I think that it is easy to stand on the edges of true Christlike living. It's easy to attend church and teach our children Bible stories and the great songs from ages past. It's easy to stand on a pedestal and claim to know Christ. It's easy to walk what we have so easily accepted as Christlike living. It's easy to follow a set of rules. I like boundaries and rules because they make me feel safe. It gives me a reference point to look at and know that I am doing things correctly. It makes me feel very Christlike.
But is it really, truly and deeply Christlike? If we are holding onto the rules doesn't that make us less like Christ and more like those pesky pharisees?
It's easy to sing our hearts out worshipping our glorious Savior and then go home annoyed that the pastor took too long and now your Sunday roast is ruined. It's easy to judge and far harder to sit with that person in the pit of their despair. It's easy to throw the first stone and far harder to admit our own shortcomings.
It was easy for us to talk about adoption, to say we thought it was a great idea or a Godly goal. It was easy for us to say it was in the ten year plan. It was all easy...until we actually started it. Being Christlike is painful, because we are not like Christ and getting there hurts. It was easy to stand on the edges and advocate for orphans. Adopting one is a whole different story.
It was all easy...until now. I will stand here and tell you that adoption is the hardest thing we have ever done. And we have walked some tough roads in our marriage. But it is a good difficulty. It is a life changing road to walk.
Leaving the safety of those rules and getting off of the edges has painfully changed me. I will tell you my judgement of others exists far less than it once did. I judge myself far more now. What are my motivations? Why am I serving this God? Do I truly want to be like Him?
Could I shave $20 off of my grocery budget and give it to the person from church who asked for prayer for medical bills? Would I really give the coat off of my shoulders to someone who is colder than I have ever imagined? Would I sit with the girls on the side of the street and really, deeply listen to their stories?
Things in this world have taken their place behind faces that are in desperate need of help. Do I really need that new dress when I have seen true need in the eyes of those mother's who cannot clothe their babies? Do I need to redecorate again when I have seen the homeless teens on the street? I am sickened by the wealth that surrounds me and how little of it I have given away. I am sickened that I could go to sleep inside a house, under a roof, with blankets to spare and not wake up and go take my bed and give it to someone who needs it. I am sickened that I have been so self centered that I never saw the needs of others. I never understood their pain.
I am sadddened that even in my serving I expected something in return. I expected respect, for myself, for my things, for my home. I had no clue what sacrifice meant. I heard of hurting people and offered up prayers for them, but never once sat down with them in the midst of their ruin.
Lord Jesus, continue to change my heart. Help me to see with your eyes. Help me to see others needs before I see their flaws. Help me to learn to truly give of myself. May my heart become less like a pharisee and more like the Man on the Cross who died in shame and rose in victory. May I live less so that I may serve You like You have served me. Help me, Jesus, to see myself as a servant. Help me to see myself as lower than others so that You will be raised higher. Help me not to see myself at all. Dear God, let me only see You. May You be my Master and may I be your servant in everything everyday.