I need to expand my heart. I have to be like Jesus, and look past the outward appearance, and see people from the heart. To do that, I need to make three choices. First, I have to choose loving over labeling. Simon was a labeler. He was a religious guy, and religious people are the best labelers. We love to label people. He looked at the woman with the alabaster jar, and he said, trash. Jesus looked at her and said treasure. I also have found that religious people are the best at giving band-aid solutions. You pour out your heart to someone, and they say, oh, that’s an easy one. Just let go, and let God, and then they walk away, and you’re going, what? What was that? Or, here are ten things the Bible says to do. Go, do them, and you are going to be happy. It’s great. You’re thinking, what? And that may be true, but if someone’s heart’s not in it, they are just a noisy gong, or a clanging symbol the Bible says. If there is no love in it, there’s no compassion in it, no caring in it. Many times we religious people are the best in getting band-aid solutions. Oh, just do this, this and this, and your life will be great. You’re just not doing what God says. Just do these things.

We have no compassion or passion, or we don’t connect, and we wonder why we don’t go to a deeper level. I’m just tired of band-aid solutions, and I’m tired of labeling people. We’re so good at labeling people. We look at someone and say, he’s successful. We look at someone else and say, oh, he’s a struggler. We label people based on what they wear, what they drive. We label people based on their outward appearance. Not once in scripture do we ever find Jesus labeling anyone based on outward appearance. He always looked beyond the band-aid and straight into people’s hearts. I don’t care what you wear to church. I could care less what you wear to church, just put clothes on. It doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside. The only thing that matters is what’s in your heart. We’re all the same. We’re all fellow travelers, fellow strugglers, but we are looking to the one who is perfect. We’re looking to the one who’s showing us how to live a deeper life. We’re only going the right direction with God’s power. Church should be a place where there are no perfect people allowed, it should be a rule. No one will be perfect, so you’ll fit right in. We’ll say no perfect people allowed because if you think you’re perfect, you’ve got some deep issues, and we don’t want to deal with them, okay? We’ll send you on to the perfect church somewhere, and then that church won’t be perfect anymore because you’ll mess it up. No perfect people allowed.

Are you really listening to those who come to you for comfort, or are you just giving them band-aid solutions? In what ways can you stop and listen to them?