[From the archives]
My youngest said to me once,
‘I love my teacher. She treats us like her own kids. I go to her with stuff, and then she talks to me like I’m one of her kids.’
I thought, Whatever they’re paying her, it’s not enough!
Because don’t we all just want that for our kids? Really, we just want people to like them and be nice to them and do for them as they would for their own kids.
That’s gospel living. God treats us like His Son – makes us into His very own kids through redemption and adoption – turns us into heirs. Jesus takes our shame – restores our dignity – and imputes kid-worth to you and me so we get the same royal treatment He does, from His Father.
And God’s treatment of us – because of Jesus – informs how we live out the rest of our lives, which should be all about our treatment of others – because of Jesus.
For a while now I’ve been living with this idea of –
borrowing Jesus’ feelings for people.
I’ve been borrowing His feeling for all the people who fill my days, because I don’t always have (the right) feelings of my own.
I really, really like other humans.
But occasionally my life collides with someone who hurts or angers me. Or knocks me off balance in some subtle other way. And sometimes I just don’t have it in me to muster the inner niceness which is when I need to loan the love from Jesus who feels all the feelings for all the people, and even feels them for me.
So – I don’t get it right all the time – but I’ve been borrowing His feelings for the sullen cashier and the weird person at church and the awkward family member and the intimidatingly beautiful mom in the school car park. Even borrowing His tender feelings for my kids on days when I don’t like them quite as much as I love them.
It’s changing everything.
In those moments when it’s all I can do not to stoop and pick up an offence – because I’m irritated or threatened or hormonal – I say, Jesus, can I borrow your feelings for her?
When I’m insulted or sidelined or when something very close to actual hatred rises in my heart I pray, Jesus, please can I use Your feelings right now? Help me feel for these people what You feel for them.
This isn’t, fake it ‘til you make it.
If you’re cold and you borrow someone’s sweater, you don’t hold it up in front of you and pretend to wear it. You actually put it on. And it actually warms you. Wearing the feelings of Jesus thaws our icy agendas and there’s real joy, real peace, real love.
Like I said, it changes everything.
It’s almost impossible to disdain or feel superior when you’re warmed by the thought that –
Jesus had this person in mind when He hung on the cross.
He forgives this person, as He forgives me.
He’s got good gifts in store for this person, as He does for me.
He’s got a unique and magnificent plan for this person, as He does for me.
I totally think you should try this at home and in every other corner of the globe. Just know: there’s risk involved. Softening your heart towards people you may even be entitled to hold in contempt makes you scary-vulnerable.
I don’t agree with everything Brené Brown says, but I do think she’s marvellous and clever and so much of her work in the fields of authenticity, courage and vulnerability points to Jesus.
Brené says, ‘It’s tough to [be vulnerable] when we’re terrified about what people might see or think.’
Jesus risked how people might see Him, or think about Him, or crucify Him. Imagine a world where His people borrowed that kind of brave.
She says, ‘Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.’
It was at a birthplace in Bethlehem when the galaxy-Maker made Himself unspeakably vulnerable – which set in motion the greatest change in history. His vulnerability secured our earthly purpose and our eternal destiny.
She says, ‘Through my research, I found that vulnerability is the glue that holds relationships together. It’s the magic sauce.’
And maybe if we’ll humble ourselves to admit that we don’t have it in us to love like we should, and if we’ll see people the way God sees them – borrow Jesus’ feelings – it’ll be the magic sauce that heals marriages, families, churches and nations.
She says, ‘Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.’
Jesus showed up, let Himself be seen, and changed the world. Ordinary us, we probably don’t have that kind of courage. But we could loan it from extraordinary God. In the small spaces of our full, frenetic days, we could show up – let ourselves be seen – and change the world.
. . .
Have an amazing weekend!
I’d be grateful if you shared this post to encourage someone else!
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