Showing posts with label judgement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label judgement. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Perceptions Matter?

Proverbs 22:1 says "A good name is more desirable than riches, Favor better than silver and Gold"

That is an easy one to memorize friends, you never know when having a scripture in memory will help in difficult situations.

But what is it saying? we are often taught not to care what others think, to live our life and shout things like "YOLO!!!" when we do something questionable. There are so many people that are so hard to please that we should just not even worry about it. Because if someone doesn't like something I do then I can just accuse them of being judgmental  and then they are the ones who are guilty in Gods eyes... Right? Isn't that the way it works?

Lets look a little closer at what this passage says. A good name is more desirable than riches. Most of us work our entire lives to get bigger and better stuff, to build a more "secure" life and we do that by trading time for money as often as possible and for as much as possible. Some choose to invest or own their own business. Either way though we spend a considerable amount of our lives working toward attaining those little pieces of silver and gold. So if we spend that much time and energy on working for money, can we stand to spend a little effort on our perception?

We could have the deepest content of character. But in a moment of silliness or weakness, we could change the way we are perceived by others, and no longer will our words carry the respect they might deserve. It would be great if the world did not operate on perceptions or judgments. But perceptions do matter, and scripture give very clear instruction that we should not run from this fact but embrace it.

In 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 Paul talks about using his freedom in Christ to become "like" others that he may save them. So be careful with who you are and how you are perceived. Be aware that our goal as Christians is to spread the love and grace of Jesus Christ but that no one will believe the message if they view us as judgmental liars.

Everything we do reflects on who we are. So, be careful with what you reflect because it projects to all you associate with. Your friends, family, your race, your gender, your church, your Jesus are all represented by you. Are you adding to your good name? Are you at least trying?

We all mess up and that is OK. The trick is to know that we all do and continue trying to live a consistent life showing love and mercy to all and doing your absolute best to live up to who you say you are.

As Always thanks for your time and giving this a read. If you enjoyed it share it with friends, you can do so easily with one of the buttons below. I pray that you will embrace life in the Love and Grace offered to you through Jesus Christ, and that you will always remember Jeremiah 29:11.  – For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, Plans to Proper You and not for harm, Plans with Hope for the Future.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Holy Week - Thursday

This week is a very special week. It is the most important week on the entire Christian calendar and within this week we remember the events that changed our world forever. I always try to do something extra special this week of the year, and this year I have chosen to journey with you through a book by Adam Hamilton. 24 Hours that Changed the World is a great book with only 7 chapters. So Each Day - Monday to Easter Sunday - I will review a chapter from the book. I very much recommend that you click the link here and overnight yourself a copy so that you can join in the discussions of each chapter in the comments below.

Chapter 4 - Jesus, Barabbas, and Pilate

Today's Chapter challenges me in many ways. It discusses the events of Pilate. At first, we have the accusations. There is something that happens even here that we as Christians should learn from. When hurtful and accusatory words were spoken about/ to Jesus, He did not become defensive. He did not himself become accusatory. He remained silent. This is so different from normal that a man, who had no historical problem with killing Jews, was hesitant. Something about Jesus stood out to Pilate so much that he "washed his hands" of Jesus Blood. So what is it about being calm and not defending yourself is so compelling that it would lead to this? It is just so unusual. The first thing I do, and many people I know, is to answer harsh words with harsh words. When someone speaks negatively to or about me without even thinking I react defensively often in a way that is just as petty as what is being said. In fact, this concept is so pervasive in human interactions that one of the best books on how to relate to people is almost exclusively about this subject, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. If we are to be like Christ this is a very significant lesson.

In this chapter Hamilton also clearly communicates the idea of Substitution. Substitution is the belief that Christ who was sinless took the place of the sinners on the cross that we may be saved from sin and death and brought back into relationship with God. This belief means that the death Jesus Died was intended for me, and for you. The way that this is highlighted almost makes me jealous of Barabbas on that day. He was the first to experience the realization that Christ took his place on the cross when Pilate released him to the crowd while shouting to Crucify Jesus. Can you imagine a beaten and bloody Christ, standing silent across from you about to be lead to and nailed on a cross to die and you who have been guilty of murder (all sin is equal in the eyes of God) are being set free? Can you imagine looking into his eyes knowing that you should be in his place?

Can you imagine the reassuring look he might give back saying "don't feel guilty I choose to take this that you might live to know a God who LOVES YOU."

If we can put ourselves in Barabbas' place in that instance how would our lives change?

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Ev@ngel*$m has become a bad word

Evangelism, The E-Word. Aside from very few traditions, this word is run from rather than embraced. How can a word that simply means “good news” cause such a negative reaction?
Whose stomach doesn't turn when they see a sign like this one?
Explore with me what has happened with this word, and how maybe we can see this concept in a different light.

Throughout the history of the Church, Christians have often approached their views on God as an, I’m right and your wrong, this is what you should believe, the way of impacting others and increasing the number of those who participate in their religion. There are words used to define such views as a right view (Orthodoxy) and a wrong view (Heresy). This language and this mindset have led to creating a very insider-outsider worldview that leads to hostility and not love. Not only has it done this with our views of Christians and Non-Christians, this hostility has translated itself into Catholic Vs. Protestant, Christain Vs. Jew, Methodist Vs. Baptist, Evangelical Vs. Social Justice, Conservative Vs. Liberal. Yet we wonder why and continue to condemn the actions of others when hostel language infiltrates media and politics?

There are many who are a part of any one of those groups that would disagree with what I am saying and many in those same groups that see a contradiction.

I am not here to say that one is right and one is wrong, I am not here to say I am right or that I know more than you about it. I am simply writing about what I have seen and heard in my experiences with various peoples and you are welcome to not only disagree but also to tell me about it and share your opinion.

I have grown up in the Methodist tradition, and with that, I have experienced people from other traditions telling me that my relationship with God is not valid because I do not participate in their tradition. I have been guilty of assuming the same of others at one point or another.

You see when others have told me that I am wrong and that I should believe as they believe, it only serves to detract from both our faiths and not to build up either one. I take it as an attack on what I believe and in turn attack another. We are all guilty of this no matter if you are post-modern or fundamental.

The Jesus I know was not like this. The Jesus I know lived in the midst of contradiction and embraced it instead of distancing himself and demonizing the oppressors (specifically speaking of the Romans). The Jesus I know taught a different way, a way that I still have trouble comprehending. The Jesus I know said I should love those who hate me and to hate no one. The Jesus I know was concerned with truths and un-truths not “I’m right”s and “your wrong”s. The Jesus I know was not sent to condemn but to redeem. The Jesus I know followed the Law and the Spirit. The Jesus I know lived deeply and spoke simply(parables).

So When Gandhi says “I like your Christ, but not your Christians” I can’t simply agree. I have to realize that I contribute to that.

In a world where Christian Media has become so mainstream that people identify Christians more with what we hate than what we love, then Evangelism has become a bad word.
In a world where we get more upset with a teenage girl having an abortion than we do about all those children that are born without a positive influence and support system, then Evangelism has become a bad word.
In a world where we blame our neighbors for their problems as an excuse not to help instead of meeting their needs and guiding them through troubled times, then Evangelism has become a bad word.
We see injustices, and out of fear of offending, or not being heard, or contributing to the “I’m Right! You’re Wrong!” mentality. Out of Fear we too often remain Silent! Because Evangelism Has Become A Bad Word.

You see the God I know is Big enough.

You see the God I know loves You and there is nothing you can do to change that!

The God I know is a good God

The God I know Plans to prosper and not to harm

The God I know will never leave us

You see the God I know created ALL Things

You see the God I know knows ALL Things

The God I know is Big Enough

So when I share with you these things I share with you, my faith. I may not have it all figured out but I have seen things and I have experienced things. I have witnessed Love and I have witnessed hate. All around me I hear people talking about things as if they were true and although I cannot say you are wrong, I can say that I know something else to be true.

I know that people look for fulfillment and/or escape by drowning their sorrows in alcohol. I have seen how that simply leads to further destruction and even more pain.

I know that people seek sex and the approval of others to validate their lives and to give them a feeling of importance. I have seen how that leads to confusion about who they are and only causes them to feel even more insignificant.

I know of many other situations like these where people are looking for truth in places I have never seen it found. I have seen myself too often stay silent about the value and the truth that God has been for me.
Isn’t that really all we can do anyways?

All I can offer you is what I have seen and what I have experienced. I cannot Convert you, nor should that be my goal.

What I can do is I can share my faith

I can tell you about my life and what God has been and done for me

I can only provide you information

It is for others to decide what to do with the information.

You see Evangelism has become a bad word….
…… and when I keep my mouth shut, I only contribute to the problem.

Share your faith with anyone you can in every way you can as often as you can. Live your life as an example for others, but don’t forget the challenge that Saint Francis gave us “Preach the Gospel at all times when necessary use words.”

If we only remember the first part and fail to use words when the situation calls for it, when our life experience can benefit our neighbor, then we continue to make Evangelism a bad word.

What are you doing to spread the good news?

What are you doing to share your faith?

What are you doing to show others about the God you know?

As Always thanks for your time and giving this a read. If you enjoyed it share it with friends, you can do so easily with one of the buttons below. I pray that you will embrace life in the Love and Grace offered to you through Jesus Christ and that you will always remember Jeremiah 29:11.  – For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, Plans to Proper You and not for harm, Plans with Hope for the Future.