A Dread Pirate, Maybe, But...

I am no Westley.

I am referring to the farm boy who becomes the Dread Pirate Roberts played by Cary Elwes in the wonderful movie, The Princess Bride.

Westley loves Princess Buttercup. He sees in her what she likely doesn't see in herself. While she treats him like a lowly farm boy who deserves no respect and is only there for her beck and call, Westley serves her with love. No matter how she treats him, Westley always responds to Buttercup's requests/demands by saying, "As you wish." One day Buttercup realizes that whenever Westley says that, he is really saying, "I love you." And, of course, Buttercup realizes that she loves him, too. Westley's persistence in responding to Buttercup out of love prevailed.

But as I said, I am no Westley.

If I am treated poorly, I too often respond in like. Even to my wife. Maybe especially to my wife. For some reason it's easier to respond kindly to a stranger who treats me poorly, but when it's someone I really love I can sometimes be vindictive. I expect to be treated the way I think I deserve to be treated (which isn't often how I really deserve to be treated). If a request inconveniences me, my thoughts turn to "Why can't she see I'm busy, too" rather than "I would love to serve you, my sweet bride."

I desire to be more like Westley. I want to not let my own selfish thoughts get in the way of saying "As you wish" and being able to love others in a way that they notice it in what I do--especially my own princess bride.

In many ways, Westley is spot-on in understanding what Jesus meant by loving our neighbors (without the romance part, of course). That selfless servitude is exactly the same sort of action (love) that will show others we are Christians. This is how we are called to live. Not to tell others we are Christians by our words, or show others we are Christians by our necklaces or bumper stickers. We are to live in such a way that they see we follow Jesus by the way we treat others, by our actions that follow when we say, "As you wish."

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