God has been impressing on me the need to love other people more. I want to do that but it's always been hard for me. After the trauma of childhood sexual abuse, I grew up self-absorbed. I constantly focused on myself, trying to figure out what I could do to feel better, what I could do to get rid of the pain; always battling the negative voices and thoughts that took up residence in my head.
And I still struggle with self-absorption. Self is a hard thing to get rid of because it's always with you. But so is Jesus. Jesus is always with me. I'm determined, with God's help, to become Jesus-focused and not self-focused, Jesus-conscious and not self-conscious. Several things this weekend reminded and challenged me anew to ask God for more love for others.
First was the movie "The Help". It tells the story of colored women who served as housemaids for socialite white women in the 60s in Mississippi. The white women looked down on the colored women as being less than them, heck, as being less than human; not letting them share their toilets, their silverware, or the food they had so generously prepared.
But, and this is the real kicker, they turned the total care of their babies over to these colored maids, because the white women were too busy with themselves to even acknowledge their little children existed. And the colored women loved these little ones as if they were their own; causing one tiny girl to hug her housemaid and exclaim "You are my real mommy".
Second was my pastor's sermon yesterday. He had just returned from a mission trip to Indonesia and was telling us about the miraculous things going on in that part of the world to bring people to Christ. He said God had brought three things to his mind on the trip home, "Love them, Serve them, Lead them". He said he loved Muslims, he loved Hindus, he loved Buddhists, he even loved Baptists:). He said if we want to halt the spread of the Muslim religion in our country then the best thing to do is make a friend of a Muslim and love them to Jesus.
Isn't that really what Christianity is all about? Loving people to Jesus, no matter what their skin color, nationality, religion or bank account is.
"Jesus replied, "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself".