Listen, Feel Love, Be Changed

Listen, Feel Love, Be Changed

Listen, Feel Love, Be Changed

Editorial by Pastor Tara VinCross

tvincrossI spend a significant amount of my time listening. A look at my phone bill reveals just how many hours I spend on the phone! Some of these are everyday calls working out the details of ministry and life. Other calls are spent hearing incredible, vulnerable stories. I sit as a silent and prayerful witness as someone shares their heart and, often, their tears.

I listen in pews and around tables, in restaurants and cars. I hear stories of young adults who express their joys and pains in their relationship with the church and her members:

“They said they wanted
to keep me in the church,
but they didn’t seem to
have a reason why they wanted me to stay.”

“She talked to me about what I was wearing and I didn’t even know who she was!”

“I’m wondering if I even belong here … ”

Though much of my time is spent with young adults, it strikes me that the human need transpires all stages of life. Many adults say they don’t reach out to young adults because they don’t understand them and feel disconnected. Yet, our shared human need is to hear God give us the deeper truth about who we are. Only as we hear how God sees us can we offer this love to others.

Let me remind all of you, you are loved so completely. God loves you just as you are. He loves you with all your failings, faults and frustrations. Not only that, if you have asked Jesus to enter your life and heal your heart, you stand as one who is completely forgiven, even as the transformation is still in process.

You are not defined by what you’ve done or failed to do. You are defined by the love of the Almighty God who claimed you. The challenge is to see yourself as God sees you. To see one another as God sees us. How does this happen?

We must spend time listening to the One who redeemed us. As Ellen White, one of my favorite authors, says, “When every other voice is hushed, when every earthly interest is turned aside, the silence of the soul makes more distinct the voice of God. Here rest is found in Him. The peace, the joy, the life of the soul, is God” (Special Testimonies on Education, p. 163).

Only when we see how God views us are we able to offer others the love and grace we have received. As you listen at the tables in your life, what would it change if you saw yourself as God sees you? In what ways can you show this love to the ones who came before you—and now the ones who come after you?

Tara J. VinCross is director for the REACH Columbia Union Urban Evangelism School and lead pastor at the REACH Philadelphia church in Philadelphia.

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