One of the scariest situations to be in, is a new place where you know no one. Growing up, I didn’t move a lot, but I was put in situations where I had to meet new people all the time. I grew up in a church where there were a lot of kids, went to a bunch of homeschool groups then a real school, there were continual moments growing up where I found myself faced with people I had no clue about. That can be very intimidating. What if they don’t like me? What if they make fun of me? What if no one wants to be my friend? These questions are based in a real fear that we experience, but often, we let that fear control us. I had to learn early on that I sometimes had to do the scary thing first and get scared later, that meant putting myself out there a lot and not knowing what would stick.
Flash forward to my current twenty-five-year-old self, doing the same thing. New state, new job, new people all around me. I picked up a habit of calling everyone around me “friends,” from working at the Greensboro Montessori school. Everyone around us is a friend we haven’t met yet. I truly believe that. I get so annoyed at the fact that people will fear who they don’t know. Don’t hang out with “them,” I haven’t heard good things. This then bleeds into race, gender, orientation, beliefs, etc. The list goes on, and what happens is we become pod people. That is to say, I only hang out and spend time with people who are just like me. But what’s the point in that? It’s cliquey and frankly, it goes against everything Jesus did. We are called to love others; the people like us and those who are completely against us. This concept made me think of a great movie in this Halloween season. Yes, of course I was going to get to a great b movie. The film that exemplifies this idea is none other than, Scooby-Doo: Ghoul School.
Our emotions are deceiving.
Emotions are a good thing, they help us process and grow, but they aren’t always true. If you’ve seen this movie, wow isn’t it so good, one of my favs, but if not, let me run down the plot. Shaggy, Scooby and Scrappy go to work as gym teachers for a private school, the thing is, it’s a private school for the children of monsters. You’ve got a mummy, ghost, vampire, werewolf, and Frankenstein girls. Classic set-up, our guys are scared out of their mind, but once they get to know the girls, they realize there was nothing to be afraid of. In fact, they really become good friends. Our fears are lies that come from a very real enemy, an enemy that wants us to live in isolation. We were made for community, we need people around us. Those who will build us up and call us out when we make stupid choices. That means we can’t be around people exactly like us, but when we listen to the emotion of fear, anyone that isn’t like us starts to scare us into isolation. We don’t like being challenged, as humans we like to have everything agree with what we believe, but you have to push yourself into growth.
This isn’t easy. Saying it is, but putting it into practice takes time and effort. That’s why I call everyone my friend, as a reminder to always love, even when I may have nothing in common with someone else. One thing to note before I go further is setting safe boundaries. The things I’m talking about today do not apply to those in your life who have hurt you, forgive them yes, but do not put yourself in danger, both physically and emotionally. You are made by God and worthy of love, anyone that tries to make that untrue is not a safe person to be around.
You play a role in God’s plan.
We are called to treat others the way we want to be treated, and we all crave to be loved. At the core of who we are, we all need love. Jesus came to save us, to let us have a relationship with him, because he loves us. When he left, he gave us a commission to go to the ends of the earth to make sure everyone had a chance to enter that perfect love. God’s plan needs you to carry it out. Sure, God of all things, couldn’t he just do it? Yes, and yet he still chose us to carry out that commission. You have the greatest power imaginable, revealing God’s love to everyone you meet. This means that we’d all better start loving people way better. I’ve seen the church hate people that aren’t like them, and the truth is, that’s not the church. I don’t know what you call that, the church should be a people coming together to encourage those in their lives to reach out to anyone who is hurting and feels broken.
To be short; Christians need to stop hating and start loving.
I want my life to have people in it telling me how they feel special because I have been able to speak that. I really don’t care if people are different than me, all I care about is that God’s love flows out of me and brings hope to the broken. It’s what Jesus did, and I want to be like Jesus.
What we see in Scooby-Doo Ghoul School, is that sometimes we judge books based on the covers, but if we’d just dig a little deeper, we have a world of opportunity open up to us.
I know it may sound like I’m dogging on all Christians and the church, but I’m really not. I’ve just noticed that the loud ones have it all wrong, and those of us who truly strive to live like Christ aren’t as vocal as we should. Fear has not place in our lives. Fear is a liar trying to stop us from loving others. We need to treat others out of love, never hate. That love needs to come from a selfless place, never trying to get anything out of the action, we need to love no matter what the recipient reacts with. You may get laughed at or cursed, but it doesn’t matter. In Christ, fear can’t hold us back. I encourage you this week to speak life into the people around you, love people who may not be loved. This may need to be said, don’t be creepy, the love I’m talking about doesn’t cross lines. Encourage a co-worker, talk to the person taking your order about their life (and listen), and choose to shut down gossip and negative talk.
Take a note from a great yet silly cartoon movie about kid ghouls, treat others out of love, never fear.
About the Author: Joshua Thomas is a writer by day and superhero by night. When he’s not writing and crimefighting, you can find him reading a good book, sipping warm tea, taking pictures, or dreaming. The young writer doesn’t fully know what he’s doing, but is enjoying the journey of it all. You can tweet memes at him on Twitter @joshua_thomas__ or follow his hipster photos and Jack Kerouac musings on Instagram @joshua_thomas__