16-20 Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.
2 Corinthians 5:17-20 The Message (MSG)
Just because everyone can be genuine, doesn’t mean everyone is genuine. And just because you want to be everybody’s number one fan, doesn’t mean you should be. In my own life, I have chased more than what I was capable of and I have made rooms in my heart to seat many people who never stayed for coffee, only for a short meal. Often, we think about all the feet that have walked out of the rooms in our heart and we catch ourselves keeping count of how many times we heard the door shut one by one. But what I have learned, slowly, is that it doesn’t matter who’s walked out of the room. The predominant prize is who still is in the room.
Not everyone is genuine, so be careful with who you rearrange your space for. Yes, I’m a BIG believer in there being good in every soul. But you can’t bring people close holding onto the expectation of the authenticity you believe to see in them. You, yourself, be kind. Welcome everyone with a smile but not everyone with a seat. You can still believe the best while standing wise. But at the same time. We’re all different and just because we’re different doesn’t mean we cannot love. It hit me one day. Real hard. Everybody is different. Your mom, your dad, your sibling, your best friend, your waitress, that stranger in front of you in line, the grocery clerk, everybody. Everybody is different. Which is how it’s suppose to be. Yet, we have this tainted view of what we want people to look like and it is so wrong that we let our insides cringe at the innocence of who somebody is. Do we have to be buddy-buddy with everyone? No, and praise God for that.
But we do indeed need to love everyone.
Instead of looking at people with the lens of who we think they ought to be, how distinctively different would our conversations and our countenance be if we accepted that the person we are looking straight at is not the same as who we are, but rather they are their own person who is just as human as we are? It’s life. No one is the same, but everybody is a person. A person who is undeserving of love, but who Christ calls to love anyways. And that is what love is.
I. How do you determine who actually is invested in your life to see you grow and who is just digging for information so they have something to talk about? How do you deal with the people who are just seeming to dig for information?
II. Have you ever believed that other people were looking at you in condemnation and judgement when really, you were the only person who was shaming yourself? How did you move forward? How do you differentiate conviction and condemnation?
III. What season have you had to walk empty handed in so you were able to pick up what God had waiting for you? What did you learn?
When we can take the time to write out reflection questions and take the time to answer them truthfully and honestly, we will begin to see growth in ourselves like never before. We will be able to evaluate where we are at in our lives and see it for ourselves. It hits different when you can write in words what is going on in your heart and be able to see it with your own eyes. It makes it more real and present. Then on the flip side, you will be able to look back where you were at one day down the road and reflect. You will be able to see how far you have come, the obstacles you overcame, and the challenges that are no longer challenges to you.
The art of reflection and self-evaluation is so overlooked when really, it ought to be a pillar in our lives. We get to choose how much we want to grow or how much we want to stay stagnant. If you are reading this and you want to grow in yourself and develop new habits, I encourage you to start with questions
Get yourself a notebook and a pen and start writing. You don’t have to be an expert by any means. But you just need to start. Ask the simple questions ad eventually move into the more in-depth questions. Try to look over these once a month so you can track your progress and see what you like and what you don’t like.
Remember that you are in control of your life and how much you want to improve and how much you want to grow rests in the palm of your hand and it is up to you and not anybody else. Those who want to grow are those will succeed. Because the passion and the drive is there and once you start taking action is when you will see results.