Monday, March 3, 2008

Mercy & Love Not Condemnation Post 3 of 4

I am learning about the love and forgiveness God offers to me…. I am learning how to give this love in the form of forgiveness to others….and the next lesson that came to my heart was how I needed to give more love to others in the form of mercy. This is broken down into 2 situations. 1. Mercy in relationships where I feel I’ve been wronged and 2. Mercy when confronted with the sin of others

Mercy in relationships where I’ve been wronged:
I believe we are wired to want mercy, harmony in relationships and justice. But the world brings us something else…. I Corinthians 1:10 proves to me that this battle of conflict and arguments and tension in our relationships is a battle that has gone on since Bible times. God doesn’t want discord, He doesn't bless discord… God blesses unity. There is power and strength in unity isn’t there? And the devil knows it. He wants to tear us apart! We need to realize that in any argument we have, any confrontation, any conflict…. The goal is not to win, it’s to love. That is hard to say the least, for a competitor like me. It is WAY harder to love than it is to simply win!!! But God proved to us once and for all that love ultimately is what wins didn’t He?!! Jesus rose and is ALIVE and victorious!! no matter what seemed to be true on Good Friday evening and the days following…..

So HOW do we LOVE and not “win”. First I got this idea from a Purpose Driven email sent out --- we must get rid of our idea of “fairness”. Whatever seems fair in the world is almost always opposite of the Truth! God doesn't care what we say is "fair". God cares about (long term, big picture) justice. What is in God’s plan or will is never based on what is ‘fair’. When we are treated ‘unfairly’ in the world’s standards, God doesn’t tell us to just walk away from that relationship and to throw a pity party for ourselves. Sulking that we “deserve” to be treated better. No, He says, go and meet that person that has wronged you where they are (if they will let you in). You be the first to give mercy room no matter what your mind tells you.

God's nature is all good and loving. He wants us to allow Jesus to offer this same goodness and love through us to the world! God doesn't tear down, He builds up. He doesn't discourage but always encourages. I hope to someday be a person that has these same characteristics!

Like I’ve said quite a few times in my previous posts, I am so thankful for people like my husband that look for the Jesus in people and draw that out. He always allows fresh starts to others. He always assumes the best in people, he is very rarely offended because!! I can't think of one negative association he has, there is no drama, because he refuses to be offended. That is one of the reasons so many are drawn to him. He is great at absolute forgiveness. I, on the other hand, am hurt easily. I care and hurt deeply when I am wronged. Brandon, my husband does also.... but he knows how to feel that pain and confront it but then he knows where to take it. I have had to ask forgiveness many times in my past for times when I have pointed fingers or kept record of wrongs because of my emotions. But God has been doing something new in me --- I am learning to erase all past wrongs because of this new Spirit in me!! Ezek 36:26. I am learning that when I'm wronged -- I don't need to condemn a person - I need to tattle on them to Jesus and then ask Him to somehow fill me up with love for them!

Not having to worry about ME and my needs and taking care of ME so much anymore has been so awesome! I don't have to focus on who has hurt *me* and if *I*'ve been treated unfairly -- and if *I* feel wronged ...because Jesus takes care of me. When I am free of worry of myself -- I can focus my eyes on others and bringing Jesus to them!!

So again HOW do we do these things? By relying on Him! We need to realize that we can’t just “try harder” and we’ll love others more. That is impossible. We need Jesus to do it. It is not just us doing the loving…it’s Jesus in us!! Galations 2:20 If we rely on ourselves --- we either get puffed up with pride when we succeed --- or get drudged through self worth issues when we fail!! (straight from that purpose driven life daily email!) We have to realize that all we have to do is allow Jesus into us. He will give us the love and mercy that we can then extend to others.

Mercy when confronted with the sin of others:
What to do when we aren't necessarily wronged by somebody...but we just know that we know that we KNOW a Truth that somebody around us hasn’t learned yet. What do we do when somebody is making all the wrong decisions and we just don’t agree with the path these people are taking?

All I’ve learned about this situation is summed up by Jesus in John 4:4-42. I just soaked up this passage in more than one translation! I could FEEL Jesus Spirit through His mercy for this woman. It’s amazing to me how not one time with that Samaritan woman did He say, “you should not have…” ; “you don’t need to…” ; “that was wrong because…” He didn’t preach, not once! Jesus KNOWS ALL the TRUTH in the WORLD! He knows exactly what it is to be righteous!! He is the only one EVER that was able to achieve true righteousness --- but not once does he try to 'teach' her anything or how to change her lifestyle, etc.!

This was just mind blowing to me when I realized how if Jesus didn’t have to teach, offer a lot of words of preaching or lessons in His every day encounter with others – neither do I!!! DUH!!! Jesus wasn’t there to teach something…He was there to offer the solution!!! It isn't about the rules - it's about the solution!!! Jesus let this woman talk and she brought attention to her lifestyle that resulted from a void, her need. He factually stated those facts back her. He saw the need, never criticized it, but lead her to the resolution, the solution. This is mind-blowingly simple and beautiful to me!!

Oswald Chambers, said in My Utmost for His Highest, “God never allows us to see another person at fault so we may criticize them, but only that we might intercede”. We don’t ignore or deny a fault or sin; we just address the need *behind* the sin!!

I’ve fought this battle for a long time --- I thought that by not speaking against somebody's fault or how they were doing wrong – I was somehow lowering the standard, which wasn’t good. Even though I was trying to help others – trying to inspire others to rely on Jesus and to change their actions --- I was doing exactly the opposite! I was focusing on their acts and not Jesus!!! But what I came to realize was I was living by the very law Jesus eradicated!
I had this moral code set up by my religion, my background …. but when others didn’t live up to it, I would focus on helping them reach this higher standard – instead of being an example of God’s mercy and love. I was teaching others by my preaching to be self – righteous like me --- teaching them to focus on finding our righteousness by some standard in us --- not Jesus. But our righteousness comes from Jesus alone!! YES I DO have a high standard for my life for specific things I will or will not allow into my home, etc…. BUT that came into play AFTER I understood Him and after I began to know Him!! After the relationship was formed --- I did have new Biblical standards in my life.. to please Him. I do certain things or do NOT do certain things in my daily life….because I believe the Bible to be a lamp unto my feet and I want to obey it’s commands as a way to help guide me to get closer to Him and to lead a life that would be pleasing to Him.

**** but the difference now is that these ‘things’…these acts/standards/rules are NOT to bring ME righteousness anymore!!! I do them to offer up my life to Him! It’s the same rituals/rules --- but a different intention, a different heart!!! ****

So I am never to bring attention to the rules -- only the needs in others and how Jesus can fill them!! There is no such thing as a “better” Christian! In my eyes – there are Christians and non christians. There are people who have the Spirit in them and then there are people who have not yet asked Jesus into their life and hearts. We can never compare ourselves to others - we have all fallen short, we all sin daily and therefore since JESUS is the standard -- we can't ever be "better" than each other!!! Do I believe that I am more christlike as I continue my journey? Yes --- I’m a driver, a goal setter – so I have to know I am making progress. I have goals to get closer to God every year… to get further along on my journey. I do this because I know there is no constant – I am either getting away from Him or getting closer to Him so I choose to get closer to Him. I don’t use my drawing closer to Him as a tool to be “better” than others --- I just want to be with Him! I want to be one with Him - I want my life to be pleasing to Him! I am better than I once was -- but only because HE is the only “better” in me!!! I don't believe I'm righteous, I believe He is righteous and I allow Him in... and I am proud of Him.... I am proud of the righteousness He is and allows me to have!

I just wanted to add that I know that the reason I used to want to preach/teach so much to others was just because God was filling me up so so so so much and I wanted others to feel the excitement and passion I felt!!! But God helped me realize that no matter how good my intentions were – the TEACHINGS were not the most important thing I could give to people --- the MAJORITY of the time, I am NOT to preach or teach – I am to LISTEN and just encourage and give Jesus!!!! Give grace and forgiveness and help people realize they have hope (because of Him!)

What is awesome to me is that when I decided to give up my desire to constantly share share share what *I* was learning --- God gave me back that opportunity!!! He has sent people into my path recently that have been ASKING (not me pushing, but them asking) for me to teach them some Truths I have learned and it has been so humbling!! One of those people, a friend I will call Kara… has been writing to me about her marriage… and so my next post I will write one of the things I was able to share with her that God taught me!


carebear said...

I have a lot of reading to catch up on here! I thought this would be an easy way for me to give you my blog too. Only two posts now...but I'll work on things more when everything else settles down...hopefully soon. I'm glad I found ya! It seems you can now encourage and enlighten me through your posts as well as your emails. :)
Downey is nudging me...she says HI to Lennox!

Rebekah said...

This is so good! You have inspired me to remember that the most important thing that I can give someone is Jesus by being like Jesus. Thank you!

Toia said...

This is great. I never thought about when in a confrontation with someone, it's not about trying to be the big winner, having the last word. It's about the love factor. Because let me tell you, I would be the one to make sure I get the last word. But I am working on it.

Most importantly, it's about telling someone about how Jesus loves us in spite of everything we have done. Thanks for the enlightment!!