March 9, 2012

Romans 14:19

All my life, it has been my desire to make the lives of those I encounter a little brighter.  That's who I am. When I meet a person I put on my biggest smile and hope they will be smiling wider when we part.  This is what we are commanded to do as Christians.  To be the light.  Truthfully, it is a self serving practice, too.  When I brighten someone's day, it makes me feel good.  It makes my heart more joyful and, no matter how dark my day has been, it seems a little brighter, if I have brought some happiness to someone else.

That's who I am.

As a child of God, I do not understand a lot of what happens in this world.  But, I know that it is the way of the world under the influence of Satan.  That's just what it is.

But what I understand even less, are Christians who strive to tear each other down, cause trouble and bring heartache to other people.

I mean really, what do you have to gain by saying something just to stir up trouble, make an argument or hurt someone else?

When I was growing up, I tended to shy away from relationships with girls because this seems to be a trait more prevalent in women.  As a an adult woman, what surprised me was seeing there are people who call themselves Christians and yet behave in this same way as the lost.

My grandmother always said if you didn't have something nice to say then don't say anything.  To some degree there was truth in that.  But I don't whole heartily agree with that statement.

Because there are times when, as Christians, parents, mothers wives and friends, we must say things that aren't very nice to say.  We are, in fact, commanded to do so when we see someone walking in contrast to the word of God.  I am not talking about picking a fight over some preference or nit picky thing.  I mean when you know of someone who is doing something detrimental to their walk or testimony.  I am talking about when someone asks for advice and you have to give an answer they won't like because it is what the word of God says.

This happens to me quite often.  People talk to me.  That is a job the Lord has given to me.  People share their hearts and ask for advice and seek answers to questions.  Rarely does a day pass that someone doesn't email or text or call or pull me aside to confide in me or ask counsel on one topic or another.

Some days, I don't really like this responsibility.  I take everything to heart and feel the pain of those who speak with me.  I mull it over and pray about it as earnestly as if it were my own issue.  That's who I am.  That's how the Lord made me.  So, while some days it seems overwhelming, mostly I am grateful for this place the Lord has given me.

But unfortunately, that means I must often say things that aren't nice.  In fact, the Bible tells us we must do so, therefor it would be a sin to not speak up when the Lord has commanded.  But you know it is often the messenger who is killed.  Most of the time people are grateful that I will speak the truth to them and I am blessed when I do by seeing lives changed by Him.  However, the idea that I must be responsible for saying something that might bring someone pain, makes my heart ache.  The old parenting cliche, "This is going to hurt me more than you," really applies here.  I truly have become physically ill at the idea of speaking when I know the message will not be received well.  Yet, in obedience, I ask the Lord for strength and for Him to put the words in my mouth.

So, I am left to wonder, why do people say things just to be nasty?  Why do people say things just to pick a fight?  What kind of person gets pleasure from saying or doing something just to hurt another person?  And I am not talking about the world here.  Sadly, I see Christians who seem to delight in swinging out at people just as much as the world does.  I am speaking to my Christian sisters here.

Do you think before you speak?  Do you ever wonder if what you are saying is in any way edifying or exhorting someone or bringing glory to the Lord Jesus?  Or are you just speaking to your own means?  To prove you are right? Or, worse yet, to prove someone else is wrong?

Oh, I have seen this done in many ways.  Sometimes in outright spite.  Sometimes more subtly.  But the worst is the Christian that does it supposedly in the name of righteousness and then throws around a lot of scripture to try and justify their actions.

When my children do something they know will hurt someone or speaks in an unkind way or does something they know will start a fight I remind them that it is Satan who drives their motivation.  When we bring discouragement to another person simply for our own benefit Satan is doing his dance of joy.  And when that person is a Christian he is even more pleased.  What could be greater than two Christians being taken out of service, one by their desire to do wrong and the other because of the heartache it inflicts on them?  The Lord said it this way when Peter was more concerned about his will than the will of God,
But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind meSatan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.  Matthew 16:23
Who is it you want to serve with your words and actions?

As a lost girl, I couldn't understand this sort of behavior from other children and as a grown woman I understand it even less.  In my experience, this kind of action is often rooted in jealousy, anger, conviction or guilt.  All selfish, self-centered and self-serving attitudes.

Dear Christian, it is time to put aside your bitterness and turn your eyes to Jesus, the work He has put us here for and the needs in the world that have to be met.

Every day there husbands beating their wives.  Children being molested.  Men losing their jobs.  Families going hungry.  People hurting.  Lives falling apart.  If that doesn't convince you to put aside your own petty will and do something, how about this?

While you are sitting there thinking of ways to hurt others, people are dying and going to hell!

Get over it!  Get off it!  Get on with it!

There is something more important than you, your preferences and your little wants, likes and dislikes.  
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another."  Romans 14:19
Our family has always worked, as a unit and as individuals to live our lives in every way possible to exhort and edify others.  We strive to make our home a place of encouragement and refreshment for those who live here and those who enter here.  For those who may be confused over those terms, the Noah Webster 1828 dictionary defines them in the following way.
Edify:  To instruct and improve the mind in knowledge generally,and particularly in moral and religious knowledge, in faith and holiness.
Exhort:  1. To incite by words or advice; to animate or urge by arguments to a good deed or to any laudable conduct or course of action.  2. To advise; to warn; to caution.  3. To incite or stimulate to exertion.
We truly try, in every step, word and deed to do only what will bring glory and honor the the Lord Jesus Christ.  Our words and actions may not always be taken in such a way, but they are always intended as so.

And, that belief extends to this blog.  I have always worked to say things, even if they were things hard to hear, in the most loving way and with the readers greatest interest in mind and heart.  When I say things that may not be pleasing, I pray about it and I ask the Lord to give me His words.  And I make it a point NEVER in my life to say something that may upset someone unless it is prayerfully considered, and will improve the life and/or spiritual walk of the reader.

Sadly, I do not always receive the same courtesy.  Someone our family knows has waged war on our family for more than a year now.  This person calls herself a Christian and calls herself our friend.  We have, at her request, not made contact with her, although she continues to stalk us with hateful letters and emails.  It even has gone so far as receiving hateful correspondence from one of her children.  Quite frankly, we have been beside ourselves as to how we should deal with it.  We prayerfully considered it and felt the best way was to ignore it and she would eventually realize there was nothing to be had by it.  Letters were thrown away and emails were deleted.

Then last week she came to this blog and began leaving argumentative comments.  That same old sick feeling hit me.  We know this person is not well.  No person in their right mind would behave this way. Yet, it is a difficult thing to constantly be attacked, especially on your own turf.  Especially, when you are trying to do the will of the Lord.  Especially, when I give so much of myself to this blog, not for  me, but for the exhortation and edification of the 2 or 3 hundred people who stop here each day.

Especially, when this blog has become a place where people are giving themselves over to the Lord.  Lives are being changed.  Families are being strengthened.  Marriages are growing.  People are walking closer with the Lord.  That is something I have asked the Lord time and again to use my life for.  And this is the venue He has chosen to do it in.

I was hurt.  My family was again hurt.  And we were a little scared.  What will stop a person who goes to such lengths to hurt someone else?  And why Lord?  For some time the Lord has been leading me to a new ministry and I had, just days before, surrendered my heart to it.  Allen and I have also been praying over another ministry we feel called to.  Why then Lord would you allow us to be kicked down?

But then it came back to me more clearly than ever.
Get thee behind meSatan!
This is Satan trying to discourage us and distract us and keep us from focusing on what God has in store for us.  Have you ever noticed the people who are the most miserable must work to make others miserable?  That, too, is the work of Satan.

I quickly asked the Lord, what is it you want me to do?  How do I deal with this one more time?  The very next morning I woke up and sat down to do my Bible study.  My text came from Ohio with the memory verse for the day.  Romans 14:19.
Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
Okay, Lord.   I see your point.  I will continue to live my life speaking the words and carrying out the actions that edify and exhort the lost, the brethren and my Savoir.  

You might have noticed that I have turned on comment moderation.  I will not allow Satan to distract from God's work here by creating a battle ground.  I love to hear what you say, even when it may not agree with my opinion.  However, comments left with the intent of  being ugly or argumentative will instantly be deleted.  End of story.  This is a place to build up, not tear down.  This is a place to encourage not discourage.   This is a place for betterment no bitterness.  I hope you feel the same way.

But if you don't, we still have free choice and that includes the choice to not visit Art's Chili Pepper.

Prayerfully yours,

Kat

5 comments :

  1. I, for one, applaud your choice, lamentable as it may be for you. This is your forum, and you have every right to ensure that the content on it does not detract from the message that you strive to deliver. Plus, I cannot see why anyone who knows you would want to tear you down! :)

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    1. Thank you, dear friend, for your encouragement. You, as you have constantly been these more than twenty years (can you believe that number????) are such a blessing to us!

      Love,

      Kat

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  2. Wow... great post, Mrs. W.! We've been going through some similar stuff for close to 2 years now, but this was a great reminder that, regardless of other's actions, we should constantly be striving to be a light and an encouragement, not discouragement...

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    1. Sweet, Hannah.

      Each time I pray for our family on this matter, I will be in prayer for yours as well. The Lord will truly triumph if we continue to seek His will and live out His word.

      Hugs,

      Mrs. W

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  3. I'm sorry to hear you've had such a hard time with someone being so hurtful... I can't understand how anyone could do that to anyone else, especially to your family, you seem so sweet and loving. As you said, they need to GET OVER IT!

    On an unrelated note... how/when do you start training your children? I'm asking because, today I was reading to Bella and she wanted to eat the book (from the library) I said 'no' and held it out of her grasp, and she started to fuss a bit. Now, I don't know if she was fussing because of that or b/c she was tired (it was almost nap time). We want to be firm and train our children right from the start, but on the other hand I don't want to go overbaord and be super strict and harsh.

    Eg. the other week we were at the corner store and a mother comes in with her little boy, about 3. She says 'We are just returning the movie and leaving.' He runs over to the candy and starts to say he wants some. She says 'No, come here.' He doesn't obey. Mom stands at the door for a while waiting. Boy starts to whine. Mom walks over to him and says 'no you can't have candy. Let's go.' Boy picks up a candy and runs to the door, saying he wants it. Mom says no, he starts on a temper tantrum. Mom says she is not going to get out her wallet just to pay for a 5 cent candy. Kid continues to whine. She says 'Do you really want me to take out my wallet just to pay for that candy.' He says yes. Finally mom gives a big sigh, hands the cashier .5 as she says 'He just HAS to have that candy!' and the child walks out all happy he got his way.

    My thoughts: Mother should have gone over the the boy and taken him out of the store the moment he ran over to the candy. Even IF he had a temper tantrum. But my idea is that if he had been trained correctly in the first place, he wouldn't have bothered trying to have a 'temper tantrum'. What do you think? Sorry if you've already written a post about this, please just direct me to it. Thanks :o)

    Hugs, Tania

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