At Gateway Church in Austin we began a new series called “Encounter: Learning from How Jesus Did Relationships.” This week at the South Campus John Burke shared via video. Here are some of his insights:
“My spiritual journey included thinking I didn’t need God, but secretly I’d wonder. Once the painful moments came, that was my wake up call.
Jesus – moved in the gut (Matt 9 – knew the secret struggles, demonstrated God cares, met needs)
1. Do I listen for hurts and needs?
a. Jesus knew them, we must listen long enough to see the needs God wants to meet.
b. Christians tend to want to talk, fix, advise even if people don’t want that. Jesus asked questions, got at what people really wanted—showed how God does care and wants to meet that need.
2. Do I show how Jesus feels about their pain? (emphathy)
a. Story of Lazarus – Jesus wept as He saw the pain His friends were experiencing.
b. You can’t feel for others if you’ve never allowed yourself to feel broken by life apart from God.
3. Do I talk as a fellow human struggler in need of a loving God?
a. Jesus was the suffering servant (Is 53), understands our weakness and temptation – God chose to identify with us in our pain and suffering because being alone is the worst part of suffering.
b. When we hear the pain, need, story – can we talk as fellow human strugglers, and offer the hope of God’s story intersecting human brokenness?
c. People need Jesus.
Jesus met people at their point of pain, need, and longing. He met people where they needed God the most. He entered our suffering with us, even grieving with Mary and Martha, though He would raise Lazarus to life. We must learn to be Jesus to people, which means we must start with where they feel need. We must learn to empathize and feel what Jesus
feels, so that people can believe God cares even more than we do. Often Christians do not know how to listen deeply to the needs, hurts, or longings of people. We are known for speaking about the message of Jesus, but not listening deeply into people’s lives to know where they need God most. As fellow strugglers, this also means sharing our points of pain and brokenness—identifying with their humanity as real people in need of a real God.
Continuing in sin is not good – Jesus says to the blind guy, “don’t just keep living disconnected from God, in ongoing sin-patterns” or something even worse than blindness may come your way.” In other words, there are worse things than physical ailments, blindness, even death – spiritual blindness, ailments, death that keeps people from Life as God intended. Jesus respects his free will, but calls him to live a new life.”