Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Question of Commitment and also a Prayer

We ought to be rallying behind our church leaders not talking behind their backs about how imperfect they are, not discussing some instance that you felt slighted, and certainly not speculating as to what their problem area could be. We don't have a right to trash talk any church, even if we've chosen to leave it in favor of another.
I've said many times that I disliked the preaching style of one church or another, I might comment on the style of music I prefer or don't prefer, but to dig in deep with personal insults directed at church leadership and structure is plain mean spirited and wrong.
If you find yourself offended that someone didn't notice you, make an effort to forgive them and pray that God will help them see more of the people around them who desire personal moments with them.
If you believe someone said something offensive, ask God for help to forgive them, don't walk around talking about how so and so said such and such so you left the church.
We are intended to help one another when we stumble. In effort to keep your footing, don't stir up stumbling blocks for your fellows, but be a positive example of love and life giving words.
Two of the most critical and most often offended people I've ever met have been the source of the most negative speech against the church and both of these people take the Lord's name in vain in an abundant manner, during every conversation I have with them. These people may not even realize what they're saying, but they've been very clear to point out how many Christians have offended them. It causes me to believe that if I asked why they use Gods name in vain, then I might offend them right out of the church. Or, should I be offended out by their language? Which offense is greater, their frequent OMG or my distaste of it?
Why are we so quick to hop churches when somebody says something that we don't like? Do not we realize there will be a negative Nancy, Debbie downer, doubting Thomas, sons of thunder, tax collecting Matthew, Mary of the serving nurturer, Martha the relationship nurturer, James the Just, even Judas the traitor in every congregation? Jesus has asked us to love one another, not in our perfection and righteousness but in his grace and forgiveness. You don't have to pretend you don't notice sin, but pray and seek God's will with a heart towards forgiveness, remembering that God has forgiven them, and me, and you. It's my honor to chose not to be offended by my brothers and sisters. It's my joy to love my neighbors who have hurt me. It's for His glory that I chose to forgive those who cause me pain.
Let's have a prayer.
Heavenly Father.
Loving, forgiving, gracious, God.
Please help me remember that when I was filthy with sin and disgrace, you loved me. You love me because your righteousness has covered my sin. You washed me of my filth and made me yours when I could never be worthy of your love or your mercy.
Thank you God for your ever flowing, never ending mercy, your fountain of forgiveness, your unending love. Thank you for showing me what it means to forgive, help me to keep forgiving because it's always so hard.
Thank you for teaching me to love. Not just for the sake of loving someone who needs love, but because loving people is the sweetest pleasure I know. Thank you for giving me the strength to love, when I am too weak. Thank you for giving me the courage to love when I'm afraid it will hurt too much. Thank you for loving me and letting Your love shine into my broken heart.
Oh God. Thank you for teaching me that forgiveness is better for me than even the person I'm forgiving.
Is it possible that you find such sweet pleasure in forgiving and loving me, as I find when I forgive and love? How can it even be? Thank you for the rain that causes the sun shine to seem warmer and brighter in its absence. Lord, please promise me that the sun will shine again in my world. That the pain will fade and your love will fill me up and overflow from me.
Thank you for your will and your plan and your purpose for my life. Help me to see it and to trust in you.