The age old question…”How are you, today?”
Then…the usual response: A painted on smile. A handy-dandy, “Good. Great. How are you?” Usually all uttered in passing without any secondary regard for what could potentially be bubbling underneath the surface.
Many years ago my work “girlfriends” and I used to joke about a colleague of ours. It had to do with this same age old question. That simple, “How are you?” Our joke was that we didn’t ask him, because well…he would usually share his life story with us that day.
I started to think of that joke recently in light of our often, probably not so true responses. In light of all the suffering taking place around us. In the world. More than likely in our homes. In our hearts.
What if more people told us how they were, really? What if more people actually stopped to listen?
Are we happy plastic people, under shiny plastic steeples? With walls around our weakness, and smiles to hide our pain? But if the invitations open to every heart that has been broken, maybe then we close the curtain on our stained glass masquerade. -Casting Crowns
I don’t know about you, but my heart is heavy each time I watch the news. Read the paper. Open my phone, and read about another life drastically changed because of brokenness. I don’t know about you, but there are days I feel broken myself. A complete mess. And I am tired of staring at stained glass, trying to be honest, wondering if I am the only one who is a hot, stankin’ mess!
Simply because someone didn’t feel like hearing my story after they asked the obligatory “How are you?”
Paul sums up an important call to all those who follow Christ in Galatians 6:2: “Share each other’s burden, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” He was specific about the “law of Christ,” because the Galatians had been deceived. After Paul had ministered to those in Galatia, the teachers of the “law,” saw it fit to teach them something different, something that led them to believe that the teachings of Jesus were false, that “pretty living and acting” was the way to heaven.
No. That isn’t it at all. It’s “real” love. What hurting people need and want. What Paul wanted the Galatians to remember is it is exactly what Jesus commanded them to do, and it had nothing to do with “acting” like they had it all together. It was the “whole law summed up in this one command, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Galatians 5:14
So, can I tell you how I “really” am? Can I share with a neighbor for a while?
But would it set me free, if I dared to let you see. The truth behind the person you imagine me to be? Would your arms be open? Or would you walk away? Would the love of Jesus be enough to make you stay?
The same Jesus who stopped for the one to ask “Who touched me?” The same Jesus who stopped the disciples scurrying to let the children come to him. The same Jesus that stopped in the middle of the crowd for the one man who was calling his name. Who stopped EVERY time for the ONE. Never in a hurry. Never in a rush. Never worried that the one was a little too broken, bruised, damaged, or messy.
I want that kind of real.
And, I want to be that kind of real.
To the broken, bruised, damaged, and messy. Like I am. Like we all are.
Need someone real today? Need someone to listen to your story?
I got time for your real. I got time for your mess.
No stained-glasses here.
Just a broken, bruised, mess. Ready for the one who can give an honest answer to the age old question…”How are you….really?”