Friday, January 25, 2008

Thank God for Mean People

Jesus said, "Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man" (Luke 6:22).

One reason we should be glad is that this treatment puts us in the company of the prophets. Thank God for mean people.

But another benefit is that this treatment drives us to God himself. It leaves us feeling empty and vulnerable. And if we follow Jesus' advice (and example) we return good for evil and we bless those who curse us. Thank God for mean people.

It hurts when people are mean out of selfish motives. But it is especially painful when they are mean "for your own good" or out of "love." This pain can drive us to despair or it can drive us to the One who knows all about betrayal. Thank God for mean people.

This also helps us to appreciate those who are kind, faithful and loyal—the ones we often take for granted. Thank God for mean people.

Failure has a way of leading us to a point of surrender, but it is a rather slow process. Personal attacks serve as an instant "wake up call." Thank God for mean people.

It's easy to allow our "Christ following" to become routine. We start to think, "I have a pretty good handle on this." We don't bother God with day-to-day stuff. We plan to ask for his help only when something really big comes up. But then mean people come to our rescue and remind us that we aren't self-sufficient at all. Thank God for mean people.

The way of discipleship begins with brokenness, emptiness and surrender. And few of us choose this on our own. We generally need some outside stimulus. Thank God for mean people.

It is only when we have enemies that we can learn to practice some of Jesus' most difficult words: "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you" (Luke 6:27–28). Thank God for mean people.

But it's also good to have kind people, gentle people, compassionate people, faithful people, good people, and loving people. Thank God especially for them.

Take the time to be extra kind, gentle, compassionate, faithful, good, and loving to the people you meet today. You really don't know how much they might need it.

Pastor Rod

"Helping You Become the Person God Created You to Be"

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