I was frustrated, not for the first time, by a particular person. Someone who does things very differently than me–in my opinion, too slowly, or without enough regard for reality. This person was unconcerned, in my mind, about what was important, and focused only on the negative. I did not want to deal with the person or the situation, but circumstances being what they were, I had to.
I knew it was I who probably had the wrong perspective. So I took the matter to God in prayer. And this time, I think I heard a clear word in my spirit. A clear message.
I had recently been to a church retreat called “The Kingdom and the Poor.” One of the most powerful moments of the retreat was when the leader had various people simply read the scriptures that mentioned ‘the kingdom of God” and another set that mentioned “the poor.” No comments, just the scriptures, one right after another, cascading over us, word by word constructing a picture of God’s vision and God’s heart.
When I went to prayer about my attitude toward this particular “difficult” person, the words that imprinted on my soul were, “In my kingdom there is room for all kinds.” And the sense was that, not only is there room, but “all kinds” were welcome, honored, cherished.
What a different perspective from the world’s! The world dictates membership into The Accepted: you must be successful, productive, rich, beautiful, powerful, productive, useful, white. The whole advertising industry, to mention only one, is built upon reinforcing this. Why do people strive so hard to look as young as possible, to acquire as many possessions as possible, to become as successful as possible? Not really to get or become the thing itself–beautiful, rich, or successful–but, I think anyway, to become Accepted.
God’s way is different. God says you’re accepted just because he made you. I think he actually likes people who are “different” in some way, who have some sort of handicap or difficulty. His compassion is activated by our need, and his nature is to be compassionate, kind, loving, gracious.
“In my kingdom there is room for all kinds.” The words changed my attitude toward my Difficult Person. Knowing God loves that person, welcomes that person without asking for any change at all, humbled me, challenged me to do the same.
It also made me look at myself, at my own lacks and faults, and feel very, very glad that “in God’s kingdom, there is room for all kinds.”
Copyright (c) 2006 by Diane Eble. All rights reserved.