WHY Do Christians Act This Way?

Listen to these words from Paul to the church in Corinth, and his plea to God to remove the “thorn” in his flesh:

“Each time {God} said, “My Grace is all you need. My Power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me….. For I am afraid that when I come I won’t like what I find, and you won’t like my response. I am afraid that I will find quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorderly behavior. Yes, I am afraid that when I come again, God will humble me in your presence. And I will be grieved because many of you have not given up your old sins. You have not repented of your impurity, sexual immorality, and eagerness for lustful pleasure.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9‭, ‬20‭-‬21 NLT

In verse 9, Paul is admitting to his weakness. We don’t know if it was a physical condition or perhaps it was pride, or arrogance? Whatever it was, God uses Paul’s weakness in his ministry. I love that sentence, “My Grace is all you need.” God’s Grace is all I need. Many times in his letters, Paul pleaded with the people to pray for. In many ways today, we do the same thing in prayer requests…. only too many times the prayer chain is used a gossip line. “We need to pray for Brother Tom. He’s struggling in his marriage. He just doesn’t see how good he has it with that wife and business of his. Did you see his new assistant? Why, I would never cheat on my marriage! Mercy, his wife must be a wretch behind closed doors! I just wish I had his good fortune!”

I’ve heard similar stories passed on as “prayer requests” many times. We use the opportunity of a prayer request to grill that person for details. There’s nothing wrong with asking for what specifically they want prayer for, but we really don’t need the details. In my study groups, I have interrupted someone digging for dirt by saying “We don’t need the details because God knows them already, so let’s pray.” and then leading the group in prayer. We all make mistakes in our lives. Even the greatest Christians to ever live were human, are human, and sin. It could be a little lie, and it could be have sex with someone other that your spouse. It could be gossip, or it could even be murder. God doesn’t differentiate between these sins. Sin is sin, period. “…..quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorderly behavior…… impurity, sexual immorality, and eagerness for lustful pleasure.” We are ALL quilty of these things, so be careful of your judgemental attitude!

Yes, I am one of “those people,” and I can only give my LORD the credit for saving me from that lifestyle of self-indulgence and lustfulness. I am not now, nor will I ever be perfect. I am broken, but Jesus has put me back together. I love this quote “I’m not perfect, just forgiven.” This doesn’t give me Carte Blanche to think and act however I please today. It actually reminds me of my past and how incredibly loving my God is to love me and forgive me, in spite of myself. It also reminds me of this saying “To whom much is given, much is expected.” God gives us forgiveness along with our salvation. That is HUGE. As Christians, we have been given Eternal Life with our LORD. Shouldn’t we be sharing that, instead of sharing all the dirt? We need to growing together……

Love Your Enemy

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4‭-‬7 NLT

God didn’t tell us we could pick who to love. No, He sent His Son to us, Who taught us these lessons:

“Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your GOD with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” – Matthew 22:37‭-‬39 NLT

Short and to the point. Jesus is referring to a passage in Leviticus 19, verses 9-18 when He says to love your neighbor as yourself. Read it – it may help with your understanding the point. I’ve read Bible scholars who say that Jesus is referring to fellow believers when He says ‘neighbors’; I think they should read the story of the Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37. This terribly injured Jew was left for dead by robbers, and a priest and then a temple assistant passed him and left him to suffer rather than sully their hands. A Samaritan, a people despised by the Jews and who in turn hated the Jews, picked up this man, his enemy, and cared for him and provided for him. Who was the real neighbor? Certainly not the man’s fellow Jews! The Samaritan showed love to his enemy. Shouldn’t those of us who have experienced the Love of the Savior lead by example in loving our enemies; our neighbors? Both Luke and Matthew record several instances of Jesus talking about loving our enemies.

“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for He is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.” – Luke 6:35 NLT

Even as Jesus showed His love as He was dying, by asking God His Father to forgive those who tortured and crucified Him, so we need to forgive those who hurt us. Yes, I am all too human and know EXACTLY how difficult it is, especially when the hurt is new, or the person is completely unrepentant. In fact, I’m currently dealing with it, even as I write these words. Knowing that the LORD has forgiven me for much, I know that He expects me to forgive others the same…. and more. There are many, many scriptures that talk about forgiveness. Not forgiving, and fostering anger and hurt in my heart, doesn’t do anything to my enemy, it only harms me. The greatest thing we can do, after prayer for our enemy, is to love them. Most times it has to be done at a distance, especially if that enemy caused us physical harm, and we shouldn’t forget, lest we get into another bad situation. Forgiveness is only through Jesus Christ and His Love.

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have Loved you, you should love each other. ….”If you love Me, obey My commandments.” – John 13:34; 14:15 NLT

You’re A Fool… Or No, It’s Me.

Will the prayer I am praying change anyone else’s life besides mine? Be careful with your words!! Am I praying for revenge on someone for hurting me, or am I thanking God for my blessings? Do I ask the LORD to bless those who have caused problems for me, or am I cursing them while asking God to bless me?

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.” – Proverbs 15:1-2,4

Will Rogers said it pretty well, I thought: “It is better for some one to think you’re a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” My Mom always said “If you can’t say something good about someone, don’t say anything.” Lately, I find myself struggling to keep my mouth shut, and harsh words regarding the most recent hurt slip out instead. Thank God I am a work in progress!

I especially like this sentence: “The soothing tongue is a tree of life…” Think about that! A tree of life. We can do more damage with our tongue than with a knife, because wounds of the spirit are difficult to heal – I know, because I lashed out for years, hurting others because of the pain I felt. I will forever have to guard my tongue in this life. There is only ONE Healer for your wounded, broken spirit, and that is Jesus Christ, the Great Physician. Through Him, and Him alone, are my wounds healed. He can bring healing to you as well, and through your healing, you can reach out to to those you have hurt. In the 12 Step programs, it’s called making amends.

  • Step Eight: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  • Step Nine: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

In our lives, we will have to work these steps over and over. I have opportunities to ask for forgiveness. Most are graciously accepted, but there will always be those that are not accepted. I also have opportunities to forgive – and when I forgive, or struggle with forgiveness, I gain understanding of the consequences of hurt I inflict on others. In some instances, we will need much more than an apology. We need to make a physical or monetary amends in some cases. Sometimes it is impossible to forgive, and that is when I give it to the Great Physician so that He can work His healing power. Revenge for things people say and do is for GOD to deal out, not for us to do.

So be careful of your words. Even in jest, we can (and do!) hurt others.