Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Mistaken Identity

Several times in the last week I’ve emailed folks and signed off with my name, Stew, but the return response comes back addressed to ‘Steve’. I always laugh at this because my brother-in-law is named Steve.

I even emailed the same person three times and each time she responded back to ‘Steve’! The really funny part about that instance was that the woman was teaching material on “Don't Take Anything Personally"!

Times of mistaken identity are often humorous, but they can also be downright hurtful and tragic. One time when Malcolm Muggeridge was bathing in the Ganges River in India, he saw a woman off in the distance. She was naked and for a moment his mind raced to thoughts of physical pleasure. He started frantically swimming towards her, wondering if he could be unfaithful to his wife. As he surfaced only a few feet form the temptress she turned and showed him her hideous leprous face and toothless smile.

Muggeridge indeed had bad case of mistaken identity and it revealed the ugliness in his own heart.

Even on a day that celebrates the idea of love such as Valentine’s Day, one wonders if it isn’t a case of mistaken identity, too. So much emphasis on romantic love, the physical appearance of the other and the disposable nature of relationships hardly seem fitting for the word ‘love’. After all, the Bible says that God is love. This love is sacrificial and transforms us to the very core of who we are. This love is agape, not just erotic.

When you meet a man you judge him by his clothes . . . when you leave a man you judge him by his heart. Russian proverb

Which kind of love do you celebrate today? Make sure to get the right identity of love, not a cheap imitation.

'Life's greatest happiness is to be convinced we are loved.' Victor Hugo

1 John 4:7-11
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God--for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.


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