” 19For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. ”
-1st Corinthians 9:19-23 (emphasis mine)
This idea has been on my brain lately, as a “calling” of sorts. I was talking with my mom on a recent drive from Longview to Dallas (about 2.5 hours in the car each way) about how my friends from Hebrew class consider me almost Jewish; some of my Asian girl friends from church lump me in the mix when they say “… and the Asian girls” (referencing a group of young singles who often have lunch after church); my friends at Red Door think of me as “a theatre person” even though I haven’t been on a stage in years; and I had so many Mormon friends in high school that people often thought I was Mormon myself. The more I talked about this with Mom, the more I realized that this has been a pattern all my life: in high school, I wouldn’t have told you I had a “crowd” or that I stuck with one particular clique — I was a band nerd and a choir geek and a theatre freak, and I also spent time with some of the hicks, the jocks, the social misfits, and even some of the popular kids. In college, even though I was a music theatre chick and I spent time with that crowd, I often felt gravitated toward the music business or music ed kids, and I had friends in all sorts of programs from business to bio-chem (even in nursing, the program known for having “invisible students”). In church and in school as a kid, I never stuck to the kids in my own income bracket. I think people in all walks of life are fascinating, and I’m always looking for ways to understand people different from myself.
I think that most of the time you have to meet people where they are in order to love them. You can’t wait for them to come to you. We’re called, as Christians, to love one another — everyone — as Christ loved us. Really loving people, I think, means trying to understand and to know them, even if it is for a short time or in a small capacity. I’ve been told I’m good at networking, and I see that talent as an opportunity to love more people. I may not, as Lincoln said, be able to “please all the people all the time”, but I will continue to try to love them.
Seemingly paradoxically, I have the hardest time loving (and forgiving) some of my fellow Christian brothers and sisters. More on that struggle later.