Daughters of Promise November/December 2014 - Page 36

that bore witness. “My sweet mother and two sisters were not so lucky. Now they are in the hands of Allah the merciful.” He turned away and rearranged something on the shelf. When he turned back, the steel in his face startled me. “Tell me this, how many Israelis must I kill to avenge my family? One Israeli for each of my family members? Would five be enough? Ten? There are not enough Jews in the world that could die to make up for what they did to my family.” I blinked and swallowed. ”There will only be peace in Jerusalem when we say, ‘Enough. No more justice.’ We don’t need more justice. We need mercy.” My precious stereotypes thoroughly smashed, I walked away humbled and asking God if there was anyone else he’d like to introduce to me. When you begin to pay attention to other people you begin to make discoveries, some simple and some profound. No one is ordinary. Allow yourself to be staggered by the wonder and glory of the person beside you on the bus, across the room at the party, or smoking by her car after work. C. S. Lewis says it best: “The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbour’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses… it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people.”* Perhaps Lewis got carried away in his desire to be poetic and colorful, and overstated things a bit. Perhaps, but what does it mean to be made in the image of God? For many of us, it has become religious cliché, almost devoid of meaning. Lewis’ creative shout shakes the dust from our complacency and says, “There are no ordinary humans! People are god-like! Honor them!” This subject is important for women for two reasons: 1. A Woman’s Place: Conservative Anabaptism says that men and women have different roles. At its worst, this can create women who wash dishes WHEN YOU BEGIN TO PAY ATTENTION TO OTHER PEOPLE YOU BEGIN TO MAKE DISCOVERIES, SOME SIMPLE AND SOME PROFOUND. The Apostle Paul makes a similar point in Philippians: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others. Phillippians 2:2, 3 (NIV) But how? How do you follow Paul and Lewis’ heart when in conversation? What does it mean to consider someone better than yourself when talking with them? For this, I have one answer, only one practical word of advice. Ask lots of questions. This is the most unselfish conversational act you can perform, and if you believe that others are more important than yourself, questions should flow naturally. People love talking about themselves and very few people will hesitate to answer questions from a good listener. Jesus asked questions to stir conversations, “Whose image is on the coin? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? Who was this man’s neighbor? What did Moses command you (concerning divorce)?” -36- The Gospels record Jesus asking over a hundred questions. More than anyone else in history, Jesus of Nazareth focused on others. He never wished that those prickly Pharisees wouldn’t be so snobby. He never complained that he had no one more familiar to talk with than that Samaritan woman. NO ONE IS ORDINARY. but do not influence people for the kingdom. Men and women are different and have different parts to play, but remember, except for passages explicitly directed towards men, the rest of the New Testament still applies to women, The Great Commission, looking to the interests of others, and following the pattern of Jesus’ earthly life are directives that call for taking initiative, stepping out, and being proactive. 2. The Feminine Advantage: Men are made for battle. Women are made for connection. It’s why we like the movies that we do. This