Monday, June 25, 2007

Letters: On Being Jesus

Dear M.,

I am always willing to talk to C. about spiritual things, but I will not force that conversation on her or on anyone else. I used to do that to people, and I regret doing so. I think it's generally counter-productive, serving only to damage the relationship rather than to bring someone closer to God.

I feel like my job with C. is just to love her exactly the way she is -- which at the moment means not going to church, not willing to talk about spiritual things. God is responsible for changing her heart and her mind, not me. I believe that God is more likely to use me in her life if I do everything I can to have a good, open relationship with her.

Also, I think the focus on external things and on "Christian" activities, like going to church and talking about God, is misplaced. I don't want this to sound harsh, and I'm afraid it does--but I do want to be honest with you, M. C. does not need us to talk about Jesus to her--C. needs us to be Jesus to her.

What does that mean, you ask? Well, I'm glad you asked. Here's my take on it: Being Jesus to C. means

--don't try to change her. Love her and accept her exactly the way she is right now. Before you say anything to C., ask yourself, "Am I saying this because I want her to change?" If so, don't say it.

Trying to change another person is not only feckless, but it can also be destructive to the other person and to the relationship. I know from experience--it puts the person on the defensive. The only way to change another person is to pray for them--but sometimes prayer "backfires", and the one who prays is the one who changes. God is sneaky that way.

--serve her. Serve her in big things and little things. Helping her set up her craft room is a great example of serving her. You knew what was important to her, and you put your time and energy into making it happen. Good job with that! Serving her with little things sometimes means talking less and listening more, or picking up a crafting magazine on the way home from work, or putting gas in her car before she even asks.

Mr. Peevie is truly wonderful at these kinds of humble, daily acts of service. It makes me fall in love with him all over again. Every morning he re-sets the alarm clock to wake me up at the right time. When I cook for him, he's grateful and appreciative. If I need something ironed, he'll iron it for me. He buys me small gifts because he knows how much I love presents. (That's my love language--gifts.)

(What's C.'s love language?

You know what--it's almost midnight, and I'm tired and losing focus. More on this later.


E. Peevie

No comments: