“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
Treat others as beautiful children of God, who they are–with the same love and graciousness that you would give their highest and best self.
This Dare is a deep one. We’ve got a lot to cover today.
First off, we all know we have great potential, that everyone has great potential, but the reality is, we don’t all live up to that potential all of the time. This is why asking God to show us our identity blueprint (see Dare 6 and Dare 7) as well as the ones for those around us is so important, because there we catch the Vision of what God is working to create with us and in those around us.
The rubber meets the road when what we are, what others are, presently speaking, does not look the same. What do we do then?
As I’ve been preparing for this post, God took me on a journey. The first part of the journey was to read Matthew 18. So many things jumped off the page–it’s very colorful now. 🙂 Honestly, it was like a high five to the face, as one of my friends likes to say. 🙂
For me the whole chapter had an underlying running theme of what to do with the poor, the lost. I decided to look up poor. Here’s what I found:
“POOR, adjective [Latin pauper.]
1. Wholly destitute of property, or not having property sufficient for a comfortable subsistence; needy. It is often synonymous with indigent, and with necessitous, denoting extreme want; it is also applied to persons who are not entirely destitute of property, but are not rich; as a poor man or woman; poor people
2. In law, so destitute of property as to be entitled to maintenance from the public.
3. Destitute of strength, beauty or dignity; barren; mean; jejune; as a poorcomposition; a poor essay; a poor discourse.
4. Destitute of value, worth or importance; of little use; trifling.
That I have wronged no man, will be a poor plea or apology at the last day.
5. Paltry; mean; of little value; as a poor coat; a poor house.
6. Destitute of fertility; barren; exhausted; as poor land. The ground is become poor
7. Of little worth; unimportant; as in my poor opinion.
8. Unhappy; pitiable.
9. Mean; depressed; low; dejected; destitute of spirit.
10. Lean; emaciated; as a poor horse. The ox is poor
11. Small, or of a bad quality; as a poor crop; a poor harvest.
12. Uncomfortable; restless; ill. The patient has had a poor night.
13. Destitute of saving grace. Revelation 3:17.
14. In general, wanting good qualities, or the qualities which render a thing valuable, excellent, proper, or sufficient for its purpose; as a poor pen; a poorship; a poor carriage; poor fruit; poor bread; poor wine, etc.
…POOR in spirit, in a Scriptural sense, humble; contrite; abased in one’s own sight by a sense of guilt. Matthew 5:3.”
As I read through these definitions, it began to paint a very different picture in my mind than what I anticipated. Maybe it’s just my own recent life experience, but I found myself thinking “to be without any thing of worth”–how many of us have been passed down a DNA pile of crap? Not that everything we have is crap, but we just have so much “family baggage” that we’re up to our necks in garbage–things our “ancestors groan to pass us“
Poor can mean a lot of things: it can mean without temporal goods, without spiritual gifts, without a good support group, without a good family upbringing–anything that makes us a pauper–lacking things of true worth–in some form or another. How do we get over that? What does God call us to do?
I’m going to suggest two things:
Love and forgiveness don’t mean that there aren’t consequences. In fact, love would give us consequences to BRING us to Christ.
Forgiveness is all about letting go of the crap that we see manifesting and turning our “poverty” over to the Savior to be healed, and turning other people’s “poverty” over to the Savior to be healed. We cannot see the best in someone else, in-spite of the garbage that is on the surface, unless we have a view of who they really are in Christ. And we cannot maintain that unless we LOVE THEM and FORGIVE THEM.
What is it that we love? Who God created them to be.
What is it that we forgive? The crap that is manifesting, right now.
We have to have both to succeed in this Dare. If we maintain the Vision of who God created us to be, others to be, that in and of itself will give us the love we need and connect us to the divine forgiveness–to treat them as if they are not guilty.
I love the definition of forgiveness: “To pardon; to remit, as an offense or debt; to overlook an offense, and treat the offender as not guilty. The original and proper phrase is to forgive the offense, to send it away, to reject it, that is, not to impute it, [put it to] the offender. But by an easy transition, we also use the phrase, to forgive the person offending.” (Webster’s Dictionary 1828)
Forgiveness and love go together, you cannot have one without the other.
Forgiveness and love will go after the lost, after the broken, after the poor and call in them to rise to the Divine Truth that God has placed in them and cause it to blossom. I have seen it, it works.
From this place of Vision, Love and Forgiveness, we can call out in a sense, the truth of who we really are, who others really are.
Sometimes God calls us through chastisement, but remember, God’s chastisement is always done in love and peace and leaves you feeling better than before.
“No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile–Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.
“Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distill upon thy soul as the dews from heaven. The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.”
Sometimes God calls us to act in that place, to chastise someone, in a sense, to bring them up to what He designs them to be.
And remember, sharpness is only done when moved upon by the Holy Ghost. Too often we use that first, when it should be last.
Remember, too, that sometimes God has a perfect design He’s weaving in these poor and broken places: He knows what He’s doing and what He’s making in each one of us. Every sorrow and pain is going to dig that well of compassion a little deeper, and from that well, we have water for others to draw from in their time of need.
Assignment for Dare 8:
Read Matthew 18. What is God calling you to do through this chapter? To whom does He want you to minister relief? Who is He calling you to see the Vision of what He’s creating? Who is He asking you to forgive? Remember to write it down! 🙂 And then DO IT!