My freedom journey from the cave of fear and insecurity into the wide open spaces of love and grace.
Thursday, June 29, 2017
"The End or the Means?"
Ever heard the cliche' "the end justifies the means"? I guess that statement is the overriding philosophy of Jack Bauer and many other "vigilante" heroes! Many times in life I have been guilty of using that same course of reasoning in the wrong situations. I've said through my actions, "As long as the goal is achieved, to hell with the fallout or collateral damage. Get the job done at any cost!" That's what matters, right? Or is it? Sadly, I've watched this mindset and philosophy become "standard operating procedure" with many people relative to how they view and handle relationships. How many times have WE been guilty of using people as stepping stones to personal opportunity, with no regard for their needs, their intrinsic value, their fragile emotions, or the vulnerability of their heart? The reason Jesus could truly love is that He wasn’t defined by people. He was free to love, no strings attached, no need to be affirmed by them. He didn’t need their approval to validate him or to give Him significance or value. He wasn’t concerned with self-preservation. He came to seek and save the lost…He came to love. We can't truly love people when we're obsessed with pleasing them. When we’re in a mode of self-preservation where we’re overly concerned with people’s perception of us, or plagued with the temptation to be shallow, image obsessed, or success driven, we quickly look to leverage relationships to benefit our agendas, make us look good, or give us what we want. And THAT becomes all that matters. As long as we seek our identity, affirmation, and validation through others, we’ll forever be caught in a viscous cycle of manipulating, leveraging, and using people and situations for our benefit primarily. Relationships become mere commodities and bargaining chips—THE MEANS, if you will, in the never ending game of “it’s all about ME, make ME look good, make MY world better”. Sadly, THE END becomes our selfish desires, our agendas, and our “twisted, western” sense of success! The disturbing reality is that people will actually try to justify this philosophy in the name of “achieving all that God has called them to be”! I’ve even heard ministers and supposed leaders make statements condoning the practice of seeking out people who will help you get where you want to go! These “relational opportunists” fail to see the value in “the least of these”. I wonder what our world would look like if our motives for relationships were purified by the Spirit of a loving, relational God, and if each of us, on purpose, sought out relationships that maybe held no promise of personal benefit or little potential of social, career, or financial standing. What if we allowed God to direct us to these relationships—divinely ordered relationships-- where we poured out our lives and invested our love into, not expecting anything in return. What if we just allowed God to love through us? What if we followed HIS example of serving?