Posted: October 30th, 2016 |
Filed under: God | Tags: bitterness, divisions, faith, hope |
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Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. -Romans 13:1 NIV
You have a choice regarding how you look at life. You can choose fear or faith. You can’t have both. You can’t choose fear when it socially suits you in your pursuit of relevance, only to choose faith when the emotional fork-in-the-road is over. Decide who you are, what or Whom you serve, or forever become an empty reflection of an unthinking social media ticker. One day they abhor divisive talk and the next day they bait a divisive discussion. One day they choose left, then the wind changes direction and they are the biggest advocate for the right. Repugn the weathercock.
They burn with fear and call it passion. What will become of all of their fear-talk and ultimatums when this is over? The braveheart would fight to the death. They present as warriors for their cause when they’re behind the safety of a screen, but time and change turn them into weak and insipid pawns. They won’t fight to the death, they’ll normalize it and find some other parade float to ride on.
Choose faith. You already know Who wins. What is your problem? Don’t you recognize fear-mongers taunt by now? They report as though there is no God. They speak as though He cannot hear. They flirt with your need for something meaningful and call you away from your First Love. The easily manipulated take a bite like they’ve been invited to a King’s feast. Run from them. Fear’s secret lovers think they know how this is going to turn out. They confuse satire for breaking news and sing karaoke quality gossip like they’re going to change the lives of their listeners.
Make hope your center of gravity. Seal out irrational sensationalism. Don’t be a cheap conduit of panicked ultimatums. There are forces that want to pit us against one another, but we are not naturally inclined to be like that. We don’t look for differences, we look for similarities. But, when presented with requisitions and threats of impending doom, we are forced to consider the faulty logic and reject the weak-minded fuel of the mob mentality.
Pray. Do it with certainty that God has authority. Pray with faith based on the fact that He gets His way. Pray without doubting and if you have people in your life who make you forget, then silence their voices by blocking their path to your door. It’s weird seasons like this that are a sieve to catch the unstable and uneducated. You can’t talk sense to a nonthinker, they’ll just dumb down your efforts. The intelligent publicly ignore the nonsense of fools and privately pray for the prevalence of unity, freedom, intelligence, and truth. Go down in history as an advocate for wisdom and peace. Be a Rock-anchored beacon and let the storm kick up your hair, making you all the more beautiful.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. – James 1:5-8 ESV
Against The Wind by *Prismes
Posted: July 30th, 2014 |
Filed under: life | Tags: bitterness, divisions, faith, forgive, grace, healing, purpose, think |
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You have the ability to write your own reality. Not literally, but cognitively. There is a such thing as absolute Truth, and I’m not suggesting that that can be altered with what we think. I’m talking about our perspective and the lengths we will go to maintain it. Our perspective is our current reality and it is never 100% correct. Yet, we base our attitudes and behavior on our perspective all of the time. Same thing flipped around: We are animated from a place that isn’t necessarily true.
It’s not what it means… it’s what you think it means that matters. You should challenge what you think every once in a while.
For example, you’ll makes excuses for the behavior of your friends in such a way that allows you to maintain your friendship. However, you create reasons for the behavior of your enemies that allows you to be morally superior and completely distrustful. It’s not really on purpose. It’s a human default setting. Your relationship with the person determines how you spin your explanation of them. This is how former friends can dislike each other and former lovers can tear each other’s character to pieces.
We see what we expect to see. Perspective is like a pair of prescription glasses. The prescription is determined by what you’ve already been through and what you expect to happen. It’s a really fast way for our brains to learn from our past and help us survive our future. It becomes a problem when a poisoned perspective goes unchallenged. Former friends don’t spend the kind of time together it would take eradicate the false assumptions.Unchecked false assumptions become truth and that “truth” becomes the stage for subsequent thoughts, words, and actions regarding the other. Lovers can forgive personality quirks as they focus on the good qualities that, but the personality quirks become back bites when a scorned lover needs balm for relational wounds.
There was a study done to determine the role of expectations with experience and memory. The questions revolved around whether or not the person can alter his or her experience with their perspective. Individuals were given a few seconds to look around a kitchen before they were taken to another room to write down what they saw in there. The goal was to illustrate their sharp memory and write down the most items. Included on their lists were items that were not in the kitchen, but are typically in a kitchen. These people could tell you where the toaster was from memory, even though there was no toaster in the kitchen. Their history with kitchens and their expectations created their reality and implanted a false memory. They remember seeing what they expected to see.
We do this all the time. Sometimes it’s harmless and even necessary. It’s how you protect yourself and survive dangerous situations. You don’t go down seedy allies at night, you don’t pick up hitchhikers, you grab your kid’s hand in response to a feeling. In essence, you trust your gut and that’s a good thing. But, it’s not always right. When your life could be in danger, then it doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong.
It does matter, however, when past pain has made you so cynical that you’ve cast a dark cloud over everything in an attempt to lower your expectations and avoid more pain and disappointment. You can’t go through life feeding the divide between you and your perceived adversaries. You need to allow yourself the opportunity to heal so that you don’t assume the worst so often that you miss the good things. Sometimes healing requires reaching out and making yourself vulnerable again.
You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:14-16 MSG
How can you be salt and light in the world when you remain unchallenged and in the dark? It’s one thing to be non-believing cynic clothed in self-preservation against countless imaginary enemies. It’s another when you’re a proclaiming Christian who is supposed to be living life from a completely different perspective. It’s a perspective of being “more that conquerors” so that you can live “generously” among others by “opening up” to them. You can’t do that in your cocoon.
Part of the problem with all of these broken relationships is that we can too easily see what we assume is the presence of the spiritual enemy at work in the lives of the people we don’t necessarily like. It’s too easy to say that someone is spiritually deceived. Deeply rooted bitterness makes us unable to see God at work in another. Jesus said that you’re supposed to be a light-bearer to bring out the God-colors. Who is using you as an accuser?
It’s time to change your mind. Haven’t you heard it said to “hold your thoughts captive”? Isn’t that the idea behind the whole “intentional living” thing? Your thoughts actively write your reality. You’re not put on this earth to find fault, doubt the intent of a kind gesture, or vilify people you’ve marked for disposal. You are salt and light. If you can’t see God when you look at His people and they can’t feel His love through you, then why are you here?
“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.” – Jesus in Matthew 5:13 MSG
Reach out to someone. Maybe it will change your mind.
Posted: June 8th, 2012 |
Filed under: life | Tags: advice, aftermath, bitterness, faith, forgive, freedom, grace, healing, hope, love wins, sin |
13 Comments »
A few years ago, I had an affair that ended my marriage. All of my Christian friends will have nothing to do with me and I can’t get them to even talk to me.
What are we supposed to do in that situation? I know that God has forgiven me and changed me through this, but they don’t see it and they keep denying His power in my life. It crushes me. I know I was wrong, but they are, too. …
It’s hard to understand when people refuse to see the grace in your life the way you feel it. Sometimes it’s a battle to believe it for yourself. The bullets are still flying at you after the cease fire was called. It’s even worse when people you looked up to, who should know better, deny everything they preach with the way they treat you.
Times like this reveal a person’s true character. Sometimes it’s hard to watch it go down.
The trap to avoid is the urge to withhold grace from those who withhold grace from you. Grace doesn’t wait for the person to fix themselves. It doesn’t choose between bad and really bad. You should be an expert in that.
Don’t do anything you’ll have to apologize for later.
Nobody can take away what God has given you. It’s time to let God take care of your validation. He has His own timing for everything.
If you focus on the pain they’re causing you and are continually feeling like you’re being mistreated, then you will not get past focusing on yourself. It breeds bitterness.
This isn’t a battle between people, don’t let yourself sink to that level. You’re in a spiritual battle of faith. The battle is against resentment, self-pity, and entitlement. The battle is to believe Jesus when everyone else denies Him.
Every time someone attacks you, hell is trying to get you to doubt the power of the sacrifice of Jesus. That’s what is really going on. They taste the bile on their tongues and they think that’s the way your name tastes. They don’t know that the bile comes from inside them. As long as they don’t say your name, they don’t taste the bile. If they don’t taste the bile, then they never have to face their own disease of unbelief.
God is bringing them through their own journey, and this situation may be a big part of that. Be merciful because you know what mercy is. Be graceful because you know what grace is. Allow them the room to make mistakes and learn from them, just like you have.
Nobody who keeps a ledger of sins committed against them has a clue who God is.
You may never get your friends back. It’s a fact of life. I know it hurts and it may take a long time to accept, but just because you accept it doesn’t mean it will be set it in stone. I just frees you to be positive and productive while everything finds a place to land. Maybe they’ll come around, maybe you’ll be a little old lady when you get the call. But, maybe that will never happen on this side of life’s curtain. You have to let yourself heal without them. Let the scars seal in the good memories and don’t let the bad one’s infect it.
Remember, affairs are not just a religious horror, it is a horrible thing for anybody in any walk. It’s never okay. You have no idea what you’re mistakes have caused others to face in their own lives. Women whose husbands have strayed, but they’re working it out: you represent pain to them. To them, it feels like you undermine their fight for healing. Everyone is different and their takeaway value from your experience is going to reflect what is going on inside of them. Let it play out, it’s going to anyway. God knows what’s going on and He always gets His way. Relax in that. Find the freedom in the release.
You’re going to be okay. If He says you’re free, you’re free.
Posted: May 3rd, 2012 |
Filed under: life | Tags: bitterness, judgment, personal |
3 Comments »
I was sitting at a table facing my husband and the window behind him. The little restaurant gets all of it’s character from being in a turn of the century building. The nuance gets to stay because it makes patrons feel a little cultured. The place isn’t pretentious, but it has a flair of something that brings in the rumpled business man who likes taste more than stature, college boys having lunch with their mothers, and couples wanting to lunch in a place tucked away.
They crossed my line of vision as they walked down the sidewalk. He was young and a bit on the small side. His mechanic’s uniform was too blousy and new to have any street credit yet. Holding his hand was his young wife. She walked slightly taller and thicker than him. She was dressed a too hot for eighty-four degrees, like she worked in an office that was too cold and didn’t get a lot of business. They were just another couple grabbing an afternoon vacation, trying to feel a little human before they have to go back to jobs that just get them by.
I saw them walk in like they had never been here before. I was twisting my lemon slice into my water. I never can get all the juice out without getting it all over my hands. I don’t like to leave the lemon in my glass because I’m not sure how clean it is. If they slice the lemon too thin, it just gets mutilated and I need two or three to really give my water a little lemon bite. I sat smashing lemon bits against the bottom of my glass with my straw while the couple held my attention. It didn’t help that they were at my two o’clock, but there was something about the guy’s body language that made me watch.
He was looking around more with his eyes than with his head, like he didn’t want to be noticed, like he was feeling ‘less-than’. He was holding his own hands, now, and not hers. They were barely breathing, neither said a word. It was like they both felt they didn’t belong but wanted to see what would happen if they walked in. I think the door shutting behind them sealed their presence too tightly and he looked like he wanted to run. He had a dejected look from the moment they walked in, like he was expecting rejection, but he still stood there too afraid to move or make his presence known, but he held his head up. I liked their bravery, even though it wasn’t necessary.
Not a single person in there noticed them but me, and they became a piece of art while I listened to the sounds of glasses hitting wooden tables and forks scraping against ceramic. The low murmur of conversation wasn’t aware of the invisible battle of self-worth that followed them like dust from their road. Only two people were working in the front of the restaurant and both of them were waiters. They sat people as they came in, then waited on them once they were seated. Both were in the back when the couple came in.
The couple gave the world less than two minutes to undo a lifetime of struggle before they turned around and left. They walked in expecting to not fit in and I watched them fulfill their own prophecy. And I wondered, how many times have I done that?
They crossed my line of vision in reverse. A mechanic and his wife holding hands and walking without words. Both heavy with the rejection they brought with them.
Posted: August 27th, 2010 |
Filed under: life | Tags: bitterness, grace |
5 Comments »
A friend of mine, Leonard Sweet, posted a facebook update yesterday. The question in it sharpened me. He was talking about a moment in his own life when someone asked him this and it was a ‘game changer’ for him.
“What is it in your life it takes Jesus to explain?”
You can answer this directly if you want, but that leaves too much room open to not think about it. If you don’t think about it, then you get answers like ‘everything.’ But, that’s not true. It sounds religious, but it’s void of depth. It makes my mind wander and I think about all the other things religion has copied and wonder if religion has copied emotion, too. But, that’s just a side note. Answers like ‘everything’ could very well be true, but if it really were the case, you would have specifics to choose from. ‘Everything’ or other equally ‘nothing’ responses are so distant and detached, it’s hard for me to believe that there’s anything there. Mainly because when there is something there, you aren’t blase about it.
I spend a lot of time listening to people tell me how they can’t forgive themselves for their mistakes. Most people are able to believe in forgiveness for others, but not themselves. What I have learned along the way is that the biggest obstacle in the way of forgiving yourself is the people around you. People are waiting for ‘permission’ from others before they can forgive themselves, accept God’s grace and move on into freedom.
There is a fear if they accept God’s grace and start to let go of their past, that there will be people who are not ready for their freedom or joy. They’re right. There are people who, no matter how much time has gone by or how much God has done in your life, will only see your mistakes when they look at you.
I have heard about someone in my own community who has a hard time seeing me ‘happy’. She says it’s not because she doesn’t want me to be happy, but it just makes her angry to think that I am. She can only see my sin and it’s been years since I’ve been free and happy. I won’t reserve my freedom until she or anyone else is on board. I won’t get self-righteous and indignant toward her either. There will always be those people and you can’t let them determine who you are.
You can’t limit your relationship with Jesus due to fear of what people will think. This sounds like a middle school youth group message where the ‘people’ referred to are the ‘cool kids’ or school bullies. However, I am talking about ‘big brother’ Christians who forgot that they’re not the Father and are bossing you around when they think He can’t hear.
If it really was your father and your brother really was bullying you and trying to get an edge on your dad’s acceptance, then you’d probably go talk to him to see how much of the nonsense was true. Do that with God.
“What is it in your life it takes Jesus to explain?”
You don’t have to worry about what people think of you. You don’t have to be held back by someone else’s unbelief. You don’t have to convince them, either. Does it help to know that God’s grace, forgiveness and acceptance come a lot sooner than anybody is ready for? It takes Jesus to explain that one.
And He will.
Just because Jesus is with you doesn’t mean He’s not with them, too. I’m talking to you, the one who fell. Spend your time answering to Jesus. Tap into the faith He’s given you so that you can experience the freedom that He died for. The freedom from yourself and your failures and the offer of another chance. Focus on that and believe that He’s with them, too. If He can change your selfish heart, He can change their hard heart. You have no right to be bitter toward people who can’t offer you grace. You’re doing the very thing to them that they’re doing to you.
We have to give one another the room to be wrong and to learn from it. Be for them, what they can’t currently be for you. Forgive the blindness. Show mercy to the deceived. Prepare your heart to be open to them when they turn from their own confusion and need your forgiveness. Do it before they ask. Isn’t that what God does for us?
When you hear that question,
- what does it do for you?
- what is your answer?
- does it set you free knowing you don’t have to answer for yourself?