If your friend is lying on the train tracks because he likes feeling the vibrations, and you know a train is scheduled to hurtle toward him at a rate of 100 miles per hour, as it does without fail every day, what will you do to get him to move?
Will you yell at him and tell him what a loser he is, what an idiot he's being? How stupid he is to lay there and how many laws he's breaking?
Will you smile and pat his arm, telling him it's his decision to make and you love and support his right to do so?
Or will you implore with wisdom and tact in your conversation, reminding him that, while ultimately it IS his decision, there is another way? A better way? A way that doesn't have to end in carnage and death?
When we see someone doing something we believe to be wrong, why is our reaction so often anger and resentment, as evidenced by certain words and phrases to express our displeasure?
If someone is, in fact, conducting themselves in a manner that we believe to be sinful (even if the Bible backs us up in that belief), why do we so often respond with angry, venomous reactions?
Unfortunately, I am guilty of this. I am scratching my head trying to figure out why I respond like that? How I can watch someone's abysmal life choices or even see something someone has posted or "liked" on Facebook and go into an immediate inner rage. I will then recount to myself all the ways they suck.
And I console my own guilt about having these thoughts by saying, "I'm just thinking this...I'm not telling anyone else what I think..."
Except the only problem with that is that God knows my thoughts. :-/
That's why 2 Corinthians 10:5 says "...we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
Sadly, my thoughts tend to be like free range cows...they roam everywhere grazing on whatever they like.
And "big" issues like have been in the press this past week come up and everyone and their brother chimes in. Every blogger under the sun thinks her voice should be heard and the wars waged in the comments section make me want to slam my phone repeatedly on the table.
So many voices fighting to be heard and fighting to be "right."
Each one thinking his opinion is correct and so many quick to tear to shreds those who disagree.
So many "Biblical scholars" -who have clearly not cracked open a Bible- willing to define what Jesus thinks of different things--all the while casting stones from the comfort of their Starbucks booth. Keyboard warriors I heard them called once. It's very fitting. And not a term I want attached to me.
I'm just a girl with a laptop who likes to share.
I have no credentials except from the School of Life.
I am not a "writer" simply because I like to write and I can, on occasion, string a few sentences together that resonate with someone.
And I am most definitely NOT an authority on what is in the Bible. Although many things are absolutely crystal clear, I cannot even begin to rebuke every area with any authority.
And I wonder...how often is my passion about an issue or a "wrong doing" I see in someone else's life a result of my desire to see them set free from the sin and how often, if I'm being completely honest with myself, is it the result of me wanting them to toe the line like I have to.
How many times do I metaphorically stomp my foot and say "It's not fair! If I have to follow the rules, so do they!"
How often am I angry or threatened because someone is "getting away with" something I would love to, but don't because I am convicted about it?
I think that often times the message can be scriptural and dead on, but the messenger is so consumed with the wrong motive that the message is missed or falls flat.
In my newest Beth Moore study: Daniel, I came across some things that were so appropriate for this past week and for life in general.
In Daniel 2:14, as King Nebuchadnezzar's head executioner sought out Daniel and his friends to kill them (by order of the king), Daniel spoke to this man and the Bible says he used "wisdom and tact." And it saved their lives. The executioner listened.
Like in Colossians 4:6 (MSG):
"Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don't miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out."
Am I bringing out the best in others when I give them a verbal dressing down? Am I "cutting them out" when I tell them in no uncertain terms what an infinitesimal failure at life they are, lovingly book-ended with scripture?
There's a happy medium here...a sweet spot...and I am struggling to find it.
I don't think we need to be screamed at or insulted into repentance, but neither do I think we are all going to skip together, holding hands, to the gates of Heaven after spending a lifetime sweeping each other's sins under the carpet.
I think it starts with our tongue. And how we speak to one another. It won't matter if the words are filled with God's Truths if they are spewed with such venom that the receiver can't withstand the flames to hear the message.
We have to stand up for God's Word (Isaiah 58:1). That's clear in the Bible. We're called to give an account for our faith (1 Peter 3:15) and we are called to address conflict head on, based upon God's Word (Matthew 18).
But how to do that is where I get in trouble sometimes.
Proverbs 18:21 (MSG)-"Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit--you choose."
Ephesians 4:29 (MSG)- "Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift."
It seems appropriate at Christmas that the verse from Ephesians came to mind again. I want to give you a beautifully wrapped present filled with the most amazing gift--the kind that ultimately makes you feel loved and is delivered with humility. Not the booby prize; the fake poop gift you see at tacky parties. The gift that leaves you disappointed and left wanting, possibly angry at the gift giver.
And that's how I'll leave you. With the thought of fake poop. :)
Monday, December 23, 2013
Monday, December 2, 2013
Seems lately my life has been an exercise in clichés. I've always been a deep, philosophical person. Complicated, and an over thinker.
No less than 10 times a day something will come to me… a song, a verse, a post on Facebook… And--at the risk of sounding like I'm waxing poetic--it speaks to me. It resonates.
And I get all kinds of impassioned and on fire to blog about it. To share it , because I feel like someone, somewhere could possibly be feeling the same way that I am. And maybe it will resonate with them too.
And the moment I try to sit down and write, it's like my mind slams shut. And there is a metaphorical wrestling match in my head.
I actually argue with myself. A lot. Sometimes out loud.
But even in those times, there is a central thought or thoughts that stand out. And I'm learning to focus on those.
Little sidenote here… I have always been an anti-bath person. Just grosses me out. But lately In our new house, with a bigger tub, it's actually become a little bit of an obsession.
And I love it because I can light some candles, turn off the lights, just soak and think.
And think… And think… And think.
It's in those moments when it's quiet and the lights are down and sometimes I have Pandora playing, that I feel my best. And my heart is full, and I get so totally psyched about writing. About sharing this craziness in life. About just being with people.
And it's during those times that God's voice seems so clear.
But the moment the candles go out, and the water drains, and I step back into normal life, it all goes away. And I can't hear it anymore over the noise of the world.
So my remedy to that: blogging from the tub!
There's this amazing app that I can use from my phone to blog. I can even use voice text to type for me. So any grammar or spelling errors… Blame it on auto text. Yeah, Auto text.
And nothing too weighty or brilliant tonight. Just have this feeling that it's important to say: be yourself.
Don't let others or yourself or society dictate to you who you should be. You were created and designed to be someone specific and unique.
Be that person.
No one else can do it better. The world will be missing something crucial if you are not YOU, who you were meant to be before even one day came to be.
I struggle with that. Especially when so many are only too eager to tell you what a piece of crap you are.
Those people who don't realize the weight their words have with you, those people who poke fun calling it a "joke", those people who know exactly what they're doing and systematically tear you down.
To those people I say: You no longer have power over me. You are no longer permitted to rent space in my head.
Will I still treat you well? I hope so, though it will take a true act of God to clamp my mouth shut.
Will I still love those who are so negative and cutting? Yes, but as Sandi Krakowski said today on Facebook, sometimes it's best to love some people from afar.
Will I be more careful with my own words, taking to heart that words really can break bones, tear skin, and destroy relationships? Absolutely.
But I'm done listening to the thunderous crowd in my head.
From now on I'm only listening to the whisper of Truth.
As long as I'm living in integrity with my God and myself, I cannot any longer worry and fret over what others think or who others want me to be.
And neither should you.
Will you metaphorically pump your fist in the air with me and say "No more!"
Let's just do this. Let's just take off our masks and the training wheels we drive around on in our lives and trust Him to protect us. To guide us. To validate us.
Who's with me?
Posted by Mandy P at 9:26 PM