If your brother wrongs you, go and show him his fault, between you and him privately. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother. – Matthew 18:15 (AMP)
As the days progressed I found myself absorbed in what Miriam had to say. This was a woman so much deeper than the circumstance that had brought her and my mother together. She had so much to offer, a definite wealth of wisdom from a woman I would learn was younger than my mother.
This humble woman had a grace in sharing who she was without coming off like she had something to defend. She is real. There is no façade with her. Spending time in her presence would be as if you had taken in too much fresh air: when you inhale the crisp cleanness that leaves your nostrils tingling and your lungs almost burning. I liken it to the deep breath that leaves you longing for a nap.
With Miriam seated on the sofa in my mother’s living room, and my mother in her favorite rocker, I found myself perched on the edge of an arm chair across the room. I felt like a child, waiting in eager anticipation for the next words that would flow from Miriam. Miriam was sharing who she was and how she lives her life.
Gone was the weeping woman, almost holding herself, in the back seat of my mother’s car. Here now, was a woman, comfortable, confident and notably animated in her discussion. I laugh now as I think about how she talked with her hands. She fit right in with our family as we are very often told how much we do that very thing.
As many things as I will carry away from this time with her and the many statements that seemed so profound, as to echo the teachings of the Christian faith, Miriam offered me yet another glimpse.
With hands moving in perfect demonstration of the words she was speaking, Miriam stated, “I am Miriam. I am straight. I do not play. You have problem with me, I come to you and ask you, what is it in your heart you have for me? Tell me”.
She deals with things head on, straight-forward, no beating around the bush or him-hawing around. And if she hears something, about you, rest assured that she is going to come directly to you about it. There will be no in between unless it is the one who brought it to her.
She will not tolerate gossip, or backbiting in her house, within her family. She will bring them together, sit them in front of her and make them confront the situation face to face. It will be dealt with. And when it is done she wipes her hands together in the air with distinct movements and states affirmatively, “It is done, finished”.
Somehow, I just know it is true.
This woman is living the life and direct teachings of Jesus that so many Christians fail to do. Even the most simple as today’s Scripture. “If your brother wrongs you, go and show him…” This was from Jesus’ own mouth. Not go to your neighbor, pastor, other church member and tell them all about it so you can have somebody on your side. Go to him first.
But, but, but… you don’t understand. We constantly have excuses for why we can’t do what we have been told in Scripture we should do. We are always looking for another way, our own way, because we think that we know better.
Miriam is a Muslim. I am a Christian. How is it that she seems to live her life so firmly in the most basic areas I see Christians struggle with every day? Can I tell you I was humbled?
What is it that leaves Christians almost arrogant in our faith? It is absolute truth that there is no other way to God the Father than through Christ Jesus.
Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me. – John 14:6
Why is it, that instead of this stirring a love in our hearts for those who do not know Jesus, it leads to condescending arguments to people of different faiths? A, “We’ve got it right, you’ve got it wrong and you’re going to hell”, attitude?
Can I tell you, that someone looking from the outside in would find Miriam’s life more in line with the teachings of our Messiah? Someone would be drawn more to her and the faith she represents because she is real and living it?
It is not my intent to offer my brothers and sisters in Christ condemnation. Your walk with the Lord is between you and Him. Only He knows and is able to judge, heal and determine a person’s thoughts and motives.
In introspect, my eyes were opened to something I didn’t realize and ignorance is no excuse: the true love of Christ. He loves this woman, which I sit with in my mother’s living room, who is living it more than I am.
Salvation is easy for ourselves. It is easy to pray for our lost loved ones. But there is an entire world of other people, of other religions, that we have been more concerned with arguing about “whose faith is right”, than loving and praying for them with the love of Jesus.
Sounds more like a Pharisee to me. One more of many things I would glean from two days with Miriam.