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Welcome to the JCPC Daily Reflections Blog. Reflections are daily devotionals authored by JCPC pastors, staff and members and provide insight, guidance and comfort to help you make it through each day. If you’d like to receive Reflections each day via email,  provide your email address.

Thursday, July 01 2021

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.“

-I Samuel 16:7

In my experience, it’s easy for others to judge us quickly and for the things they most dislike. It’s easy for us to do the same. A person can exist in our mind as the sum of the things we observe them doing that upset, disappoint, or frustrate us. It’s been said that in our minds, strangers are a collection of their worst attributes and behaviors, while our loved ones and selves are a collection of the best we care to remember. This can be especially true of teenagers. They’re collectively written off, ignored, or avoided because of their mistakes and learning moments over their accomplishments and sacrifice.

At Montreat, a short time ago, another adult leader and I shared a small group of eleven new kids who’d never met one another. Each of us had one youth in the group from our own church. His was a young man he’d agreed to buddy up with for the week, a boy with special needs who struggled to interact with his peers. The other girl of note sort of frustrated us. She didn’t engage much. She didn’t appear to share interests with these other church kids and put on an air of haughtiness and popularity. It was just enough that I admittedly stopped trying very hard to engage her because it was exhausting and she wasn’t my own youth kid. I put my head down and focused on the kids who seemed to need attention more.

Only a day later, I was sitting with the young man with special needs. We were all making friendship bracelets from long colorful string. He was struggling to get a start and asked for help. This girl got up from her seat and walked straight to him. She knelt by him and gently explained the process, guided his hands, and didn’t take over for him. I figured she’d sit again. Instead, she stayed with him 10 more minutes, abandoning her own work and softly asking him which string would go next and praising his progress. The other leader and I watched her transform in front of us from the girl who seemed not to care about anything but beaches and tans into a teacher with gifts and a sincere presence. As we left, we told her what a special gift she had just given that boy, probably her most important 10 minutes at this conference. She smiled sheepishly and seemed to really understand that.

This week, I hope you’ll take a second look at someone who needs you to see their best. Maybe it’s even a teenager. Maybe your own. Maybe a spouse or a parent or a coworker. And maybe, if we are gentle and compassionate this week, others will see us with new eyes too.

Prayer for Today

Lord, make me slow enough and wide-eyes and willing to see your goodness in others. And make me kind and compassionate so others see your goodness in me too. Amen.

Posted by: AT 04:58 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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