Our church has a unique part of our worship called While You Were Talking. Our Connection Cards include space for people to ask questions, make comments or raise concerns.
In the past, I have sent these questions out by email but now we’d like to post these questions on the blog as well.
Today’s message was called Jesus’ Most Dangerous Idea. The idea was not what many people think it would be. In the course of the message, we described Jesus’ most dangerous idea as: “Love others as you need to be loved.”
This means that we need to be focused not on receiving rewards but in meeting the needs we feel in our own lives in the lives of others. You can listen to the message here.
Without further ado, here are the While You Were Talking questions from today.
This is a very long, slow and even fainful process. You start by giving a little at a time then build from there. Yet there is always some amount of selfishness or expectation of something in return. How do you get beyond that? And how or at what point do you know you are beyond it?
There are no easy answers to these questions. As painful as it might be, we get beyond it by getting beyond it. I know this sound like a paradox – actually, it is a paradox.
One of the problems we have as Christians (and as Americans) is that we think there is a procedure for everything. We believe that everything has a solution that fixes things and makes them go away.
Learning to love like Jesus means we shift our focus off ourselves and not worry about the little things. As we said today, we don’t need a “standard” to message ourselves by.
Consider this. I recognize that I have a deep-seated need for encouragement. By nature, I am a melancholy person. The answer to this is not to demand encouragement for others but to recognize that if I have this need then others have this need. Rather than seek people’s encouragement (and get angry when people don’t encourage me!), I try to encourage others.
This is, as with all things that Jesus taught, a Kingdom Ideal. That means that we will not “arrive” in this area but rather we must strive continually for the ideal.
Are you saying that we will receive more joy by loving everyone, even our enemies? Would that be considered selfish?
First of all, as we expressed last week, joy is not something we accumulate. It is experienced in relationship. If we need to review that message, it is located here. So, we do not enter into relationships to accumulate joy. Instead we are to experience these relationships – that is the definition of joy.
When we are thinking like Jesus, then we are not pursuing joy. Again, our American mindset often says that “pursuit of happiness” is our right, as Thomas Jefferson expressed it in the Declaration of Independence. This is not a Christian characteristic. It may not necessarily be wrong, but pursuing happiness should not drive what we do.
Joy is, if anything, a side effect of relationship.