What is it like to know that no matter how messed up you might be, the Good Shepherd looks at you with love…
Love begins, not with loving, but with being loved. Being loved gives you the freedom and resources to love. We can only give what we have received.
It’s tough to love people when they constantly come into your space, demanding your attention. But if we are always in control, deciding whom and when we will love, then we risk having a weak imitation of love. If we aren’t open to our schedule being interrupted or our bank account being tapped, then we might be fooling ourselves as to our own goodness. Love gives.
Love moves toward people, even if that means confrontation. It doesn’t leave them alone in their suffering or in their selfishness. Sometimes people are so paralyzed that unless we intrude, unless we break through both of our natural reserves, we can’t love them.
Judging is knee-jerk, quick, and bereft of thought, while compassion is slow and thought-filled. By slowing down so that I could feel compassion, I was closer to [my daughter and wife]. If I’d speeded up and judged, I would have been distant from them. Judging separates and, thus, destroys community; compassion unites and creates community.
The great struggle of my life is not trying to discern God’s will; it is trying to discern then disown my own.
Instead of using your insights into other people’s issues as a spiritual hammer, Jesus wants you to take these insights and deepen your own repentance.
We can’t do battle with evil without letting God destroy the evil in us as well.