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Ten ways to love: Be real

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Our 6th installment in the Ten ways to love series:

6.  Share without pretending.

Ephesians 4:15 –“15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”

 

Hmmmmm, what does this mean?


This one is rather difficult.  I found others in my research who wondered about the connection between the statement and the chosen passage.

One response on yahoo answers:    Share without pretending means, Don’t pretend and do it because you actually want to. This is really what you desire to do. Not forceful desire but willingly desire. Without being a hypocrite or enforcing your pride or scam.

To that, I say, duh!  I mean, I agree.  This is an answer (and even the answer), but it doesn’t really tie in well with the passage.

 

A look at context

When you look at the context of the passage (see below), you find that Jesus is telling them to grow up in the Lord.  He tells them not to be like the Gentiles (unsaved), but to grow in Him, putting off the old man and being renewed in their mind.

 

The old man

I believe the passage, in saying speak the truth in love, is saying not to pretend to be what you’re not:  be truthful, be real, be a grown up in Christ.  When we share with others, do we do it for the right reasons?   Some people make donations for tax purposes or because it makes them look good.  While the charities they support appreciate the money, the motivation for the gift is questionable.  The donor pretends to be charitable, but it is not from the heart.

 

The new man

A person who has put off the old man, now has pure motives and gives in truth and without pretending.  He or she now gives because the love of Christ is present in his or her life.  I am not saying that people cannot be truly generous and sharing for the right reasons outside of God.  I am saying that a Christian who has matured in Christ will have a generous, sharing heart with no ulterior, hidden motives.  He or she will share without pretending, showing love, the love of Christ, generously and truthfully.

 

Secret Millionaire

As I type this, I am watching “Secret Millionaire”.  The Millionaire goes out incognito to check out various charities and then donates to them.  What we learn from this:

1.  When we share without pretending, we have to get out there, get in there, and get our feet wet.  There’s nothing wrong with charity from a distance, but if it’s possible to get in there and get to know people and help people, that is sharing without pretending.

2.  When we share without pretending, it makes a huge difference in the lives of those we share with.  Money is great, but when we share more — our talents, Christ’s love, everything we are — we touch people’s lives in ways we can’t even imagine, and we touch them for eternity.

 

►OK, that was my attempt at this one.  What do you think?  Can you find further answers in this passage? What about other ways to give without pretending?  I am open to hearing your thoughts on the subject.  Maybe one of you can clarify the connection for us. 🙂 

 

Ephesians 4:13-24:

“. . . 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, . . . 20 But ye have not so learned Christ;

21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

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Ten Ways to love: Accusations

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The second statement in our ‘Ten ways to love’ series is this:

Anger

Anger: an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. (Photo credit: baejaar)

2.  Speak without accusing.

The verse:  James 1:19:  Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

I find this one very difficult because it’s so hard to keep accusation out at times.   Because it’s more difficult to see my own stuff, I’m afraid I will have to use what I see in others as examples here.  I am not casting the first stone, however, because I can accuse with the best of them at times.

The backhanded question

A certain person is quite good at speaking with accusation behind seemingly innocent words, usually in the form of questions.  “Why is the front door open?”  translates to “Why didn’t you shut the door, do you want to heat the whole world?”   Implied (and often spoken after the statement) is the hard work trying to earn money to pay the bills while everyone else wastes money like it grows on trees.  This is speaking with accusation.

I saw ‘evidence’ and, I know you’re guilty!

Sometimes, we speak with accusing when we haven’t received all the information needed.  This one seldom happens a LOT in relationships.  If you’ve ever caught some of the Maury Povich type shows, you see people coming on with accusation oozing out of their pores!  I saw a text on your phone, so you MUST be having an affair.  “I only slept with 5 people, but I know you’re the dad.  So why aren’t you stepping up to the plate to take care of YOUR child?”   “I saw you look at her, you don’t love me!”    And so on ad nauseam!!!  This way comes by jumping to conclusions and attacking rather than waiting for more information and strangling him in his sleep DISCUSSING it in an adult manner.

How could you?

Sometimes, in a similar vein to above, we assume another’s motives.  It’s entirely possible we’re wrong, but we think we can read minds, so….  Another person I know seems to be able to find a negative motive in most anything.  I probably attribute good motives more than I should, but I’d rather give a person a chance than to assume  wrongly.  People have different love languages (and other filters), and sometimes they mean well, even if the results are not what they intended.  For example, when my husband does something for me, like going to work every day or fixing a problem, he is saying, “I love you!”   Because I did not understand this for a few years, I attributed wrong motives and didn’t believe he loved me.  I was wrong and caused a lot of heartache to myself and him.   Sometimes we can just accept people, and their motives, at face value.

A Person (Man) exclaiming something

A Person (Man) exclaiming something (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Political Debates gone wrong

If you’ve ever watched a debate, and I use that term loosely.  How often do you hear accusations flying?  Uh, yeah, all the time!  Rather than defending one’s own take on the issues, deflection techniques muddy the waters.  Personally, I would rather hear what a candidate believes than the mistakes of his/her opponent.   A person that can stick with the issues and not get sucked into the vortex of distraction gets my respect.  This type of conversation (no matter who is doing the ‘debating’) should keep the focus on the person speaking and not the other person through accusation and idiocy.

The Children

We do this to children all the time.  They bring us a flower and we yell at them for picking it.  They want to hug us, but we accuse them of ‘bugging’ us or being to clingy.

The rest of the story

If you read the next verse in James, it says, ”

20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”

 

I memorized this scripture many years ago and use it often to remind me that my anger, accusations, judgments, etc. do not work God’s righteousness.  In fact, they often get in the way and turn others away from God.  In order to show love, it is necessary to tame that tongue and give thought to our words before we allow them out of our mouth.  No one is perfect, but sometimes that extra second of thought will save some heartache for all.

Have you ever jumped to conclusions and wrongly accused someone?   Have you rightly accused them, but to the relationship’s detriment due to the way you handled it?  Have you attributed negative motives to someone and accused them by word or deed?  Do you distract through accusation in a fight, debate, discussion, argument?  Have you brushed a child aside and spoken with accusation to them?  What are some other ways we speak with accusing?

Spring into Rebirth

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I found a new photo challenge from Cee’s Life Photography Blog that I decided to do today.  It is part of the challenge and part of this post. Cee said, “This new challenges comes from Print-Sense photography and design blog site, please check it out and join along in the fun.  Here is the assignment.”

I’m inviting each of you to take a small walk.  Only 50 steps.  Our challenge is to take 50 Step from our homes or places of work to find something amazing, beautiful or creative to photograph.  (This is the actual challenge)

Today I was out and about with my Mother-in-law.  I took her to lunch and then for a cone.  While we ate our cones, I drove around looking at the budding flowers and trees in my neighborhood.  All of them are beautiful, of course, but 50 feet from my front door is a lone daffodil, springing up proudly among the weedage from last year to announce, “Hello world!  Today Spring begins.”  This beautiful, sunshiny flower is a pop of color in a green and brown world.  Here is the image I consider amazing and beautiful:

Announcing Spring!

Ordinarily I would share this type of challenge on my other blog, but this picture fit perfectly with my thoughts for a post here.  Spring is a time of rebirth.  It is a time when we begin to feel hope after the long winter. It inspires us.  It makes us happy.  In Christ, we are like this daffodill.

In Christ we are:

☼   Reborn

☼   Full of Hope

☼   Able to feel joy in the midst of trying times.

☼   An announcement of the Christ in us.

☼  A pop of color that draws others to Christ.

Of course, not all who claim the name Christ follower look like this daffodil, but this is our goal – to draw attention to the new life we have in Him.

Can you think of any other ways this picture is like a person in Christ?

Are you aware that many eyes are on you, looking to see if you’re real or not?

As Easter approaches, I find myself thinking these thoughts more.  We are only human, but in Him we are more than merely human — we are the children of Light, redeemed by the blood of Christ, raised to walk with Him in newness of life.  .  .  .

I am, I am not!

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I AM a sinner.  Iam a saved, forgiven sinner, But a sinner none-the-less.

 

 

I AM NOT:

A savior.

Perfect.

Sufficient on my own.

A judge of people’s hearts.

Good.

Strong.

. . .

 

Sometimes, when I talk about trying to live better, I give the wrong impression.  I cannot make myself better.  If I could, I would not need a Savior.

 

Does this mean I should give up?  Heaven forbid!

 

What should I do then?

I should accept myself as I am, while letting God make me better.

I should make sure any attempt to do anything is powered by the holy Spirit (lest I swell with pride).

IOW -I should stop trying to make myself better and just get closer to Jesus, so He can make me more like Him.

I should stop ‘trying’ to be holy and be holy.  Jesus took my sin and gave me His righteousness.  I am holy because He is holy, not due to any of my pitiful efforts.

I should let Jesus meet others where they are, just like He did me.

I should love as He loves. . .

I should see as He sees. . .

I should cling to Him so closely He can’t turn around without running into me. . .

 

Guess what?

 

Its not about me. It’s not about you.  It’s about Jesus!

 

God forgive me for getting caught up in phariseeism, pride and selfrighteousness.

 

The solution to everything = time spent with Christ!

Forgive me, dear readers, if I ever imply anything else!

 

 

CBs: A does not equal B

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I hope you all won’t mind me taking a moment to address my new pet peeve.  I’ll keep it short and sweet.  Dealing with all the paperwork involved in applying for Medicaid for my dad has been a frustrating experience at best.  Any who have faced this Goliath or any beaurocracy know what I mean.

1).  Policy should be the same and knownby all.  Not my first time to waste a few in the paper chase, toda I showed up at the VA to attain a copy of my dad’s POA for health care.  I had called ahead to fin out if I could do so and what I needed.  I was informed it would be no problem.  Arriving at the VA, I discover that since my name is secondary and not primary, they will not give me a copy.  If you wish to avoid frustrating people, especially at a business or church, make sure you don’t have one person saying one thing while others say something else.

I have determined I will take down the full name of the person on the phone and ask them to explain the discrepancyyo the person who will not do what the other promised. Will it work?  I doubt it, but I will feel better.

 

I often feel like I’m putting together a puzzle without the picture on the box.  To complicate things, others are holding pieces of the puzzle.  If I ask for them, I will often get one and find out later there were more behind their back.  My dad’s memory problems + beaurocracy +lack of knowledge +  an argumentative family member = a crazy lady???

 

Fortunately, I know God has got this and is allowing it all for a reason.  I don’t have to be afraid of the paperwork giant, for I am not alone.  I am also not in charge.  And guess what I was reminded of today?

 

I am not a Savior!  I will do my best, but the outcome is not in my hands — whew!  I am also prepared to remind others that I am not a savior as well.  Eyes off me please.

 

Do you ever get frustrated by things that just don’t seem to go the way you think they should? (I’m sure that’s a big duh!)

 

Do you ever have a savior complex and take on responsibility for thins that are not yours?

 

Any nuggets of advice for going against this particular giant?

 

I do not go to battle alone 🙂   The battle belongs to the Lord…

The Maze

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Scream pierces

the darkness

As rat hits

One more wall.

He sits dazed

A moment

Then once more

Shakes it off

Beginning

A new race.

In the dark,

A thick fog,

Darkness clings,

Dripping down,

Covers all.

So which way

To turn now.

Will that wall

Await again

Or will he

Find the prize.

The way out

He can’t see

The way here

The turns are

blind as the

straight-a-ways

to the rat.

But the man

Is watching

From above,

And He knows

The ending

His purpose

Not thwarted

By the rat’s

Blinded eyes.

His own to

Understand

The purpose

Of the maze;

Mine is but

Trust and learn

His great plan.

Communication busters: What lens are you looking through?

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Before we get to the meat of this post, I would like to go back and make a few comments on another.  In my response to Miro’s poem, Christians, I was reminded that this is nothing new.  True.  Those who do not want to be bothered with Christianity have been hating it and it’s proponents through the ages.  Many will continue to do so no matter how well Christians act.   I was also reminded that what I said may be misconstrued.  This is true as well.  And that leads me to this post.   The reason my words might be misconstrued is that we all tend to look through different lenses.  The Christian might read my post and understand completely what I was trying to say.  The non-Christian may see something else.  For instance,  I did not mean that Christian’s need to meet other’s ideas of proper behavior.  They need to meet God’s criteria.  Others will disagree, and that’s their business.

 

Knowing we have these lenses, it makes sense to take a second look at everything we see/hear/read/etc., as we navigate our world.  Are we seeing the truth or have we donned our own biased lenses to view it.  Misunderstandings abound because of this tendency.  We use the same words, but they have different meanings.  For the Christian, this means we need to see things through God’s lenses.  How does God see this person/situation/…?  If the Christian will look at his or her world through the lens of God’s eyes, we would better know what to do in each situation.  I apologize for the rather disorganized thoughts in this post, but it is what it is.

 

Lens 1:   God does not hate homosexuals conservatives democrats tea partiers occupiers gossips gluttons adulterers _______.  God hates SIN!   When God looks at a person, He sees the heart.  He may hate the sin the person is bound to, but He does not hate him or her.  He loved him or her enough to provide a way back to Him from their sinful condition.  Christians have to walk a line.  We are not to say bad is good, but we are to love the person.  This is an issue I struggle with, not because I don’t love the person, I do.  I struggle because I also have a deep need to speak God’s truth.  God reminds me that there is a time and a place for everything, even speaking truth.  I can speak the truth and still love.  This love is not dependent on other’s acceptance of it.  I love because God loves and gives me the grace to love others despite how they treat me or feel about me.

 

Lens 2:  If I do ____________  or don’t do ___________  I am better than others.  No, you’re not!  God’s criteria is the same for every person.  You cannot earn it.  You cannot get to it by following a list of “do”s and “don’t”s.  When we give Christ our sin, He gives us His righteousness.  It is the only righteousness that is good enough to meet God’s standards.  Our attempts at personal righteousness outside of Christ are pathetic at best.  This lens looks around and compares to others.  God’s lens looks at Christ and compares only to Him.  If we are wearing His righteousness, we make the cut.  If we are still trying to get good enough on our own, we do not.

 

Lens 3:  I have __________, so God must be happy with me and blesses me more than others.  NOT!   God doesn’t look at the things you have or don’t have when determining how or when to bless you.  He looks at your heart.  He looks at your future and what will be best for you.  He looks at your relationship with Jesus.  We cannot determine for ourselves whether something is a blessing or a curse.  Look at Job.  His life looked like a blessing, then looked like a curse, and then looked like a blessing.  None of what happened to him was because of something he did or didn’t do wrong.  You have to look through God’s lens to see whether something is a blessing or not.   Any time we elevate ourselves above other people, we better watch out.  That is pride and pride is not from God.

 

 

There are many more lenses, but I’m going to stop here.  What lenses do you see out there that keeps Christians from living like they should, bringing glory to God?   Can you see through God’s lens?    Has there been a time when you were looking at a situation or person in a certain way and God showed you how He sees the situation/person?  How did this effect/affect you?  What do you believe are some of the biggest distortions in our lenses that keep us from knowing truth?

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