Sunday, July 28, 2013

Be the Church (Love) - VII

"Not boasting"and "not arrogant" are the next two qualities of love; and are different sides of the same coin. "Boasting" is the over-emphasis of a person's accomplishments or possessions. "Arrogance" is an attitude of superiority, usually displayed in an offensive manner. 

In the Bible, boasting is the same; trying to make one's self appear bigger, better, and more important than one really is. Arrogant is a word that comes from "to puff up" or "to inflate." Again, it is acting bigger, better and more important. The end result seems to me to be the same, but the point of view is slightly different. One looks up at the self; one looks down on others. Both put people in lower positions. These are certainly attitudes that would cause a person to stand out, but certainly not in a good way. As a representative of Jesus, we want to stand out, but only in ways that approach the ideal of what a good person is.

We are to take on God's love, which was displayed when Jesus died on the cross -- a death reserved for criminals, deserted by his followers and his Father. His whole life was associated with the humble, lowly and outcasts. Born in a poor family. Born in a barn. Eating and spending time with tax collectors, prostitutes, the poor and other undesirables. Rejected by the country's leaders. Regarded as a mad man and a threat.

Although, he could have done the opposite, he consistently put himself on the same level as those around him. He did not live their lifestyle, but he treated them as equals, as people. When people are on the same level, it is easier to cross the boundaries into others lives. It is easier to connect with them. It is easier to serve them. 

Love accepts people where they are. Acceptance is thwarted when we are too into and too focused on ourselves.

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