Be Still Know
Isaiah 1:18 NLT
‘Come now, let’s settle this,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.’
The reason God took the initiative of the incarnation was so that he might engage face to face with a rebellious humanity. It’s a reminder that in any meaningful peace initiative, there has to be face-to-face conversation. Initiating and establishing such conversations can be fraught with risks. Yet until and unless two disagreeing parties enter into close proximity with each other, there can be no progress.
I guess we can all recall situations where our perception of someone else was completely upended once we met them and heard how they saw a situation. The opportunity for misunderstandings is multiplied many times over when we make assumptions and fail to talk with the person concerned.
One problem is that whatever context we find ourselves in, we will need to create a narrative, a storyline, which makes meaning of the situation for us.
Jesus consistently refused to form judgements on the basis of what appeared obvious facts. Whether presented with a woman caught in adultery, accepting invitations to dinner with undesirables, or asking for water from a Samaritan woman, Jesus insisted on taking the time to get close enough to hear their story in their own words.
As a Church, we have perhaps disengaged from life to a great extent. Keen to demonstrate an alternative, wholesome way of living, we have distanced ourselves from those most in need of a message of hope and encouragement. We cannot communicate the love of God from a distance.
We have to live alongside those in need of salvation and start up a conversation. Not primarily to enable us to tell our story, rather to listen and give opportunity for someone else to tell their story, with all its pain, anger and frustrations. Having listened, we might be able to empathise, while also pulling back the corner of the curtain that hides God’s welcoming kingdom from their view.
QUESTION: Who do you recognise might value an opportunity to tell their story? Are you able to be the one who might listen and learn?
PRAYER: Father, who is it in my life that you want me to reach out to, so that they too may know your love?
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright C 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc, Wheaton, Illinois 60189 USA. All rights reserved.