Smyrna United Methodist Church
Special Messages from the Pastor's Heart
A Moment With the Pastor
Healing Begins with Others
By Rev. Troy White
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today I was reading “The Seedbed” daily post from J. D. Walt (http://us4.campaignarchive1.com/?e=82554784c3&u=02db73c05fa1c7c5736358be4&id=540b41dae7 ), where he was comparing humility and pride. Walt quoted Mark Twain in his book The Esquimaux Maiden’s Romance, “There’s a breed of humility which is itself a species of showing off.” This leads to an interesting question: Can our piety and love become a source of pride?
Years ago while eating dinner with our 3 young children a question came up, “Do we first need to love ourselves before we can love others?” The millions of self-help books and our culture, in general, would answer ABSOLUTELY…. Society would say we must first learn to love ourselves before we can love others (self-focus). We need to be comfortable with who we are (self-healing). Despite being in the minority, I would strongly argue the opposite. That which is broken within us, can only be fixed by loving those outside of us. This includes our love of Jesus Christ Himself. It also includes our love of enemies and those strangers of different races or colors.
The issue isn’t that we need to learn how to love ourselves, the issue is that we need to learn how to love (everyone). It starts by surrendering our own life to Jesus and moving toward helping others. When we truly do this, our internal emptiness and brokenness will begin to heal. Jesus said “When you [help] the least of my brothers and sisters, you did this for Me”. (Matthew 25:40)
Let’s go back to the first question: Can our piety and love become a source of pride? It can and will, if our deeds of love are focused to better ourselves. But it cannot and will not, if our deeds of love are focused on serving Jesus Christ through the “least of his brothers and sisters.” Is our religion serving us, or are we serving Jesus and His people? Is the tide flowing inwardly to ourselves or outwardly toward Jesus and others?
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)
I can hear you saying, “Okay, I get it…. But how do I do this?” The answer is simple…look to help the least of those. But there is a secret in doing this. We must help by standing next to them. Speaking words and sharing true love in person. Helping from a distance is good and necessary for so many great things of God (please continue, never stop) but that is not what we are speaking of here. The souls of others need to see our tears of understanding and suffering next to them. The dying man needs to feel our hands holding his. The lonely widow needs to hear her laughter mixed with ours. The hungry child needs to see the compassion in our eyes.
These experiences are necessary to love. To love Jesus. To love others. And what you will also find is a peaceful and humbling love for yourself. Through the Holy Spirit, Who lives within, healing takes place in our souls when we bless others.
May God grant you endless love for… Well, for everyone!