Welcome back to Daily Food for Thought. First up, a quote from John Pavlovitz…
I walked around today and I looked at people; those passing me in the grocery store, driving beside me on the highway, filling my newsfeed, walking by the house.
I tried to really see them.
I tried to look beneath the surface veneer they wore; to imagine the invisible burdens they might be carrying beneath it: sick children, relational collapse, financial tension, crippling depression, profound grief, crisis of faith, loss of purpose—or maybe just the custom designed multitude of the nagging insecurities and fears they’ve been carrying around since grade school and have never been able to shake.
As I looked at all these people, I wondered what kind of specific and personal hell they might be enduring, and it reminded me—so I’m reminding you:
Life is stunningly short and it is eggshell fragile.
Most people are having a really tough time.
They are almost always in more pain than you think they are.
Everyone is doing the very best they can to get through this day, and many are going through all manner of horrors in the process.
No one is immune from the invasive collateral damage of living.
And you don’t have to save these people or fix them or give them any special treatment.
They are rarely asking for such things.
The thing these wounded and weary human beings most need from you as you share this space with them—is for you to not be a jerk.
Great advice. And for those of us trying to follow Jesus, we are called to go further than not being a jerk, we are called to love, to what the New Testament calls ‘agape’ of neighbour and enemy. Agape is the ultimate in selfless, self-giving kindness, grace, and gentleness. It is a summary of the fruit of the Spirit, and therefore a summary of the very nature of God.
As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said: ‘Your life as a Christian should make non-believers question their disbelief in God.’