Hallways and Hearts…
The saying goes, "You cannot judge a book by its cover." Isn't it true, yet it happens every day. People have perceptions and their perceptions are their reality regardless of the presence of absence of truth in those perceptions. We've all done it, there are no exceptions outside of Christ. That is why it is so important to be about the heart and to realize that everywhere you go there are hurting people who need the love and grace of God.
My best friend from college is a very blessed woman in tangible means. She is this day beautifully saved in the Lord, but back then she was not. After college we remained close and we would get together maybe once a month (we live in different towns about 50 miles apart). We would take turns driving to each other for an afternoon that may have consisted of a lunch date or relaxing at each other's home. Here is the part of my story I wan to convey...
My home was a sweet little house in a housing development. Nothing unique about it other than my taste and style. Even that was humble for I didn't have a great deal of means to do what I really wanted to do with the place. Her house, on the other hand, was like a palace. She lived in a mansion with more rooms than her large family needed with acreage and every luxury available. She had a poolside seating area with fireplace and mantle and all the extras. It was her dream house that she and her husband built together. I liked her house, but I loved her.
Here is what is interesting about this story, I can recall going to little parties/boutiques she would host at her home and ladies would flood for the opportunity to go to her home and have her favor. I would see them pining for her attention. I would also see their disappointment when she devoted her heart to me. I had something with her the other ladies did not have...she knew I loved her not her possessions. I had invested time and love in her. She had always been blessed and had beautiful homes, but she didn't move to this house from college. She built up.
Ultimately, do you know what would happen when we spent time at my house? She would cuddle up on my couch and look around and tell me how much she loved my home. She loved coming to my house. The man or woman of reason would be perplexed by this. How can a woman with the American Dream life be so enthralled by simple and ordinary? The answer is simple and complete and truly had not much to do with me. Listen close for this is a truth God penetrated my heart with at a young age...
It is the spirit in a house that makes it a home.
The spirit sets the feel and atmosphere. Toby Mac had a song that states, "when there is love in the house, the house is packed". People draw to love. My friend had love in her heart, but she did not yet know the One who offers Love. Her spirit was drawn to the spirit of God in my house.
Right now I live in a different home in a quiet and peaceful part of town. It is a charming old house with lots of things that need fixing, but it's charm is undeniable and I have enjoyed being here. Most of my neighbors are very affluent. Some hold extremely prestigious occupations and are used to people bowing to them and so on. They have been very good neighbors to us and I thank God for good neighbors who we have good relations with. All of them are drawn in by my children.
There are people who have the humblest of circumstances but the biggest hearts who flow in rivers of love and peace. There are people who live in palaces but have no warmth, no peace, only possessions.
You cannot judge a book by its cover or a person by their outward appearances and possessions. In my life, most would perceive I haven't had a hardship, but I have tasted both blessing and deep need. I have had humble homes and beautiful homes and I have been homeless before. That's right...homeless. There is a void a homeless person has that no one could understand except one who has been in those shoes. But some of these souls are beautiful, too.
So never judge a life by what they have or don't have or how they look. Jesus is willing to live in all of our hearts and pay special attention to us all as those ladies did to my friend. But He does it for Love and a desire to walk with us, talk with us and be our friend. His interests are genuine and as we age and our "house" starts to change (physical appearance, wealth or health) He doesn't fain, he still desires to remain.
Let the Love of Jesus illuminate the hallways of your heart, comfort your soul and cover your mind, will and emotions. He looks upon you and finds your heart inviting. Let him in...He is your friend. He is a friend like none other!
"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith."