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A post in reaction to Miro’s poem: Christians

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Christians  by Miro

Today I read this poem by Miro about “Christians”.   It made me cry because it’s way too true.  I am sure there have been times that I have inadvertently harmed the cause of Christ.  I would never do it on purpose, though.  I hate that “Christians” often give Christians a black eye in the eyes of the world.

I am not talking about legitimate righteous anger.

I am not talking about calling sin sin.

I am talking about Christians who talk the talk in church, and then forget about God through the rest of the week.

Some of these people are well meaning Christians who have no idea they are giving a bad empression.  Others are goats among the sheep.  They have no real relationship with the Father, only giving lip service to something they don’t really own.  I have recently learned that just because I know the truth, does not mean it is the correct time or place to trot it out there, for it, and Christ will be rejected.  If someone asks, I will speak the truth, but I have learned (I hope) to pick my battles a little more wisely.

 

The Bi-polar Posters/Speakers

One issue involves facebook, other social sites, and words.  OMG means Oh, My God!  Taking the name of the Lord in vain is not OK for Christians, even if it is in an acronym,  and it leaves a bad taste in the mouth of those who see it and hear it.  Then there are those that praise God with their mouth on Sunday and then tell or snicker at dirty jokes through the week.  Still others will post these wonderful, godly things and then post something that is inappropriate or off color.  We post our praises and then confess our adiction to shows that dishonor God.  God calls this “double-minded”, but the world calls it two-faced.

Rage-a-holics

These people are ready at the drop of a hat to start spewing rage and hatred at others, rather than see them as God sees them.  They rail against sinners for being sinners rather than loving them to Christ.  I’m not saying there’s not a time and place for anger, there is.  I am saying that we need to make sure this is anger God approves.  One verse I try to keep in mind as I negotiate these waters is this:

“The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”  James 1:20

 

I’m better than you priders

This is a hard line to walk if we want to come across as humble rather than prideful.  We are not better than anyone else; we’re just forgiven.  This happens between “Christians” as well as between Christians and the world.   Slipping into hypocrit pharisee mode is too easy, and Christians must guard their heart against allowing this to happen.  When Christ is in our hearts and we pursue a deepening relationship with Him, we let go of pride as we realize just how wretched we really are in comparison to him.  Pride comes when we compare ourselves to others; humility comes when we compare to Christ.

The state of the world

The state of our world is not the fault of sinners doing what sinners do.  It is the Christian who has responsibility for, “if my people, which are called by my name, shal humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:14

This post is really a step outside of the norm, but I don’t do it to condemn.  I have been guilty just like everyone else.  We are sinners who will continue to struggle with our sin nature for as long as we are on this earth, but we can do better.  This is a call to repentence for all of us.  It’s ok if you disagree with me, but I hope those of us who claim the name “Christian” you will seek to remove those quotes by living a life that points others to Christ.  When we earnestly seek His face, we will become the salt and light that makes the world want to know what’s going on.

For those of you who have kindly taken the time to read this post even though you don’t claim the name Christian, just be patient with us.  It’s easy to discern the real from the fake if you watch close enough.  Christianity, truly lived, draws others to want what this person has that makes him or her so different.

Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Mark 14: 38 ESV

::stepping off my soapbox::                               I love you all!

Communication busters: How do you treat those with whom you disagree?

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Today I read a post from a man I “met” on facebook and admire greatly.  It got me thinking, and I want to share it with you.  His first line:
As we’ve discussed before, how often do we or others tend to dismiss others (now-a-days calling them dumb or stupid or worse) if they disagree with us, especially about issues we are passionate about?  I frequently run into people on the internet who will absolutely act like I am the worst person in the world because I have an opinion they disagree with.  So what?  Do you agree with everyone you know?  If you are hanging out only with people who agree with you, you are in big trouble.  We need others in our life to debate with over the issues.   For the Christian, it is even more important to beware of this tendency.  God gave us free will, so we have the right to be wrong.  He may not remove the consequences for our choices, but He will not force us to jump on board either.  (See the discussion on freedom in Part V of the It’s all about the heart series.)
What God sees
God looks beyond the bluster and sees the heart.  If the person is genuine,  their belief system doesn’t make them horrible people.  God loves us in all our sin, and He wants us to show that love in how we interact with those who disagree with us.  That doesn’t mean we have to agree with them.  It does mean we need to treat them with love and absolute respect.  We all have many parts to us.  We all have flaws.  We all believe things that are not true or that others believe are not true.  Instead of tossing a person out as ‘unworthy’ because of something you don’t like, love them anyway and agree to disagree.  My favorite verse, Romans 5:8, says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  If God loves us in all our sin, we must show love to others as well.  God loves sinners.  He doesn’t like sin, but He does love sinners.  I, for one, am SO glad He does!  Sometimes finding common ground can help us see beyond the conflict to the heart of this person.
“While we were  yet sinners, . . . .”

How can others see Christ in us unless we show love?  We do not have to agree with someone to love them.  We do not have to approve of their opinions, values, beliefs or actions to love them.   True love shows respect, even in the midst of the most extreme disagreements.
What do others see in you?
When people interact with you, do they see something different?  Does the love of Christ shine out in how you treat them?  Or, do you give them reinforcement that Christians are rabid haters?  Even taking Christianity out of the equation – do you show yourself as a person worthy of respect by treating others with respect?  How do you feel when others respond in rage to everything you say?  How do you feel when others call you names or curse at you because you don’t believe as they do?  This is a good place to trot out   apply the golden rule:  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  We also need to be aware of the minimize mine/maximize yours effect and keep our own backyard clean not spend all our time criticizing the leaves in the neighbor’s yard if ours is full of garbage.
Be a diligent seeker
If we have in the back forefront of our mind that our goal is to bring glory to Christ, not to win an argument, we should do well.  As a Christian, you may be the only Christ others see – you want to come as close to the real thing as possible.  Even if you are not a Christian, you represent yourself and possibly others.  What others think may not be important to you, but you don’t want to drive away those who could enhance your life.  Character, integrity and honor are characteristics everyone should strive for.   For the Christian, it is even more important to represent Christ in a way that draws others instead of turning them away.
What it’s all about

The world’s mentality is often:  please me!  For the Christian, however, the mentality and the driving force should be: please Christ!  The picture I chose for this section is “God’s Garden”, and it was chosen for a reason.  We are all part of God’s garden.  He planted us, sustains us, and harvests us.   Plants tend to grow toward the light, and we should do the same.  If our face is always turned toward the sun/Son, as we seek the warmth of His love.  Just like a child seeks to please the parent, we seek to please our heavenly Father.   We need to remember the other flowers are watching too, whether from the church garden or the worlds. None of us are perfect, but we can do better than what is often found out there today.  It’s about that diligent seeking.

A huge thank you to Al Hartman for your inspiration for this post and permission to quote you.

Do you treat people with respect and dignity, even when they don’t agree with you?

Why do you think this is important?

How do you handle it when others treat you with disrespect?

Why do you think people treat others who disagree with them with disrespect?

If you are a Christian, what have you done to reflect Christ?

What are some things you have seen Christians do or say to reflect Christ (+) or gave Him a black eye (-). 

Up is down

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Two things have happened recently that made me angry.  I’m going to tell you what they are, and then I’m going to tell you the real reason I’m upset about it.  It’s really not about the happenings at all, but what it says about our society.

Meet the Nazis: # 1

That word may be a little right-on-the money over-the-top, but some people take things way too far.  Somewhere in my world recently, a lady decided to take someone else to task publicly because of a paper towel.  The statement did NOT need made in the context, but the person had to get their digs in that they are better than others because they would not support a less-green option.  My first thought was “get over yourself!”  But in today’s world, we see this more and more.

It’s not easy being green

Taking care of our world is a God-given responsiblilty.  However, some have stepped over the line and made it more like a religion than a philosophy.  They think they have the right to shoot the infidels censor everyone around them and hate chastise look down on others who are not as “green” as they.  How arrogant, but that’s not the only reason this infuriates causes concern.

Meet the Nazis:  # 2

Watching an entertainment ‘news’ a show the other night where they were disecting Paula Deen.  Paula has a cooking show on down-home, stick-to-your-ribs, full of good stuff food.  This is an entertainment venue, and Paula repeatedly states that she does not eat like that in her every day life. {My husband loves her, and I’m too busy writing to complain and turn the channel.}  Anyway, two women were discussing Deen’s recent ‘come out’ about having diabetes.  One was totally trashing her for being a bad example…..   It really does not matter what her reasoning was.  What does matter is that she came across as someone who wanted Paula tarred-and-feathered  dipped-in-honey-and staked-to-an-ant-hill  excommunicated, uhm, castigated for her heinous act of cooking food that tastes great but is “bad” for you, while keeping her diabetes a secret.

It’s not easy being perfect

Good grief woman.  She did not steal the crown jewels or kill someone.  Talk about over-kill.  I don’t care if Paula Deen wants to cook with fat and butter on her real-life ENTERTAINMENT show.  I don’t care what she chooses to eat in her real life.  She can eat what she wants and cook what she wants – Diabetic or not – it is her choice.  I understand there’s more to it than that, but this woman was just way too rabid about something that really doesn’t matter in the larger scheme of things.  Don’t like it?  Then don’t support her, but don’t flog her at the post of public opinion, expecting her to crawl under a rock and hide in shame for the rest of her life.  Get over yourself!  Guess what?  I am smart enough to know not to eat like that on a regular basis.

So what’s the real deal?

The real deal is that this is common fare today.  Up is down, black is white, good is bad….  There are so many issues that really matter.  Do we really need to run other people’s lives and sit in judgement on things that are really more personal than public?   It’s ok to have sex with anyone and everyone whenever you want – don’t judge that!  It’s ok to trash others in order to get ahead – don’t judge that!  It’s OK to abort babies – don’t judge that!  Don’t call something a sin – don’t judge that!  Don’t do anything at all to make someone wake up to reality ‘uncomfortable’ – don’t judge that!  We have to be politically correct; we are expected to hide our religious beliefs and practices because others don’t like it; we are called names and worse if we dare stand up against such things as abortion or sodomy or drama (backbiting/slander/gossip/etc.) or polygamy or …..

That’s another post.  I hope, whether you agree with me on certain issues or not, you can see that our values have become skewed.  Many tout out that “do not judge” statement, but God did not say “do not judge” out of context.  He said:  “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”  John 7:24   In other words, we are to judge with a pure heart, with nobleness, honesty and justice, making sure our own back yard is clean before trying to help others clean out their’s.  We aren’t to judge motives and we are not to judge as if we are better than others.  We are to judge with discernment.

A really good  assessment of the Biblical mandate about judging can be found here.

The point is that society has tilted and expends way too much energy on side issues and distractors, becoming almost rabid in their desire to slam those who don’t “measure up” to their self-righteous standards, while leaving alone the things that matter.

Pulling in my claws  stepping off my soap-box  Finished with my diatribe, I will leave it up to you what to make of this post.  I’d love to know what you think, so take time to comment if you please.  Hate mail may be sent to my e-mail which you should be able to easily find here somewhere.  It is public on this site.  If  you can’t find it, ask me for it in comments.

The three deadliest words in the world

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The three deadliest words in the world :  “It’s a girl!”

When I read the above article this morning, Ann Marie Dwyer’s post on “Going Global” the other day.  She discusses the continued senseless deaths from poverty all over the world and encourages us to do our part.

Zionica states that, “India and China are said to eliminate more female infants than the number of girls born in the US each year.” and quote one woman who confesses to getting rid of 8 baby girls!

I understand the culture values males, and even understand somewhat the reasoning behind it, but I do not understand senseless slaughter of girls, from pre-born to adult, as if they are a n0n-valuable, throw-a-way, unwanted trash.

It is sad that people are dying every day from poverty and its resultant diseases.  It’s even more sad that people deliberately take the lives of children because they are not seen as valuable.

In the US and elsewhere, the selection process for deciding which children to have and which to abort is different.  You may make the cut if you’re a girl, but what if you have a disability or you are inconvenient?

How sad; how sad; how sad.

It’s all about the heart

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When it comes to the things we want to do or do not want to do, we want what we want.  Anyone who has spent any time at all with a 2 year old knows the truth in this statement – we do not like it when others put boundaries on us.  Hopefully, as we grow, we learn to accept boundaries from authority figures (including God).  This is true when it comes to living pure/holy/moral lives as well.   There are several ways to respond when God/Parents/Authority figures say “No!” (or do/go/stop/etc.).

You can’t make me!     It wasn't me!

I have a grandson, Roland, who has just turned 4.  This child is and was rebelious from the get go.  He simply does not want to do something if others tell him to do it and wants to do it if they tell him not to.  In teaching him to say “I’m sorry” after accidentally hurting someone (which happens quite often), we came to a head-to-head crisis.  At the crisis point, I had him on my lap, holding him there until he said “I’m sorry”.  It was a 45 minute struggle, and I was certainly tempted to let it go.  However, I understood that this was an important thing for him to learn.  Fortunately, I am stronger than he is.  Finally, after 45 minutes, he said, “I’m sorry.”   Game over, Grandma wins.  What Roland didn’t realize is that he won too.  He had learned a lesson about boundaries and doing what’s right.

Where’s the line?

Another incident that sticks in my mind with Roland happened early on.  The molding between the family room and kitchen is the “no cross zone” at our house (at the time).  I remember well the day Roland walked up to the line.  Grandma said, “No!” firmly.  He turned, looked at me full in the eyes, and stuck his toe over the line.  His eyes said, “This is a challenge.  Do you mean what you say or not?”  Grandma took the challenge, and Roland discovered that even a toe over the line is disobedience.

There was a little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forhead; When she was good, she was very, very good, but when she was bad, she was horrid! unknown

The distraction technique

The next disobedience technique comes from my not-quite-two granddaughter.  She learned early, that if she could distract the adult telling her no, she could reach up with the other hand, swipe the item, and run like a bunny rabbit.  She thought she could get away with it if she wasn’t seen.  Of course, this didn’t work very often.  Sometimes it does work because parents can’t always see what their children are doing.  We sometimes think we can pull one over on God too, but He is never distracted.  In fact, He knew  you were going to do it before you did!

Sneaky fingers

Look over there, Gramma!

The next techinique, same granddaughter and similar in style, involves what I call sneaky fingers.  Marilyn is not allowed to touch the keys on my computer.  Of course she wants to do so– really bad.  So her techinque is to stand and watch as if she has no interest in the keys.  Soon a little hand slowly starts moving up toward the keys, slowly creeping upward with a final rush toward a key or two if she makes it close enough.  This is a form of distraction and attempt to hide her intent as well.

What??????

Shhhhhhhhhhhhh!

The next technique I’ve seen in every child I’ve ever had in my care, but right now we’re discussing my two preschool grandchildren as my examples.  My 4 yo grandson was just potty trained.  Yes, it’s true.  He did not want to do it, and he fought every attempt.  His habit was to sneak off in a corner, an attempt to fly under the radar, and poop his pants.  As soon as he finished, he’d go right back to playing until the stench told on him.  Anytime kids are quiet . . . .   Marilyn is really good at this.  If she wants to do something, play with something, taste something, and has been told no, she will get very quiet, fall off the adult radar, and do whatever it was she wanted to do.  This falls into the category of deciet and an attempt to hide the ‘sin’ as well.

Obedience with a but…

The final category involves obedience, but with a heart attitude.  Outwardly, the obedience happens.  Inwardly, not so much.  Marilyn, when told no, stops what she’s doing and gets this hooded, gear-churning look on her face.  She will stand there like that for a minute or more.  She obeys, but Grandma knows she’s doing it out of duress and not because she wants to do it.  This is the category many Christians fall into:  I will obey you God, but in my heart, I’m really doing what I want.  This is the most insidious of the categories as well, because the attitude of disobedience is still there.

How's your heart?It’s all about the heart

Our determination to follow the rules, whether society’s, parents, or God’s, often begins and ends in the heart.  We see a police car and obey the speed limit while in view.  The minute we’re past, how many step on the gas and go right back to disobedience?  Do we think it’s OK to do something if no one is looking?  Do we step our toe over the line to see if we will get away with it?

Actions (or inactions) have consequences

Every thing we do or don’t do, every choice we make, every time we do something we know is not good for us or we’ve been told not to do, has a consquence.  The consequences can be mild or major, they may happen now or later, but they will happen.  Some of us decide experiencing the consquences is worth the momentary pleasures of the disobedience.  Some of us obey — with a but.  Some things have consequences for others.   We think we’re not hurting anyone else by our choices, but that’s not true.  Nothing we choose to do (or not do) happens in a vacuum.  Your choices effect (and affect) others.

So, what’s the point?  Ah, let’s go there.  There is a reason parents give rules.  There is a reason society gives rules.  There is a reason God gives rules.  Are they for our hurt?  Absolutely not! {Disclaimer:  I am aware some human beings may do things for our hurt – we’re talking about the rest of them.}  Do children understand all the rules their parents give them?  If only!  We may not always understand why we need to do or not do something.  Our obedience is not dependent on our understanding.  A right heart obeys because it is the right thing to do.  Understanding comes later.

Do you have a story about one of these techniques or others I have not included?

Have you ever used one of the above techniques or others to try to get your way?

Do you justify breaking rules or laws because you don’t agree with it or because it won’t hurt anyone?

What is your heart attitude?  Are you chronically disobedient?  Do you obey with a but…? 

Feel free to add your stories, questions or comments to this post.  You may be included in a future post 🙂

The following is for fun.  Having the granddaughter here…..

Stand Up – Veggie Tales

What is purity?

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How many bugs parts. . . until it's impure?

How many bug parts, aphids, thrips, rat hairs, feces, eggs, magots, etc., are acceptable in your food?  According to the FDA, you can have a minimum of these and more in your food before they declare it unclean.  You have probably eaten the equivalent of several bugs (and more) already this year.  Examples (via FDA website):  Pizza and other tomato sauces can have up to 34% mold count; Spinach can have up to 50 aphids, thrips or mites per  100 grams; Peanut butter must have less than 30 insect parts for every 100 grams.  Ok, now that you are sick to your stomach ready to barf aware of what the FDA considers ‘pure’, what do you think?

Purity, as defined by Dictionary.com includes:

(1) the condition or quality of being pure; freedom from anything that debases, contaminates, pollutes, etc.

(2) freedom from any admixture or modifying addition.

(3) ceremonial or ritual cleanness.

(4) freedom from guilt or evil; innocence.

(5) physical chastity; virginity.

Not gonna happen

We would like (without success) for our food to be absolutely pure.  Unfortunately, it just isn’t possible to keep contaminants from our food — if not along the process, then in your own home.  I won’t give you details in the interest of keeping you here instead of running to the bathroom causing you to never eat again.  But what about us?  God wants us to be pure.  What does that mean?  Is it even possible?

The basics

Just like our food, we allow contaminants in our lives that mar our purity.  Pornograpy is a huge contaminant.  Television, movies, games, etc. can contain images and words that contaminate.  According  to one article, Neilson claims the average child has seen 8,000 murders on TV by the time elementary school is completed. By age 18, that number jumps to 200,000.  The article also brings up the matter of commercialism.  Commercials are made to draw the child.  He sees. He wants. He demands. Often, he gets.  The child is constantly bombarded with images of items she does not have, teaching her that she is wanting in some way if she does not have these things — leading to coveting, envy, jealousy, discontent and more. These are only a few of the examples of “garbage” we willingly allow to go into the minds of our children.  Adult minds are not immune from the effects either.

Bombarded with impurities

Just as it is difficult to have a pure food item, it is difficult to remain pure in a world where we are constantly bombarded with impurities.   So how do we stay pure in an impure world?  Just like our food, it is impossible to be 100% pure in most ways, but if we don’t strive for purity, we will land far from it.  Whether of body or spirit, purity is a worthy goal to pursue.

How do we pursue purity?

1.  Guard our minds from impurities.  One way to do this is to turn off the television, choose not to see that movie, choose not to listen to that off-color joke, choose well the people we hang with, and stay away from certain web sites, among other things.  I could also mention putting on the armor of God here.

2. Fill our minds with the pure things.

  • Scripture:  “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”  2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)  Meditating, reading, studying of scripture, thinking about good things
  • Thinking on good things:  “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”  Philippians 4:8 (KJV)

Our lives will reflect what we fill them with.  Choosing purity must be intentional.  It will not happen if you just kind of hope it does.  It is a choice.  And along with the choice, must come the feeding of purity and the starving of impurity (See previous posts:  “Getting our feed on” and “Starvin Marvin”).  This is true whether you are in a relationship with God or not.  What you feed in your life will show:  you are what you feed on! {You reap what you sow, Garbage In = Garbage Out, . . .}

What are some ways you choose purity?

What are some ways you drift along, allowing impurities in?

What are some ways to make purity intentional?

What does purity mean to you?

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