I remember when I was a little girl and I would see someone put on an act. Everyone has seen someone put on an act at some point in life, and I believe that everyone has taken their attempt at trying to be a bit deceptive to the human eye as well. We leave ourselves very vulnerable if we allow our true selves to be seen. Plus some of our wrong decisions and our faults are embarrassing. Yet we are all sinners– we all fall short.
A big issue that has really impacted the feelings nonbelievers have for Christians has resulted from people trying to put on an act. There are some people who accept Christ into their lives and they begin to change, but all the changes are not positive. They take a step forward, believing that they are better than those who have not yet received Christ. For some reason the people fail to remember that they are still sinners saved by grace. At the same time, they have forgotten that the invitation remains there for nonbelievers and that they are to show the love of Christ to EVERYONE as they try to work for God’s purpose.
Recently I was questioned as to whether or not I would keep an old friend in my life who believed I was “religious.” The question arose because the person felt I would be judgmental of sin. The person deemed me “religious” simply because I shared Scripture and Christian music. To me, I feel not only that it is my duty to share God with everyone, but I also hope that in some way it will benefit someone who hears it. I have been shown many times how God works in amazing ways to touch the lives of others, even with something as crazy as Facebook. He can use anything for His glory.
So here I was with a message from an old friend who was putting me in a position to either condemn the person with my own personal judgment or show love. The reason that I was sent the message was simply because too many Christians are out there pointing fingers rather than reaching out. Too many Christians are showing hate, rather than showing love. The issue is that when we show love for a person, we are not choosing to love the sins of the person. There is a big difference. That is what bothers me so much about so many situations. I am disturbed when I see people lashing out at others for their sins. We understand that we are saved from our sins, but we need to also accept that if we look in the mirror, we are all still sinners saved by the grace of God. We are only cleansed because of Christ’s work on the cross, not by anything that we have done. In the end, we are all still sinners.
Therefore before we decide to put on our act of being better than others, we need to recognize that no one is better. We are all in the same boat. It’s just that some of us are wearing our life preservers already and some have not taken the time to put one on. The preserver is still there. Perhaps we all can grab a few and start handing them out. The Holy Spirit will guide us to do that, but we must change our attitude to one of gratitude and complete devotion to Christ. We need to start showing God’s love to all and let Him do the rest.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” – Romans 3:23-24 [NIV]
I have been so busy with this semester’s coursework that my writing has been very scarce lately. More recently I have be plagued with a cold which has taken its wrath upon my ear. I went to the doctor only to find out that I had a very bad ear infection, and I was given antibiotics to aid in the healing process. As I opened the bottle and peered at the pills inside, I started to remember a time I’d like to forget.
Some people take pills daily for whatever health reasons or simply to fulfill a vitamin regimen. Most people have no problems taking pills; however, I am not most people. I can remember a day when ibuprofen and I didn’t get along. It wasn’t so much the medicine that left a mark, but how the medicine was administered.
When my children were younger and unable to take a particular kind of medicine, I always went to the store to get the appropriate medicine in a form they could take best. Perhaps I took that extra time because of this image still stuck in my head, or possibly it was because I wanted to show some grace.
God is so very gracious with us. We are all sinners. Romans 3:23-24 states: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (NIV). The love He has for us is incredible, with no words great enough to describe how amazing. His grace is something we all receive, and we are all to share it with others.
There are many people who look at God as an angry God in the Old Testament. People will page through the books and read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah and not see His love. But if we look solely at the story and don’t grasp the full picture, we miss God’s grace and we miss seeing the love that has been there since the very beginning. 1 John 4 tells us that “God is love.” When reading the Bible front to back cover, it can be seen that God is love. God is faithful. God is just. And God is so very gracious with all of us.
I know some people who believe God will just toss a lightning bolt down to remedy a situation without seeking another solution. What these people do not understand is that from the very beginning, God has been moving and working in our lives for us. He is not against us and not looking for any of us to fall, to hurt, or to not be with Him. And He is not so forceful, administering what He wants without grace. At times He is so gentle, that He is like the wind gently blowing by. If you read about Elijah’s encounter with the prophets of Baal, you will note that God’s glory was shown. It was a great victory. When Elijah was on Mount Carmel he believed that God would be faithful and God answered with fire. Yet after that event, Elijah ran away and hid. He got fearful and let his fear get the best of him. In 1 Kings 19, God did not go after Elijah and pour His wrath upon him for not continuing his mission. He was “a sound of gentle blowing.”
God comes to us again and again with His loving arms wide open. He meets us wherever we are and asks us if we are ready to come back to Him. He is not forceful. He gives us an invitation, not an order. We have the free will to make the decision. As John 3:16 states, “whoever believes in Him will not perish.” It doesn’t say all will believe. He put out the invitation and He simply wants us to respond. He would love if we all checked yes, but He will never force us in the matter.
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” – Isaiah 49:15-16 [NIV]
My Biggest Fan
When my son was playing baseball for the local little league team, I was really upset seeing this one boy who never had his parents sitting in the bleachers to cheer him on. Strangely enough, he wasn’t an orphaned child; his parents always dropped him off and left the park to have their “me time.” I understand we all need to have time alone; however, it’s important to always be supportive of our children in their many endeavors.
As a little girl, I remember bringing my report card home with what I would consider good grades. I also recall the look that appeared when that A- was spotted and then the “is this the best you could do” question followed. It really hurt. I felt like I wasn’t good enough. Sadly I know I was not the only person to experience this type of situation, which certainly does not give one’s self esteem a boost.
Even so there is this Fan that we have out there rooting us on. We have someone who is always sitting on the bleachers, always waving the poster board cheering for us. Sometimes we don’t hear the cheers because so many around us ignore our special gifts. At times we understand that the Fan is there, but we don’t feel like we are deserving of the attention and the love.
Our biggest fan is God. He is our amazing Creator and He takes pride in His creation. He formed each one of us and He knows us better than anyone can ever know us. He treats each of us like His only child. Every time we step up to bat and we swing, He cheers. It doesn’t matter if we hit the ball, simply that we swing. He takes pride seeing us grow and be happy. He never takes His eyes off of us and we are never out of His reach. He never leaves to have “me time.” God loves you and He is your biggest fan always.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” – Jeremiah 31:3b [NIV]