When I landed in London Heathrow on June 20th, I knew I was going to be uncomfortable. I landed in London with five weeks of studying and spending a lot of free time with people I had never met before. You see, I didn’t really fit into the group in some areas. There were differences that kept coming up because I wasn’t used to being surrounded by people who were so different than me. I wasn’t used to conversations where people were so passionate about stuff I couldn’t relate to. I wasn’t used to conversations that were draining and negative.
Then I’m challenged…should I really be uncomfortable? Should I really be uncomfortable because I’m around people who are different than me? Should the pure fact that I’m with people who I don’t spend a lot of time with at home make me feel as if I don’t belong and therefore not make an effort to reach out to them? I don’t think so.
I believe the Bible tells a different story. Throughout the New Testament we see Jesus going to be with people who made the disciples and religious people uncomfortable.
Looking over the past couple weeks here in England, I’ve seen that my focus has been on the wrong thing. I’ve focused on all the differences that separate me from the people I’m with. I see the differences and feel the uncomfortableness and distance myself. I don’t see the people. Jesus saw the people. He was comfortable in the uncomfortable because He knew where His identity came from, the Father above. I don’t have to feel uncomfortable in the situations I’m in here because I know where my comfort comes from. My comfort comes from the love of nail pierced hands on a cross, and that love should propel me to see the people, not the differences.
Have you ever heard of the chair analogy? You know the one that has a strong person stand on top of the chair, and a tiny, petite person stands on the floor? Then the strong person proceeds to try to pull the tiny, petite person up, except it’s nearly impossible. So the tiny, petite person tries to pull the strong person down, and what happens? The strong person comes down super easily. The analogy is supposed to make a point that bad company corrupts good behavior, so stay away from people who can pull you down. But..like Mike Donehey, from Tenth Avenue North realizes… we see Jesus surrounding Himself with people who could ‘bring him down’, if that was even possible. He argues that the reason why Jesus never got brought down was because He was already as low as He could be. He was the servant of all mankind, and He wasn’t scared of serving the people who were different than Him.
When I think about how I’ve felt uncomfortable, I’ve noticed it’s because I’m not laying my face down on the ground willing to serve others here. I’ve been standing on my chair trying to bring people and conversations up, which leads me to focus on the gap I create, instead of the people at hand. So I challenge you to find your comfort in the One above and get off the chair. Fall at the feet of those who are different than you with the love that Christ showed you.