Friday, April 4, 2014

BUSTED

"Surely you know that all the food that enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then goes out of the body.  But what people say with their mouths comes from the way they think; these are the things that make people unclean. Out of the mind come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual sins, stealing, lying, and speaking evil of others.  These things make people unclean; eating with unwashed hands does not make them unclean.”
~ Matthew 15:17-20, NCV ~ 

That awkward moment when someone calls you on the carpet claiming that your behavior "wasn't very Christian"...  Remember one of those moments?  Did you find your pride even more bruised  because the person admonishing you wasn't a Christian?

I recently had a friend who is a self-professed agnostic strongly admonish two of us Christians for saying something very UN-Christian.

Now, the knee-jerk reaction for most of us is to become defensive and self-justifying when confronted at times like this.  But God expects more out of His royal heirs.

As adopted sons and daughters in Christ, we are to be bearing a family resemblance.  Jesus paid for our adoption with his own blood.  Because of that adoption, we are entitled to all of the benefits He receives in heaven.  Imagine that!  The least we can do in grateful response is to want to please the Father by being conformed more and more into the likeness of His Son.

This means cleaning up our hearts.  Rather than putting on the false image of perfection on the outside, we should be willing to take a long, hard, painful, truthful look at the inside.  We don't have to do this on our own.  He left us The Comforter to help our bruised egos through this process.  And He promises in 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (NIV)

Looking at our own imperfections ought to result in us extending mercy to others as well.  Since we have been forgiven, how can we not forgive?

The next time someone says or does something thoughtless in regard to your child with special needs, stop a minute to think, Have I ever thought that?  Did I have those false assumptions about those with special needs before I became a parent of a challenged child?  Did I ever say or do anything that could now be perceived as hurtful or inappropriate?  EVER?


Dealing with the poison in our own hearts leads us to higher ground.


I don't know about you, but I want to reflect God's glory, not shame His name to the world around me.  When people see me, I want them to be attracted to Christ, not be repelled by hypocrisy.  I want them to see the difference that Jesus makes in this tough walk of life.


Back to the friend at the beginning of the story...  First, I consumed a healthy serving of humble pie.  I then let him know that he was right, and I apologized for the base level of the dialog.  He never expressed any feelings in response, but that didn't matter.  I knew that my words to him got me looking a lot more like the family to which I gladly belong.


PRAY:  Lord, how many times do I squawk that "Words matter," then spew toxicity out of my own heart?  Forgive me!  And help me to look more and more like one of Your children rather than the lowest common denominator around me.

~Barb Dittrich

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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