Yesterday’s post ended with this:
Instead of walking toward the people so in need of God’s redemptive love, I’ve seen scores of people step in to a mode of no longer wanting anything to do with them. Are we so caught up in our “goodness” that we forget the very people who need our friendship?
Notice I said friendship. I did not say “so in need of our God.” Yes, they need God. Everyone needs God! We know that and we’ll get there, but first, they need a friend. They need you to be their friend. Get to know them, listen to their stories, and then listen to God. He will prompt you when prompting is needed.
We talked about Christ-followers getting completely caught up in their own Christian circles, turning a blind eye to the real needs of the world. Bill Hybels put it this way:
The aversion to non-Christians becomes so intense that a Christ follower has to plumb to new depths of dysfunction to deal with it. “Here’s what I think I’ll do,” she says. “I’ll set my alarm so that in the morning, I’ll get up to Christian music. I’ll email my Christian girlfriends all throughout the course of the workday so that I can stay pumped up with Christian thoughts. At break time, coffee time, lunchtime, I’m going to sit by myself and read my Bible. Then I will fill up my evenings with my family and church activities and, if I watch TV at all, it’s only Christian shows for me. I’ll go to bed, wake up tomorrow, and start all over with Step One. My life will stay exactly how I want it to be: simple and safe. Spotless and uncluttered. Protected and predictable. Just the way I like it.”
Um, there’s one problem with this cocooning pattern.
It’s the polar opposite of the way of Christ.
Simple and safe was not exactly the theme of His story.
He warned us that being sent out as lambs among wolves was part of the deal. He embraced a dying, broken, weary world with radical forgiveness and actionable love.
So, the first step in un-cocooning ourselves is to develop friendships. Embrace everyone you meet with the goal of developing a friendship that may one day lead that person to Christ. Today is most-likely not that day. The truth is, if you jam Jesus down their throats, they’ll probably mark you as crazy and avoid you at all costs. Don’t do that.
Instead, Hybels sets forth a challenge in his book:
Try a little experiment with me this week. As you pull into your driveway, fight the temptation to look past your neighbor. Perhaps for the first time, stop long enough to wonder why God chose to put the two of you on the same block to begin with. When you drop off your dry cleaning, take four seconds to smile, and ask the name of the person standing behind the counter. If he or she has served you well, then say so. When you run into the drugstore to pick up your prescription, take a good look at the clerk who’s assisting you. What’s that person’s story? Will you carve out two minutes to find out? Or should you bump into your mail carrier during the day, invest a few moments in discovering if he or she has a spouse or kids- what do they like to do around town on their day off?
You can do this!
This is what 30 Deeds in 30 Days is all about.
Get out there and make a few friends this month!