Expectations: “Those who have ears to hear, let them hear…” (Mk. 4:9 Mt. 11:15; Lk. 8:8, etc.) “And [God] said, “Go and say to this people: ‘Keep listening, but do not comprehend; keep looking, but do not understand.’ Make the mind of this people dull, and stop their ears, and shut their eyes, so that they may not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and comprehend with their minds, and turn and be healed.” (Isa. 6:9-10) We get what we expect. We are co-creators with Christ, after all. (1 Cor. 3:9)
What do you expect from other people? Their best? Their worst? Respect? Disrespect? If you expect respect, and get disrespect instead, do you allow that disrespect to change how you look at yourself? Or does your own self-respect, and respect for God’s gifts within you, keep you steady? Two movies that I have seen lately helped me understand that what we expect happens, for ourselves and for others.
In Sully, even tho’ he was challenged by folks who could not have done what he did – in fact, even tho’ he was challenged by his own PTSD flashes – he kept an inner confidence, based on what he Knew to be true about himself. There is a scene where he stands, eyes closed, before going into the room full of reporters and beaurocrats. He steadies himself. Is he praying? And then he challenges the powers that be. He asks questions. He makes statements. He is not ashamed of who he is or what he has done. He doesn’t explicitly call on God. But he lives as a godly man, trusting even tho’ doubting.
In Take the Lead, Antonio Bandaras’ character also knows who he is, and the gifts he offers people. He also lives as a godly man, and his expectations change lives. He teaches respect and self-respect by living the truth of his own respect for others and for himself. There is one scene where his arm comes out of his shirt sleeve as he twirls his partner, and a tatooed cross is visible. But it is his actions that show him to be a Christian. His students learn that God has a plan and a purpose for their lives that they may not see in their present circumstances, but that they can make choices. They don’t have to become who the world they inhabit says they are. They can change their expectations.
When we expect more than we can actually accomplish, we allow Christ to work in and through us, and the world changes, for the better. Nothing is impossible with God. (Luke 1:37)
There is a story about a teacher, retiring. She had been a really good high school teacher and her classes always produced a Valedictorian or a Salutatorian, sometimes both. And the principle of the school came to her and said, “Can you teach just one more year? There are some special students being transferred in and they need a teacher like you.” And he gave her a list with the names and some numbers by them, and she said, “Yes.” So these kids came, transferring in from many schools and she taught them, and by Golly, one of them became the Salutatorian. At graduation, the principle thanked the teacher for her dedication and hard work, and said that he was amazed that she could do so much with delinquents. She said, “Delinquents? These are exceptionally gifted young people. You are the one who gave me their IQ scores!” And the principle said, “Oh, those were their locker numbers.” See, the teacher saw numbers that were, for her, high IQ scores, based on her past expectations, experience and knowledge. So, when she taught the kids, expecting them to be geniouses, they responded to her high expectations with results to match.
What we expect is what we get. We hear what we want or expect to hear; we see likewise. When we do, hear, and see what we have always done, heard or seen, we get bad results. If we live within the heart of Jesus; when we see what is true and hear what is God, we can then “turn and be healed.”
And so can the world. Let those who have ears to hear, hear. Let those who have eyes to see, see.
Blessings, Pastor Bethany