Insulting

practicalpages.wordpress.com

I was thinking about an incident that happened in my life many, many years ago that tested my integrity and character. I had a friend whom I considered one of my closest friends. She began to entertain the idea of an affair with the husband of another friend of ours. They were clearly flirting and he was definitely hanging around way too much. I was honest and told her what I thought about the whole thing and my disapproval was made clear, fun killer that I am! She thanked me for my opinion but I didn’t change her mind. You can’t really be surprised at all that my friends tend to be strong willed right?

Early one morning she called me and said that she had told her husband she was with me the night before, when she hadn’t been, and if he were to ask me I was to confirm her story. She then proceeded to tell me what we had done the night before and why so our stories would match. I told her that I would not lie for her. She became angry with me and said she thought she could count on me as her friend. She tried the guilt card, “I thought we were friends?” “I’ve loved you like a sister, and if you were doing this, I would lie for you.” Oops, I realized she didn’t know me.

Actually, the truth of the matter was that she insulted me by thinking I was that kind of woman. You know the kind that would lie to a husband, who was also my friend? Yes, not happening. She thought she could make me complicit with her sin. Neither of which was true, thank God.

A friend doesn’t ask you to comply with her sin. If she’s woman enough to take on her sin, let her be woman enough to face the consequence. I’ve heard people tell me that they lied for their friend because they didn’t want to get involved or didn’t want their friend to be mad at them. This argument doesn’t hold water because the moment we lie, we become involved in the very thing we said we didn’t want to get caught up in.

Any time you are asked to lie for someone, don’t be flattered by what is perceived as bringing you into the inner circle. No! Be aware that they think you don’t have character, or at the very least that you and they are of the same character. They have insulted you on the highest level.

Her husband never asked me a thing and our friendship ended shortly after this incident. She ended up divorced and the man she cheated on reconciled with his wife. And that my friends, sadly enough, is also a typical story for another day.

I’m no different than you are. This was a test. I thank God that I passed the test but I know I’ve failed others along the way, that you thought were no brainers. Some things are merely traps for our soul. Be aware, be wise, be loyal to the right things in life and ask yourself how you’d like to be treated.

Checking Relationships

The value of friendship

How are your relationships? Not every relationship is God ordered. As much as we like to think it is. A daily dose of the wrong thing and pretty soon you’re just as unhealthy. I used ask our youth group this question:

If I am in a white dress and I kneel in the dirt, do I make the dirt white or the dress dirty?

Love everyone, be positive, be kind, but more importantly know your limits. Jesus met many people, healed many people, loved everyone but you see him make a distinction between those he drew near to follow him and those that were acquaintances.

In Luke 6:12 it says Jesus prayed all night about choosing the twelve disciples. Now, he chose 12 to come in close. Remember he still taught the rest of the people but with the guidance of his Father he chose 12 to pull in close. When was the last time you prayed all night about who your CLOSEST friends should be? My grandfather used to tell me,

“Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.”

Your surroundings influence you. And that is the cost. You can chose those who will help you to be a better person or those who will be a drag. The cost of unhealthy relationships are wrong influences, wrong directions, unhealthy connections, misdirected purpose, unfulfilled dreams, changed destiny, poor mindset. Check your relationships. Are they healthy? Are they on purpose? Are they moving you forward?

Teachable

bethkingphd.com

Are you teachable? The key to building anything is to first build a solid foundation. Are you solidly committed to the word of God? Do you believe it all or do you take issues with some of it? Do you fight against the word? Have you received Jesus into your heart and do you let him work in your life?

Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Part of our mandate is to be disciples and then to go and make disciples. What does that mean exactly? A disciple is a student. So what this verse is saying is that you are to be a student of Jesus and you going around teaching everyone what you know about the gospel of the Kingdom and making sure everyone is baptized including yourself.

What trips us up here is that we spend our time religiously arguing the points we don’t agree with. So to avoid the real issues of building solid foundation and to look smart and to feed our ego and puff out our chest we decide to argue or stop learning.

So when you say, “I’ve read the bible 5 times, I already know it”, yes you do know it, but remember that the bible is LIVING word. Now, ask yourself a really important question today ~ When I look in the mirror do I look like I did 10 years ago? If the answer is no, then why do you think the bible will look the same year after year just because you’ve read it?

Keep a teachable spirit. Read, grow, learn, there are things we still don’t know. My husband and I read a passage of scripture just the other night after Friday night biblestudy that we’d read a million times before and yet, it popped out to us as significant for the first time. It sparked discussion and it sparked interest and study.

What’s the cost of not having a teachable spirit? Getting stuck in your life, falling for a lie, never reaching your full potential, and the worst is getting a critical spirit. In the book, The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, Wormwood, who is a Satan’s officer, tells the demons that if they can just keep the believer critical he won’t learn anything. Let him look around and critique the church, keep him critical and he’ll never grow and mature. He’ll spend his time always debating and despising and he will never really capture the gospel. What’s worse is he’ll duplicate his critical spirit. I want to be molded, even when I have squash every single ideal I think I may have right for the truth.

Words Can Hurt You

Are there promises that you need to renounce? Are there negative words that you’ve spoken and made agreements with? We call these in church speech or churchese as I call it, Inner Vows.

For example saying, “I’m fine”, when you aren’t, isn’t always positive confession. Sometimes it’s just pride. A refusal to admit to others that you’ve got some fractured parts of your life that need help doesn’t help you. In fact, it often creates barriers.

How about the “I will never……”, vows? I can’t even begin to tell you how many times my nevers turned into reality. I used to say I’d never speak in public and here I am. In fact, gasp, gulp, I have been known to sing in public. So God took me from never speaking in public to speaking and singing. Then when I said okay, I’ll speak at the church I’m a member of, but not anywhere else……. Well you all know what happened.

Okay those are some vows, but about the more serious ones? I will never love anyone too much because I saw how much my mom loved my dad and in the end he left. So instead of guarding your heart and sharing it, you pull it so far back the guy never stands a chance.

Maybe your mother wound is so deep or your ex-wife hurt you so much that you tell yourself if there is even a hint of any of the behavior you recognize you’re out of there. And so you eventually see it, or manifest it by unchanged patterns in your life, and run for the hills when the reality is you’re making the new person pay for the sins of the past.

The cost of these inner vows are fear, anxiety, isolation, rejection, bitterness, resentment, mistrust of others, distance that can’t be brought back together. Count the cost. Sometimes the price is way too expensive for your lifestyle.

How do you know if the inner vow you’ve made is right or wrong? Ask yourself, does it add to my life? By adding I mean does it add love, does it add friends, does it add benefit, or does it just cost me?

Whosoever WILL

Let’s get one thing straight. I’m a firm believer of when you know better, you do better. Some lessons are harder than others to learn and the one I learned recently was a false perception that I thought that I was capable of mentoring anyone. After banging my head against the wall a few times however, I realized that there is an important clause in this faith I follow and that’s the whosoever will clause.

Not everyone cares or wants to change. While change be inevitable it’s no less hard and some are not willing nor ready. So this year, I determined to stop beating my head against the wall. Oh sure I would pray, I wouldn’t hold offense, but I wouldn’t stop my forward motion or the progress of others to beat a dead horse. It has worked miracles in my life.

There is no scriptural  reference to nagging and pleading. The whosoever will clause takes care of that. I’ve learned that when I speak to you about the things I have gone through, or even better, the things I have learned along the way, or even better still what the bible has to say about a situation, there is zero return for me. I walk in the door of my house and there is still carpet to vacuum, floors to sweep and mop, dinners to be made. There are still personal devotion times to be had, books to be read, health issues to contend to, and my own growth and learning process. I get nothing out of mentoring another other than sheer joy that the person has moved on past the problem, learned a solution, and has stepped up their level.

When my own mentor, sets me straight, or tries to teach me a principle, or comes and sits and prays with me, she gives up her time for me. She doesn’t get anything from it. I submit and retain the advice or I don’t, it will be entirely up to me. Her workload doesn’t change, in fact, it increases because I become one in her scope of leadership. I add work to her life. It’s one she takes on freely without regret or rancor because she loves to see the progress and she is saddened when I get stuck, but, and here’s the key to mentoring, she refuses to come and sit in the stuck with me. She’ll come and extend her hand but if I am continually trying to drag her down, she walks away. She doesn’t have endless hours for me either. Minutes each week and sometimes not even that. When I used to tell her I have no one to talk to and I needed advice, she would say, “You are never alone, sometimes you need to just get on your face and tell your heavenly Father. Sometimes he’s the only one with the answers.” Great advice that has saved me on so many occasions I can’t even begin to count.

So who is mentoring you? Are they frustrated or thrilled with your progress? Are you listening? Or did you listen with one ear already having chosen what you would do? Who are you mentoring? Are there places where you get stuck? It’s really wisdom to assess your effectiveness in both areas of your life. Take a little time to do that today.