Something that makes me so sad every time I hear it are words such as these:- "Why are you so kind to me? Nobody has ever been this kind." "Why are you being so nice?" "Why did you do this for me? Other people don't!"
It breaks my heart to hear words like these. To realise that there are people out there who don't recognize or understand kindness, caring and love because they have yet to experience such expressed actions.
And... a confession... it also makes me feel fearful sometimes and back off. Sometimes I will think to myself, "Oh, I shouldn't do this! This person will think I have an ulterior motive." Then I wonder, why am I letting someone's thoughts and opinions dictate how I behave?
One of my schoolfriends, LF, recently talked to me in a very perplexed tone about her housemate. She said, "You know, Gillian, isn't it normal to buy something when you travel and give it to your friends? But she returned all the presents and said, "Please don't do this, I'm not used to people being kind to me like this." Truly, truly heartbreaking. What must this housemate have gone thru in her past that she is unable to accept a simple small gift?
I remember last year someone emailed me the same thing, "Nobody has ever been this nice!" The person sounded so suspicious of me. I felt sad for her.... but at the same time, I could feel myself withdrawing. Sometimes, I will still extend the same love and care that I do with anyone to this person. Sometimes, I feel a wariness.
There are so many choices in life. So many times when we can choose to be who Jesus is, and when we can choose to be just like the rest of the world.
The most recent challenge I had, which still makes me smile, is when a group of us were talking about taking a whole bunch of sugar packets at McDonald's to use for our youths. I shook my head and said that I did not feel it was the right thing to do. My friends pointed out that if we asked, the staff would surely say it is okay to do so. And I agreed; I told them that if we asked, I don't mind (and I really don't!). But I don't agree with taking it without asking first.
It sounds such a silly, small thing and of course, there were exasperated sighs and rolled eyes when I made my stand.
I felt discouraged and inside me, I raged as I asked God why I felt this caution when other people did not. Why did I feel in my spirit that things were 'wrong' when others seemed to take it as 'okay, what?'. Then I went home and read one of Joel Osteen's books, and in the pages was this reminder, "God wants His people to be a people of integrity." The book went on to narrate that it is easy to compromise a bit here and a bit there... but when we do so, we also compromise on the BEST that God has for us.
We talk a lot about being salt and light in the world. If we do the things that others do that compromise on God's ideals, what salt and light are we? We are just the same and no different.
Yes, it is painful to be jeered at and mocked and ocstrasized. But I have found that whenever I do something or say something that is rude or nasty, I get astonished looks and my friends will say, "Gillian, we don't expect that from YOU!"
That tells me that people have come to expect integrity from me! They may sneer and jeer, but they still expect that I will be different in the things I say and the things I do.
Besides, God reminded me, Jesus was mocked at and jeered and laughed at... for doing right! It is not something strange that I am experiencing. It is only what is to be expected.
So... I'm going to be different anyway!