I tried to like them. I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe no one liked them because they weren’t as pretty as the others, or because they were so common.
So I gave these little birds a fair shake. Three years worth of fair shakes, actually. I defended them a bit, studied up on them and yet, I ended up not liking them in the end.
These house sparrows, with their loud chatter and obsessive territorial behavior, proved themselves to be just what everyone had said: pests.
The thought that I can’t escape, that keeps nagging at me as I think about these noisy little birds, is that we Christians are often just like them. Instead of being known by our love, we are often known for being noisy, negative, and possessive. In the eyes of many, we are the community of “shoulds” and “shall nots”, instead of the community of Grace. I include myself in this, of course. My finger is firmly pointed my own way.
I don’t think there’s an easy way to be both truly loving and still share truth. Our attempts come across as judgmental and conditional. And aren’t they? Jesus, being fully man and fully God, is the only one to ever truly love unconditionally and still share the truth. Because He is truth.
So why can’t we just share Him?
Without the rules, without the loud, judgmental chatter, without the add-ons. Become known as a community that loves. Period. If we know Truth as a person, we don’t need to argue and defend, just introduce. And if we disagree with our fellow Christians on matters small or even not-so-small, isn’t it more important to show grace on the inside of our community than to judge and try to convince?
Each morning I hear the obnoxious chatter outside my window, and every spring I see the sparrows chase away yet another pleasantly-settled family of birds from our birdhouse and I sigh. I wonder if I’m perceived like that, and the thought saddens me.
So today, this week, this month, I purpose to be the one who loves. Even if I disagree. Even if I am afraid. Even if it’s not popular. Even if it’s hard.
Because the more I read Jesus’ words and actions, the less I find a rulebook. And the more and more real Grace becomes.
Photo credit: Evan Finkle