January 9, 2012
Today’s Meditation Verse:
5) Be wise in the way you act toward those who are outside [the Christian faith]. Make the most of your opportunities. 6) Everything you say should be kind and well thought out so that you know how to answer everyone.
I once had a very dear mentor in the Christian faith who told me of a time when she was in prayer and saw a vision of herself and Jesus. She said that He had taken her to the edge of a great pit to view it from above. This pit was hell, but instead of the absolute darkness she was able to see all those there.
As she stood there and looked, Jesus said that those people over there were here (in hell) because of what Christians did not do. Then He motioned and said that these people there were here because of what Christians did do.
That was a sobering thought and one that I have carried with me for 30 years. Christians sociably can be quite proud and arrogant that they have found ‘the way the truth and the light’. They are so ecstatically happy because of the love of Christ in their lives that they often fail to see that their words become condemning and condescending to others. And this is not love.
Being on Facebook, as I frequently am, I see a wide range of comments. It is a bold forum where people can say things that they would never say in person. But it is much easier when you don’t have to face someone, to say something angry, unloving and condemning.
Even when we experience a great event in our lives where we are so happy that we must express it to the world, we often don’t stop to realize how this might make someone else feel.
Now I am the last person to try and place guilt and condemnation on someone, but I think that if there is one thing that can change lives faster than any other thing, it is stopping to think before we speak (or write).
I’m not asking for political correctness. I’m asking for kindness. Our world has lost that sense of kindness that it once had. Paying it forward, thinking about others before ourselves, helping others even in the smallest ways.
Be wise in the way you act toward those who are outside [the Christian faith].
When we brag on what God has done in our lives is it done in a manner that seems ‘proud’ of what God has done for us? If we are boastful and proud of what God has done for us then we are offensive to those outside the faith. But if we speak of the great and mighty things that God has done for us in true humility then it can touch a heart.
We push aside those outside the faith with our harsh words of disagreement. We bash them for their sin and their lifestyles and what do we think this will accomplish in their lives? Repentance? Certainly not. It is love that brings the desire to repent.
When we brag about what God has done for us it says to those outside the faith – Look what God has done for ME! With the emphasis on the ‘me’. Sometimes we quickly add on, “and He can do it for you too!!” But for those outside the faith they feel shunned by a click who sees itself as elite.
We are to embrace the world and love the world and until we can stop and think before we open our mouths we will never truly walk in love.
I’m all about singing the praises of God and proclaiming His wondrous provisions, but there is a time and a place and a way to proclaim them so that we aren’t making others feel bad for what they have not seen in their own lives.
It goes without saying that each word should always be said with kindness in thought and deed. If you can’t, then don’t speak it.
I don’t talk as much as I did when I was much younger. Through the years the Holy Spirit has been teaching me this very principle. I listen now a lot more than I used to. I found today when having lunch with an old friend that I didn’t say a whole lot, just listened. In years past I would have felt the need to give her my opinion, and what I thought was God’s opinion, about everything she talked about.
But God Himself can give her His opinion. I just wanted to listen. I find so much more pleasure in that now than talking. And it gets me in a lot less trouble!
Everything you say should be kind and well thought out so that you know how to answer everyone.