The Other Side of the Line

Crossed the Line by Kendra

After I got over the shock of discovering I’m one of “those people,” I began to wonder about the distinctions I make. What constitutes being “those people” anyway? We easily divide people into two kinds:

  • life-giving people and life-draining people
  • cup half-full people and cup half-empty ones
  • emotionally healthy Christians and EGRs (Extra Grace Required)
  • givers and takers
  • doers and complainers
  • sheep and goats
  • gems and idiots

It all boils down to good people versus bad people. The former we accept; the latter we reject. But life isn’t that clear-cut. We all realized long ago that we’re not completely good nor entirely bad.

Yet there’s a line between acceptability and reject-ability. And if you’re like me, you’re constantly being careful not to cross it. Generally, child abusers, bad drivers, scammers, narcissists, most politicians, and telemarketers have all crossed that line. Specifically, I can name individuals I have put in the category “those people.”

Champaigne_shepherdThat was before I crossed the line and became one of them. I see things differently from this side. I always liked the fact that Jesus made friends with the rejects, but now that I’m in this group, it’s a life-saver.

For Jesus, there are no distinctions: he loves and accepts us all–unconditionally.

What if we saw each other through Jesus’ eyes? As a friend reminds me, we’re all his favourites. In reference to the parable of the lost sheep, Rev. Stephanie Spellers, an Episcopal priest, says the Good Shepherd doesn’t return the one who is lost to the fold just because it’s in danger out there. It’s also because the ninety-nine other sheep need the one who has gone astray. We need “the other” in our lives and communities for our salvation, Spellers says.

We lost sheep may be difficult and frustrating, but Jesus thinks we’re indispensable.

So the next time you think you’ve crossed the line and have really done it this time, remember this: you’re indispensable and (e-hem) in good company.

Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”  So he told them this parable:  “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices.  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ –Luke 15:1-6 (NRSV)

∗ ∗ ∗

Love Mischief for the World

Marja in Mexico for emailMarja Bergen was first hospitalized with a mental illness as a young adult. Though she was sick, no one brought her flowers. Since then Marja has spent her life working to lessen the stigma of mental illness. She founded Living Room, faith-based support groups for people with mood disorders (now part of Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries). She has also written three booksRiding the Roller Coaster, A Firm Place to Stand, and Reflections for our Highs and Lows–and writes weekly meditations sent to hundreds of people who often feel alone and misunderstood. Thank you, Marja. What great love mischief you and God have been doing!

What love mischief are you and God doing to care for the earth?
 Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and references:
“Crossed the Line” by Kendra. Used with permission.
Depiction of the Good Shepherd by Jean-Baptiste de Champaigne (1631-1681) from Wikipedia.
Radical Welcome: Embracing God, the Other, and the Spirit of Transformation by Stephanie Spellers
Photo of Marja Bergen by Wes Bergen. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2016.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.  http://www.estherhizsa.com

About Esther Hizsa

Esther is a spiritual director and writer. She lives in Burnaby with her husband, Fred, and they have two grown children and two grandchildren.
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3 Responses to The Other Side of the Line

  1. Dave Small says:

    Nice post Esther!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gail Koombes says:

    We all are “one of them.” Sooner or later it happens, we may not be aware, but others are. We become one of them, that sheep, the one that needs rescuing. Good to never forget this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Esther Hizsa says:

    Thanks, Gail. Amen to that.

    Like

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