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Pressing into Friendship on the Margins

I was reflecting yesterday after seeing so many different needs in the neighborhood around me and found myself feeling completely overwhelmed and inadequate to meet all of them.  

Part of me feels like, “What is the point of giving up of my life to make a tiny dent in all the brokenness in the world?  I can’t address all of these issues, I can’t pray enough, I can’t give enough money away, I can’t disciple enough people.”  

I’m feeling the lie come up that it is not worth it to give of myself because I cannot ever do enough.  I should just look out for myself and get what I can from others.  

I make myself open to your truth, Lord. 

The truth that You are bringing about your Kingdom in power though we do not see everything subject to you.  

The truth that You are working in people’s hearts and pursuing them even if they aren’t aware.  

The truth that it is my greatest joy to give of myself on behalf of others.  

The truth that You are convicting my heart because you want me to receive that joy.  

Pour your love into my heart, Holy Spirit.  Fill me with your love--Your love for me and your love for others.  

WHEN WE TOUCH THE PAIN AND BROKENNESS OF THE WORLD AROUND US, WE LONG MORE PASSIONATELY FOR THE FULFILLED KINGDOM. 

It reminds me of what Ken Wytsma said in Pursuing Justice that we can feel like the world must be a pretty just place when we live in a community that is seeking to walk in love and reconciled relationship.  We can forget that there is still deep darkness, evil and oppression in the world.  

And when we forget that darkness, we do not long for the full Kingdom.  We become content with this semi-fulfilled Kingdom that seems good enough. We just need to manage our sin, pray a couple hours a week, and hopefully get a few vacations in during the year.  

Our understanding of suffering becomes so weak that we start to see ourselves as being oppressed.

We start to think that having a boss that asks you to stay late is unjust.  

We start to think that suffering with people means listening to them complain about their day for a few minutes. 

We start to feel persecuted when we go out to eat and are told we will wait 15 minutes for a table but we sit their for half an hour...

...or feel mistreated when the outfit we wanted at the mall is sold out. 

Then, when we are confronted with brokenness that seems to be beyond our capacity. We immediately put up our walls to protect our “peace” instead of entering into a genuine relationship with them.  

We start to be wary of inviting people into our lives who don’t seem to have it all together because they may disturb the convenience and comfort we are experiencing.  

The first question for our family is: Are we putting ourselves in a place where we can interact with those who are experiencing that deep oppression and darkness? The next question is: Am I willing to be their friend? 

Friendship implies giving and receiving.  It implies long commitment to each other.  It implies working through things together though we both are going to make mistakes.  Friendship assumes we enter into their lives and we invite them into ours.  

Are we willing to sacrifice ourselves by entering into their pain in the way the Holy Spirit is calling us?

Are we willing to sacrifice ourselves by inviting them into the peace we are experiencing within our community (even if they disrupt that peace)? 

:: jordan ::