Over these last weeks filling in for Andrew I have come to know the God-given support group that has sustained him. I have become aware of the intellectual and spiritual base of friends that have taken precious moments of the day, their life, to lift up Andrew in a journey no one would choose, few would accept, and most would find a way to hide.
Weekly I have pondered each thoughtful, sincere, warm comment as individual responses and a whole. If most of you haven't figured me out yet, I specialize in data analysis. So hear goes my brain again.
Jesus called His closest followers Friends. Not loyal subjects or servants but friends. Why friends? He's God! The angels in God's realm are loyal, but Lucifer and the angels that followed Lucifer prove that loyalty can change. Many of us know how that has been evident in our lives.
Jesus didn't say His followers were dedicated. Although loyalty implies deeper commitment, dedication is less permanent and changes from one authority figure to another.
Sirach 6:14 states: A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter: he that has found one has found a treasure
A faithful friend, a true friend? What does it tell us about our Creator, if friendship is the endearing quality that strengthens relationships? Why does He favor that quality over any others? What factor changes the relationship?
Love is something that blooms from a more basic beginning. Acceptance! Not tolerance, Acceptance. Jesus accepts us right were we are, all our faults, shortcomings, failures, misguided steps. To be in relationship with Him we must also accept what nature and science insists is impossible. That Jesus died after withstanding an excruciating death process. (By the way, the word excruciating means from the cross. A word had to be created for the tortuous death). He came back to life in a body that was so maimed and in a tomb for 3 days. That He walked the earth and continued to prepare His Friends for an even greater ministry and then ascended, physically ascended from this earth. Another natural and scientific phenomenon.
Acceptance of the unexplainable, we become in relationship with God and then with others. Acceptance is foundational, then the building blocks of Dedication, Loyalty, Love, Steadfastness, etc. take place.
Once we accept the unexplainable, the acceptance of one another, and working in God's plan should be easy. Guess what it's not. Acceptance is foundational which means it must be used everyday.
What flaws in ourselves must you accept? What flaws in those in your daily life must you accept? How do you love/be dedicated/show loyalty to yourself first so you can love others better?
It is our calling as Jesus' friends to be a faithful friend even to death.
Music from Casting Crowns, with Jesus, Friend Of Sinners:
If you're interested, you can find Andrew's books on Amazon.