Our church is going through the "Forty Days of Community" programme that Saddleback Church in California initiated. I'm not big on programmes. I'm also not big on Hawaiian shirts. Nevertheless, I have a lot of respect for Rick Warren, in spite of differences of personal taste and self-expression. He never says anything I haven't heard or thought before. He just reminds me that it matters and points me to Jesus. I think this is one of the best things I can say about a person.
Last week was our first week of this particular programme. It's about the community of the Church, and primarily, in context to that, about love. I realised that I really like the idea of love. I mean, I want to be loved. I also think it would be a great good thing for me to love other people. I'm all about this, and I ask Jesus to help me love people like He does. Then Mrs. Half-Caff Tall Breve Latte* walks into the store with her cell phone earpiece at the ready, and asks us to allow her, essentially, to cut the line. As soon as she leaves (which was pretty quickly, since she cut the line) we baristas all mutter our disgust to each other and I say, "I can't stand her."
This, I think, is not the best exhibition of Christlike character. Even if said latte-woman is no longer on the premises. Maybe especially then. Then I'm saying something malicious behind someone's back and everyone I'm saying it to knows I claim to be a Jesus-follower.
But I am being honest. Plus, everyone else agrees with me. That makes it all okay, right? In that moment, I don't want to be able to stand her, either. I like being appalled and disgusted that people think they can be obnoxious on a regular basis and still imagine that people like them. (Although maybe they don't imagine such things at all. I often find myself just as appalled and disgusted with myself when I'm being obnoxious--even though when I am I don't feel like I could be anything else.)
But Jesus--somehow He would find His own image in her and He'd know the things that had marred it in the particular way that it is marred in her, as it is in all of us. And He would love her. He probably wouldn't let her get away with her self-righteousness, but then, He would be equally unlikely to let me get away with mine. And He'd still love us both. I mean, He does love us both.
Imagine if He actually answered my prayer and got me to love like He does. That would be so amazing. I think I maybe want Him to now . . .
*Not her real drink.