In Lead more gently

What my neighbor becomes is somewhat my doing

For many months I have read and meditated on Psalm 5.  I have not been able to pull myself away from this portion of scripture.  It has inspired me, taught me, rebuked me and comforted me.  While reading through it I was reminded of the sermon “The weight of glory” by C.S. Lewis. I hauled out my copy of this sermon and re-read it.  Many scholars have said this to be his best work.  I would like to share a portion with you.

In this sermon, C.S. Lewis explains how each human being is daily becoming a creature that is moving either toward reflecting magnificent glory or toward deep and terrible horror.  Lewis says:

“All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations.”

Lewis goes on to make another statement that takes my breath away:

“It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbor.  The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor’s glory should be laid on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken.”

Each time I read that statement I am brought to my knees.  What my neighbor becomes is somewhat my doing.

  • Through my words and deeds I can move somebody toward that terrible horror.  God help me to rather have the kind of humility that moves my neighbor toward reflecting magnificent glory.
  • May I embrace what Lewis calls “costly love”.  I think this love is
    • a love that does not take offense easily but rather that pardons easily;
    • a love that is not presumptuous or superior or quick to judge;
    • a love that is respectful and willing to yield and slow to be critical.

I have found that this kind of love is indeed costly.

  • It costs me to lay aside my own views to acknowledge those of another.
  • It costs me to bite my tongue and not offer up critical analysis.
  • It costs me to walk the second mile with my brother until he is confident to move on alone.
  • It costs me to love in a way that helps my neighbor reflect God’s glory and that does not provoke my neighbor toward the sin of frustrated anger and terrible horror.

Each day we have opportunity to help our neighbor move closer toward embracing the glory of God or toward embracing the ways of the enemy of our soul.

I start each day praying the opening words of Psalm 5.  May I challenge you to do the same.

“Give ear to my words, O Lord, Consider my meditation.”

As the Lord listens to our words and as He considers what we think, may He find them acceptable.  May our words and our thoughts lead our neighbor, our colleagues, our friends and our family away from that terrible horror and toward becoming people who reflect the magnificent glory of God.

Question: Do you think that what we say and what we think about others has an influence in what kind of person they are? Let me know your thoughts.

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Faustina Washburn
    at

    It definately makes a difference. Our Bible study group consists of our neighbors, none go to our church, and I am happy to say that the neighbor fueding has lessened and they are helping each other.
    It is not always bliss but relationships have greatly improved.

    • Reply
      Michelle Tessendorf
      at

      What a great testimony of change in your literal neighbors. Thanks for sharing Faustina.

  • Reply
    Jeanine N.
    at

    Michelle, you asked for feedback: I usually read your blogs, but do not have the confidence and, often, do not want to take the time to put “pen to paper”. However, please know that I am always inspired by your meditations. They cause me to shift my gears to a godly perspective and stop to listen to God’s higher calling for me than that of the world’s. I think your method of reaching out briefly via the internet is a wonderful way to jog hearts and minds back to where God wants them. Now then, my neighbor…my sister, with whom I recently had an argument. . .the woman across the street, who is very lonely. . .the children at my church who need guidance at Vacation Bible School. . . .
    Many thanks,
    Jeanine

    • Reply
      Michelle Tessendorf
      at

      I am truly grateful that my writing is of benefit to you Jeanine. As I have mentioned, I write because I enjoy it. But to know that it is helpful to others makes it that much more meaningful to me. Thank you so much for the feedback.

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