Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Word for my Fellow Believers

Social media has become quite the courtroom hasn't it? With so many things changing in our culture, society, and government, it seems everyone has something to say about something. From Bruce "Caitlyn" Jenner, Josh Duggar's confession of molesting his siblings (which outraged me the most), something about the confederate flag (not sure what the deal was there), and now a big decision sweeping the nation to legalize gay marriage statewide. We are all standing before a judge, declaring who's innocent, who's guilty, who deserves what, and who doesn't deserve rights at all. We are slamming our fists in anger and going head to head with others who think differently. We have made our own judicial court with our own set of rules and guidelines and our own standards of whom we should and shouldn't show love to and who deserves to be punished.

I have seen this from many people, but a lot from my brothers and sisters who claim Christ. Those are who I'm pleading with today.

This is not a blog to talk about all of those things. My heart is heavy for many things, but mostly, I am finding people almost recreating Christianity, salvation, and their view of conviction to satisfy a very changing culture, but also to maintain good status in the church. The older I get and the more years I walk with Christ, I am seeing my faith differently. I am clinging to His grace all the more and realizing my defenses and anger have no place in evangelizing and being a reflection of Christ. Are there times to become angry? Yes. Jesus was rightfully angry when He stepped into the temple and saw it was being misused by a bunch of thieves. So angry He started flipping tables. I've been that angry too. I've let anger consume me in past years. To a point where I was constantly defensive, abrasive, rude, and short with others. By the grace of God, He broke me from that and made me realize I was standing in my own way to being a light for Him. There are things in my life that I've experienced that I'll still always have questions about, but I now know, I don't have to have the answers and I don't have to carry grudges.

I have read a lot of people's debates the last few months. I have cringed at responses and reactions from those who are in the church. I have stayed out of most and prayed when I wanted to interject. God knows I need to be silent at times. My husband does too, and is good at reminding me to reel in the frustration. He's God's greatest gift to me. I do believe there are times when we need to stand up for what we believe and in no way do I think we need to hunker down under a rock in the face of adversity when Christianity is quickly becoming the minority. I think we all need to remind ourselves of what it is we believe and how that effects our lives and should effect every facet of our lives.

What do you believe about God? His character? Your salvation? What does grace mean to you? Conviction, brokenness, and repentance? Why are you standing up for and revolting against something in anger if the Lord has no reign and rule in your life? If He has covered us in grace and love, shouldn't we be covering others with the same? I am more nervous than ever that our believers in our churches are shortchanging their beliefs and salvation as nothing more than a mere bandaid. We walk into society seeing what's going on, being backed into corners, or backing others into corners with no real grasp of what we're saying or doing. Have we allowed the transforming grace to grip us enough to walk in conviction to our own sins daily? Are we repenting? Are we being the hands and feet of Jesus to a lost and hurting world? Or are we wasting breath and years keeping our defenses so high and our walls so strong up around us, we have completely darkened any light that was once in us.

It's time we turn the finger around. Christianity is a call to continually self reflect. It's not something we label ourselves as because we sit in a church pew once a week. It's a calling to deny oneself and trust completely in the work of Christ on the cross. It's hanging up legalism and rebellion. It's not the robber who hung on a cross and demanded Christ to save him; it is a picture of the thief who hung on His other side, asking for forgiveness and in realizing his own wretched state, cried out for Christ to take him to Paradise. Are we the angry thief, blaming others for all there is wrong with us and the world or are we the other; the one who knows so desperately his need for saving grace.

In no way do I think this is watering down or should water down what is clearly stated in scripture. There are things in the Bible that are very black and white and I will stand upon the scriptures as God's very real words to me until the day I meet Him face to face. But no where in scripture does it say condemn in anger, point your finger in arrogance, or make those around you who believe differently feel as if they're inadequate in your presence. God created us all and the ugliness around us, towards us, and from us is dividing us. As a human race and as a body of believers. Instead of consuming ourselves with what we think about gay marriage or how we feel about the Duggars being taken off TLC, maybe we need a shift in our thoughts. We need to pray that God redeems our hearts for people in a big way. We need our eyes opened to our own struggles, shortcomings, and failures in remembrance that we are no better than anyone and should be all the more grateful that our Jesus paid the penalty for our sorry selves. So something I'm asking myself and want to ask of you:

When was the last time you did something for someone else, without any reason to, expecting nothing in return, simply to show the love of Christ?

Who was the last hurting person you prayed for?

When did you reach out to someone in need and go out of your way to help meet a need?

When did you last speak a kind word to a stranger?

These are all ways to tangibly show the love of Christ. In conversation with a friend today, she had read something about all of these debates, that I plan to read. The whole basis of the author's article was "is this a hill worth dying on?" It has stuck with me all day. What do I want to be known for when I'm gone? What do I want my children and grandchildren to remember about me when they're missing me? What legacy do I want carried on in my relationship to Christ? I don't want to be remembered for the hateful things I said, the lash outs that I was apart of, the explosvie anger that consumed me, or how many debates I "won" on Facebook. I want people to know that I loved Jesus to my core and tried to carry out that love in my day to day life in parenting, hairdressing, being a wife, church member, and friend. If I had to choose my hill to die on...let it be one where I'm serving others, ministering with my family, and enjoying the special relationships God has given me. A hill where all are loved despite race, religion, or sexual orientation. We have to start seeing people as just that, people. People that, believe it or not, were created by God. People that deserve respect and kindness at all times.

Legalistic one, put down your stone.
Rebellious one, come to repentance.
Calloused one, return to the joy of your salvation.
Wavering one, commit to love Jesus wholeheartedly.
Angry one, cast your anxieties on Him.

Let's love in action and stop hating in words. Together, we can get back to the heart of the gospel and the message that Christ's desire is for all to know Him.

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