expressing our Christian views

How to express our Christian views.

I’m ashamed to admit I got pulled into a less than kind exchange with someone on another blog some time ago.

I wasn’t unkind; they were. Wow, were they!

The author of the blog didn’t like the fact that I disagreed with him on some points. However, I also agreed with him on a number of points.

It was the agreement that prompted one of his commenters, not him,  to unleash his hate on me.

Apparently, because I wasn’t willing to condemn certain groups of our society straight to hell because of their behavior, I was the one in danger of going there myself. I guess I was too “liberal” in my Christian views.

I’m upset with myself for being drawn into a disagreement with someone whose only agenda was to argue and not seek to understand. His “words” were mean and hate-filled.

But can I say as a woman who has called God her “father” for years, I don’t understand hatred, no matter where it’s coming from and no matter to whom it is addressed. And I’m sad to say it often comes out of the mouths of those who claim to be followers of Jesus. In fact, can I further propose, it’s worse when it comes from Christians.

Christians who have experienced love and forgiveness from an almighty God should be the last people on this earth to condemn anyone for differing views.

I’m guessing that either:

  1. They’ve never understood the gift they have received,
  2. They don’t understand “forgiveness”,
  3. They’ve forgotten their own history,
  4. They are not really followers of Christ.

To make it clear, we don’t have to water-down our faith. We never have to pretend to agree with someone’s point of view if we really don’t.  We should feel free to voice our beliefs no matter what.

But there are ways to use our words that draw people to God not push them away. 

If we read just the story of Jesus and just his words, we see the balance between speaking truth and showing love. Somehow Jesus managed to do both. And yes, he did upset people. I’m not suggesting we won’t as well.

If we offend someone because of beliefs and we’ve expressed our views respectfully, then their offense is on them, not us. For that we don’t have to apologize or feel bad. We have spoken the truth.

But if we offend someone because we have directed hate towards them, we’re the ones who need forgiveness.

This week I’ve written about “words” and how our words make a difference. I offer a challenge this morning.

Read the Proverbs. You will find references to how we should communicate in every chapter. There is more good advice in that book than any other book in the Bible.

Wars have been fought, marriages have ended, friendships destroyed, and lives have ended because of words.

With every encounter, we use words. They are either tools or weapons.

God bless and have a good day.

 

 

Rambo

When your heart breaks and is then made whole

Boy, I didn’t know if I could post today or not

Let me backtrack.

My husband is gone for a few days on business so yesterday a friend and I were working on a DIY Christmas project. Because we were going to be in and out of the garage I put Rambo (our woods-rescue-cat) in the laundry room so he wouldn’t try to get in the garage because we had the garage door open. He’s a feral cat so his desire to be outside is strong but he’s only two months old and might not survive if he got out. Here’s a pic the day we rescue him.

Rambo

 

After she left, I let Rambo out of the laundry room. I cleaned up the kitchen, went back to the garage to put up the tools and spray paint a couple of things, and came inside. I was going to pay Rambo some attention because he had been confined for a few hours.

I called his name.

No Rambo.

I opened a can of cat food, always a way to get him running.

No Rambo.

Now I’m getting anxious.

I search every part of the house, under the bed, in the closets, everywhere I thought he might be. I even checked the washer, the dryer, the dishwasher, all places he loves to explore if the doors are open.

No Rambo.

Now I’m really worried.

I went outside and walked around the yard with a can of tuna fish in my hand to lure him back being convinced now that he had gotten outside although I never saw him get out. We are really careful when we open the door to the outside and make sure he gets away from the door. But I figured this time he had run out so fast, I never saw him.

For the next few hours before bedtime, I was sick with worry. I went outside several times in the pouring rain calling his name and clinking on his food can. Finally, I put his carrier in the garage and left the garage door open all night for when he came back.

It was pouring rain when I went to bed and I was worried he wouldn’t survive the cold rainy night.

My eight-year-old grandson had prayed for his safe return.

This morning arrived and I jumped out of bed the minute my eyes opened and headed down to the garage in the anticipation he would be there. I was so disappointed because he wasn’t there.

I remembered that last week, Rambo had jumped up on the shelves in the laundry room and knocked everything down. Maybe he was there.

I walk in the laundry room to check and hear something move. No meows, no crying, just a kind of movement somewhere.

Yesterday, I had checked these cabinets and had even opened drawers. No Rambo.

I listened quietly. Something was moving.

Rambo

I opened the drawers where I had replaced some scarves earlier and reached my hand way to the back. I felt something furry and knew it was Rambo. I pulled the drawer out and there he was. All warm and cozy after a long nights sleep. I hugged him crying, “You are such a stinker. Why do I even love you? Don ‘t you scare me like that again!”

Seriously, how was there even enough oxygen? Why hadn’t he even meowed? He must have been hungry.

I cried with relief.

Then I thought, “You’re crying? Really? You don’t even like cats!” But he has grown on us.

You see I’ve never been a person to get all the hype that other pet owners have about their pets. I’ve often thought, “How silly.”

Ummm. I’ve been humbled. Now, I know.

I think some of it is that I found Rambo three months after my mom died. I felt an immediate connection because we figure his mom had died, too. He gave me someone to care for again at a time when I really needed it. To have lost another “being” would have broken my heart.

So I get it.

To all you pet owners, I get it. I get how attached one can get to a pet. They do bring a lot of joy and comfort. They do become a member of the family.

So Rambo is sitting by me now as I type, being a pest. He loves the computer and walking on the keys. He’s looking at me as if nothing has happened.

(By the way, he never had an “accident” that whole time.)

We were still thinking of giving him away because we don’t know what we’re going to do when we take some long trips. We even have someone who is interested in taking him. The fact that we didn’t hand him over right away should’ve been our first clue that he was going nowhere. The fact that we bought special cat food and toys should have been a clue. The fact that I was panic-stricken thinking he might have gone missing, should have been a clue. The fact that I’ve taken him to the vet for his vaccinations and the fact that I even took him when I thought he was sick should have been a clue.

Who were we kidding?

Anyway, Rambo is attacking me so I have to go.

God bless and have a good day.

Why I like the word “sin”

There must be something wrong with me. I like the word “sin”. I find it so liberating.

“Liberating?” you ask in wonderment.

Yep.

I find when I call my bad habits what they are, sin, I know I have recourse. If I just think of them as bad habits, then I am forced to change them all by myself. I have to read the books, practice the methods, and maybe I can change them.

But if I call them “sin”, I know just what to do.

First, I confess them to God. That means that I am forgiven. When I am forgiven, I have hope.

Immediately.

I don’t have to change anything before I can have that hope.

Next, I can ask God to enable me to change my habits. At this point, I might very well research some methods. I might very well read those books. But now I have a source of empowerment to help me facilitate those changes.

But it all starts with realizing that if I have a  bad habit more than likely it is causing a distance between God and me. More than likely I am “missing the mark” which is the definition of sin anyway.

I am not suggesting that we have to label all our less-than-desirable habits as “bad”. What I am suggesting is that the habits we have that get in the way of our relationship with God are more than bad habits, they are sin.

God has a remedy for sin. It’s called confession.

So the next time you feel overwhelmed with your bad habits, use your words. Call them what they are. To me, the remedy for sin is laid out many places in the Bible. Bad habits, not so much.

Just a quick aside here. King David had a bad habit of looking out his window at Bethsheba undressing. We know how that ended, don’t we?

Don’t be afraid of the word “sin”. It’s a good word.

God bless and have a good day.

 

 

 

Sometimes “harsh” words are necessary

I didn’t realize this was going to be a week where I concentrated on the subject of our word choices.

But I guess I’m on a roll.

I’ve been posting about avoiding harsh words. But sometimes harsh words are necessary. The whole point is to use our words appropriately, to use words that are specific, never to denigrate anyone or make anyone feel “small”.  But when we are so general with our words, when we cower from speaking the truth, we often make situations worse.

Sometimes we are the only one that can speak the truth. We are the only ones that can help someone change their behavior. (Assuming, of course, we have been asked and/or have earned another’s trust. Our lives have to reflect the truths we support. If they don’t, we might as well keep quiet.)

Sometimes our words are far too tame.

Rape is rape, not just the general phrase “sexual abuse”. It is abuse and it is sexual but in my opinion the word “rape” is far more descriptive and should be used. Sexual abuse is far too general a term and we end up calling everything abuse. When everything is lumped together it’s sometimes hard to address specific issues.

“Lazy” is another one of those words. I’m sure the politically polite word might be “not motivated to work”. But even scripture uses the word “lazy”. If you don’t sow (work), don’t expect you’ll reap rewards (like food, shelter, clothes).”

And don’t even get me started on the horrific overuse and misrepresented word “mistake”. Talk about a word that’s used to describe everything from buying the wrong shoes to murder! We have completely watered down some words while making others almost forbidden, like Jesus, God, faith.

And especially the word, “sin”.

Boy, we really don’t like that word. And yet it’s a word she should use much more often.

“Sin” is a really good word. It helps us call our behaviors what they are and work to change them. If we call them “bad habits’ or “mistakes” (which of course, is also true) but don’t use the word “sin”, we excuse ourselves too easily.

A word of caution here, though. We should use the word “sin” to describe our personal behaviors and, unless we are asked, we let God convict other people of their sins. We encourage others to name their own sin when we are willing to name our own. I mean I’ve done it myself.

I’ve confused the concepts of bad habits with sin simply by my word choice.

Tomorrow I’m going to post about why I like the word “sin” so much. I hope you read it.

God bless and have a good day.

 

word choices

God supplies all the tools we need

Honestly, I think my computer has a mind of its own sometimes.

I very meticulously and carefully scheduled two posts this week, one for Monday and one for Tuesday. So why they both published on Monday, I have no idea.

I’m going to blame it on the kitty we rescued, now named Rambo, for the problem. We didn’t name him Rambo for nothing and now you know why. He loves sitting on our computers. Maybe his little butt hit “publish”. 🙂 (My husband would suggest, it’s because I do most things faster than lightning and probably didn’t give my computer time to do it’s thing before I signed off. I’m still blaming the kitten. He can’t deny it. Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) 

I like it when I post about word choices. It keeps me on my toes. Today I found myself saying “thank-you” more than usual. I love the verse:

New International Version
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14

It’s interesting to me that the more I meditate on God, the more I reflect scripture back to myself, the more my words are pleasing. And the more my words are pleasing, the more my meditations are as well.

Isn’t it great how God has designed us and gives us tools to carry our his instruction?

God bless and have a good day.

 

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