Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Paradox of People

I used to claim I hated children. When I was in high school, little kids would flock to me. I secretly loved the affirmation, but pretended I detested kids. Of course, once I started teaching, I realized it's the parents I don't care for! Just kidding, mostly. I think in general, it's easy to dislike people. We have our own set of standards---the way we behave and the way we expect other people to behave. Of course, no one is going to meet those standards to their entirety, so we become disillusioned with people in general. I keep saying we, but perhaps I mean I. Maybe no one else has these thoughts. Perhaps I am irrational, but I doubt it.

On the other hand, I have a passion for people. I love to see people happy. I enjoy meeting the needs of people. I have a desire for people to reach their potential. I seem to be good with people. I mean, most people like me as far as I know. I think my problem is in the longterm category. I have a hard time maintaining interest in people for long periods of time. I want to help them, and run!

I'm sure this has much to do with my issues of commitment, along with issues of laziness, but the whole idea gets me thinking more and more about Jesus. How did He do it?! How does He do it? He loves us unconditionally, and eternally. Wow. That's a long time. Fooorever. We let Him down constantly. There I go again. I let him down constantly. I know I do not meet the expectations that I think Jesus would have for me. But He still loves me. He still wants the best for me. Oh, to have that love and compassion on all people.

I had a discussion about this in my Bible class at school. We talked about how people let us down, and how it can be easy to dislike people, or even treat people poorly because they do not act the way we suppose they should. Then we looked at the example of Christ, and all of us---the students and myself---were amazed. Somehow, we got a glimpse of the mercy and love of Christ in our study. It was pretty amazing to see the reaction in the kids' faces when it hit them.

But I also remember thinking to myself, I need this. I need to be reminded that people's actions should not dictate my concern for them. My love for people should be through the eyes of Jesus Christ. And truly, I cannot love them in that way without the Holy Spirit's empowerment. In, in myself, would ditch all people in general because they do not fulfill my needs the way I would want. But, that's not what it's about. What can I do for them? How can I serve them? How can I minister to them? How can I show the love of Jesus to them?

No comments: