“From now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.”
2 Corinthians 5:16
One of the amazing things about humanity, is we are all part of a journey. Although we are different, the road is much the same for us all. We all have moments, in our lives where everything is wonderful. Times where we feel like we have life under control. Seasons where it appears that victories keep adding up and things are working very well in our favour. Yet, as humans we also, are all familiar with heartache and suffering. We understand the moments when the unexpected phone call comes and tragedy has reached our lives. We are familiar with broken homes, broken marriages, and broken lives. None of us are exempt. We experience joy and tears. Dreams and sorrows. Hope for a future and moments where our hope has been taken captive by the uncertainties of life.
This study is particularly moving for me, because it strips away all the human defenses, and excuses and challenges me to remember my pain, my journey, my victories when assessing another human life. This is challenging because we tend to be a people focused on cultural acceptables and base so much of life’s perspective from that mindset. We look at where we have come & forget where we have been. In doing so, we often do not offer that same privilege to someone else. The privilege of working out their own journey with God through their joy & their tears. Through their victories and defeats. Through their challenges of finding him in their heartache.
Susie Larson begins this chapter by telling a story of a woman whose was not a great housekeeper. She had a lot on her plate, a lot of children, and the responsibilities of her life kept piling up. Everything in the home seemed great besides that, until one day a crisis came into her family. She was left a widow. She was terrified. She stood in her home in fear and trembling with the fear of the future in front of her. She did not know how she was going to make it. In the midst of that moment, some people from the church came over to help clean her house and get her life in order. Seems like a great plan and it really could have been, if that was all they did. They worked to get her house in some form of order, then left her place only to share the horror of her housekeeping skills with others. They discussed how unorganized she was, how they did not know how anyone could live like that, and so on. The truth that Susie emphasizes in this chapter, was that in her desperate moment of weakness, they exposed her. Instead of covering her and being a place of safety for her, they took her weak moment and misused her and the work of God in her life.
This is sobering. It makes me wonder how many times in my life unknowingly I have done that in someone else’e life.
The Uncommon life chooses a different path.
- Love Sees
What does love see?
A. We All Have a Story – None of us have made it this far in our lives without there being a story. It comes back to where we started. We all have celebrated successes. We all have cried tears of disappointments, but we all have stories. The interesting thing about us though, is that we forget that our friends, and neighbors have stories too. Just because I might be in a moment of victory and they might be in a season of disappointment does not give me the freedom to elevate myself. I will find myself in a moment of brokenness somewhere in the future and I pray that in that moment, I have some uncommon people in my life who do not use that moment to expose my weakness, but who will rather offer life to me in my pain. Let’s be uncommon and recognize the wonderful and terrifying stories of those we are walking this life with. Their stories are filled with much of the same as ours, seasons of winter and seasons of sunshine.
B. The Work of God is Holy Ground – This part of this study brings the fear of God out in me. Matthew 5 :8 says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” . Properly translated from the greek it actually says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they God shall see.” I want to be seen by God. I want my heart to be one that is pure before him. I want to recognize his work in my life, and in the life of those I am with. I must admit though, I have never honestly stopped to consider that our stories are actually Holy Ground.
Here is what Susie says in this chapter, “When we earnestly pursue purity in our own thoughts and hearts, we will acquire a supernatural ability to see others the way Jesus sees them.. It won’t matter if they move fast and you move slowly – if you guard your heart when you think of them, you’ll get a front-row seat to see God’s divine love work in them, and you’ll be nourished as your watch their life’s story unfold.” She goes on to challenge us that if we allow our hearts to become impure and we become self-righteous against them that we will not get the privilege of seeing what God is doing in them. This is what she says, “God won’t let us in on the precious treasure of their strengths because right now, we’re mishandling their weaknesses.” This is powerful if we allow it to penetrate our hearts. We must recognize that my brother or sisters journey is one of holy ground. God is working even when I can’t see him. I have experienced moments where someone else trampled on the work of God in my life, and it is sobering for me to think that I, too, may have done that in someone else’s life. Susie shares one more thought that I must share, “Christ’s work in all of us is sacred. Your process, my process, messy as it is sometimes, is holy ground.” Let’s be people who are uncommon and recognize the sacred work of God in another’s life.
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God
chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”
1 Corinthians 1:27
2. Love Covers
How does it cover?
A. Getting Dirty While Remaining Pure – In John 13:4-10 we have an example of Jesus preparing to wash the feet of his disciples. He demonstrates humility in this act, but also stresses that cleansing was necessary in order to be a part of him. We know this deals with those who come to him and are new creations. Yet, it is so interesting that he is removing the mess of the journey from off of their lives. Jesus walked with them in the mess of their lives yet he remained pure. I have often told a story of my own initial exposure to the things of God. For me, it began with a man of God who was not afraid to get dirty while he remained pure. In my life, it was a Pastor who came into the home of a broken family. Someone who came and ate supper with a drunkard. Someone who sang hope to those who felt hopeless. Someone who did not require that the package look perfect to be loved, but someone who loved the broken package. We must never underestimate the value of getting dirty while remaining pure. We must be willing to let the mess of broken lives walk beside us. We must love those who don’t come in the perfect religious package. We must, if we want to be uncommon. Let’s make a decision to be led by the one who got dirty while remaining pure. He truly is the greatest example.
B. Giving Protection in Moments of Another’s Weakness – Let’s go back to the woman in the earlier part of this lesson who had church people come and clean her home when she was in grief. The response of an uncommon life would have been to protect and cover her in this moment of weakness. If we want to be uncommon, we must protect. We must be willing to be misunderstood if necessary, but we must value people.
I want people who will protect me in my moments of weakness. People who will step in front and fight for me. People who will fend off the gossipers, the liars, those who will push back those looking to gain from my pain. I want to have those people in my life. I also want to be that kind of person. Someone who jumps in front and fights for one who can’t fight for themselves. I want to be someone who fends off the accuser on another’s behalf. This is truly the uncommon road.
Having the perspective of an uncommon life requires deep commitment. It requires being focused on truth and not giving place to becoming judge over another person’s life. The perspective of the uncommon person is a divine perspective, for they see that love truly see’s, but love also covers. It is a life that chooses to walk in the midst of the dirty dusty lives of another while remaining pure, and according to Matthew 5:8, this is truly the life that God sees.
The road to being uncommon is not easy. Having an uncommon perspective comes with a price, but the reward of seeing the treasure of God being released from another life is one of the most beautiful encounters life can ever know. The fragrance of God released, as we encounter him through their story.