Saturday, September 29, 2012

Love Without Condemnation

In the middle of my day the Lord speaks to me loud and clear. Have you heard His voice lately? Are you tuned in to His station? Oh friends, there are days I am totally tuned in and loving what I hear and others? Well, I change the station, cause I'm not so much liking what I hear. I know. Ouch! Right? Have you been there? It's hard isn't it? There are times I hear the Lord speaking such sweet words of promise to me. He brings comfort and healing. But there are times when I am doing wrong. When I am away from Him. It's then, I hear Him say, "Come back. Return to Me, daughter. I am only teaching you, so your life will hold treasure."

Do you know how many times I slammed by bedroom door as my parents tried to teach me for my own good? I would slam that door in anger, not wanting to hear, but knowing they were right. Knowing they did love me. They weren't just out to get me and make my life miserable. Although, it took me a while to figure that one out.

There were times I ignored them. I can share with you that today as I look back, every single time I ignored them, I fell on my face. I ended up making a mistake. Some would say, "Well, you learn on your own and we need to make mistakes". Yikes, to a point that is true, but oh, how sweet life would have been in my younger days if I'd have only listened and treasured my parents words of wisdom.

So, what is it exactly the Lord is sharing with me? My attitude. My words. My judgement. I am heeding His Word today as it speaks such truth to my heart.

I have to stop being so critical of others. Really, we as a people, condemn others for what Bible translation they choose to read, how they live, who they talk to, what church they attend, what beliefs they have, all the way to if they drink, if they work "outside the home" or if they stay home with their children. We seem to point our finger at everything everyone else is doing. Isn't it time we  just focused on our self and our relationship with the Lord? It's not for us to "Fix" others or make them live as we do. It's not for us to correct every issue, but simply LIVE for Christ. In doing that one thing, our life will change. It's through Christ we are to see the world and others. It's love this world needs not condemnation.

We are to reach a world in need. We aren't going to do that by condemning everyone who walks in our path. We can do this by simply loving. It doesn't mean we have to agree. It doesn't mean we have to like the actions of others. It simply means to treat others with love and respect.

I can tell you by being a momma to three and a step momma to two, it did me more good to point out and praise what my children were doing right than to point out every misstep and action that was wrong. Sure, as a parent I am to teach my children the difference of right and wrong and yes, when our children are wrong we are to teach them, but doing so in love.

Living in this world is different than raising our children. This world is not my home. It doesn't belong to me. The Lord places people in our path so that we can love them, share with them and show them our Savior. But, He too places people in our path to teach us along the way. I have learned so much from others and I can tell you that my first question to people I meet is not, "Are you a Christian"?  I can share Christ with this world by loving them, by showing Christ in my life.

We can live our enter life with the perspective we are not to allow anyone in who isn't a Christian. For me, that is not how I want to live. Yes, we are to set ourselves apart, but we are to live in this world and friends, it isn't so much what happens while we are sitting in our favorite church pew that matters. It's what happens when we leave the building and enter our work place, our home, our friend's home, the zoo, the local restaurant. The list goes on and on. There is never a place where we are that someone isn't watching. It's our actions that matter. It's the words we use. It's the love we truly share with others.

We are a work in progress. We are imperfect and too many times we try to give the image of perfection and yes, we too have the attitude that we are better. It's easy to fall in that trap. But life is pretty easy when we just surround ourselves with our circle of comfort. We are to live with arms wide open. We are to love those who are unlovable. At times I'm pretty unlovable myself.

But the sweet thing is, my Savior saved me. With His arms wide open, He took me in and wrapped me in His grace and washed me in His mercy.

We forget that we are to live each day with His love flowing through us. We are to see this world through His vision. He sees past our sins. He sees past tomorrow. Why do we have such a hard time? We point out what others are doing wrong, but some how find excuse for our own actions.

Instead of condemn why not live in grace? Instead of pointing fingers why not check myself? I am not to measure myself against others. I am to measure myself to the Word of God. Nothing more, nothing less. Just who do I think I am? I mean, really, what in the world are we thinking? The fact is, we aren't. In judging we not only lose respect, but we limit God.

We need to stop changing the channel and surfing to see what else looks good and get back to the Word of God. We need to focus on Him and allow Him to move in our life. He doesn't need me to change the world. He can do that all on His own. He just needs me to be the girl of Christ He created me to be.

It's no wonder people stop attending church. May we welcome the person and allow God the room to do the creating.

"Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God." 1 John 3:18-19

"God showed how much He loved us by sending His One and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love-not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us." 1 John 4:9-12


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