me what I give them. Grant me the same peace I grant others. Let me enjoy the same tolerance I offer. God will treat you the way you treat others.

In any given Christian community there are two groups: those who are contagious in their joy and those who are cranky in their faith. They've accepted Christ and are seeking him, but their balloon has no helium. One is grateful, the other is grumpy. Both are saved. Both are heaven bound. But one sees the rainbow and the other sees the rain.

Could this principle explain the difference? Could it be that they are experiencing the same joy they have given their offenders? One says, "I forgive you," and feels forgiven. The other says, "I'm ticked off," and lives ticked off at the world.

It's as if God sends you to the market to purchase your neighbor's groceries saying, "Whatever you get your neighbor, get also for yourself. For whatever you give him is what you receive."
Let's take this a step further. Suppose your neighbor's trash blows into your yard. You mention the mess to him, and he says he'll get to it sometime next week. You inform him that you've got company coming and couldn't he get out of that chair and do some work? He tells you not to be so picky, that the garbage fertilizes your garden. You're just about to walk across the lawn to have a talk when God reminds you, "Time to go to the market and buy your neighbor's groceries." So you grumble and mumble your way to the store, and then it hits you, "I'll get even with the old bum." You go straight to the skim milk. Then you make a beeline to the anchovies and sardines. You march right past the double-chocolate ice cream and head toward the okra and rice. You make a final stop in the day-old bread section and pick up a crusty loaf with green spots on the edge.

Chuckling, you drive back to the house and drop the sack in the lap of your lazy, good-for-nothing neighbor. "Have a good dinner." And you walk away.
All your brilliant scheming left you hungry, so you go to your refrigerator to fix a sandwich, but guess what you find. Your pantry is full of what you gave your enemy. All you have to eat is exactly what you just bought. We get what we give.

Some of you have been eating sardines for a long time. Your diet ain't gonna change until you change. You look around at other Christians. They aren't as sour as you are. They're enjoying the delicacies of God, and you're stuck with okra and anchovies on moldy bread. You've always wondered why they look so happy and you feel so cranky. Maybe now you know. Could it be God is giving you exactly what you're giving someone else?
Max Lucado,
In the Eye of the Storm

Sorry, the post was long. Happy new month!