My heart has been heavy these past few days. These words that I all too often pride myself on being able to formulate have failed me and for the second time I write of my own inadequacy. I have prayed for love and wisdom and wisdom and love some more and offer this post with open hand and heart.
James tells us the tongue can set fires, can speak life or death. Our tongues have extended to keyboards where we stand behind anonymity and behind filtered profiles and social media is ringing with a five alarm from the fires spread.
Fingers pointing. Drawing lines in the sand. Revelry and reviling and setting ultimatums. A war of words and indignant my-opinion-is-better-than-yours.
Truth mocked. Truth misinterpreted or used in slanting ways to judge.
No party is innocent in this slaughter.
And it’s no wonder when our society is disillusioned from the truth, disingenuous from the real meanings of words.
Because really, I can say I love my husband and I can love cake and I can love reading, but they are not the same thing.
And I can be passionate about writing, have a passion for music, but do I really feel passion– willing to suffer and even die for these things?
Emotional words losing their poignancy. Depth sacrificed for effect.
People thinking they can scare people into knowing a loving Savior.
Drawing lines and saying, “Don’t cross because your sin is worse than mine and I can’t be with you because I am called to be separate.”
And worse of all we stand in hypocrisy and say our God reigns supreme but we act like that won’t happen until eternity starts and this world is damned and without hope.
But there is always hope.
God is not just a God of love, He is love. And He tells us to be like Him. He doesn’t say threaten or scare or judge.
I had a mouth when I was younger that spoke things deplorable, thinking it was the “cool” thing to do. Even still I have spoken lies, shouted in anger, been prideful, envious, contemptuous, greedy, the face of hypocrisy.
I have been bitter, self-righteous, uncaring, a gossip.
My soul has been muddied, rotten.
I have looked for happiness in things I thought would cure me, just like so many do now. But when the smoke clears and the feeling of justification wears off, it’s on to the next thing.
Do we push away with our criticisms?
Or do we offer something more, something –someOne- Living?
There’s an emptiness in this world, an ache for something more. Most would say this is the pursuit of Truth, which many thirst for and seek. Many Christians would say this is because we are not yet home, we are homesick for heaven, and that ache will never leave until we step into the other side of eternity.
My ache for God grows each day. The more I spend time in prayer and seeking truth, the more I ache for Him, to understand His ways. If I feel this, you feel this, how much more do those who do not have the same relationship with Him?
Many are aching for love, for acceptance. Many are aching for simple needs, for food, shelter. Some ache for families. Some have everything the world offers and still they can’t satiate the feeling.
The answer is staring us right in the face but we are too wrapped up in our own agendas to see it.
Serve, be humble. The act of serving and being the role model of Christ- that is the honey that attracts, not the vinegar of quickly spat words.
It’s not easy. Man has decided what is more “sinful” but anything that takes you away from Jesus is sin and reason enough to depart from it. More sins or one particular sin does not deem you hopeless; Christ died for all.
Actions speak volumes in the midst of yelling voices. Loudness does not equate to right; fury does not equate to passion. We have to show how Christ has changed us in order to show that He is worth living for, worth getting to know and understanding how much He does love us. We need to reach across the lines we have drawn and offer the Living Water of Truth instead of poison darts.
And if we are mocked for it, rejected? We can know we have done what Christ has asked- to love our neighbors as ourselves. And we can love them more. All those sins I listed, the ones I have committed? Not so lovable. Detestable. Inexcusable. But grace. But Jesus.
I cannot dare to set myself above another because of what I deem worse than me. We are all of the mud, all broken in some way. We are all precious in the sight of God and He covers me and the murderer and the thief and the sexually immoral and the terrorist with His Blood and offers it freely to those who ask. He has given the privilege to come to Him, the King, and dare to ask pardon because His Son took my weakness and brokenness and disobedience and washed it away.
How will my words offer this same grace to others? What will my message be to those who have become numb and deaf to the rantings around them, claiming truth? I can do nothing but follow God’s example with Elijah: not be in the fire or the thunder or the calamity, but a still small voice. I can do nothing but follow Jesus’ example of servanthood in leadership. Only then can I offer something different, something that will show and not tell, something new that this world needs.
It’s not a one-time thing. It’s a day in and day out thing, an even when I -don’t- feel- like- it thing because it is not about me. It’s about others and praying the Truth sets them free. It’s about praying they find the God Who is Love, the salvation in Jesus, the eternal assurance that I found even in the midst of my own sin- which still happens daily. It’s not about having all the answers but exemplifying the One Who does and trusting Him to take care of the rest.
No platforms. No status. Prayer. Jesus. Living out my life to glorify Him, in word and deed.
May we see it no other way than to live a life of praise to the One who saves.