Born Again

Born Again

Friends, I invite you to share your comments on these Afterthoughts at the bottom of this web page. I would love hear what you think! brad+

On Sunday,

I talked of the importance of knowing those with whom we share community.

Paul shared two things that are key to doing this.

First, by making ourselves slaves.

Paul says of those he is seeking to serve,

“For though I am free with respect to all,

I have made myself a slave to all,

so that I might win more of them.”

Why would he do this?

To make sure that he wasn’t getting in the way of others learning about God.

People can be intimidating.

I am almost 100% sure the Apostle Paul would have been.

Borderline curmudgeon with a deep passion for Jesus.

Intense.

He had authority.

All of these things can mess up the receiving of a message if you are not careful.

Both because people feel intimidated and because their perceptions can be off.

I have shared before that people respond differently to me if they know,

initially, that I am a priest.

When they have time to get to know me before knowing what I do, it is fine.

If they find out early on when they are getting to know me,

it is a lot harder to get through people’s preconceived notions.

The smaller you can make yourself to get out of the way, the better.

Plus, this was the attitude of Jesus as well as He talked to His Disciples.

“The last shall be first and the first shall be last.”

Matthew 20:16

“The greatest in the kingdom is the one who humbles themselves,

and becomes like a child.”

Mark 10:42

I talked of the importance of knowing those with whom we share community.

Paul shared two things that are key to doing this.

So, again, the first thing that is key to knowing those with whom we share community is by making ourselves slaves.

The second thing is being born into another’s world.

Before you a judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes

was the idiom I shared on Sunday about understanding someone.

Many times in life we judge before we understand.

Most things and most people have context.

There are reasons for the way things are,

And reason for the way people are.

Paul describes the “walking in another’s shoes” principle

with the idea of being born into something.

I have become all things to all so that I might, by all means, win some.

We must put ourselves in another’s place to know.

Think about it this way:

What are the things in your life that have happened to you

That are essential to knowing you?

What are the life changing events?

What are the anchor points of strength?

What are the difficult areas weakness?

If we could know these things about people

And commit ourselves to understanding this

And covet to not hold it and/or use it against people.

This would go a long way to building community.

(And I know it doesn’t normally happen this way).

Jesus puts this idea out there when He talks about stepping into the life of faith.

In the beginning of John chapter 3,

Jesus is talking to Nicodemus.

He says this to Jesus,

“Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God.

For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

Jesus replied, 

“Very truly I tell you,

no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked.

“Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

John 3:1-4

Nicodemus could not begin to understand Jesus or the Kingdom of God,

Unless he was born again.

Unless he did away with preconceptions about life

His preconceptions about God

And about the Messiah

and allowed himself to see Jesus as He was.

Which is what we are called to.

To be born again.

To approach life through the lens of faith and wonder.

To see with new eyes those things we have already established an opinion on,

And those people we have already established an opinion about.

To understand.

And then to respond.

The beginning of understanding others

comes when we divest ourselves of those things we have come to believe,

to learn those things which we must know.

It goes a long way to building better community.

But we must be born again.

It reminds me of a verse from a Michael Card song called God’s Own Fool.

So come lose your life for a carpenter’s son,

for a madman who died for a dream.

And you’ll have the faith His first followers had,

and you’ll feel the weight of the beam.

So surrender the hunger to say I must know

Have the courage to say I believe.

For the power of paradox opens your eyes

And blinds those who say they can see.

Let us walk forward together in faith

and seek that which God will reveal to us about ourselves

and about those who He has called us to love.

Blessings,

brad+

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