Which Who Are You? - The Grinch And Our Spiritual Lives

Which Who are you? 

Cindy Lou Who is passionate, seeking love in a world that doesn't quite exhibit the love she knows that we should be showing each other.

Lou Lou Who, Cindy's father, knows the right thing to do but is timid in doing it.

Mayor Augustus Who is old, in control, and doesn't want to change.

And the Grinch, who hasn't experienced true love because he was treated unfairly as a child, by Mayor Augustus Who himself, and has since isolated himself from those who may hurt him. And in the loneliness, he has grown a hard, cruel heart that needs changed.

Are you Cindy Lou Who, then Jesus has a message for you.

There are two types of Cindy Lou Whos among us. Those who are zealous despite their age, and the kids among us, who seem naturally passionate. Unfortunately, both types of Cindy Lou Whos run across parents and other Christians who train them to not be so passionate and steer them to focus on the wrong things. Instead of encouraging the Cindy Lou Whos to be radically loving, the world tries try to tame them down.

But Jesus' message for the Cindy Lou Whos is to keep it up. Don't be disheartened by the opposition to your passion. Don't let age stifle your zeal. We have a tendency to lose our passion as we age. As we grow further from the point at which we surrendered to Jesus. To lose our zeal. To let the pain, suffering, and disappointment of our experiences to convince us to give up pursuing the ideals.Yet we can't allow that to happen. We miss out when we let the discouragements and disappointments of this world to destroy our zeal.

I always hear people say that the children are the future of the church. That saying always baffles me. Because children aren't the future of the church; they are a significant part of the church. Right now. Today. 
Despite their age, children play a role in every church.

Paul wrote to Timothy and said,
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity (1 Timothy 4:12 ESV).
And there is a story about Jesus:
Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people,  but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”  And he laid his hands on them and went away (Matthew 19:13-15 ESV).
I remember when we started doing walk up communion at our church and children just started taking the communion as if that is what they were supposed to do. The leaders gathered together to talk about whether this is something that we should allow or not. And we came back to this passage: "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them."

Whether you are an older Cindy Lou Who or a child, if your heart is in the right place, your joy cannot be taken. This world, though it may try, cannot remove Jesus' love from your heart.

When we try to tame the zeal of a child or a radical fellow Christian--when we stifle their passion, we are doing a disservice to the kingdom. We must let the passion and the zeal of the Cindy Lou Whos among us change who we are.

Which leads us to the next Who.

Are you Mayor Augustus Who, then Jesus has a message for you.

Mayor Augustus Who is the Who who made the Grinch want to leave Whoville. He's like the Christian who causes some to leave the church. The zeal stifler. The tradition holder. The passion stealer. They try to stifle the Cindy Lou Whos because they don't want to be challenged to change. Because being challenged means that I am currently wrong. And Mayor August Whos do not like to be wrong. They make fun of the Grinches and stifle the zeal of the Cindy Lou Whos as a defense mechanism to avoid seriously considering something different. 

Mayor Augustus Who was hateful, scared of change, and set in his ways.
And if not for Cindy Lou, he would remain that the rest of his days.
These types are the worst, for they think they are right.
Instead of showing  love, they just want to fight.

The writer of Proverbs says,
Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses (Proverbs 10:12 ESV).
Mayor Augustus Whos need to learn to love, not divide. And to give, not just receive.

As it is recorded that Jesus taught:

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35 ESV).
Mayor Augustus Who is like the Christian who thinks that church is about them. Instead of the church being about God's kingdom and furthering His will here on earth, it becomes about their enjoyment that they have had for years and keeping things the way they want them.

So Jesus' message to the Mayor Augustus Whos, who none of us would like to admit that we are, is to love, is to give. To stop looking out for one's self and to start looking out for others. Stop hating and start changing. Don't stifle the Cindy Lou Whos, but let the Cindy Lou Whos change you.

Are you Lou Lou Who, then Jesus has a message for you.

Lou Lou Whos have a passionate person around them, and they know the passion is right. They feel the pull to be the same way, but they are struggling with whether to be on Cindy Lou Who's side and be passionate or to be on Mayor Augustus Who's side and hold her back.

Lou Lou Whos know that if we take the side of the mayor, we will be accepted. A Lou Lou Who may gain some power themselves. We won't stand out. We will fit in and be part of the crowd. It's comfortable. It's appealing.

We fall prey to being Lou Lou Whos when we forget that we have been saved for a purpose, and that isn't to maintain the status quo.

Paul wrote:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV).

That was Paul saying we have been save to do good works. But if the good don't do the good, then are they really good?

There's a popular quote from Edmund Burke:
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

And the stark warning of Jesus:
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven (Matthew 7:21 ESV).

Lou Lou Who.
He knew what was good.
He knew what was right.
He just didn't have the strength to put up the fight.

But Jesus is saying to the Lou Lou Whos among us that God saved us for something. Not just to be saved. But to do His works. Jesus is saying to do the things that He would do if He was here living among you. Even if it will make us unpopular, uncomfortable or any other "un."

Are you the Grinch, then Jesus has a message for you?

Despite what the Mayor Augustus Whos may say, Jesus came for Grinches like me and you. He came to seek and save the lost. The outcasts and those who have been tossed aside.

God has better plans for us than we experience when we are living away from Him and His community. And he pleads that we would not reject him because of the Mayor Augustus Whos, but that we would seek him.

The prophet Isaiah wrote:
And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard.  What more was there to do for my vineyard, that I have not done in it? When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes? (Isaiah 5:3-4 ESV).

God did everything He could to make His people the people that He wanted them to be, yet they failed time and time again. So God is saying to not judge Him by His people.

I want to be able to say to people, "Look at our church and see what God desires. Love overflowing. Truth transforming. And the Spirit alive."

For when that happens, the Grinches will notice. Just like the Grinch noticed the singing that he thought shouldn't be there on Christmas morning. The Grinches may steal all our presents, thinking that is what makes us who we are. Yet if we continue rejoicing in the Lord despite the circumstances, they will notice the peculiar celebration that, logicially, should not be happening.

Dr. Seuss wrote:
It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes, or bags! Maybe Christmas, he [the Grinch] thought, doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!

Christmas is about more than stores, packages, ribbons, and feasts. This the Grinch learns. Christmas is about Jesus the savior being born.

Lee Strobel, the author of Case For Christ and other books was a journalist for the Chicago Tribune before he became a Christian and a pastor. He has a remarkable Christmas story
The Tribune newsroom was eerily quiet on the day before Christmas. As I sat at my desk with little to do, my mind kept wandering back to a family I had encountered a month earlier while I was working on a series of articles about Chicago's neediest people. 
The Delgados – 60-year-old Perfecta and her granddaughters Lydia and Jenny – had been burned out of their roach-infested tenement and were now living in a tiny two-room apartment. As I walked in, I couldn't believe how empty it was. There was no furniture, no rugs, nothing on the walls – only a small kitchen table and one handful of rice. That's it. They were virtually devoid of possessions. 
In fact, 11-year-old Lydia and 13-year-old Jenny owned only one short-sleeved dress each, plus one thin, gray sweater between them. When they walked the half-mile to school through the biting cold, Lydia would wear the sweater for part of the distance and then hand it to her shivering sister, who would wear it the rest of the way. 
But despite their poverty and the painful arthritis that kept Perfecta from working, she still talked confidently about her faith in Jesus. She was convinced he had not abandoned them. I never sensed despair or self-pity in her home; instead, there was a gentle feeling of hope and peace.  
I wrote an article about the Delgados, and then I quickly moved on to more exciting assignments. But as I sat at my desk on Christmas Eve, I continued to wrestle with the irony of the situation: here was a family that had nothing but faith and yet seemed happy, while I had everything I needed materially but lacked faith – and inside I felt as empty and barren as their apartment.  
I walked over to the city desk to sign out a car. It was a slow news day, with nothing of consequence going on. My boss could call me if something were to happen. In the meantime, I decided to drive over to West Homer Street and see how the Delgados were doing. 
When Jenny opened the door, I couldn't believe my eyes. Tribune readers had responded to my article by showering the Delgados with a treasure trove of gifts – roomfuls of furniture, appliances, and rugs; a lavish Christmas tree with piles of wrapped presents underneath; carton upon bulging carton of food; and a dazzling selection of clothing, including dozens of warm winter coats, scarves, and gloves. On top of that, they donated thousands of dollars in cash. 
But as surprised as I was by this outpouring, I was even more astonished by what my visit was interrupting: Perfecta and her granddaughters were getting ready to give away much of their newfound wealth. When I asked Perfecta why, she replied in halting English: 
"Our neighbors are still in need. We cannot have plenty while they have nothing. This is what Jesus would want us to do." 
That blew me away! If I had been in their position at that time in my life, I would have been hoarding everything. I asked Perfecta what she thought about the generosity of the people who had sent all of these goodies, and again her response amazed me. 
"This is wonderful; this is very good," she said, gesturing toward the largess. "We did nothing to deserve this – it's a gift from God. But," she added, "it is not His greatest gift. No, we celebrate that tomorrow. That is Jesus." 
To her, this child in the manger was the undeserved gift that meant everything – more than material possessions, more than comfort, more than security. And at that moment, something inside of me wanted desperately to know this Jesus – because, in a sense, I saw him in Perfecta and her granddaughters. 
They had peace despite poverty, while I had anxiety despite plenty; they knew the joy of generosity, while I only knew the loneliness of ambition; they looked heavenward for hope, while I only looked out for myself; they experienced the wonder of the spiritual while I was shackled to the shallowness of the material – and something made me long for what they had. Or, more accurately, for the One they knew.

The Delgados are an example that helped change Lee Strobel's life for Jesus. I find it extremely ironic that a man who went on to write books on apologetics after coming to the Lord was touched by the love of an impoverished yet faithful servant of Jesus. We don't change the world by being like the world. We change the world by being the light of the world, a city on a hill, the salt of the earth, a royal priesthood who are different.

So no matter who we are, or which Who we are, at this time of year, Jesus wants to wake us up. And not just to be a good Christian at Christmas when it is fun to give, but to live all year  round, passionately doing His works. Jesus came so that we could have so much more than this. And that's what makes Christmas merry.