"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:23-24) There's an old man in my town who walks with gimp. He's taller, somewhat gruff. Usually sporting a simple checked flannel shirt (that's what I think of, too). It's so easy to develop some sort of theory as to how a person is, based on what you perceive and try to glean from...nothing. How many people in my life have fit that mold (old--no offense--with a simple style and unassuming, if spartan, demeanor)? More than I can remember. Does this mean I'm taking cues from those in my life who fit the gestalt pattern of "elderly white male, grizzled face, focused elsewhere with short temper"? Hmm... Thing is, I can't say that I ever really knew those who fit that description from my past. My mind makes things up, it would seem, as I go along. The prayer at the top of the page is essential for ferreting out those trains and strains of thought that aren't in keeping with "what Jesus would do". I saw this man today. I talked with him for a moment (a first). He was indeed simple in his comportment. I should add also, that every time I've seen him--in the past and including today--be it waiting at the bus stop in his neighborhood, or somewhere else around town, he's carrying his Bible by the handle of its ornate and heavily padded case. I always figured he was a Christian, and I think I can safely assume it even now. But aside from all that I can tell you that I don't think I've ever experienced a more salient intimation of the love that Jesus has for any- and everyone. I saw this as I talked with him (and felt as he walked away), clearly.
"Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me." (John 21:22)
Jesus is speaking of John, "the beloved disciple" (his words, not mine). Notice the authority He expresses as this was after He had risen. I'm not saying He didn't have this prior to His death, I'm merely saying that Jesus cares for each individual pricelessly. I don't know the man's name to whom I was referring earlier. But I can tell you that all my faults and foibles and failings aside, Jesus loves me the same way he does that man. I look at others and I'm tempted to think they're perfect. That they don't have the "obvious issues" that keep me from thinking clearly--and therefore acting the part. All (all) this aside, I can assure you that Jesus sees (and loves) you in a way that, most likely, would surprise you to your core were you privy to His perception. Oh, He'll show you if you ask. That's all you have to do. Until He does though, know that He enjoys you. Look at Him.
Search me, O God, and know my heart...
There have been times in my life whereupon talking to someone, I'm blindsided by their character that was so radically different from how I'd assumed they were. Whose fault is it that they're not coming across exactly as they are in heart? This question should be in all caps. But it's also rhetorical. Living as unto the Lord, as He's the one whose heart is sound and from whose heart ours is patterned (like a simple, black and red flannel) is the order of the day.
"Keep back Thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer." (Psalm 19:13-14)