Challenge

Tonight, I challenged the Jr. High kids.  I also challenged my daughters.  The challenge to my girls was a more difficult challenge then to the Jr. High kids at AWANA.

For the TREK (Jr. High) kids, I challenged them over the next two weeks to take one person that they don’t get along with, dislike, etc., to smile and say hello to them.  They don’t have to engage in a conversation, just say hello with a smile.  And yes, they were to mean it.

For my girls?  When someone is mean to them, to say thank you and walk away.  If it is their sister that is getting to them, say thank you and give them a huge hug saying that they loved the person.

Why did I offer up this challenge?  Because the Bible tells us to love all.  We are to have brotherly love for all, no matter what our differences.  This is not an easy task.  Specially when you feel that you’ve been wronged.  It is difficult when another person has done wrong and it impacts you.  It is even more difficult when that person doesn’t realize they have done wrong.  So, what do you do?  How could I possibly propose that you ‘love’ that person that was so horrible to you?  Because that is what Jesus instructed us to do.  To paraphrase, Jesus stated that if you hate a person, you have already committed murder in your heart.  So, we need to get past that hatred and love.  This is not an easy task.  I know first hand.  I went for years hating a particular person for what they did to me.  It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized that I was wasting my energy and putting myself in a bad position with that hate.  It was so much easier to be complacent about the situation.  I no longer hate the person.  I also don’t have a need to shower this person with love.  And honestly, should I come across this person, I would fear my safety.  But I would do my best to be civil with this person.  So, yes, I know it’s a difficult thing, and one that I struggle with as well.  But I will continue to do my best.

 

Will you?

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Sadness

Today the Supreme Court started hearing arguments for and against same-sex marriage.  I will not express my views, as that is irrelevant to my post.  What is relevant is what I saw being posted on Facebook all day.  Hatred on both sides of the issue.  Yes, BOTH sides.  Though, I will say that I saw less hateful posts from those against same-sex marriage than I did from those that are for it.  This saddens me.

I saw some people posting ‘verses’ of the Bible trying to prove how racist and full of hate the Bible is, thereby implying that anyone that follows must be full of hate.  Here’s the problem with that; they are not reading the entire passage, and therefore taking it completely out of context.  That is one of my pet peeves.  If you are going to criticize a book and make accusations about it, at least read the whole thing and study it.  That way you can at least know what you are talking about.  Otherwise, you are going to sound like someone full of hate and animosity because you just don’t know.

There are very few beliefs that I will counter, because I don’t know enough about them.  Besides, it is not up to me to judge those beliefs or that person.  I’m only to present the truth, according to the Bible, to strive to live as Jesus lived, and to love all.  These are not easy things to do.  I struggle with one or more of these items constantly.  I am tested consistently and there are times that I fail.  But I do try to learn from it and move on.

Those that hate, or try to incite me to anger and hate them, honestly, I feel sorry for them.  I occasionally pray for them.  I probably should pray for them daily, however, I tend to forget because in my prayer, I spend so much time thanking God for all that he provides for me.  I’ve been so blessed, and God continues to bless me, that I cannot thank him enough.  God has given me a wonderful job, a house, a wonderful family, a fantastic church family, wonderful friends, and has provided everything that I needed.  Why wouldn’t I be thankful for that?

Even hubby’s migraine for the past 19 months is a blessing.  I have no idea how, yet, but it will reveal itself at some point.  When God has deemed it time for the migraine to go away, it will.  I have complete faith in that.  And yes, I say that knowing that we are trying to get him approved for a surgery that is supposed to help him.  It is still in God’s hands.

So, sadness is my word for the day.  I am saddened by the hatred I see around me and many that don’t think it is hatred, they think they are ‘educating’ those around them.  Instead, they are trying to bully those with a different point of view.  I feel for them, and I shall pray for them.

Hatred

Yesterday, I discussed love and how we are to love one another.  Even if we don’t agree with the person, we are to still love them.  Today, I’m going to the opposite side of it, hatred.  Believe it or not, that’s what follows the instruction to Love one another.

John 15:18-25

18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.

These are still the words of Jesus himself.  He’s reminding us to remember that the world hated him before they hated us.

19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

If we belonged to the world, and followed the world’s beliefs, the world would love us.  However, we, as Christians, don’t belong to the world.  Jesus, God, chose us, and removed us from the world, and therefore, the world hates us.

20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.

I do feel it’s important to remember that a servant is no greater, better, than his master.  Those people that persecuted Jesus, will also persecute his followers.  If they obey Jesus’ teachings, they will also obey other Christian’s teachings.  Be wary of the teachings you follow though.  Search it out, make sure it’s accurate to the bible.  Not all are and actually leads to false teachings, and well, just not good.

21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.

Christians will be treated harshly because of Jesus, for those that treat us harshly do not know God, and in my experience, most do not care to know him.  They don’t want to have to give up their sin.

22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.

Here’s the kicker though – they KNOW that they are guilty of the sin, they don’t care.  But they have no excuse for it in God’s eyes.  They’ve been told, they are aware.

23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well.

This one is fairly obvious: they hate Jesus, so they hate God.

24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father.

If Jesus had not come to us, and lived among us, teaching us, then those people would not be guilty of sin.  Instead, he did come to us, he lived among us, taught us the way, was persecuted, killed, buried, and then defeated death and rose again, walked the earth again for 40 days and it was witnessed by 500 people, and then ascended to heaven.  Yet, people will not believe, and still persecute him, thereby hating Jesus, and God.

25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.

This, however, fulfills the Law, the prophecy.  Those that persecute Jesus, hate him without reason.  You see, what the final ‘judgement’ on Jesus was, to crucify him, was that he committed blasphemy.  A trumped up charge as he never actually committed that act.  And for false blasphemy, he was nailed to a cross to die.

It’s amazing what a friend will do for you, isn’t it? Due to their hatred, he was killed.  He was killed for our sins, as he was the sacrifice that God offered to us.  We really should respect that and live as we’ve been commanded.  We should be right with God, and not ourselves.