Do you see beyond your flesh, your skin and bones? Do you see through your eyes to Jesus? To his love and grace for the human race? To the Father’s embrace for all his creation? Do you allow the Spirit’s light to shine through?
Are His commands to love important to you? Do you let His words fill you and overflow with words and actions to others? Love God, love your neighbors, love your enemies, love each other, let the world know you are His friend by following His commands to love unconditionally, with radical grace, with outstretched hands?
Do you love with a generous, unselfish, caring love, an undignified love, a compassionate love? Brennan Manning explains this kind of love so beautifully in The Ragamuffin Gospel (emphasis mine).
“The parable that makes this truth so obvious is the story of the prodigal son, the parable of the loving father. The emphasis of Christ’s story is not on the sinfulness of the son but on the generosity of the Father…The son had his speech carefully rehearsed, and he doesn’t even have a chance to say to his father, ‘I’m sorry.’
“There is a fascinating passage in chapter 8 of John’s Gospel about the woman caught in sin. She was caught in adultery. Jesus says to the woman, ‘Is there no one here to condemn you?’ She says, ‘No one, Lord.’ He says, ‘Okay, go and don’t commit this sin anymore.’ Get the picture? Jesus didn’t ask her if she was sorry.
“No, the love of our God isn’t dignified at all, and apparently, that’s the way He expects our love to be.”
Get the picture? Jesus didn’t ask her if she was sorry. No, the love of our God isn’t dignified at all, and apparently, that’s the way He expects our love to be. (Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel)
If this isn’t you, or you find this kind of love appalling or frightening, do you see a false reflection of yourself, like Dorian Gray? And is there a portrait of you hiding in a mental attic somewhere, revealing your true self? The self you hide even from you.
The self that says you’re pro-life but only for unborn babies;
not for fearful immigrants running from genocide;
not for starving orphans fleeing for their lives;
not for the foreigners we are told to love;
not for members of your family who have made mistakes;
not for members of your church who you gossip about;
not for people who believe or behave differently than you;
not for the homeless on the streets of your own town;
not for the single elderly who live alone, awaiting a call, a visit, a smile from someone – anyone.