About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
What you observe of a
person is not the totality of who that person is.
That would certainly have applied to me in 1972.
Back then my long hair and beard portrayed me to be a LSD-crazed
hippy; a social drop-out who indulged in the psychedelic world of drugs,
sex, and rock music. That was
not who I was.
I admit that my
appearance was influenced by the counter-cultural revolution of the
1960's, but I was not a hippy. I
was a twenty one year old, drug free, sexually moral, born again of the
Spirit of God, young man who preached Jesus to hippies in their cultural
environment. I preached in
parks, on the streets, in bars, on trains, and in buses.
I proclaimed the gospel in schools, in a college, in our coffee
houses, and even in the odd church, with the emphasis on the word
"odd." A church had
to be a bit odd to allow a guy looking like me behind its pulpit.
Nevertheless, those who took the time and effort to look beyond my
exterior without prejudice found my heart.
Making a judgment based
on observation alone is something Jesus does not permit.
Rather, we are to judge righteously (John 7:24).
That demands an "intentional" investigation of what lies
beneath the observable. Intentionality
implies a purpose-filled determination to complete a task, no matter how
difficult the task. When
applying "intentionality" to human relationships, I call it
intentionality is the ongoing process whereby we are determined to do what
is necessary to discover the heart of a person that exists beneath that
person's exterior appearance, mannerisms, and character traits.
Such resolve is important for Christians because church
consists of individual believers who God has immersed into the lives of
certain other individual believers (1 Corinthians 12:13 and 18).
The resulting God-chosen personal relationships require an
intentional determination to discover the heart and soul of those to whom
God has placed alongside in the Body of Christ, the church.
To the degree, then, that the individual is intentionally determined to look beyond the observable into the heart of another, and vice-versa, is the degree to which church will fulfill its mission to be the unified expression of Jesus to its cultural surrounding.
This article is a follow-up to a previous article entitled "Relational Autonomy." Relational Autonomy works best when Relational Intentionality is being implemented in a relationship.
Click here to read Relational Autonomy
Photo of me in 1972