So the other day, I got a better look at my heart.
I’m living in Memphis for the next six weeks on a missions trip to reach inner-city kids. It’s kinda stretching me past what I can do on my own, thus forcing me to rely on God and God alone. Gave me lots of spiritual insight.
That being said, this is what happened the other day.
So I’m helping run an open gym for the kids to come to, and it is realized about ten minutes in that we need another cord for the stereo system, so I run over to the church I live in to grab the stereo crap, and I decide to leave my phone on the table in the gym with my bookbag. I come back, it’s not there. Naturally I have an internal spazz attack, which then turns into an external one, which then turns into me getting beyond pissed at every kid in the gym. This one kid who always irritates me got the effects of that. All he needed was love and attention, and he got me yelling at him because I was harboring such frustration towards everyone in there. My previous attitudes such as, “These kids don’t know any better,” and “If I’m not Jesus to them, who will be?” turned into, “These kids are all the same. I gave up my summer for them and they repay me by stealing my $600 phone,” and “There really is no hope for them.”
And with my phone gone, I would have to go back home, since my phone is currently my only means of communication with my college and I still have a crap load of stuff to do for admissions.
But if I suddenly hated the kids anyway, what good would I do by staying in Memphis with them?
So, I made my plans of leaving, since my work here was obviously done and I had failed at loving unconditionally. And I yelled at God a lot. Something like, “If you want me here, give me my phone back!”
So after all of my anger had taken effect on the kids and I had decided to go home, I found my phone sitting exactly where I left it, just under someone’s jacket.
So there was hope.
So the kids didn’t deserve to be judged by me.
So even if they did steal my phone, they deserved my forgiveness just as much as I deserve God’s forgiveness.
And that’s the thing. I don’t deserve it. They don’t deserve it. So we’re even in the fact that we will all get what we don’t deserve by the scandal of grace.
And I suddenly realized how selfish I am and how much of a hindrance my attitude and sense of obligation are.
Noticing my heart sucks was the first step to changing. Since then, when I love on the kids, I’m not doing it because they’re getting what they deserve. I’m loving them because Jesus loves me. Me, even me. And when I’m mad, I won’t let bitterness take over. Because everything I do for them must be in love, not in my warped sense of what they deserve.
And with that, I’ll leave it at this- This whole missionary thing isn’t glamorous to say in the least. There is nothing glamorous about sharing a bathroom with a million girls. There is nothing glamorous about serving this ratchet barbecue to 200 people. There is nothing glamorous about not being able to wake up in the morning because the people next door bang on the wall and scream until 1 am. But there really is something beautiful about it.