What your response to the “Pulse” terror attack says about you.

pulse

Have you ever noticed how differently individual Christians respond to a tragedy? All are deeply saddened, but some seek to encourage, while others seek to problem solve. This is nothing new, and is actually quite healthy and beneficial. However, there is a trend of sorts, for some to attack others that respond differently. Pridefully they proclaim that there is only one right way for Christians to react to horrific devastation.

I find this especially discouraging because one of my passions is getting Christians to see and appreciate fellow believers for their assorted strengths given by God. We must recognize that while we are all different, we are all made in God’s image. He uses each of us in a variety of ways according to the gifts He has given us.

I remember once hearing that people react to situations based on their spiritual gifts. If this is true, then you can see it illustrated quite clearly in Orlando this week.

Here’s how:

Those with the gift of mercy responded by caring for the wounded, both physically and/or emotionally. Those with the gift of giving stood in line to donate blood or opened their restaurant to give free food to blood donors. Those with the gift of exhortation used their words to encourage the hurting families and scared citizens of a country that is changing by the day. Those with the gift of administration looked at all the details and recorded all of the information, assessing from every angle, and delegated jobs accordingly. Those with the gift of teaching discussed the root of the problem, and listed ways to keep this from happening again. A person’s spiritual gift enables them to see needs that others may not even notice.

This is the way it is actually supposed to be. However what hinders this symbiosis, is when a person with the gift of mercy looks on at a teacher and declares “Stop telling others how to fix this. We simply need to care for the wounded!”

Likewise, we get nowhere when the administrator looks on at the one encouraging and complains, “Your words of encouragement are useless if we don’t take proper steps of action!”

At face value, each may seem to have a point. But that point is only valid when we as Christians don’t work together. God has given individual believers many different gifts so that when we work together in love, we will fully live out His calling and in so doing, we will beautifully and completely display the love of Christ with excellence to a watching world.

All the gifts are needed in the body of Christ. All the gifts are equally valid. In 1 Corinthians 12:12–26, the Apostle Paul tells us that no one should despise his gift by comparing it to the gifts of another. And no one should look down on someone else’s gift as being less than his gift.When someone is mourning, they need someone to hold their hand and cry with them, but they also need someone to cook their dinner and clean their house. Both important. Both different. Both loving.

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What’s hate got to do with it?

Love and Hate

You would be hard pressed to find someone on this earth that loves me more than my mother. My husband and kids could likely compete, but as a mother myself, I would find it impossible to believe that anyone now or in the future could ever love my children as deeply and profoundly as I love them.

Keep that disclaimer in mind as I share this shocking story.

I was 3 months pregnant living in a 24 hour state of “morning” sickness. I had a 3 year old and 1 year old to take care of. My husband had moved to our new home in South Carolina while me and the kids stayed behind to sell the house. Since the idea of keeping a home “show ready” overwhelmed me, my parents graciously offered to let me and the kids live with them. Within 3 weeks we had a contract on our home. Yet, the comfort of my mother’s home-cooked meals kept me living in their house a bit longer.

Until one day.

Sitting at the breakfast table, I struggled to find the energy to start my chores. The girls were off playing quietly, so I complained to my mother. “I know I have laundry to do, but I just don’t feel good.”

And her response literally sent me packing.

She actually said the following words.

“Yeah, well, you always seem to have an excuse.”

(insert record scratch here)

I moved out the next day.

But ya know what?

She was right. I did always have an excuse. Being the typical baby of the family, I tend to procrastinate and struggle with choosing responsibility over fun. My whole life I have struggled, and the truth is I struggle still. But just because I was born this way,  doesn’t mean I should stay this way. Yet who was going to tell me to change? Certainly not my friends.

“You’re fine.” They assured me.

“How could anyone expect anything of you? You’re a pregnant mom of  two small children!” They comforted me.

The truth is that people regularly make excuses for me. Since I now have five children, no one expects anything from me.

If I am late, blame the children.

If I am unreliable, blame the children.

If I am inconsistent, blame the children.

But I don’t want to be known as a late, unreliable, inconsistent person!

You are not doing me any favors if you tell me I don’t have to change. True comfort comes from knowing that through the power of the Holy Spirit, I don’t have to stay the same! While we know that the Lord deals gently with those that have young (Isaiah 40:11) a verse my mother shared with me many times, most of my issues had more to do with my own choices than my children.

Could my mother have found a more diplomatic way to express her thoughts to me? Probably. But those words have rung powerfully in my ears every time I felt like playing the victim.

Were her words “Hateful” ? Shouldn’t she just affirm everything about me to truly show her love?

Let’s think of it another way. Remember the last time you had spinach in your teeth, and someone told you about it. How grateful were you? Were they “hateful” for telling you? Did you respond by telling them to worry about their own mouth?? What about all the people that actually saw the offensive shrub stuck in your teeth and said nothing? Would you describe them as loving people because they never once challenged you on any of your faults or foliage?

NO! Of course not!

Yet this is the logic expressed by our society constantly.

If you love me, you will love all of my decisions.

If you disagree with me, you hate me.

Recently a short white man asked college students what they would think if he told them he was a tall, Asian woman, and they literally thought the loving thing to do was to allow him to walk around in his delusion.

No. Just no.

In this day and age, there is a father that believes he is a female dragon. There is also another father who is 52, but believes he is a 6 year old girl. And we have a large group of people that really believe it is loving to cater to their “feelings” rather then encourage them in truth. These men have deserted their families to live how they feel they were designed. And let me tell you that as someone who has experience in watching a loved one walk away from their family because of their delusions, there is nothing more hateful than encouraging someone to follow their heart despite the cost. Revelations 3:19 reminds us that God corrects and disciplines those whom he loves! That is true love.

I expect crazy from a world that doesn’t know Jesus who regularly and lovingly declared truth. But now the trend has invaded the “church,”  and some are slowly falling prey to the same deceptive line of questioning used since the beginning of humanity…..

Did God really say??

There is also a lesser known technique that the enemy used since the garden as well. He likes to change the meaning of God’s words. “You will not surely die,” he told Eve, knowing full well eternal death was on the line.

Nothing has changed. Our enemy continues to fight by changing the definitions of words ordained by God like love, hate, marriage, and life!

I am under no delusion that my words  are going to persuade the staunch supporters of this movement. I am really not even talking to them. I’m talking to those in the church who find themselves fearful and concerned when looking at the changing world around them. Yes, the world is changing. And change can be scary. But God never changes. His word is true,  and His Law is good. Despite the difficulties that lay ahead, there is no greater calling then to walk in His truth. Do not let fear rule your hearts. Continue to walk in love without compromising truth. Have compassion on those that are lost. Not anger. Stay in the word more than ever so that you will not be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. Beware of false teachers or bloggers that distort God’s truth. And let’s focus on unity with other believers that hold to the core doctrines of our Christian faith as we endeavor to tell the truth in love.