Month: July 2019

Finding Grace in Innocence

Master Chef and Master Chef Junior are two of my favorite shows, I love cooking and I really enjoy the competition aspect it brings. I noticed something though as I was watching it yesterday and it truly made me stop and think. There are tag team competitions on both shows where one of the contestants who won a previous challenge picked two of the other challengers to be teammates. These teams had to work together in order to complete a meal, communication was of course on the huge aspects. The thing that struck me was when the children picked their teammates they did it in a way to strengthen their competition, they did not want to hinder anyone. When the adults picked the teammates, it was done in a way to give a disadvantage to the others.  

Of course, it is just for entertainment and ultimately it is just cooking, however I think there is a huge lesson to be learned. Jesus said it Himself in Matthew 18:3 “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven”. Everything Jesus preached was important of course but when he added “amen” in front of what He was saying, it meant that you better listen up. He wants us to be like children in that we make ourselves completely dependent upon Him. We should always look to God for His guidance because He knows the way better than we do.

I think it refers also to the innocence that children have, which can be seen in the example I gave of Master Chef. The children did not want to hinder their competition, they did not want to be malicious. Whereas the adults only focused on winning because they want to be number one and there is no second thought on the competitors. This is something that is affecting our world today, there is a lack of innocence. Now, innocence does not mean naivety and having an unrealistic view of the world. Rather, it means being able to depend on God and having a deep love for your neighbor.

We should want what is best for our neighbor, even our enemies which is by far one of the hardest things that could be asked of us. We have all been hurt one way or the other by someone we truly loved and cared for. I have family members who have been extremely mean to my parents and myself. However, it does not mean that I wish any ill upon them. In fact, I wish them the very best because that is what being a Christian is. It means being able to look your enemy in the eye and saying that you forgive them and that you love them as a child of God. It is no easy feat and sometimes seems impossible but sometimes we have to channel our inner child and bring about the innocence that they hold. Not for their sake but for ours and the relationship that we are building with Christ.

Dear Jesus,

I know that this life is not always easy,

There are times when I feel that I cannot forgive,

Help me to channel your grace and spread the love that you provide,

To tell the message of how you died,

For the sake of our eternal life,

I can rise above the pain and strife,

Give me the strength to look my enemy in the eye,

And tell them that I forgive them.

Amen

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Bring Hope

 

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Over the past few years, I have come into contact and helped quite a few homeless individuals; some become familiar faces while others I never see again. One man, in particular, James*, I have known for about two years, and he always asks for the same thing. In the summer he would like ice, drink, and food, and during the winter, some warm coffee, to heat some food and maybe a blanket. Recently he came in to ask for his usual fill-up of ice and water but asked me to call him an ambulance. It turns out that he was suffering from heat stroke, his body was hurting all over, and he was suffering from chest pains. When the ambulance came to pick him up, he asked me to please put his drink carrier into his back pack, and that is when it truly struck me, all this man had in his entire existence was this backpack.

He has told me before that he lives under the bridge and he was always in search of food and water, but it never struck me just exactly what that looked like. Now at this moment I felt moved by such emotion I could have cried (and trust me I’m not a crier). I think back to how many times I complained that it is too hot or cold, when I have a heater and air conditioner, or how much I want something too expensive when I already have enough. This man had all his belongings in a backpack and never really had the opportunity to cool off from the heat, only when he was near death. When he was laying there, I told him that he was not just a person to me but rather family because he truly doesn’t have anyone else. I think of all the people I am blessed to have in my life but her this man, on the brink of death, probably feels completely and utterly alone.

The homeless and poor should not be defined by the situation they are in, and I have told this to James before. We view them as lazy beggars, which in some cases could be true but we do not know the entire circumstance of everyone’s situation. We don’t have that kind of power to judge someone in that sense, that is not our place at all. I am always reminded of the verse found in Matthew 25:35-36 “For I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me”.

Granted, I understand that every situation is different and not all homeless people are nice. I have encountered people who were very violent and aggressive, but it does not stop me. I always feel that if we have the Holy Spirit guiding us then we will be okay. We live in a society where people are dehumanized, and life is taken for granted. Think of how different and better the world would be if we cared about human beings as much as we cared about getting a brand-new car or the next best cellphone. We need more love in the world and it starts with the willingness to see humans as being made in the image of God, therefore each and every one of us is priceless.

Dear Jesus,

Help me to see people as you did,
That they are to be loved, nurtured and cared for.
Help me to be a beacon of your light,
In a world that is darkened by the stain of materialism.
Help me to be a friend to those who have none,
And a glimmer of hope for the hopeless.
Amen.

*Name has been changed to protect the identity.