You Just Went Too Far: Least of These [Part III]

I don’t remember all the details any more, but I dreamed about someone I loathe.

I don’t say only dislike, I also don’t say hate, I loathe them. I have no desire to see or think about them ever again. In my dream I jumped from the top of a set of stairs onto them, driving them into the lower steps at a back-breakingly awkward angle with my fist to their throat. And you thought you were mean in your dreams. They had come into my house uninvited and very much unwelcome, and I was mad. I’m still a little mad, and it was just a dream.

I don’t know why I dreamed that. I don’t know why I did that. I don’t deny it felt pretty good. The thing is, I woke up from that and one thing flashed through my brain:

What have I been teaching you about loving your enemies?

Whoa, Jesus. You just went too far.

I look at people I know and wonder why they have a difficult time loving some of the people I love. Sometimes I even hold it against them. But then there’s this tugging at the back of my mind; what if Jesus actually meant love everyone?

That means love everyone. Not just the people I like. Not even just the people I can tolerate being nice to, no. Love everyone. And any trace of anything not love for anyone… is a warning sign that the love of Jesus isn’t in every fiber of my being because if it were, I wouldn’t have a problem actively loving anyone, because I wouldn’t be able to help but love everyone.

This is sobering to me. That in a perfect union of Jesus in me, there wouldn’t be one soul I would have any problem with touching. I have the tendency to go through life picking and choosing–‘Okay, I like them, I’ll love them. I don’t like them as much, but I can still be nice. I don’t really like that person, but I see their pain; I’ll love them anyway. I can’t stand that person; I don’t even want to think of loving them.’ Granted, other factors play in, and maybe that’s the answer; Jesus’ love cannot be expressed fully through me if I let anger/bitterness/unforgiveness/you-fill-in-the-blank have a hold. So I guess what’s left to say is ‘Jesus, here’s everything. Clean it up for me.’ And then to actually hand over the negative ties I’ve held on to people with. Freedom to love.

So Jesus here it all is. If you want me to love absolutely anyone, especially those you bring into my reach, then I want to love everyone you want me to love. I want to be free to love like no one else but You. I realize to do that the old man’s thoughts have to go; do what you have to so that I can renew my mind in you. I don’t want to hold on to bitterness, grudges or unforgiveness anyway. Show me the specific people you want me to touch directly with your love. You went too far to love me; I want to go too far to love others.

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Missing Men

 

There’s a hollow knocking in my chest and
It’s so foreign, so empty, like tuning into the radio static
No matter how hard I listen it just isn’t real
Like a machine in my core pumping cold and methodic

See I’m a man without a heart and
Not because I haven’t tried looking cause I’ve
Torn away piece by piece–shredded my flesh just to find it
Something’s missing; I’m missing.

And am I alone or are there more missing men
Missing dreams, missing hopes missing courage missing hearts
Lost in the oblivion and
oh so ISOLATED

And is it just me crawling around this
Empty space called a home but missing the vital source the spirit that made it so?
Or are there others knocking–pounding–on these white-washed rib-cage walls
Trapped and searching for what made them whole…

See I’m daring to long and not go along with the mechanical beats that would say I’m alive
Because inside I know it’s all really a lie
There’s nothing in there but a hollow lump of dust keeping time
The real me isn’t here it’s lost, I’m here but just a mime

So this goes out to the missing men,
Missing dreams, missing hopes missing courage missing HEARTS…

Dreams, hopes, courage, hearts…

If we banded together to fill in those empty gaps that
Let out so much breath and life and purpose from our being
What if we layed down our flesh to cover our brother and we
Took up our search not for our hearts but for another’s
Do you think that perhaps more eyes than just mine
Can find what I’m missing, before I die, just in time

Because we’re one in this disease and it’s about time that we see
The only person that can find the True You in time… is the real Me.

More Than Reputation

I’m recalling a dream I had some years ago. It came to mind recently because of an encounter I had the other day that opened my eyes a good deal wider than they had been. It was a short and very revealing discourse that took place over a couple hours on facebook between someone and myself about grace, works and our responsibility as Christians. I’ll begin by describing the dream:

I don’t recall the details now (they are probably stored away in some old journal) but the main points I remember vividly. I was at the Adventist church back in Hazelton. I’d had this dream while still a part of that congregation. I don’t remember having been inside the building at all, only outside where it was very dark in the parking lot, and a particular pastor–the person I had my discussion on facebook with–(not associated with the Adventist church) was there with a worship band. They seemed to be playing on a stage in the middle of the parking lot, although it wasn’t clear what they were up on because all around them was a fire burning which did little to display the darkness, and if anything only added to it with black smoke. As I got closer I was compelled to get into the fire–although I don’t know why. I somehow got into the flames and rolled through it. There were other people on the ground burning in the fire; all I saw were charred, black bodies. I didn’t feel any pain from the burning, and got out of the fire without being harmed. I would describe this entire scene now–the band, the fire around them, the darkness, the smoke, and the literal heap of burned bodies on the ground–as wholly demonic, though this view isn’t entirely necessary; suffice it to say, something was seriously wrong with the goings-ons.

I left the parking lot and walked over to the lawn where I found a lot of people who seemed to be just milling around. It wasn’t dark on the lawn–in fact it seemed to be broad daylight. And then an angel showed up–bam–or maybe it was Jesus, but I don’t think so, because he talked like a messenger, although I don’t remember what he said–just that he was dressed in white and he was definitely heavenly.  He handed me a blowtorch, and when I took it I began running through the crowd catching people on fire. But this wasn’t a burning like what had been happening in the parking lot–in fact, I don’t remember seeing a flame on anyone. This was different; more real, more holy. I don’t know how to describe it–those don’t really come close to the feeling that came over me in that moment.

Of course, I’m relating this with the bias of new understanding. I’ve since found my place to be well outside of the Adventist church–well outside of any religion, really. But this pastor? There has in years since passed been a reputation of being alive surrounding his church and ministry. It’s where I got some of my very first tastes of Christianity outside the religious box.

This isn’t a personal thing, my focus isn’t even really on this particular person–although I’ve had a lot to think about over the last couple days–but I will say that I saw some deep cracks going through his foundation, and I was surprised at the opposition and downright scorn I received for my stance on grace. I was surprised because of the reputation I had grown to be familiar with over the years.

You’re probably wondering by now where the heck I’m going with this, because I’m having a little trouble getting around to the point in a way that feels right. (I just don’t have the words). What I’m realizing is that God has his own plans for me–not within the religious, not within circles of people who have reputations of being alive but aren’t. His plans? His plans don’t have anything to do with human organization be it religious or otherwise. His plans involve me seeing Him–not just angels–face to face so that I would be like him. His plans? His plans are so much better than anything I could ever contrive or hope to bring about by associating with the ‘right people’. Because I’ll be honest, I’ve thought many times that if I could just find the right people to associate with–if I could just find that perfect life-coach-slash-mentor-slash-father-figure-slash-saint to raise me up to conquer my fears and failures and do great things for God–

It’s a bunny trail.

And I think far too many young Christians like me are on it, and it won’t ever work for them. I had to leave the church building, leave behind everyone and every circle of people I thought were good images of living Christianity… Because the only person that God wants us to be like? Is Himself. And the only person I can look to to be like God, is Christ. And Christ’s work was perfected in me at the cross and when I am in Christ and he is in me…

All the Father sees in me, is Christ perfected.