During my last year in Toronto, I was given the opportunity to lead one of the nightly meetings at the Youth Conference. With more than five thousand people in front of me, I had a fuzzy feeling on the inside that said, “I’ve made it!”
I was organizing the ministry time at the end of this massive event. Multiple lines were created to allow people to walk through a “fire tunnel.” The madness was glorious as radical youngsters laid on hands and prayed for each other. I was getting the crowd hyped on Jesus and expectant in the Holy Spirit. After leading them in what I believed was the greatest prayer they had ever prayed, I came down from the platform and made my way to the exits. As I was about to walk out the main doors, a student from the School of Ministry looked over to me and invited me to join him in the prayer line.
I never liked Zack.
And the last thing I wanted to do was finish the night pretending that I did. I acted like I had not seen him and kept walking towards the door, waving at people and feeling like a million bucks.
Suddenly, God interrupted my awesomeness. I was given ten seconds to decide whether to go back and honor Zack’s request, or to continue walking down the road of stinking pride. After a deep breath and conviction in my heart, I heard the Father invite me to share a prophetic word.
Zach was the son of missionary parents to Latin America and was always friendly and willing to chat. I know that I had absolutely no reason to dislike him, but I had created silly reasons in my mind to dishonor him. “He tries too hard, His Spanish is terrible, He needs more of our values, His name is Zach.”
Beyond my irrational judgments, God had a different opinion of him. So, I returned to where Zach was and I began to pray for him one on one. By the third sentence of my uninspired prayer, I began to see Zach differently. I began to see his value, to feel his passion, and to engage with the love that God the Father had for him. Then, I began to speak from that place of revelation. It was like a tsunami wave, a rush of words that began to land on the shores of his heart and mine. After a long time of sharing God’s thoughts for him, we ended up on the floor, receiving from the Holy Spirit and becoming friends from that day forward.
The Bible encourages us “to regard no one from a worldly point of view” but rather to see others only through the eyes of their Creator. Now, whether I have reasons to like someone or not, I intentionally approach them even if I am seeing them from a worldly point of view. Then, I ask Jesus for His thoughts for them. And oh boy does it work.
It is amazing what can happen to relationships when we override our perceptions and base our opinion on God’s words of love. Negative assumptions about people is the dumbest thing we can do to ourselves.
If you have nothing good to say about someone, then you have nothing to say. Period. Let’s be the kind of people who stop expecting the worst about others and let’s make time to hear the opinion of the One who designed them.
German diplomat, Johann Von Goethe, once said, “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them become what they are capable of being.”
If there is competition to be had inside the body of Christ, it should be in the area of honor. Be intentional about making room for others to be recognized. Take the time to let others know how well they did. Write that email that says, “Thank you, I love you.” Beat them to it, outdo one another!
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” Romans 12
If you are ever inclined to compete in ministry/family/friendships let it be in being last and serving more. It is in this culture where God feels the most welcomed, for honor is the dialect of the Godhead. It is the recurring language of the Trinity and we are all allowed to join in the fun. Father, Son and Holy Spirit have been eternally competing to honor one another.
It goes like this:
The Father declares that every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Then Jesus says, “The Father is greater than I.” And, while the Holy Spirit commits to only remind us of the things that Jesus already said, Christ replies, “You can mess with Dad, you can mess with me, but there is no forgiveness when you mess with the Holy Spirit.” Furthermore, the Spirit chooses to be known as the Spirit of Christ, the Son is willing to be a servant, and the Father is known for honouring all.
What would life look like if honor was the language spoken by all?
Can you imagine a family that lives and shares like this, every day? Can you visualize a leadership structure that works intentionally under this culture? Those days have arrived, and they began with you and me.