The famous French existentialist (and yes I find the idea of a famous existentialist to be very hilarious) Jean Paul Sartre is well known for the quote "Hell is other People." I know, I know...people that frequent faith blogs might not be familiar with Sartre or existentialism but that's okay. Give me grace please.
There was a time in my life when I believed this. I felt that "Hell was other people." Other people annoyed me, forced me out of my comfort zone, made me interact with those whose motives and feelings were a mystery to me. Other people might disagree with my own philosophies and beliefs and once upon a time I could not handle that.
Now that I am older and questionably wiser I can see that heaven can be other people, too. Not literally. If you took that literally feel free to be offended. There is no feeling in this world quite like someone looking you in the eyes and saying "I understand you." The feeling that you don't have to fight for acceptance. The feeling that no matter what socially awkward thing you do or say, you are accepted. That is heaven of sorts, and quite possibly one of the closest things we'll find while standing on this earth.
This is why humility is so important. This is why the bible has great phrases like "clothe yourself in humility" and "God opposes the proud but is close to the humble." Because a truly humble person is so far removed from themselves they can so easily immerse themselves in the "other."
For a bit of definition, a humble person is not some depressed person constantly going on and on about how they are nothing special, nothing important. This person is deceived and quite focused on themselves. A truly humble person is very comfortable in their own skin, completely happy to listen and show interest in what someone else has to say rather than just waiting for their turn to speak.
When someone is humble they don't worry about being offended, they don't raise the battle cry when someone disagrees with them. They are ready to fight every single moral battle that crosses them. They love with the same undeserved love that was given them.
It is my prayer that I become this person one day. And I am thankful that there is grace until that day. It is a high calling to see the beauty inside the heart of another. To call out the gold that is there, hiding just below the surface waiting to be found.
How has your life been changed by feeling accepted?
How can you make a difference in someone life by accepting without condition?