Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The 'C' Word

"If you [merely] love those who love you, what quality of credit and thanks is that to you?  For even the [very] sinners love their lovers (those who love them)."
Luke 6:32 AMP



I'm just going to say it.  There are times, usually when I'm on Facebook or the general internet, that I hate the fact that I am tied to this word, 'Christian'.

I wasn't going to write this post tonight.  In fact, I have an entirely different post that I started a couple days ago and was going to try and finish.  But here I am, and there are some things that I just have to get off my chest.

Why are you saying you don't like that word, Sarah?  Don't you consider yourself a Christian??

I'm glad you asked.  Yes, I do.  And as such, I do my best to live the way the Bible teaches.  I'm not great at it, but I'm better than I used to be.  I have adopted the attitude of never passing judgment on anyone because we are all equally undeserving of God's mercy that He has offered us.  And I'm not even successful with that a lot of times.  So none of this is to put condemnation on anyone.  But do you think if we are going to be representing Christ on this earth as His body that we could maybe act like it?

See, right there...I got some of your attention.  You're all like, Yeah! Amen!  But wait just a second.  I'm not talking about the people you think I'm talking about.  There's a good chance I'm talking about you.  (Actually, don't get paranoid, because I'm not running names through my mind as I write this or anything.)  I'm not talking moral sin in the way of basic do's and don't's of the Bible.

I'm saying, if you are a true follower of Jesus and are attempting to lead people to Him, it would probably help if you were nice.  I can't tell you how many times I see someone arguing the Christian or, dare I say it, conservative side of an argument that I would typically agree with, but I end up wanting to punch them in the face for making the rest of us who aren't ignorant, hateful people look bad.

Yeah, I know that's not a very "Christian" thing for me to want to do.

My point here is that the church has taken this strange turn where we act like we have a right to name-call or speak in a demeaning or condescending way to people just because we believe we are right.  You may be right, guess what?  Jesus still doesn't want you to talk to people like that.

Well, sometimes the truth hurts, Sarah!

You're right.  Sometimes it does...at first.  But then it's supposed to set you free.  Are you setting anyone free?  If the truth you are speaking is your attempt at love, then shouldn't the recipient be able to tell?  Because if, to them, you just sound like a rude, jerk, then you're not being very effective in your approach.

Jesus never encountered a sinner that He didn't speak total truth to, but it's interesting, you never read where someone was totally put off and offended by what He said...well, except for the religious people.  The sinners just embraced Him because they knew who He was.  Do people know who you are?  If you never spoke a word to them would they be able to tell Who you're following?  The Bible says that they would know us by our love.  But the world doesn't see us that way.  It's the total opposite actually.  Conversely, Jesus was never offended by someone else's sin...well, except for the religious people.  He knew that the healthy were not supposed to need a doctor but that the sick did.  All of us who call ourselves Christians were once sick too.

Why are we so easily offended by people?  Over petty things?  Facebook has made it so easy for us to dismiss people with the ability to "un-friend" them.  Don't like what someone has to say?  No problem, I'll just un-friend them.  God will put another laborer in their path.

Now, if you're having this reaction that makes you want to say that I'm all greasy grace and no balance, I will pray that you will (for those who know me) remind yourself of my personality and that I am nothing like that.  But I get the feeling a lot of times like we are focused on problems and not solutions.  That we are putting a face on our enemy and justifying it to ourselves.

The greatest commandment is to love God and love others, right?  Then why is this not the foundation of all our actions and decisions?  Is what you are saying (or typing) motivated out of God's pure Agape love?  Honestly??  Because maybe you need to evaluate your tone or attitude.  You can argue with me on this all day, but think about the fact that you are arguing with someone who is telling you to love someone more.  I'm not saying enable someone more.  I'm not saying keep your mouth shut and never speak what's on your heart.  I'm just saying make sure what's in your heart is filtered through His and that your words line up with His too.

And most importantly, quit being a jerk.

"Let everything you do be done in love (true love to God and man as inspired by God's love for us)." 1 Corinthians 16:14 AMP

"It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly.  Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]."  1 Corinthians 13:5 AMP


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Plans

I fixed a toilet yesterday.  I mean, FIXED it.  Took the tank off and replaced all kinds of stuff and everything.  I love doing things like that because then I feel really accomplished when it's done.  Stay at home Mom, maid, cook, chauffeur, and now plumber.  I've always thrived in really structured activities and that's one of those things I have in common with Autism.  Anything that comes with step by step instructions, I am all over.  Putting toys and furniture together.  Fixing things.  Recipes.  When my brother and I played Legos as kids, I always followed the directions exactly.   If I was going to try and build something on my own I was completely lost.  To this day, I need a plan.  I don't have trouble adjusting or adapting if things go a different way, but to go in with the idea of just totally winging it makes me crazy.  If you know the people I am in ministry with, you're laughing right now because this part of my personality has been challenged since the day I met them.

Ironically, Autism is the other thing that has pushed all of my plans over a cliff.  I think that is the hardest part for most parents because we all have ideas in our minds of how life will be for our children.  School and trips and friends.  Autism forces you to re-route everything you had in mind.  And then in a strange twist, turns planning out every day tasks into a well-oiled routine necessary for life to continue on this new path.  Now, if you were at all spontaneous before, you no longer have that luxury.  Granted, kids in general sort of do that, Autism just intensifies it, I guess.

My point here is that I like structure and preparation and planning.  But, sometimes no matter how much of that you do, things happen and plans change.  Not to mention all of the stuff that you just can't ever prepare yourself for.  Bobby is leaving next month for work.  He'll be staying in a hotel and coming home about six nights out of the month for three months.  This will be the longest we've had to do this for.  The difference is that this time I will be over an hour away from everyone that kept me occupied all of the other times.  I'm trying to psyche myself up for it and mentally prepare but that includes realizing that I am going to get really emotional in the middle of it.  It happens every time.  I know it's not the worst thing any couple has ever had to do.  It's not like the women whose husbands are over in Afghanistan while they're giving birth or anything. But it will be difficult for us, nonetheless.  I will plan as much as I can but when it's midnight and I'm trying to go to sleep in that big bed by myself, it's going to suck.  Sure I can turn on the TV but if the boogeyman shows up, I'm on my own.  I will be reading a lot of Psalms right before bed, I can assure you.  All in all, I know that we'll make it through just like we have every other time, I'm just hoping it goes by quickly.

So that's what I'm currently planning for.  I suggest y'all plan for three months of whiny, I-miss-my-husband Facebook posts.

"This is my comfort and consolation in my affliction: that Your word has revived me and given me life."
Psalm 119:50 AMP