How Well We Know Them
I've found myself using social media more carefully in recent years. People change, yes, but I and many others have recently found out how very different we are from people we thought we once knew.
It's a weird time to rediscover some old contacts in a new light. People we once knew as former coworkers, old classmates, and even estranged family members are surprising many of us for what they're saying, what they're doing, or who they've become.
There is a notable difference with their actions and ours and we aren't quite sure how to react.
Some people ignore the issues at hand in hopes of keeping things civil. Some confront the issues head-on at the risk of a volatile reaction. Some people change their habits for the sake of ones they love, at times at the cost of being true to themselves...
We can certainly do better.
Not only what others they say or do differs from us now, but also what they hold as important in their lives may depart from us in ways that leave us feeling hurt, shocked, angry, or lost. Perhaps our estranged contacts feel similarly about us...
I'm reminded that Jesus had harsh words for all whom he loved, regardless of their cultural, political, or ideological differences. Pharisees and apostles, Samaritans and students, non-believers and temple money changers alike were challenged to turn their hearts, elevate their rhetoric, and follow God. Jesus is tough yet compassionate; honest yet considerate.
It can be hard to accept how people we know drastically change into someone unrecognizable.
It is this notion that we change and surprise one another that gives me relief that God is unchanging. God is the same from beginning to end. Love, life, mercy, majesty, justice, judgment, salvation, service, hope, healing...all of this, from everlasting to everlasting. Rest assured in God's constancy.
Even though we are confident in that we know God the flip side is that God knows us. "O Lord you have searched me and known me. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely. Such knowledge is too high for me that I cannot attain it." (Psalm 139.1-6, 13-18) All of our weird habits, aspirations, and dark thoughts are made plain before God. The Spirit of God can change us all. With prayer, patience, and power God transforms us; aligning our will with God's.
In the face of those whom we thought we knew may we open ourselves up to transformation of the Holy Spirit, speak with love as Christ does, and align our will with the unchanging, everlasting God. In all of this, may we listen more than we speak.