“And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said. -John 1:19-23
This was the verse for today in the on-line Bible study I’m doing with IF:Equip. Check it out and join in, you will be blessed.
Every time I’ve read this passage before it has been about John preparing the way for Jesus. John wasn’t the point of the story to me. Jesus was. And of course, He still is but today for some reason, I was really feeling John.
They kept asking him, WHO ARE YOU?
It made me think of how we go around and ask people that all the time. Maybe not out loud so blatantly but we try to figure out who people are so we can put them in a box. We ask others about them, we gather information based on outward signs, we judge, we condemn, we categorize. We want to know WHO ARE YOU? But mostly, we want to glean a little more information about who we are by deciding definitively who “they” are.
I was listening to the interview with Kristin Armstrong from the IF:Gathering and I was so moved and inspired by her. She was talking about her ex-husband (she calls him her “wasband”), Lance Armstrong. She said that people tried to make him a hero and then they tried to make him a villain. She explained that neither of those things are true. He’s just a broken human being like you and me.
I could go on an on about what a beautiful, graceful, forgiving, inspiring soul I found her to be. But that would be putting her up on a pedestal. That would be making her a hero. I know she wouldn’t want that. Her grace comes from her humility and her gratitude to God for His faithfulness. She’s just pointing the way to Him.
We want to make people the hero or the villain because it makes us feel better. But the truth is no one person is only one thing. We can’t define people by one moment in time or one bad decision or even years of making bad decisions. We are all works in progress. Broken and in need of grace.
I’m going to work on not being attached to definitions of people, to not needing to place people in a box or on a pedestal. To no longer dismissing or idolizing mere human beings.
Turns out we are all the same anyway. Muddling through this world trying our best to show up and laugh and love people. It’s interesting how even when we make poor choices and get ourselves in some tough situations, God works with that, loving us through it and showing us the way. He’s so good.
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