"People are funny!"
That's my favorite comment when I observe human behavior seemingly out of sorts. When I am tempted to exclaim, “What’s their problem?” I try to linger a moment and remember that I don’t wear their shoes. Under the tutelage of Holy Spirit, I am learning to remind myself (in the moment) that people are funny, and sometimes that person is me!
We tend to be reactive, don’t we?
It’s the way we’re wired. Our mind, will and emotions all work together to process circumstances, environment, actions and words all swirling around us in our waking hours. And we process all of these in our mind, will and emotions through a filter of our past life experiences.
When the Psalmist states that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, he’s not joking around! God intentionally and intricately created each of us uniquely amazing in design and purpose. Yet, we live in a fallen and corrupt world in which painful experiences becomes a dirty filter through which our mind, will and emotions process our current situations.
We need our filter cleaned!
God knows how difficult it is for us to maintain a clean filter, so He provides us with simple and clear instructions. Additionally, He sent His Son Who gave us the gift of the Counselor, Holy Spirit.
Guard your heart above all else,
for it is the source of life.
Don’t let your mouth speak dishonestly,
and don’t let your lips talk deviously. Proverbs 4:23-24 HCSB
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit—the Father will send Him in My name—will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you. John 14:26 HCSB
So… “People are funny!”
For instance, Martha and Mary are kind of a hot topic right now. We, especially women, spend endless hours and unfruitful energy fretting over the idea that we might be Martha - the one who is scolded by Jesus.
Or did Jesus scold Martha? Personally, I think Martha was being loved by Jesus when He mentioned Mary was choosing the better place to be. Doesn’t it seem true to His character that Jesus just wanted Martha to drop her work and be with Him?
We read the Scripture and the books and hear the talks and somewhere the lies of the world creep in to condemn our desire to be a hospitable hostess. We're afraid to admit that we like doing for others because we perceive this might be the "wrong answer" in our Christian circles.
It’s not that we don’t want to sit down and enjoy Jesus. Perhaps it never occurred to us that we could serve Him more joyfully and carefree after we’ve spent some time visiting with Him.
What if Jesus wasn't choosing Mary over Martha? What if His message to us isn't what we think it is? Surely condemnation isn't thrown at us by our Savior! What if Jesus is pointing out to each of us that by His design and teaching, we have the capacity to enjoy the best of Martha's and Mary's strengths?
Hmm. I wonder if we should all stop here and ask Jesus what He really wants us to know about the way He sees Mary, Martha, you and me? Is it true that He frowns on the "doing"? Does Jesus really prefer Mary over Martha? Is it even true that Jesus plays favorites?
Remember, we process information through the filter of our own past experiences. Sometimes we read (or hear) Jesus’ interactions with people in the Bible through a dirty filter, which often results in feelings of guilt or shame. A healthy way to process Scripture is to ask Holy Spirit to be our Teacher. I have found my most effective processing happens when I spend time in prayer asking for a cleansed filter and submitting my mind, will and emotions to Holy Spirit. He is a Good Teacher!
People are funny, and I am a people!
I am a doer. I most certainly like to get things done. There's no doubt about it. Anyone who knows me in my real life would say I stay rather busy - I think. And I have to admit I'm not necessarily a fan of having to be still. Even when I'm sitting still in my body, my mind is zipping at a fast pace. And yet, for a reason I can't really explain, I tend to linger.
I enjoy the linger. As I currently ponder this thought, I recognize I am usually last to leave an event because I love to linger in a private or small group conversation. Typically, I am running into a room or event with my hair on fire trying not to be late. And usually that is because I lingered a bit extra with my husband before zipping out the door. Or I may have passed a walking neighbor and paused to say hello before getting on my way.
I'm grateful for Jesus' example. I like the way He tended to linger rather than rush off. At times He sent His disciples on to the next location while He lingered in conversation with His Father.(a) One recorded time He lingered at the Samaritan well with the woman who came late to draw water(b) while His disciples went on to gather lunch. Yet, a different time, Jesus lingered where He was staying while His good friend Lazarus passed from life to death.(c)
Lingering is not necessarily appreciated in our fast paced world, especially here in the Western culture where I live. We are a culture of doers - busy bees. And certainly God's Word does remind us to be doers of the Word and not just hearers only.(d) Certainly we need to be about our Father's work just as Jesus set the example. However, if we truly heed His example, we have to learn to appreciate the art of lingering.
I wonder if you might join me in this prayer today...
Lord, Jesus, thank You for being our Good Shepherd. And thank You for leading us in paths of righteousness by Your own example as You walked this earth in human flesh. According to Your Word, You mean to lead us in places of doing and in places of just being. You mean for us to have times of lying down and times of walking, times of refreshment and times accomplishing. Help us, Good Shepherd to discern the times of our lives by following Your lead. Help us to obey Your choice for us, and to follow where You lead.
I give thanks to You Lord, for You are Good and Your steadfast love for us, Your sheep, endures forever. Thank You for Your patience, Your kindness and Your loving correction. Amen.
(a) Matthew 14:22-24 niv
(b) John 4:6-8 niv
(c) John 11 niv
(d) James 1:22 esv