Saturday, July 25, 2009

Is My Heart Hard?

"Show no partiality to princes, nor regard the rich above the poor, for they all are the work of His hands. The LORD raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes."—Job 34:19; Psalm 113:7–8 (NASB)

Is My Heart Hard?

Sometimes I worry, "Is my heart hard?"

Callous layers shield my heart from some religious leaders who claim to know and speak for God.

I took some disabled music lovers to a concert at church. We've been made to feel unwelcome by one leader who fears the unusual physical features of my buddy's disability make the better-looking members uncomfortable. Another worries that my friend's quiet Wookiee noises might break the concentration of the able bodied.

One developmentally-disabled friend does not understand that when he hears praise and worship music that he's supposed to remain quiet. Shhhhhh! Don't disturb those with far more sophistication. His rapt attention, smile, flapping arms, and joyful hoots encourage my heart to leap with joy.

Oh, to worship God with such unbridled freedom.

This particular concert drew attention to a missions project delivering refurbished wheelchairs to the disabled living in other countries where wheelchairs are not affordable. Before the concert began, Joni Earackson Tada spoke via video. She quoted Psalms 117:3: "The LORD raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes."

Her words pierced my heart. My tears relieved some of my worries that I am hardhearted.

Who Deserves Honor?

How does the Hebrew language in Psalms 113:7 describe the "poor"?






Society's discrimination of value stands in stark contrast to those God welcomes into his sanctuary and uplifts.

Who deserves honor? Those who honor others—including the feeble, the low, the powerless, the weak, and the needy. Why do some act as if the "poor" are not priceless members of God's family?

Contaminated by the pride of his social stature, superior religious knowledge and great abilities, a religious man noticed an ugly, misshapen person walking towards him. Feeling uncomfortable, the man turned his back.

Undeterred, Mr. Socially Ugly smiled and warmly greeted him.

The religionist's body language communicated, "Wow! Is he ever ugly. I'm so glad I don't look like that. I wonder if his family members are as ugly and misshapen as he is?"

To his surprise, Mr. Socially Ugly said, "I don't know, but I suggest you go to my Maker and tell him: 'How ugly and misshapen is this vessel you have made!' "

The Hebrew language describes a "prince" as:

noble in rank

generous in mind and character

a member of one's own people

I pray that God roots out the ugliness of my heart towards others who make my insides squirm. I want to be generous and willing to love God's creative handiwork.

God, I desire to remain tender to individuals who move your tender compassion. Please help me embrace the "unloveable" and "forgotten" who culture tosses onto the ash heap.

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