Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022 online sermons » Andy Stanley » Andy Stanley - Cause and Defect

Andy Stanley - Cause and Defect

Andy Stanley - Cause and Defect
TOPICS: Reactions Speak Louder Than Words

So here's something that always causes us to stop and stare, perhaps at times, duck and run for cover. And it's an overreaction. An overreaction. You've seen this, you've seen people overreacting to something, and you just have to stop and stare. In fact, somebody might say, "Don't stare, just listen". It's like, I mean, it's when somebody overreacts, it always gets our attention. It's typically, you know, or something we've all experienced is the parent in the grocery store or at the mall who's over-disciplining their child because the child has embarrassed the parent. And the child embarrassed the parent by acting like a child. And now the parent is acting like a child, right?

And they're over-disciplining, they're overreacting. And it's just, you know, you don't know if you wanna rescue the child or get your phone out and just post it somewhere 'cause it's just like, you know. Or maybe at work, we've all seen somebody overreact at work. And when they overreact at work, I mean, the whole office freezes, everybody gets kind of tensed up if you're overhearing this in an office or a cube, or you walk by or walk in on a conversation. And when you see somebody overreacting, or what you consider as an overreaction, we always think the same thing. We generally think, wow, there must be something else going on, right? Because that cause did not warrant that effect, right? It's like, here's what happened, but here's how they're reacting, they're overreacting.

If your parents were overreactors, you can remember, or maybe you're still kind of getting over the damage that that did to your relationship with your parents. They just overreacted to everything. They thought, I mean, and some of you are parents now, so you understand this. Your parents thought that they were coaching and correcting and you thought they've lost it, right? And consequently, you sort of got lost. You just, you know, you withdrew. You could not wait to get out of there. And again, it damaged the relationship. On the flip side, we've all had our moments where we have damaged a relationship potentially, or strained a relationship because of our emotional outburst. I mean, your latest apology may have been a followup to an unwarranted outburst of emotion. And you were right, I mean, what you were saying to the person was right, but you weren't right the right way.

Have you ever not been right the right way? You were over-right. Have you ever been over-right? Like you're right, but you're kind of over-right. In fact, you're so over-right that your rightness overrode the point you were trying to make, and you had to circle back around and apologize, even though you were right. So the point of all this, and this isn't where we're going for the next few weeks, but it is interesting. We can learn a lot about ourselves by our reactions, right? By monitoring our reactions. You monitor your reactions, you learn a lot about yourself because, and I'm the same way but I'm picking on you, you are so predictable, right?

I mean, we are all so predictable when it comes to our reactions. Certain environments, right? Certain words, certain types of people, certain names, they just, they trigger us. I mean, when you hear you're just like your mother. Okay, that's not an emotionally neutral statement, is it? You're just like, it's not like, you know what, you're right. Now I know what to work on, thanks for, no. Or you're just like your dad. Why can't you be more like your sister? Why don't you get a job? Why don't you grow up? Why can't you be more responsible? I mean, there are just, there are just trigger phrases and there are trigger people.

As I've shared in the past, Sandra and I are foster parents, and years ago, we had three little girls living with us for about five or six months. And the youngest was five, and she came into our home with this, I thought it was a terrible habit. After she would watch television, she would hide the remote. And I mean, she would hide it well. Like you could not find the remote anywhere. And it just got to me. Sandra was kind of chill with it. And the sisters were kind of chill with it. And it just, honestly, it just got to me. And the thing that made it even more complicated, she would not talk to me, ever. I mean, the whole time she lived with us, she would talk, whisper to her sisters to talk to me. She would not talk to me, and I didn't press it.

You know, I was super gentle, 'cause you know, fostering and all that. But I mean, privately behind closed doors, I told Sandra, and she's here, I'd say, "I'm not emotionally mature enough to have this child in our home, okay"? Just don't share that, okay? But I mean, she's five years old and she just, it just, it was just, you know, it would just kind of drive me nuts. And I realized, there's something wrong with me. She's five years old, okay, and I'm like losing it. And now she's 16 years old, and she's doing great. And as you can tell, I'm still dealing with it. Okay, so here's the point. Here's where we're going for the next few weeks, even though that was kind of fun. What if, but what if, but what if, what if there was a way to harness the power of a reaction or even an overreaction for something good? And what if there was a way to harness the power of reaction for something good?

And Jesus says there is a way, and Jesus says we can do it. In fact, Jesus says we should do it. And as we're gonna discover today, and as we're gonna unpack for the next couple of weeks, this is not extra credit Christianity. As we're gonna discover, this is fundamental. This is 101. This is what it looks like and sounds like and reacts like to follow Jesus, that Jesus is going to insist, and these are my words, not his, he's gonna insist that we master the art of the unexpected, unprecedented underreaction. The unexpected, unprecedented underreaction. It's so under that it's over, or appears to be an overreaction in the other direction. It's the art of, who would say that in light of what just happened? Who would do that in light of the way he or she has just been treated?

So we're gonna refer to this as the art of the over-underreaction, okay? This is what we're gonna talk about. We're gonna master the over-underreaction, that we are gonna so underreact to some things that it will feel like an overreaction and cause people to stop and stare and go, what is up with them? Now, as you're gonna discover as well, this is gonna create some tension. This is easily dismissed. This is, I mean, some of you on the inside or the outside, in about five minutes you're gonna be like, nobody does this, this is ridiculous. It's easily misunderstood. In fact, you gotta pay attention. It's so easily misunderstood that if you misunderstand what Jesus is about to say, it might appear dangerous and unhealthy. But it's worth talking about.

Well, we have to talk about it because Jesus talked about it. And again, he lays this out as a fundamental principle or a fundamental way or an essential way of following him. It is essential if we're gonna be followers of Jesus. Because what we discover is that Jesus consistently, Jesus consistently viewed being treated unjustly, being treated unfairly, and being treated unkindly as an opportunity, an opportunity to react in such a way that people stop and stare because they're caught off guard because they recognize that cause, that cause didn't warrant that effect. That cause didn't warrant that effect. That person, I mean, did you see what happened to him? He should be angry. He's not. Did you see what happened to her? She should be so bitter, but she's not.

Did you see what happened to them? They should be so reciprocal, they should be returning evil for evil to use a New Testament phrase. But they're not. You know what, if that had happened to me, listen, I would be broadcasting this. I would be broadcasting my grievance. Why are you so quiet? I would be badmouthing them in the company. Why don't you do that? I would be malicious. You know what, for sure, I would hope they fail. I would try to facilitate their failure. And I would celebrate their failure if that had happened to me. But you're, what, what, what's up with you, right? What's going on? What, you did what? You reacted how? You showed up for them when things fell apart with them? You helped them after they hurt you? Wait, wait, you apologized? Wait, wait, they owed you. You forgave?

See, you've heard it said, we've all heard it said that actions speak louder than words. But the truth is reactions, reactions speak louder than either. Reactions speak louder than either. Our actions, and this is true of all of us, not picking on, it's true of all of us. Our actions just don't tell our whole story. Our actions only tell part of our story, because we all know how to behave when it serves us well. I mean, look at how well-behaved all of you are. Are you always this well-behaved? No, okay? But you know how to behave in a crowd. We know how to behave when it serves us, right? We know how to pull off nice and kind and polite. We even know how to pull off, I'm gonna defer to another person. We know how to be respectful. We even know how to be generous. We'll be generous when that serves us or makes us look good, right? But when things don't go our way, you better get out of the way, right?

When something or somebody gets in our way, you better get out of our way. Because when things don't go our way, that's when all the niceness begins to wear off, and that's when what's on the inside comes out. And sometimes it seems justified. And other times it just scares people, right? I mean, if I don't get my fair share, if I don't get credit, if I don't get appreciation, if I don't get recognition, if I don't get what I think I deserve, if I don't get what I think should be coming to me, my reaction exposes what's on the inside, and my reactions, your reactions tells the rest of the story. Actions speak louder than words, but we all know how to behave. Reactions tell the whole story. That's when cause and effect goes into effect. We look and we sound, and this is Jesus' point, that if we're not careful, we look and we sound and we react just like everybody else.

And here's what Jesus is about to tell us. And I'm kind of setting you up 'cause his words are so strong. His point is this, when we sound, for those of us who claim to be Jesus followers, when we sound and react like everybody else, we sound and react like everybody else. And there's no distinction. And when that happens, from our Savior's perspective, we miss our opportunity, because, and you know this from your favorite novel, your favorite series, the favorite story that you tell that you've seen play out in real life, unexpected reactions, isn't this true, unexpected reactions are often what make the stories worth telling, worth telling.

So I'm gonna give you some samples from the teaching of Jesus, okay? And heads up, you've heard all of this before. I don't think I'm about to read a single thing from the gospels where you say, "I have never heard that before". And not only have all of us heard this before, if you're not a Christian or you're not a person of faith, not a Jesus follower, you've heard all of this before. And the fact that you've heard all of this before is one of the reasons you don't take us seriously. Because you know what Jesus taught, and when you watch his followers not follow him, you think to yourself, I don't blame you, why should I become one of you? You don't even do what you're supposed to do.

In other words, your problem with Christians isn't that you don't believe what we believe. You're not sure we believe what we say we believe, because we don't do what Jesus instructed us to do. So we're gonna work on it. And at the end of the message, if you're not a person of faith, I'm gonna invite you to participate in the application as well, because I think it'll be a lot of fun. So here's kind of a quick overview, a sampling from one single message, Jesus' famous mountain message where he is so specific about how his followers are supposed, not just to act, but to react when things don't go our way, because our reactions speak louder than our words. And our reactions expose whose we truly are.

So here we go. You've heard it said, and we have heard it said, you've heard it said, "Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth". Unto which we say we don't even need to hear this said. This is just how the world works, right? I mean, common sense. You do unto others as they do unto you. That's what's expected. In fact, nobody's even surprised when somebody does unto another person what that person has done unto them. In fact, not only are they not surprised, people will cheer you on if you do unto somebody else what they've done unto you, especially if you win. Jesus is like, I know, but I tell you, because I want you to follow me, "But I tell you, do not resist an evil person".

Now, this is where it could be easy for us to misunderstand what Jesus is saying. Jesus is not talking about self-defense. Self-defense is instinctive. Protection, this is important, protection is not the same as retaliation. Jesus is talking about retaliation. He's saying I don't want you to react to people who are cruel to you and people who consider you an enemy. I don't want you to react to evil people in an evil way. I don't want you to be reciprocal. I don't want you to treat unto other people the way they have treated you. I don't want you to act or react like everybody else. If you do, he says, it's a missed opportunity.

And we've all seen this play out, right? We've all seen a situation where somebody has something coming to them, and the person that could bring it to them decides not to bring it to them. They don't react in like kind. In fact, they go the opposite direction, and it's like, wow, it's inspiring. He goes on, he says this, if anyone, and here's an idiom. This is where this idiom comes from in our English language. "If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also". We've all heard turn the other cheek. This is where that comes from. That came from Jesus. If you've ever said turn the other cheek, you're quoting Jesus.

Now, what we miss here is this. Jesus is not saying if someone attacks you physically, you just stand there and let 'em beat the living whatever out of you, that's not the point. In fact, everybody in the first century who heard Jesus say this knew exactly what he's talking about. It's why he used the word right cheek. Because most people are right-handed, and if somebody who's right-handed slapped somebody or hit somebody on the right cheek, they didn't hit them with an open palm. They came across this way and hit them with the back of the hand, which is a representation of being disrespectful to somebody or dismissive to somebody. It's not an attack. It's an insult. It was a way of trying to bait somebody into a fight. They're picking a fight. They're saying come after me. It's an insult. In medieval times, the same idea would happen when somebody was challenging someone to a duel. It wasn't a physical assault. It was trying to get somebody to rise to the occasion, to come back at them the way they had come at them.

And Jesus is saying when people try to bait you into that kind of conflict, when people try to get you to rise to the occasion, to match their level of anger, match their emotion, match whatever's going on in them, he says, no, not my followers. This is your opportunity. You are to over-underreact. Turn the other cheek. I'm not gonna rise to the occasion. Say whatever you want to toward me, but I'm not gonna be like you back to you because I'm a Jesus follower. And then he tells us why in just a minute. Then he talks about being sued and taking people to court. Now, our legal system is very different than their legal system. Our legal system is far superior to their legal system. In fact, our legal system, we don't have time to go into this, our legal system is far superior to the first century legal system due in large part because of the teaching and the influence of Jesus and the influence of the Church.

And then Jesus moves on, and again, he gives us language that we're so accustomed to using. Perhaps you didn't know this originated with Jesus. He says this, and if someone, or, "If anyone forces you to go one mile, you go with them two miles". Now to us, it's like, you know, we can imagine what he's talking about, but his original audience knew exactly what he was talking about. He was referencing compulsory public service. Compulsory public service, that in this culture, a temple leader, a political leader, any kind of person of wealth and power, even a Roman centurion, a Roman officer, in some cases, a Roman soldier could come to the average citizen where Rome occupied a city or occupied a region, could come to the average citizen and force the citizen to stop whatever it was they were doing and serve that person for a specific amount of time. Or if it involved carrying a load or carrying something, they could force that person.

This was legal. It was subject to abuse. People were so resentful. You just immediately had a bad attitude. You just never made eye contact with public officials or temple officials or Roman soldiers, because you never knew when they were gonna stop you and say, "Hey, put down what you're doing and help me". And they could force you, they could force you to go, in our English New Testament it says a mile, but literally in the Greek, it's a distance of about a thousand paces or a thousand steps. So Jesus says, if someone requires, and again, this wasn't just anyone. This is someone who is really abusing in some way their authority. This is somebody that you're not on good terms with. This is not somebody who's asking you to help them move. And you're like, not only will I help you move, I'll help you do something else. This isn't that. That's different. This is immediately, everything in you is gonna bristle and think, ugh, I don't like this person. I don't wanna do this.

He says if you find yourself in this situation and you are recruited against your will to serve a public servant, I want you to not only go a thousand paces, I want you to offer to go 2,000 paces. At the end of a thousand paces you say, hey, I'm willing to go further. I'm willing to go another thousand paces. Now, you gotta understand. This is already bothering us, right? I assure you, the people in Jesus' audience, by this time, half of them are like this, and just like, we're not doing this. Hey, Jesus, do the thing about prayer. The prayer thing was good. Or one of your cool stories about a rich guy and had his sons, you know, those are good. But this, no, Jesus. Nobody's gonna do this. I mean, nobody lives this way. He doesn't stop. He doesn't let up. He says, oh yeah, and here's something else.

I want you to give to the one who asks you, whoever it is, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. Now, he's talking specifically about the relationship of people with stuff to people who don't have stuff. He's talking specifically about people who have extra and the poor. In this day and age in ancient times, the rich people and the poor people, the haves and the have nots, they lived close to each other. They were always within earshot. Streets were narrow. Most people walked. It wasn't, you know, these groups weren't separated. Their circles overlapped. And Jesus says, and here's his point. Whatever the norm is in terms of giving, whatever the norm is in terms of generosity, whatever the normal arrangement is in terms of borrowing and lending, I want you to go above and beyond.

I want you to surprise somebody with the terms you give them. I want you for the sake of their dignity to say, you know what, I'm not gonna give you this. I'm gonna loan this to you. So that saves their dignity. But then I want you to over time, just forgive that loan. I want you to handle your generosity in such a way that people don't say, oh, they meet the requirement. I want you to be so generous and to approach generosity in such a way that people are like, wait, seriously? Are you sure? Jesus says, yeah, this is how I want you to live if you're gonna follow me. To which again, we say this is so impractical. And is it even necessary? Nobody lives like that. And he's not through. You've heard it said, again, we've all heard this.

You've heard it said, "Love your neighbor and hate your enemy". Which meant basically like your friends and don't like the people who aren't your friends. Love the people who you get along with. Love the people like you, because they're like you and they like you, and the people who don't like you, you just don't like them back. An enemy is anyone who's hostile towards you, in the neighborhood, at work, maybe an extended family member. He says, you've heard that, you know, you like the people that like you and you dislike the people that don't like you to which again, we're like, does anybody even need to say that? I mean, isn't that just what you do? He says, but I tell you, I'm raising the bar. But I tell you, here it is, love your enemy, which means you are to treat your enemy as if they're not your enemy, that's what that means.

This isn't like, love them in your heart. Love your enemy. Practically love your enemy. That you are to treat your enemy in such a way that your enemy doesn't understand what's going on, because wait a minute, you know I don't like you. You know I fired you in a way that just, you know, shattered your reputation. You do know what I said about you, you do know what I, yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. Well, this is weird. Why are you being kind to me? Why are you treating me like somebody that you like when I know you don't like me, because I've made it evident that I don't like you? Jesus says this is what my followers do. And not only that, get this, this is so convicting. "And pray for those who persecute you".

Now, let me just say what you've thought, and so you don't have to say it out loud and be embarrassed. You don't even pray for most of the people that you like, do you? Right? I mean, he's saying, hey, I want you to add to your prayer list the people who persecute you. You're like, okay, number one, I don't even pray that much anyway.

Number two, when I pray, I thank you for the day, and then I ask you to give me stuff and bless stuff, and I pray for my family, and then I gotta go. I don't even pray for my friends or my extended family, and you want me to pray for the people at work and the people in the neighborhood and the people at school who persecute me, who talk bad about me, who gossip about me, who take my ideas and run with them? You want me to mention them by name in my prayers? Jesus is like, yeah. To which we would say, who would do that? And Jesus would say, yeah. Who would do that? Who lives this way? Who approaches life and relationships this way?

Now he tells us, now he's getting down to it 'cause we're like, this is just too much. And now he tells us why this is essential. What comes next, here's what he's about to do. He's about to separate the believers from the followers. He's about to separate the Christians from the followers. He's about to separate the hearers and the note-takers, mm, and the mooers, mm, mm, mm, mm, mm, mm, that's good, that's good, preacher, mm. He's about to separate the note-takers from the doers.

To quote Crawford Loritts when he was with us, I love this, he's about to separate, he's about to separate the folks for whom Christianity is a point of reference from those who understand that Christianity is the framework for all of life and every decision. When Crawford talked about, you know, Christians who consider Christianity a point of reference, do you know what that means? That means this, that means, hey, I prayed a prayer and I asked Jesus to forgive me, and I'm gonna go to heaven when I die, and I'm just gonna stand here right inside the door. And you know, I'm a Christian. No, no, no, no, I'm a Christian. I believe. I'm a Christian. I believe. Jesus is about to separate that group from the group that does stuff, that changes stuff, that impacts culture, that impacts the world, that impacts people's worldview. The people who cause others to stop and stare and wonder what is up with him, what is up with her?

So listen to how he finishes this out. "You've heard it said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you". That, in other words, here's the result. Here's what happens at the end of that. Here's what happens if you do all this. That as a result, "You may be children of your Father in heaven". In other words, he says the reason I want you to do this is so that you will reflect your Father in heaven, that you will reflect the character and the nature of your Father in heaven. Reacting this way makes us like our Father in heaven. It positions us relationally and visibly to reflect what our Father in heaven is like.

Now, here's what I say to you all the time. I say, hey, if you wanna know what God is like, you follow Jesus through the gospels, okay? If you wanna know what God is like, follow Jesus through the gospels. Here's what God would talk about. Here's what God values. Here's who God likes. Here's how God responds to sin. If you wanna know what God is like, follow Jesus through the gospels. The question that Jesus is posing is this, how is everybody else gonna know what the Father is like? If you're gonna follow me, I want you to live your life in such a way that people look at you and they catch a glimpse, just a glimpse of what God their Father is like, because you as his son and you as his daughter so reflect the character and nature of the Father, they catch a glimpse of the Father when they catch a glimpse of you. And the best way for them to understand what the Father is like is not through you being polite and being kind and being a good citizen. It's by your over-underreaction when things don't go your way.

Oh. And then he comes at the same idea with a little different angle, okay? Then he's going right to the heart of the point he's trying to make, he's making. He says if you, here it is again, another one of those clauses, if you. "If you love those who love you, what," here's the key word, 'cause this is where he is taking us, "what recognition will you get"? He's saying, look, I want you to be recognized for something. But if you just love those who love you, what recognition will you get? I mean, here's something you've never said. She just loves her friends so well. She just loves the people who love her. That's amazing. Isn't she amazing? She loves the people who love her. That's amazing. I wanna be more like that. But Jesus going, no. He's so cool. I mean, he hangs out with and gets along with the people that get along with him. It's just, it's remarkable. I mean, goodness. Tell us how you do that, right?

He's like, that doesn't stand out. Nobody's gonna stop and stare. Nobody's gonna pause and wonder. This is expected, right? And then if you're not sure that's the point he's making, he illustrates it, and again, what he says next doesn't do anything for us emotionally, but I'm telling you, there was a ripple effect through the crowd when Jesus said what he said next. Here's what he said, all right, 'cause he's dissing them. I mean, he's turning the screws. He says, come on, "Are not even the tax collectors doing that"? Translated, think for a minute, and no elbows, no eye contact, and don't write this down, and please don't say it out loud.

I want you to think for a minute of the group of people or the category of people you have the least respect for. I know for some of you it's pastors. I know. That's why I didn't want you to say it out loud, okay? All right, so think about the group of people you have the least respect for. Jesus is saying, look, even that group get along with the people that get along with them. Even that group of people are friendly to their friends. So simply doing for others who do for you and being like the people that like you and that you like, that doesn't stand out. I want you to be recognized for something extraordinary. And this is what's so amazing. He's given us the key.

Your reactions, your reactions should give you away. Your reactions should be a dead giveaway for whose son and whose daughter you are. And then if we're not done yet, one more push on the flywheel. And if you welcome, and if you welcome only your own people, if you welcome only your own people. You know what, you have your people, I have my people. I mean, my people like me. my people get along with me. When I'm with my people, ah, I can just be myself and relax. He says but if you only welcome, if you are only comfortable with, if you only surround yourself with your own people, and then here it is, if you haven't been paying attention, don't miss this part. If you're only gonna welcome your own people, here's what he's about to say next. This is the difference that makes a difference. Ready? "If you only welcome your own people, what are you doing more than others"?

You see, more than isn't expected. More than is unusual. More than stands out. The extra mile stands out. Loving your enemy stands out. Not reciprocating in like kind, that stands out. Not doing evil for evil, that stands out. Praying for your enemies, befriending your, all of this stands out. He says, I want you to stand out. Not simply in the normal routine behavior of life. Everybody knows how to behave when it suits their purposes. I want you to look for those opportunities when things don't go your way, when you're treated unkindly, when you're treated unjustly, when life isn't wrinkle-free, I want you to begin seeing this as opportunities. And before you instinctively react, I want you to ask this question. What would it look like in this moment to react like my Father in heaven?

And then he wraps the whole thing up with another, you know, parent-child phrase. He goes back to the parent-child thing again. Here's what he says, he says, and this is so easy to misunderstand if you take it out of context. He says I want, here's what I'm saying. I want you to be perfect. I want you to be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect. Here's what he's saying. It's so powerful. I want you to be perfect toward others. I want you to be perfect toward others as your Heavenly Father has been perfect toward you. I want you to overdo it. I want you to second-mile it. I want you to amaze with your unexpected, unprecedented over-underreaction. I want you to be a more than others man. I want you to be a more than others woman. I want you to be a more than others employer, employee, neighbor, student, son, daughter. Why? Because God, your Heavenly Father, is a more than other Heavenly Father.

Think about this, okay? This is the gospel. Think about how our Heavenly Father, let's just make it personal, think about how your Heavenly Father reacted to your sin, knowing what you would do, knowing what you wouldn't do, knowing the promises that you would break, knowing the lies that we would tell, knowing the harm that we would inflict on others, and then not take responsibility for it, right? Knowing the excuses we would make when we're caught. Knowing the secrets we would keep. Knowing the selfishness we would embrace. With all of that, he is the Heavenly Father who responded to, who reacted to our sin and our sinfulness by what? By sending his Son, by sending us a King? Jesus, the King, think about this, the King who reacted to our sin by what? By dying for it so that he could pay for it. That he came looking for us. That he came looking for us to forgive us, to include us, to call us his sons and his daughter so that we could call him with a clear conscience our Heavenly Father.

Jesus says this is why I want you to react this way, because this is how your Heavenly Father reacted to you, and I want you to reflect the nature of God, not in moral perfection, not in ethical perfection, because we're gonna fall short. But in those moments when you are mistreated, in those moments where you're tempted to react in like kind, those are your opportunities to respond to others as your Heavenly Father responded to you. So it makes sense that Jesus commands us to react toward others the way he reacted toward us, to see slights and hurt and rejection as opportunities, opportunities to amaze and to confound. Opportunities to appropriately draw attention to ourselves so we can draw attention to our Father in heaven.

Jesus said it this way. We've quoted this so many times. He said, come on, I want you to let your light shine in such a way that people see something. I want you to let your life, your light shine in such a way that people see your good deeds and they glorify your Father in heaven. I want people to stop and stare, so at the end of the day, they would find themselves gazing in my direction. So here's what we're gonna do. This is where it's gonna get fun, all right? And for those of you watching, and maybe you're not church person or you're with us and you're not a person of faith, and somebody's gonna feed you lunch or bribed you to get here, this is an all-skate. This is something we can all do. We're all gonna practice this week, okay? We're gonna practice the art of the strategic over-underreaction. And we're gonna practice at home.

Okay, we're not gonna go out to work. I don't think you're ready for that. We oughta to take some baby steps, okay? Don't try this in the neighborhood. Don't try this at work or with your friends. We're gonna practice at home, because this is new, okay, and this is rather extreme. So here's what I want you to do, and the first part of the assignment is so easy and so fun. I want you, and again, no elbows. No, okay, this is just you. I want you to choose something or think about something that happens on a regular basis at home, okay, something that happens on a regular basis at home that perturbs you, disturbs you, upsets you, and gets on your nerves, that's the easy part, right? Only one. Only one, okay? And this can't be a person, okay? This can't be a person. This has to be a thing, it has to be a thing like, every time you get home from work, she or he, you know, as soon as you get home from school, your mother always. So it's not your mother, it's this thing that she does. It's not your husband, it's this thing that he says.

Okay, I want you to think of a thing with your roommate, wherever you live, whatever your home life is like, roommates possibly if you live in a dorm, whatever might be. I want you to think of that thing that is said, that thing that happens that just, it just gets on your nerves. And then I want you, and I'm gonna give you an example in a minute of something between me and Sandra, and she's here, so you know, I'm always honest, but you know, be really honest. Anyway, and once you kind of, that thing, it's like, yes, soon as he comes in, as soon as she comes in, you know, whenever he call, you know, whatever it is, then I want you to think about your normal reaction.

Okay, and let's just assume you're a great person. It is a justified reaction, but it's a reaction, and it is so predictable. I mean, they don't even, your family doesn't even respond. Your roommate doesn't even respond anymore. It's so predictable. And then I want you to ask this question. It's a terrifying question. So you got the thing that gets on your nerves. You know what your normal response is, your normal reaction. Then I want you to ask this question. What would amazing look like? What would amazing sound like? To go back to Jesus' words, what would like my Father in heaven look like or sound like? Parents, what would cause your son or daughter to wonder, who stole my father and replaced him with this kind man? Who stole my mother and replaced her with this patient woman? What happened to my parents?

Kids, I want you to come up with an amazing response that causes your parents to wonder if you're up to something or perhaps on something, okay? Now, later, later, okay, this is three-week series, so later we're gonna talk about what this looks like out in the wild, but we're gonna start with the folks we love the most, right? We're gonna start with the folks that actually deserve for us to respond or react to them like our Heavenly Father would to us. And we're gonna take it one step further. We wanna hear your stories, okay? We want you to tell us what you did, or we want you to tell us what somebody in your family did.

So we want you to go to, and we want you to log in your story, okay? And if they're really good, we're gonna share them. And if they're really, really good, I'll use them as an illustration. And I might even use your name, okay? Or you don't have to give us your name. But we want you to go, because we want you to catch each other doing this, and we want you to brag on each other. So this is your opportunity to have an epic sermon illustration kind of moment as you begin to practice this just at home.

Now, real quick, I wanna tell you, this is my illustration, okay? So, and please don't tell anybody I told you this, 'cause this is a bit embarrassing. I hate to run errands. I hate it. Any other errand haters in here that you just, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And so what would happen is this, and I mostly hate to run errands on my way home. So Sandra, because you know, she's wonderful, she's already home, she would call, "Hey, could you stop by," and as soon as she would start with stop by, before I even knew where I was gonna stop by, I was already in a bad mood. Which she totally doesn't deserve. Hey, could you stop by the grocery store? Could you stop? Could you run by?

And when the kids were young, could you pick up so-and-so? And I just immediately go into this funk, and my attitude's bad. It would get so bad, eventually she just quit calling and just text 'cause you know, nothing you can, there you go. You know? And she didn't deserve this. I mean, this is 100% on me. It was terrible. So finally I realized, and the same at home sometime, and I'm like, Andy, this is so ridiculous, okay? So I just decided from now on, no matter what she asked me to do, what she wants me to, doesn't matter, my response is gonna be happy to.

Now, I gotta tell you something real quick. See, I left out the pronoun. This is a little bit like when you would tell your kids to apologize to your son, their brother, sister, and they go, "Sorry, sorry". It's like, are you calling him sorry? Are you saying, you gotta have a pronoun, right? You gotta say I'm sorry. So it kind of started out with happy to, then I'm like, no, that's not enough. I would be happy to, because I knew once I did it, I would be happy I did it, and she would be happy I did it. This is so simple, Andy. Come on.

So I started doing this, you know, some time ago, but not as long ago as you might think. And I told her, I said, "Hey, I'm doing this series, and I'm gonna share this illustration". And I never told her that I started just, I'm gonna be happy to, I will be happy, you know, I will be happy to. And she said, "I noticed that". I'm like, "I bet you did 'cause I had the sorriest attitude when it came".

Okay, so that's my illustration. That's just between us. My point is I want you now to think about that thing that kind of gets on your nerves. Maybe it deserves to, maybe it doesn't. I want you to think about your normal response, and I want you to think about a response that would be like, oh my goodness, what happened to him? Who stole the body? Right? Or if you wanna, again, I think couching it in Jesus' terms is great, even if you're not a Jesus follower, what would look like, what would sound like, what would react like my Father in heaven?

So let's look for an opportunity to go the extra mile like our Father in heaven. Because you know what this is really? This is just rinse, you know, wash and rinse. This is just repeat. This is just recycling. Jesus' new covenant command, his new covenant command was this, we talk about it all the time. He said to his followers, look, let me make it simple for you. I want you to love other people the way I've loved you. I want you to love others. A new command I give you, love one another, not, uh-uh-uh, new command I give you, it's new, new command I give you, I want you to love others the way I have loved you.

This is just that. But Jesus says your greatest opportunity, my greatest opportunity to love others, especially the people that don't love us, the greatest opportunity we have to make a difference, to be a more than, to be a stop and stare, is when things don't go our way, because people know how they would react. And your Heavenly Father has invited you, and Jesus has commanded us to respond to others as our Heavenly Father responded to us, like our Father in heaven. Then, he says, you will be sons and daughters of your Father in heaven. So let's practice at home, and we'll pick it up there next time in part two of "Reactions Speak Louder Than Words". I'd love to pray for you.

Heavenly Father, easy to stand up here and talk. For some of us, we're immediately thinking of circumstances that we think, I don't know. I may be taken advantage of. I may be misunderstood. It may not work out. So give us wisdom, and give us eyes to see and ears to hear, and give us courage to react. And Father, would you raise up, would you raise up tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of Jesus followers around our nation who decide, you know what, I'm gonna react like my Father in heaven. I'm gonna over-underreact. I'm gonna let my light shine in such a way through my reactions that people see my good reaction, my, oh my goodness, I can't believe they did that, reaction and ultimately glorify their Father in heaven. And Father, especially in this cultural moment with so much going on, give us the courage to step into this, and I pray that we would begin at home with the people we love most and the people who deserve this the most. And I pray all of that in the matchless name of Jesus. Amen.

Are you Human?:*