People are People

I don’t know about you, but when I’m delving into various concepts within The Word, nothing helps drive the point home better than a little classic, 80s New Wave.
For me, lately, the concept has been better learning how to love.  Amongst many other things, this is one thing Jesus said about love, which I think I will always be able to work on just a little bit more…
Matthew 5:43-48  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
A challenge if there ever was one.  If Christ could find it within Himself to embrace all of us, why shouldn’t I do the same?  If I were to draw a line, there would be Almighty Jesus on one side, and the rest of us on the other.  Alas.  Christ didn’t adhere to any such line, and decided to join all of us, instead.
That never ceases to amaze me…
And now, without further ado, the lyrical and musical genius of Depeche Mode; helping to convict me to Christ’s morals since my lovely days as a melancholy youth…
People are people, so why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully?
People are people, so why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully?

So we’re different colors and we’re different creeds
And different people have different needs
It’s obvious you hate me though I’ve done nothing wrong
I’ve never even met you, so what could I have done?

I can’t understand
What makes a man
Hate another man
Help me understand

People are people, so why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully?
People are people, so why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully?

And now you’re punching and you’re kicking and you’re shouting at me
I’m relying on your common decency
So far, it hasn’t surfaced but I’m sure it exists
It just take a while to travel from your head to your fist

I can’t understand
What makes a man
Hate another man
Help me understand

Deceiving ourselves, but not Him

While reading through the Gospel of Matthew this morning, it occurred to me how easy it can be to get caught up as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Really, the proverbial wolf doesn’t have to start out with bad intentions.  If those intentions are not of God, however, it’s possible for honesty and goodness can be derailed, and replaced by the mentality that we’re serving the Church of Me.
Matthew 7:15  Watch out for false prophets.  They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.  21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Even the best of intentions can sometimes go awry.  At the end of the day, I am not the wolf, but unchecked feelings of being owed, being too proud of my works…
Hidden feelings like these are the sharp, but quiet wolves that lie within, and they can keep us from God.  As tough as it may be, we need to try and not get caught up in ourselves.  If we are to be like Christ, we need to not worry about pleasing others.  There is no waiting for praise and pats on the back that we may think we’re owed.
Is it more important to look like a, “good Christian,” or to have an authentic connection to God?  Are you checking to see if you’ve met the criteria of your peers, or are your looking to see if you’ve allowed Christ to walk alongside you?
I think it’s important that throughout the day, we ask ourselves who it is we’re trying to emulate.  Who are we trying to please?  Does the current path lead toward the ultimate title of Christ Follower, or False Prophet?
Striving to put God and His will first is a beautiful and gratifying way to live our lives.  It’s also worth mentioning, that as long as you’re sincerely aiming for Him, you’re doing alright.  He’ll light your way accordingly.  God is not going to ask you to be someone you aren’t meant to be.  With Him, there is no need to try and save face.