Sunday, March 2, 2014

What Bothers You?

     Loud noises bother me.  Anyone looking to send me over the edge just has to shout, squeal or use a jackhammer in my presence.  I am bothered by city traffic and inconsiderate people who use the last tiny little square of toilet paper and don’t replace the roll.  I am bothered by loud telephone conversations in public places about private things.  And I am very bothered by a four minute YouTube video I watched a few weeks ago at Chatting at the Sky, by Emily Freeman.  I'll post it at the bottom.
     The video was John Ortberg interviewing Dallas Willard.  They were talking about living in Christ's presence.
     John asks Dallas how we can help someone to know how their spiritual life or their soul is doing?
     Dallas responds, “Well, very slowly we listen to them. . . I think the next thing is a question and not a statement: What’s bothering you? Start there.”
     “What’s bothering you?”  That question caused my heart to thump.  The two men talk a little more, and then John makes a joke.
     John: “What’s bothering you? ... could be an interesting liturgical question – to start the church service asking, What’s bothering you? and the people could respond back, And also you.”
     I laughed out loud and so did the audience.  Yet as the clip ends Dallas says, “That would be absolutely revolutionary.”
     Wouldn’t it be revolutionary if the things that bothered me were not the self absorbed things that inconvenience me?
    What are those things that bother my heart?  Does my heart long for the things of Christ?
    Wouldn’t it be revolutionary if I consciously made the priorities of my day what God would have me to do?   Now I do believe that God has placed me in my home and in my job and washing the dishes, cleaning a toilet, writing a lesson plan, and tying a child’s shoelace is exactly what God would have me do on most days, but He also calls me to be bothered by the needs of strangers.
     Jesus spent His life being bothered for others.  Being bothered about something causes a response. Jesus healed them. He taught them. He recruited them as His disciples.  He spoke gently with the woman at the well.  He called Zacchaeus from a tree.  He healed the woman with an issue of blood, and the ten lepers.  He raised Jairus' daughter and Lazaraus from the dead.  He had mercy on the woman caught in adultery and on a thief on a cross.  He laughed and cried.  Jesus was bothered enough about you and me that He allowed Himself to be put to death on a cross.
     Jeremiah wrote, "I am broken by the brokenness of my dear people. I mourn," (Jer. 8:21).
     Wouldn’t it be revolutionary if my heart were so filled with God that the things that break the heart of God were the very things that bothered me?
     Wouldn’t it be revolutionary if I touched the splinter in my heart and listened to the pain in the heart of my friend?.
     God’s heart overflows with an intense and passionate love for us.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.   ~Jesus,  Luke 13:34
     I know from experience that God touches us in our broken places.  He uses people with bothered hearts.
   Search me, God, and know my heart; 
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
   See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.  ~David, Psalm 139:23-24

    What bothers you?  Start there.

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