Loving the Faces

“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.” –Mark 6:34 (NIV)

One of my favorite things to do while traveling is people-watching. Whether it is while taking the public transit in the city, waiting at the airport for a flight, or walking the streets of a foreign country, I am always drawn to the faces of those who I pass by. I often wonder where they are going, where they have been, and what they must be experiencing now. It is this curiosity which draws me to people and I find it both a joy and an honour when people extend the hand of friendship and we exchange our stories with each other. Yet more and more I am coming to see people as souls in need of being in relationship with God their Creator, and that has added a whole new sense of urgency to tell others of the hope which is available through Christ.

Every day we encounter many faces. Some of them we do not know and only see for a brief second before they go their separate ways. Others we know quite well. They are our family, our friends, and our colleagues. Yet are they just faces to us? Are they but mere bodies which we are forced by circumstances to interact with? It is easy to think of people in generalization, where we can nicely fit them into our pre-conceived notions. But when we see people through the eyes of God, we see them as individuals uniquely and wonderfully made with souls that are made to be in relationship with Him. This calls us to a radical love that transcends all boundaries, yet this is a love which we can never work out in ourselves because of our sinful nature. It is only when we have allowed Christ to enter our hearts and have allowed Him to free us of our sinful nature that we are able through His Spirit to see people as how He sees them, as His precious creations in need of His restorative work. With His love overflowing from within us, His Spirit will compel us to show His compassion towards others and tell them of the eternal joy of knowing Christ as Lord and Saviour.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Keeping Moths Away

“Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.” -1 Samuel 18:1 (NIV)

Moths are notorious for devouring clothing. Certain species of them are known to eat anything made out of materials such as wool or silk. Should an entire swarm of moths enter a closet stacked with clothes or a room full of textiles, they will feast with devastating results. Beautiful silk garments and intricately woven clothes of wool will become riddled with holes, if not completely eaten. Carpets and rugs of flawless design can become unravelled within minutes under the swarm’s voracious appetite. That is why we place mothballs in our clothes to prevent them from causing destruction as a result of their hunger. Producing a vapour that is lethal to moths, these mothballs do not allow any opportunity for a hungry moth to feast; thereby safeguarding the clothes and keeping them intact.

The King James Version beautifully renders 1 Samuel 18:1. Describing the friendship between Jonathan and David it states that “…the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” When we form friendships, we have not only allowed our lives to intersect with each other, but our very souls have become tied together like how threads are woven together in a garment. That is why it is so tragic when relationships fall apart because those threads of closeness once shared between friends have been abruptly severed. Like moths, sin will destroy the very fabric of our relationships if we have allowed it to wreak havoc in our lives. The only way we can prevent sin from causing our relationships to crumble is when we have allowed the love of Christ to transform our hearts. When His Spirit comes to dwell within us and we submit ourselves to Him, He will work out His love and righteousness within us. His presence will act like mothballs for when we choose to remain in Him there can be no room for sin to rear its head; protecting our relationships from destruction so that He may use us to pour life into the people we come in contact with.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Don’t Start That Fight!

“He who loves a quarrel loves sin; he who builds a high gate invites destruction.” –Proverbs 17:19 (NIV)

It seems to be a universal fact that little boys are fascinated with bugs. I was no exception to this rule. One day as I was playing outside on a bright summer’s day, I came across an ant colony and a small stick. As I saw the ants hard at work, my inquisitive mind asked what would happen if I placed the stick inside the hole. I grabbed the stick and plunged it down into the ant colony. Nothing happened. It must be noted that my inquisitive mind was also a mischievous one, and I thought it would be a good idea to keep ramming the stick down the hole. To my horror I found a swarm of angry ants, and quite a few with wings, pouring up out from the hole wanting to know who was destroying their home. Terrified I dropped the stick and ran, my lesson duly learnt.

While we may know that it is probably not a good idea to agitate insects, or any other wildlife for that matter, sometimes it seems that this lesson does not apply in our interactions with others. Too often we use our words and actions to provoke others and cause unnecessary arguments. Why do we do this? The answer is found deep in our flawed human nature. Our pride loves opportunities where we can bring glory to ourselves. That is why pride is often what sparks arguments, because in quarrels we have the chance to prove to others that we are somehow superior or better than them. But if such an attitude has taken root in our minds, we will only reap destruction and misery as our stubborn pride tears cherished relationships apart. Our only hope to be spared from such a fate is when we have allowed Christ to be at the centre of our lives. When His Spirit has infiltrated every area of our being and we have submitted ourselves wholly to Him, He will teach us to be humble so that His love may overflow from within us; bringing life to our relationships and healing to the broken.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.