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No identity theft here

by davesandel on April 11th, 2012

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter Wednesday

Luke 24:30-32

While he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.  With that their eyes were opened and they recognized Jesus, but he vanished from their sight.  Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke and opened the Scriptures to us?”

I find myself wondering how these disciples would have tested on the Myers-Briggs test.  If they were T’s (T for thinking), they would be more certain of their own ideas and listen more skeptically to their anonymous companion’s words.  If they were F’s (F for feeling), his words might turn them completely around, but then so could the words of the next person they heard.

Jesus knew them very well.  He knew how to approach them, how to give them what they needed so their “hearts would burn” with excitement in grasping at least a bit of God’s work in the world.  Their personalities mattered to Jesus.

So much so that by dinnertime they didn’t want him to leave.  They had found a person who knew them and saw deep into their souls.  Jesus listened, and then he spoke.  And then he listened some more.  He did not try to define them; instead he spoke into who they already were.

From a newsletter we receive from Spiritual Directors International: “Outer, external voices seek to influence and define our inner reality, informing us how we think and feel, what we expect and desire.  Images, words, and encounters can come from the media, strangers, or people we share a home with.

“(But) no one can define our inner reality, our own lived experience.  It is a form of abuse when this occurs – the stealing of another person’s unique identity and a loss of opportunity to validate dreams, hopes, fears, life-given purpose and gifts.”

Jesus own example makes it clear that we can be powerful influences in the lives of those we love without telling them much at all about how to live.  He lights up Scriptural furniture they have known all their lives but never seen in daylight.  He informs them of what he sees, and then suddenly they can see it too.

Jesus is more effective, not less, as he listens to them, knows them, and appreciates their uniqueness.  This kind of listening is rooted in Jesus’ deep respect for his friends.  They are his Father’s kids.  Martin Buber called this an “I-Thou” relationship, and that is not just about man and God.  It’s about God and man.  God calls me “thou.”  Wow.  How can I not fall in love with a God like that?

As you listen, I learn about myself, Lord.  As you touch me, I discover how I feel.  As you search me and know me, Father, I begin to understand who I am.  Thank you for your love and respect.  I love you.

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