(Show film from above; perhaps comment; hairdressing instructional video ;-))
Some things and some people do look a little different from above. Of course, you can only see as far as the scalp from above. scalp and not inside the head. But we often have a certain idea of what certain other people people, how they think, how they usually behave and what they are like.
It often helps us if we can order or categorise our environment for ourselves, and of course we do that with the people around us. and of course we do the same with the people around us. He's just like that, he's different, he's got this quirk, etc. and so we can adjust our behaviour accordingly. After all, we don't want to hurt anyone or offend anyone.
Things in drawers
A keyword that suggests itself is the "drawer" and there we are already with the problem of such a self-made order or categorisation. order or categorisation. It is not for nothing that we often talk about pigeonholing in this context.
If something is in a drawer, it won't fall out of it, jump out of it or get out of it in any other way. come out. You have to deliberately open the drawer, take the thing out and consciously put it somewhere else.
Many people have become accustomed to a way of thinking or a perception and no longer want to change it. For example, when it comes to For example, when it comes to faith, one encounters this from time to time. You have been thinking about it for a while, you have come to a conclusion and and then the subject is put into a mental drawer. And when at some point another one arrives with Jesus Christ, you know the right drawer and then you've already gone through the subject.
It is really God's grace that he cannot stand to be in such a human drawer and that he gives man a healing restlessness so that this drawer does not remain closed. so that this drawer does not remain closed.
Even as a Christian, one has such pigeonholes. Maybe they are different opinions, maybe they are things that should be actually need to be put in order. Some of these drawers are very deep and difficult to move.
It happened to me a few years ago that I met someone again whom I had treated badly over thirty years ago. over thirty years ago. I hadn't thought about it for a long time, but when I saw this person again, the memory came back. the memory came back. I had the chance to talk to him and apologise and I was glad I did. This was actually not just a hidden drawer, but more like a skeleton in the closet.
I would like to read a few verses from 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NGÜ):
9 Need I remind you that those who do wrong will have no share in the kingdom of God, the inheritance God has in store for us? Do not deceive yourselves: No one who leads an immoral life, worships idols, commits adultery, has homosexual relations (with minors), 10 steals, is greedy for money, drinks, spreads slander or robs others will share in God's kingdom. 11 You too were among those who lived and behaved like this - at least some of you. But that is in the past. The dirt of your transgressions has been washed off you; you now belong to God's holy people, you have been absolved of all your sins by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.., and by the Spirit of our God.
Here the church in Corinth has been described, how many of them have become new in Jesus. And that has always always been very impressed by how people can become healed and new in Jesus.
But people who have lived in the way described here certainly often still have unresolved issues in their drawers. and they have most likely not always been able to clear everything up with the people who have harmed or hurt them. hurt them.
I don't know how it is with you, whether and what you still have in your drawers. Maybe you still have skeletons in your that you rarely remember. With some things in my life that have not really been clarified, I'm not sure whether I am not sure if and how I have to do something, but I am sure that Jesus gently leads people, you and me, there, to sort things out and that some things can certainly take a long time. And it sets you free when you can confess such things to the people you have harmed or hurt.
People in pigeonholes
But just as we heard at the beginning, not only unresolved things end up in our drawers, but also other people. Maybe we sort them by their clothes, by their profession or by their origin. At school, at least that's how I remember it at least that's how I remember it, it was often the clothes that determined who belonged to a group. University was a liberation for me liberation for me, because clothing and appearance no longer played a role. We were a colourful bunch. It was probably different at the law school, but I wasn't attracted to it.
Unfortunately, such pigeonholes can also exist in communities. Often people try to protect themselves from bad experiences. If you judge or even condemn opinions or people too quickly, then you are caught in the pigeonhole trap. Every person deserves a thorough examination of his or her person.
Example: Joseph of Arimataea
I would like to look with you at a man who could perhaps end up in such a drawer (John 19:38; NIV): Now Joseph, a man from Arimataea, went to Pilate and asked him to be allowed to take Jesus' body down from the cross. Joseph was a disciple of Jesus - but only secretly, because he was afraid of the 'leading' Jews. When he had received permission from Pilate, he went 'to the place of execution' and took Jesus' body down.
Joseph was a secret disciple. That doesn't really sound good, but somehow cowardly. Perhaps we also think of a biblical passage like Matthew 10:32,33 (NGÜ):
32 Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
"Secretly" and "confessing before men" are contradictory, aren't they? What kind of Christian is that?
I am exaggerating, of course, and I don't really believe that anyone present here would judge a Christian in a persecution situation in this way. persecution situation.
But let's look at this Joseph some more. He is mentioned in all the gospels and each gospel sees him from a slightly a slightly different perspective:
Matthew 27, 57-60 (NGÜ)
57 When evening came, Joseph, a rich man who came from Arimatæa and was a disciple of Jesus, came. 58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate ordered that the dead body be given to Joseph. 59 So Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth 60 and laid it in the tomb, which was still unused, which he had had hewn out for himself in a rock. Before he left, he rolled a large stone in front of the entrance to the tomb.
He was rich and he gives for Jesus the tomb that he had carved out of a rock for himself. We are often in such a mood that we give what we have left. That would be like the rich man as if the rich man Joseph still had a plot of land on a mountain somewhere with a little cave. No, he gives the grave that he had bought and intended for himself, and for oneself one often provides the best. And that is what he gives for Jesus.
Mark 15, 42-46 (NGÜ)42 It was already evening, and it was Preparation Day, the day before the Sabbath, 'so that time was pressing'. 43 Then Joseph of Arimathea took heart and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. (Joseph was a respected member of the high council, and he was one of those who waited for the coming of the kingdom of God). 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that Jesus was already dead. He sent for the centurion and asked him, and asked him if Jesus had really died. 45 When the centurion confirmed it to him, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 Joseph bought a linen cloth, took Jesus down from the cross and wrapped him in the cloth. Then he laid him in a tomb hewn out of a rock and rolled a stone in front of the entrance to the tomb.
So he was not only rich, but also a respected member of the High Council. He was really waiting for the Messiah. Then he took heart, he jumped over his shadow, and asked for the body of Jesus. And he not only donated his own burial place, but he also bought the linen cloth.
Luke 23, 50-5250 Among the members of the high council was a man of noble and righteous disposition, 51 who had not agreed with the decisions and actions of the other members of the council. He was from Arimathea, a town in Judea, and was waiting for the coming of the kingdom of God. 52 Joseph - that was this man's name - went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
He was of noble and righteous disposition. That is praise. I hope that one day people will be able to say the same about me. And he may have been a secret disciple, but he was still not a follower. He turned his faith into action and let his faith guide his decisions.
If you look at the four passages together and take into account that the request for Jesus' body was almost a confession, then you get a different picture of this man. then you get a different picture of this man. He no longer appears cowardly, but is a courageous, exemplary Christian. Christian.
I think we can feel the same way about people around us if we don't just look at them with our tunnel vision. A view from above doesn't necessarily help, but maybe we just need to open our eyes to let someone out of our pigeonhole. out of our pigeonhole.
Add to this a Bible text:
Matthew 7, 1-51 "Do not condemn anyone, so that you also may not be condemned. 2 For as you judge others, you yourselves will be judged, and with the measure you use of others you yourselves will be measured. 3 How is it that you see the mote in your brother's eye, but do not notice the beam in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, 'Hold still! I will pull the mote out of your eye'. - and there is a beam in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite! First pull the beam out of your own eye; then you will see clearly and be able to pull the mote out of your brother's eye."
This is about condemning, but the message of this text also fits our theme very well. In terms of our theme the text could sound like this:
"Do not pigeonhole anyone so that you do not end up there either. For as you judge others, you yourselves will be judged, you yourself will be judged, and by the measure you apply to others, you yourself will be measured. How is it that you see the faults in the other but ignore your own? How can you say to the other: You are behaving impossibly! while others also roll their eyes at you? Work on yourself first before you criticise others.
This is in line with the message of the Bible text, isn't it?
We ourselves in a drawer
And this brings us to the point when pigeonholing bothers us the most, namely when we ourselves seem to be pigeonholed by others. seem to be in a pigeonhole.
You can do whatever you want, the judgement of others is already fixed anyway. You can experience that at school. For example, I always had lousy handwriting and no matter whether I made an effort or not, the teachers always thought my that my handwriting was illegible. Any efforts on my part had no effect whatsoever. Personally, this didn't bother me that much, but you can imagine, that at some point I stopped spending time on improving my handwriting. I took a typing course. A typing course at the adult education centre was my personal way out.
You might be able to laugh about such school experiences at some point, but if other people put you in a drawer, it can be a great burden. people's pigeonholes, then it can really weigh on you.
"That's just the way it is and it will never change." Everyone has the right to change.
An example from Ephesians 4:15; (NGÜ)
Instead, we are to hold fast to the truth in a spirit of love, so that we may grow in faith and become more and more like the Head, Christ, in every way.
"Growing in faith": Growth means change. When one has children, one often notices the passing years only by the fact that the children are getting bigger. They grow and change, and how they change!
And we too, who belong to Jesus Christ and are no longer children, should grow towards Jesus. And let us trust others to do the same. Let us let them out of our drawers.
It's nice in the drawer
On the other hand, we sometimes feel very comfortable in a drawer, consciously or unconsciously. Because it also has advantages.
For example, if you are considered difficult, people are often more considerate. Around such people, you often hear whispers like whispers like: "Come on, don't say anything now or you'll get into trouble again. He's just a bit difficult." And sometimes you get kicked.
I once had an uncle, who has been dead for a long time now, who travelled all over the world in his professional life. and was in South Africa a couple of times during the apartheid era. He talked about it and scolded the "stupid blacks". When I didn't want to accept that and say something about it, I felt a pain in my shin and a warning look from my mother. and the warning look of my mother, because she had known this uncle for a long time.
Often a person is not even aware of being in a drawer. The difficult person does not usually perceive himself as difficult, because who likes to be difficult? How do others see us? Do they have problems with us? Do they want to confront us? How do others see living or working with us? Are we offended when they give us an honest opinion? said?
There is a saying that the messenger of bad news gets shot, and unfortunately there is some truth in that. I don't like criticism either. Personally, I always try to deal with it in such a way that I only get angry about it for a day, and then and then think about it objectively. If the criticism doesn't go very far below the surface, it doesn't take quite so long. But after that day, the anger has to be over. Perhaps there are better ways of dealing with criticism. Some people may then break out in praise and thank God that they have experienced criticism that can bring them further. But I'm not there yet, I still have to grow a bit.
But because the messenger is often shot, the opposite way is also often very difficult. Certain social structures then form around structures form around such a target. These are small groups that talk about topics with the headline "You really ought to tell him that." Will that happen? I don't know, but unfortunately it is often not me who says something. Of course, structures like house groups can help here, so that through closer contact one is more willing to criticise others to criticise others objectively and lovingly and also to accept such criticism.
Then there is the conscious stay in the drawer.
There are certain statements that make me prick up my ears, e.g. "That's just the way I am" or "I'm not going to change any more! and as an enhancement: "You just have to take me as I am!
If such statements refer to hobbies, interests or, neutrally, to personality, such as one person is more cheerful, another more melancholic, another more of a loner. rather cheerful, another rather melancholic, another rather a loner, then one can accept such statements. accept such statements.
But if such statements include, for example, insensitive hurting through words, a self-centred, egoistic way of life, gossip, disinterest in one's neighbour and whatever else you can think of, then one must contradict such statements. contradict such statements.
Let us look again at the verse from just now (Ephesians 4, 15; (NGÜ))
Instead, we are to hold fast to the truth in a spirit of love, so that we may grow in faith and become more and more like the Head, Christ, in every way.
Does what we do not want to change fit the spirit of love and truth? How similar is it to Jesus?
It's not about building up pressure somehow, it's about gaining awareness for yourself, where it's time for personal growth. Where do I hurt other people? Where do I make it difficult for others to live together or cooperation difficult? Where does something have to change?
Because a statement like "You just have to take me as I am" is not true. You don't have to. Let's imagine that someone like that gets old. If he has no family, it can get very lonely in old age. Who would want to deal voluntarily with a difficult, old person? Maybe God gives grace, so that someone is put on his heart and takes care of him, but from a purely human point of view, no one wants to do that. no one is up for it.
And also if you have a family: Maybe the grandchildren like to listen to stories from the past and often children are are much more patient with difficult people and sometimes even bring about changes in difficult old people. But if you are difficult, over time you fall out with the rest of your friends and relatives until only a hard core remains. core remains, which then perhaps even suffers particularly.
My great-grandfather was one of those. The older he got, the fewer neighbours he had contact with. My father, who grew up with his grandparents, was no longer allowed to talk to more and more people.
Personally, I don't want to grow old in that way. I want to be able to deal with criticism even in my old age. I want to be able to continue to grow towards Jesus even in my old age and I want to be able to tell something at the table later on, without someone getting a kick in the shins.
Let us pray to Jesus that we may grow old in such a way.
How does God see us?
There is a saying: "God sees everything!" and that is true. There is an old children's joke about the priest who hung a sign saying apple tree, where apples were constantly being stolen by children, with a sign saying "God sees everything". The next day it said: "Yes, but he doesn't tell on us!
Both are true. He sees all our weaknesses and strengths, but in love. And he does not expose us in the process. What we entrust to him remains with him. We often make fools of ourselves in front of other people because of our weaknesses, but we can rely on God.
An example of this sensitivity of God is John 21:15-17 (NGÜ): 15 When they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than anyone else here?" Peter answered him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus then said to him, "Take care of my lambs!" 16 Jesus asked him a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Then Jesus said to him, "Tend my sheep!" 17 Jesus asked him a third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter became sad because Jesus was now asking him a third time, "Do you love me?" "Lord, you know everything," he replied. "You know that I love you." Then Jesus said to him, "Take care of my sheep!
Peter had denied Jesus three times, three times he had said, "Jesus, I do not know." And that was what he suffered suffered. It was also difficult, because his life was in danger in these situations. I don't know how I would have reacted.
Luke 22:62 describes how Peter felt after this threefold denial (NGÜ):
And he went out and wept in bitter despair.
Jesus now offers him three times the opportunity to confess his love for him. I do not believe that this has a deep spiritual meaning. I believe that Peter simply needed this to come to terms with his failure. He may not have understood it directly, but it changed him. He took Jesus' commission very seriously, and we can read in the Acts of the Apostles what happened to Peter.
Jesus does not see Peter in a drawer, but he helps Peter out of it. He does not want Peter to stay in a failure drawer and he does not want us to be there either.
We will fail again and again, before God and also before people, but Jesus stands by us and he helps us on. He is with us on the way.
- There are things in our drawers that should not stay there. Maybe there are even skeletons in the closet. Let us face them and trust in Jesus' help.
- Then we tend to put people in drawers and never let them out. As an example, that people can be more than what we see, we looked at Joseph of Arimathea.
- Then sometimes we are in a drawer ourselves, sometimes we suffer from it, sometimes we feel good about it. Let us face the change. For this I would like to read the verse from earlier again (Ephesians 4:15; (NGÜ)): Instead, we are to hold fast to the truth in a spirit of love, so that we may grow in faith and become more and more like him who is the head, Christ, in every way.
- God looks at us in love, knowing all about us. He is sensitive and loving with us on the way.