As I have let Jesus continue to spiritually form me, I have noticed a great – perhaps singular – change in my posture toward people.
My old posture assumed:
- that most people have a good and happy life, that they have it mostly ‘all together’
- that my job was to get those people to give more: more of their money to whichever cause was most important to me, more of their time to whichever volunteer unit seemed most needed, more of their lazy and apathetic hearts to Jesus
My old posture must have emanated:
- expectations, mostly unmet
Something changed. I honestly don’t know what it was. I only know that Jesus led me there and that it has changed everything. I haven’t got it exactly right yet, but I can sense a definite change. And I don’t know that this new posture is definitely the exact posture toward which Jesus is leading or will lead everyone else; though I believe very strongly that whatever your youthful, errant posture toward people may be, Jesus will indeed tend to it in your spiritually formative process.
My new posture assumes:
- that most people feel, at least in some way, as though they are barely making it: physically, spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, relationally, etc.
- that my job is to encourage, offer freedom, extend grace, weep with those who weep, rejoice with those who rejoice toward anyone in my path (especially the difficult people!)
My sincere hope is that my new posture emanates:
- love without conditions (the opposite of judgment)
- partnership with God to help each person become more of who He created them to be
My sister said something profound recently. She said that we each carry the burdens of our own life. She said that – even in a time of crisis! – we do a great disservice to others when we insist that our life burdens are heavier or more difficult than another person’s. She said that we are incredibly self-centric when we expect the people around us to drop all their own burdens in order to babysit ours.
I did a lot of that (self-centric disservice) under my old posture toward people. My old posture was basically in denial of any burdens whatsoever. My old posture was wrought with discontentment and judgment when other people didn’t drop everything to bail me out of my burdens.
My new posture infers that we all share in shouldering the burdens of others while we continue to carry our own burdens. Mutual shouldering.
I have found, to my happy surprise!, that over time this new posture has strengthened my back muscles a bit, so to speak. While my own burdens feel very heavy and are still in need of carrying, my new posture has caused me to become stronger to carry mine as well as to help carry those of the people around me. I have found myself more and more grateful just to have the strength, hope, and empathy to carry both loads simultaneously. I have found myself more and more welcoming of the perpetual load of life — as I drown in the oceanic grace of Jesus.