As I shared some thoughts with a friend through a series of emails, this moment stuck out to me the most in our discussions about how to communicate and make a difference with those who we love and care about. The following rose up in my spirit and I’d like to share it with you here, as well as a few additional thoughts I’ve had for quite some time now …
NONE OF US must fall into the trap of taking our walk with the Lord for granted. EACH OF US WILL reap what we sow and WE ARE responsible for the witness we give before God and Man.
We are way too careless with our faith. How easy it is to put something you can see in front of a God that you cannot see. How easy it is to believe an argument that is visual, emotional, rational and logical when you have to compare it to what you’ve learned about God through words that are ancient, from an eastern culture and translated through many men. Talk about FAITH!
We would all go mad if we tried to reason all of this out and argue who is right and who is wrong. That’s where wars and divorces, rebellious children and un-forgiveness come from.
We must always look at our own hearts, and humbly receive God’s forgiveness, His Grace, His Mercy, His love… to make it in this life and to do right by the children He has given to us as part of His inheritance. Who do we think that we are, that we think we can do this alone? Talk about ARROGANCE! I myself am one of the greatest for falling into this trap.
We must never beat each other over the head with God’s Word that is meant to teach, instruct, loose and correct. That is for Him to tend over, not us. We have ulterior motives!
In all my years of attending church and listening to what is right and what is wrong, I’ve often been confused about what was said, and what the actions of people were that contradicted what they taught.
The Facebook feed on my wall gets super interesting at times and there isn’t a day that goes by, that I’m not ‘triggered’ in one form or another from those who post their thoughts and their beliefs on their personal walls.
Because of the work that I do, I work with many people who have a true repulsion against anyone who calls themselves a “Christian.” Why? Because of the fruits of their lives (their witness) that betrays the fact that it is more important for them to be ‘right’ and to pass judgment, than it is to be responsible and stand in the integrity of their word and their behavior. (Just because a person “knows” something, doesn’t mean that they believe it.)
Too many times, it’s more important for someone to be “right” than to correct their own motives.
My daily prayer is for God to give me wisdom to know how to speak to the people I meet and work with regularly – both Christian and Non-Christian. Whatever they believe, if we cannot even have a decent conversation, then there is no hope for growth and healing on either side.
It’s easy to find people within your own group, church, family, friends, or community who believe and talk the way that you do. Being among many who agree with you convinces you that you are ‘right’ and the other guy is wrong.
Yet when the dust settles, you will still reap what you sow, and you will be judged by your fruits. Are your fruits birthed from integrity and humility or judgment and denial? How are your words and actions relevant to the person you meet at work or on the street who does not understand your “Christian-speak” and who is listening through filters of distrust and disgust because of the people group that THEY are surrounded by?
Do you know how to speak to someone who speaks another language? Jesus spoke in parables that were relevant to the listener. He spoke of sheep to shepherds and fish to fishermen. He ate with tax gatherers and prostitutes. I doubt seriously that he spoke in “temple-speak” when he shared those intimate moments with those people, but rather spoke to them in terms that they could understand and in stories and examples that they could relate to.
The religious leaders were furious and were convinced that Jesus had ‘sold-out’ – so they had Him crucified. Treading with care as I post on my Facebook timeline is an understatement, and it’s not because of what “unbelievers” might say or respond with – it’s how my brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ often respond. I cringe, because my non-believing friends are reading their responses and nodding their heads, saying to themselves, “See how they are?”
That “See how they are?” is in response to the law-based responses we often default to, when we feel threatened or want to reinforce what we say (because we know that we are ‘right’.) I’m keenly aware of the perceptions and various beliefs that people are reading my posts, and am constantly amazed at how quickly my words and thoughts can be twisted to cause confusion. Frankly, I think too many people just love to fight. Not me… I truly want to communicate with clarity and kindness. The question is “how?” How do we open the doors of communication and rebuild trust? By communicating through humility and love.
Isn’t that how Jesus responded? When a crippled or blind man approached him, everyone knew that the man was crippled and could not walk, or that the man was blind and could not see. But Jesus knew that not everything is that obvious in regards to what someone needs or wants. So, He asked them, “what do you need?”
Ask, don’t tell. Pray for wisdom and learn how to ask clarifying questions. Never assume you know what someone is saying. Do you understand what I’m saying?
I hope so, because our children are watching us too …