The Pastor’s Space…
I have focused a lot in my life on reconciliation. My father was a man who at times made some tough calls. When you are in a position as he was, not all people agree. Some people become angry usually because they do not get their way, and some people will put labels on you that are hurtful.
I remember being at a union meeting and the other side of the table became angry and called my father a name I cannot write down into a church letter. My dad did not flinch but just stuck to his position very kindly and softly and worked out solutions for a better agreement for all sides involved.
I asked dad afterward. “Pop, the name calling in that room in front of everyone (forty people), were you hurt by it? (In other words Pop, why didn’t you get up and smack him?). My father replied, “Sometimes son, people do not know your real self.....and I do. I know who I am and who I am not. What they said, what they called me, was not me. They were negotiating at the table not achieving what they wanted. They reverted to a human condition of name calling.”
Dad revealed to me what made him who he was. I had often wondered how he could get into some terrible arguments, listen to name calling and the next day they were best friends as if it never happened. My dad had the spirit of knowing who he was which I call the knowing of self. My Dad was keenly aware when the other party was angry; Dad would absorb that anger into himself by allowing to be called names. I look at this now as a kinder and purer form of love towards fellow man. In other words, he allowed this to happen to himself for the benefit of the angered party. Dad permitted it. He gave permission by allowing it. I always wanted to achieve that kind of “self.”
When Dad passed, I am certain he carried no baggage that needed reconciliation. He loved all people and enjoyed meeting new faces even if in anger.
He said, “Son if you carry that kind of luggage with you all your life, you avoid some of the best possibilities at the table in your life”.
My dad was not a religious sort so I look toward Jesus, and I see the same kind of love for people. What Christ would not do for us? I am sure you will agree that before the crucifixion, Jesus at that time, in those days, was the most misunderstood individual.....ever. He only had a few supporters and even Peter was ready with a sword to slice up the opposition. Jesus would tell you today, “Forgive them as I have forgiven you.”
Wouldn’t this be a different world today, if everyone opened up their baggage, and most of us have baggage, and decided on using a different kind of love we rarely would use? To say the words, “I am sorry,” and to be the first to offer this position? A Christian should take this position, and practice this position because it does not come easy. Judgment isn’t ours and our critical analysis trumps (excuse this word) our ability to love. Instead, we say, “It wasn’t my fault,” or “I didn’t do anything,” “I am not the only one to blame, there are others,” ”I never want to see that person again,” and so forth.
I believe, by not knowing “self” is letting our minds and mouths carry on further that which destroys what can truly happen at Jesus’ table. We want to break the bread, and we want to drink the cup, but when we cannot reconcile in “self,” we miss great opportunities in the Kingdom of God.
As a pastor, my wife and I live in a bubble. It is an unfair bubble because of expectations that label Karen and me as someone who we are not. Last time I looked, I remember putting my pants on one pant leg at a time, just like you. Can you imagine that? I hope you’re not thinking I come like a Ken Doll in a box with pants on. Even if I could hover and do this, the joke would be hurtful,” their goes Hover Boy.” But, I know the real self in me, and I forgive your doubts, your expectations and all the built up teachings and sometimes poor Gospel or Old Testament advice about who a pastor should be that you have picked up over the years. But if you let me walk with you in your private life I pray you know the confidence I hold in such conversations. I cannot feel your pain but hear about it, and I know it hurts. Christ is our great healer and if you truly follow Jesus, does it matter how you are labeled?
When "self" is hurt, I have been called to walk a bit with you and listen and pray. Jesus is your final judge if not the only judge. Can you carry your cross and be spit upon and still carry the cross? Carry your cross and have names called at you, or put your cross down and go into the confrontation? Can you carry your cross and know exactly who you are and why you are here? Can you carry your cross and show His amazing love close to the moment of your death and say...”Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do”?
Most of the time when someone opposes you and anger kicks in, rational thinking is lacking.
The power of “Self,” is knowing who you are and who you are not. Nothing else matters as a Christian than to put on the armor of Love. It would be a different world if we could get past the name calling, the color of skin, the dysfunctions, and the hatred. So Please...... Reconcile....Reconcile....Reconcile always. Remember the power of “Self,” it belongs to you. How will you be judged when that day comes?
God Bless you all....Your pastor...rap