Tag Archives: Love others

Growing Pains

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Do you ever realize that spiritual growth usually comes along with some sort of trial. It seems to be some necessary process for growth that it is paired up with pain, heartache, hardship or loss. I recently had a such an experience and spent the last couple of days trying to sort it out.

I have written recently about the idea that I like to be liked, in this post. I know I am probably not alone in this, because who doesn’t? I however may take it to a different level because I think I care too much what others think of me. That being said, I recently found out that people whom I have known for many years, and I thought were my friends are talking about me behind my back and  the comments were not complimentary. This hurt me on two different levels, one being that people who I thought were my friends are obviously not. Secondly that there are people out there that I like and called friends who don’t like me back. This causes me a lot of confusion and disappointment

After the initial sting of hearing these comments I spent time contemplating what I said, did, or  didn’t do that caused this, and what I can do to rectify it. As I was thinking on  these things, I thought of something my boss said to me the other day. She said “I don’t trust anyone, or any person that is”. I thought, how sad to go through life thinking this way. However, after this current situation I thought maybe she has a point. I have a habit of letting people into my life too easy and I open up and let down any defenses I may have. I am a person who wears his heart on his sleeve and will tell you how I feel, and it will be evident how I feel by my actions and facial expressions. Maybe I should be more guarded like my boss and not trust anyone, this way I won’t get hurt.

The more I thought about this however I realized there is a lesson to be learned in all of this. I continue to realize that I put my trust in people and my satisfaction is in their approval. The funny thing is, there is no where in scripture that says our hopes and approval should be in others, rather it is to be in Jesus and Jesus alone. Time and time again we are told to love others, not have others love us. We are told to count others more significant than ourselves, but no where does it say make others love you. This is pride speaking, I am making myself more important than I am. I am finding my worth in others, or as Paul puts it, I am putting my confidence in the flesh. He goes on to say in Phil 3:8 “indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”

I have failed at this miserably, I continue to count things I do as worth, and my confidence is in my flesh and the approval of others is the measuring stick of my worth. So although I feel as though I have lost friendships and the pain is still fresh. I have learned that is because my trust was in the wrong place, myself. I had made myself and others too big .Where my faith and confidence should be in Jesus. I know I will let others down and others will let me down. As my boss said “I don’t trust  anyone, or any person that is”, but she finished this statement by pointing skyward and saying,”There is only one I trust”. This is words to live by. I wish it just didn’t have to feel this way in order to learn this lesson.

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Christians Vs. Homosexuals Part 2

stoning-hate

So we just concluded that Christians are not different than anyone else regarding their own righteousness. We are all sinners with a sinful nature, see part one for greater clarification on this issue. So the this begs the question, so now what? How should Christians respond going forward? Just to clarify a point regarding a difference between Christians and non Christians. Christians are righteous, just in case this point was missed. The thing we sometimes forget is that it is not our works or actions that makes us righteous but rather we have Christ’s righteousness. It says in 2Co 5:21  “For our sake he made him(that is Christ) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” It was on the cross when we switched places, he bore our sins and we took His perfection. It is because of this that we are called to a separate way of living that He gives us the ability to do. That is what we are going to talk about today.

Jesus was known to be a friend of sinners, I find that very interesting, I wonder if that would be said about me? That is because he wasn’t always hanging out in synagogues (churches) rapping with the Pharisees and Sadducees(Religious leaders of the day) discussing how great they were and how lowly the sinners were. No, he was hanging out with what the religious people would call the sinners. How often do we isolate ourselves in our churches with like minded people talking about the sinners of the world like we are so great and holy. It is very easy to get wrapped up in holy living and pointing out everyone’s sins and we begin to separate big sins from little sins. Homosexuality, Adultery, prostitution, whoa they’re the biggies. While hatred, gossiping, and slander, well they’re not so bad right? This  is our mind set in the churches these days. We put our arms around someone who is ruining there marriage cause there checking out porn on there computers and we say things like “I’ll pray with you brother”,but if he comes in and says I hooking up with another guy, we’ll just run to the hills, there is no help for him cause he is a sinner. This reminds me of a story in the Bible. It is found in John 8:3-11 and goes like this “The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.  Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”  This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”  And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground.  But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.  Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”  She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

When you read that story, whose side are you on the woman’s or the religious leaders? I am assuming you chose the woman’s, but why? she committed a big sin. She was caught in the  very act of adultery, ripped right out her bed and thrown into the streets.We deserve, no we demand justice, but instead  we see Jesus showing compassion and mercy for the woman. That is what wins us over in the story and it wins the woman too. He did not condemn her, rather He loved her, and had mercy on her. But when it comes to homosexuality how many times are we found standing with the rocks in our hands, arms cocked and ready to throw, wanting to condemn  instead of loving and showing compassion? And I love what Jesus says “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” Now from the previous post we know that we are ALL sinners, but sometimes we forget that and we judge those we are not comfortable with.

Jesus spent His years in ministry almost doing the opposite of what we do. He went around loving sinners and condemning the religious leaders. While we go around condeming sinners and loving our religious leaders. In the book of Matthew after a long list of Woe to you’s that he directs to the religious leaders he says this in Matthew 23:25  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
23:26  You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.
23:27  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.
23:28  So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness
”.

Again, it is easy to say” Yeah, you tell em’ Jesus” all the while we find ourselves to often in this same scenario. We must be careful not to appear righteous on the outside only. but in our hearts also. And lastly I wanted to point out that we are to love others. That is what is supposed to separate us from non Christians. Read these verses

Luk 6:31  And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
Luk 6:32  “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
Luk 6:33  And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
Luk 6:34  And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount.
Luk 6:35  But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.
Luk 6:36  Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
Luk 6:37  “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven”
Mat 5:43  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.

5:44  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
5:45  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
5:46  For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
5:47  And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
5:48  You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect
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and Lastly in John 13:35  “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

I know I am overwhelming you with verses and maybe you got tired of reading them, but Jesus had a lot to say about Love, mercy and forgiveness. Therefore that is where our hearts should also be. We need to come out of our comfort zone and and embrace those whom you feel are different from you and maybe you feel more righteous than. Maybe for you it is not the homosexual community you are uncomfortable with. For you it could be those with drug addictions or prostitution of inmates in prison. Whatever it is remember you are not greater than anyone, more self righteous than anyone but our righteousness comes from Christ. Let us show that instead of showing our bigotry and judgmental hearts

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Filed under Christian living, Religion

You are Better Than Me

self-esteem

One of the hardest things for me to do is to not put myself first. We are taught from an early age to look after number one, and don’t trust anyone but yourself. Well,  over the years I got really good at that.I have found that is really easy to love myself and put myself before others. Even when I want to put others first I will do good for about a day or two just to fall back into my self first habits. How do we overcome this self-centered, self first attitude?

A few examples of how I fail at this is I remember  having conversations with co-workers on a Friday afternoon with them giving me  full details of what their weekend plans were. Only to have me ask them on Monday morning what they did that weekend. I forget about there plans and activities because during the weekend I was focused my own things,and satisfied my own desires. I forgot everything they told me because they were not as important to me as I was to myself. I have sat in my living room talking with my wife at night while she was describing her events for the following day only to have me  text her the next morning asking her what she is doing today. I forgot because I was preoccupied more on what I was doing and events I was involved with.  I also have forgotten dates and times of activities my kids were involved in because what I was doing was more important to me at that time then what they are doing. I have friends who are going through struggles who I forget to call and follow up with because I get wrapped up in my own problems. Now, it’s not that I don’t love my wife and children because I do. It is not that I  am not really interested in what my friends and  coworkers are up to, because I am, it is just that I obviously love myself more. But isn’t this what we are taught to do and to believe? It certainly comes natural, doesn’t it? I want people to know what is affecting me, what I am doing, what problems I am  going through and want them to care, because it is all about me. I am sure I am the only one who thinks this way though, right?

What we have learned growing up and what seems to come so naturally  even though it runs conversely to what is taught in the Bible. The Bible says to  “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others”.( Php 2:3-4) WHAT? Count others more significant than myself, and look after their interests over my own? This is not something that  comes naturally. Is this even achievable? As I studied  this, I see this a common theme found in the Bible; it also says in 1Co 10:24, “ Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor”, and, “Love your neighbor as yourself”.  This is very hard for me to do and find extremely difficult to even comprehend. But then I stumbled upon a verse in Romans 12:10,  “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” Wait a minute, it says here to  outdo one another. This sounds like a competition to me. I am a very competitive person, and this now seems like something I can relate to. I have to outdo others in showing honor by loving them.

Even though I know what to do it is still not natural, it will not come easy and I will have to learn to die to my self needs, and wants first in order to achieve it. I also cannot achieve this in my own ability either. The preceding verse to “love your neighbor as yourself” is found in Mat 22:37.  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” You see we need to have our relationship with God right first before we can love others as ourselves. This is because the love  the Father has for us needs to come through us to others. This is because we are lovers of self naturally, therefore we are only  lovers of others supernaturally. In order for me to love others more and to put their needs over my needs I need to work on putting God in His right place in my life. I know I will fail at this, and it will take time as I learn to love God and others, so be patient with me. But I am a competitive person so I want to take the lead on this so let me tell you, you are better than me, you are more interesting than me, and I care more about you than I do myself.

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Filed under Christian living, Daily living, Religion, Uncategorized