I have had a feeling lately that I just can’t shake. When I look at television, new stories, or social media, I am seeing a pattern that really disturbs me. I see so many people spewing opinions and condemnations at others. It makes me sick to my stomach to see the cruelty and indifference that people have towards one another. People just think that they can say whatever they want. Yes, we do have opinions and we have a right to state that opinion, but for goodness sakes, can’t we do it in the right manner?
In my last post, I talked about asking God to shine a light on the issues we have and the direction He wants us to take in our lives. Now, I would like for us to have Him shed some light on how we are supposed to treat one another. Yelling, screaming, insulting, condemning and lack of respect for one another’s feelings are not the path that Jesus has for us.
We, as Christ followers, are supposed act like Christ. Did you ever read about Him yelling at anyone? Did He go after anyone who didn’t agree with Him? Did He hate anyone who disagreed with Him? Did He abuse anyone? We have gotten so far away from the character of Christ that we don’t even realize what we are doing. We have allowed the world to dictate to us instead of us living our lives the way Christ told us to live. So, let’s remember some basics of the faith. I have made many mistakes and I have been drawn into too many battles. I need these reminders too.
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Romans 13:9
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32
“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7
“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:35-36
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” Galations 5:22-24
“Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” Galations 5:26
We need to know the Bible and what it says about how we are supposed to be living our lives. Because of Billy Graham’s death, I have been watching old crusades and interviews he had with tv hosts and news commentators. When interviewed, he spoke about God and what the Bible said all the time. He didn’t shy away from quoting scripture as his answer. He spoke about living our lives based on the teachings of the Bible. It seems like we have gotten away from that. We rely on other people’s opinions way too much.
We can’t just go to church on Sunday and expect our pastors to be our Bible. We need to do our own investigating and read the scripture and know what it says. God has the answers to our issues in His word. Yes, there are times we need counseling—make sure it is biblically based. Yes, there are times we need to talk things over with a friend—make sure you pray with that friend and you are looking for God to speak to you through that friend or to your heart. Make sure you can back things up with God’s word.
When I was going through my darkest times, I sought counsel. I knew it was biblically based and we prayed before anything was said. There were many things I didn’t want to hear, but I knew they were right because I knew it was coming from the Lord. I made my mind up that I was going to follow God’s direction, not mine or someone else’s. I questioned Him a lot to make sure I was on the right path.
And let me say something about prayer. “We are meant to hear the voice of God.” Eldredge I am going to say this again. “We are meant to hear the voice of God!” In Luke 10 there are many references to sheep hearing their master’s voice. Jesus refers to us as His sheep and the fact that He is our Shepherd. When you read that passage, Jesus is telling us loud and clear that His sheep will hear His voice.
We have to stay close to our Shepherd in order to hear His voice. The only way that I have found that works is to spend time with Him daily and ask Him to speak to me. “If we hear His voice and open the door of our lives to Him, Jesus will come closer, become even more intimate with us. For this very intimacy we were created! And it is a rescue, a comfort, a source of a thousand blessings, and it also changes the way we pray as we ask Him what to pray.” Eldredge
“He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.” Isaiah 50:4
There are many reasons I care so much about this topic. One is the fact that I was verbally abused most of my life. It isn’t fun living with someone who is constantly beating you down— especially a parent. I was told all sorts of things that were not pleasant. Matthew 15:18 “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man unclean.” So, if you have issues with putting people down then I advise you to look at your heart and figure out why you say the things you do. Words can cause deep wounds in people.
I have had to be around a lot of difficult people and I haven’t always responded in the right way. But, when I am in those situations, I pray for help. I pray to respond with the right words. I know it is hard because our emotions can get the best of us. That’s why we need God’s help. I also realize that some people are just hard to be around. If you know you are going to see that person, then pray before you go. Pray while you are with them. Pray for them. My Mom told me a long time ago that the best way to handle an enemy was to pray for them. (Wise words from my Momma.) I know it’s hard, but give it a try. You might be pleasantly surprised.
I have cried and cried many tears over people being unkind to me. I have tried so hard to please people and walked away terribly hurt and upset. Some people are clueless and mean. I know it is hard to respond to people that are like that with kindness, but that is how we are supposed to respond. “Kill them with kindness” is a phrase I heard a lot when I was growing up. And the ironic thing is, it came from my father.
There are always going to be difficult people in our lives, so we need God’s help to deal with them. We need to learn how to react to those people and rely on God to help us. “Stay close. Listen for His voice. Let Him lead.” Eldredge That is how I want to live my life. I want to live my days right by my Shepherd’s side–listening to His voice–and letting Him lead me.
Until next time dear friends…..
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32