Tag Archives: righteous

There’s a Plank In Your Eye, Miss!

“Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.  Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?

Matthew 7:1-3 ESV

Ah…this scripture. I love it and yet…I find that it drives a stake right into my heart every time I read it. Yes, it kills the monster in me that just want to scream “You’re a fool!” to some random person. You see, I can’t do that because I’m a fool, too.

We all are going to make mistakes daily. We’re all struggling in some way to do something right all the time, but we’re never going to reach perfection. We’re not God. We are called to sharpen our brothers and sisters by gently rebuking them, redirecting their attention to the scriptures and by praying for them, but we are never called to monitor their every move in order to harshly judge them or call them a fool. Search your hearts, brothers and sisters. You may not be doing exactly that, but there may be something similar going on in your life right now and you…as well as I, need to stop it right now.

We are not loving our neighbor when we’re people watching only to create websites that display the foolishness of humanity. ( Yes, I’m talking to you, People of Wal-Mart.) We are not loving our neighbor when we call out their insecurities and make fun of them for it. We are not loving our neighbor when we feign friendship only to gain insight for scholarly gain. (Term papers, social studies, etc.) And we are certainly not loving our neighbor when we’re consistently, without love, calling out our neighbor for mistakes they’ve made in life. You know what I’m talking about. We’ve all done some variation of this. We have to check our hearts, folks. If we’re not correcting out of love and concern for their souls, we’re judging harshly and inappropriately. Check your heart and then lead your heart.

Most of us will naturally become annoyed with anyone with whom we’ve spent too much time. We’ll step on each others’ toes and make silly mistakes that don’t feel silly. They’ll hurt feelings. We’ll intimately get to know our neighbor and yes, we’ll discover hot buttons that when pressed, will create deep wounds. We are not to take advantage of this, or even use this to “correct” our neighbor when we finally find out “what’s wrong with them.” Chances are that whatever “issue” you are finding fault with in your neighbor is more your problem than theirs. We will see our own issues and insecurities manifest themselves in others when that is what we’re placing our focus on. Regain focus. Look to Jesus and pray for your own heart, then look back to your neighbor with a heart full of Grace and love. What do you see? If it’s not a person made righteous by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, then you’re going to need to look away again and refocus your eyes and your heart on Jesus before you can safely (without sin) look at your neighbor again.

I am speaking to you, too…self. I am having such a problem with this issue as well. I really struggle with making harsh judgments towards those with whom I am spending too much time. God has placed my family in an interesting and sometimes extremely uncomfortable situation right now. I’m learning that God doesn’t care too much about my own comfort as He sets my heart right.I am very grateful for this and that He checks my motives before giving me the desires of my heart!

Jesus has already died to set you free. You are no longer a sinner, but a saint. (read: 1 Corinthians 1:2) You are made perfect in God’s eyes because Jesus absorbed all of your punishment on the cross. (read: 2 Corinthians 5:21) We are not called to obey the law in order to retain our salvation. (read: Matthew 5:17) We’re called to obey the law out of love. (read: Romans 13:10) We need to live this out every day, to the best of our ability. When we can’t or don’t, there is grace. Please don’t abuse that! (read: Romans 6) We are all in need of grace. None of us are in competition with anyone else for our salvation. We already have it. Just look to Christ to grow you and mature you more each day. You can do this! God has equipped you with everything you need.

Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father, we come to You boldly, in the name of Your son, Jesus. We thank You for the Holy Spirit that loves us and guides us. We ask that You would make us sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Help us to hear it more clearly and know when we’re making harsh judgements and when we’re truly seeking to correct or rebuke a brother or sister out of love. Help us to focus first on You, Lord and correct our behaviors, thoughts and attitudes before we even dare to look to others. Thank You for growing us and for fulfilling Your word that You began a good work in us and You will see it to completion. We confess that sometimes we don’t trust that. Sometimes we also try to do things on our own and that leads to burnout. We get frustrated with ourselves and become critical of others. Our focus is lost and we sin against You by sinning against Your children. We are sorry and we humbly repent, admitting that all sin is against You and Your will for our lives. Thank You for Jesus who has borne our sin and those of our neighbors as well. Fill our hearts with Your love as we reset our focus back onto You and away from idols and sin. In Jesus’ Holy and perfect name we pray. Amen.

 

Built to Last

When trials are pressing in on me, it’s tough to remember that I’m built to last – built for eternity with God, to worship and to love Him, and to recieve His love for me. But it’s the most important time to pay attention to what God is saying! The lies of the world are always nearby, whispering in the background, clamoring for my attention.

“You are not loved.”

“This mistake is far too big to be fixed.”

“You’ll never get there. You might as well stop trying now, before you cause yourself more pain.”

Right now, we’re facing the possibility of losing our house, our safety, our car and our dignity. We’ve heard lie after lie from someone close to us who is in (earthly) control of some of these factors, and we’ve worked really hard to prevent this situation, but I don’t see a happy, safe resolution. I’m having a hard time loving this person whom God has not only asked me to respect, but to love. I want to scream and yell “God, don’t you see how much she’s hurt me?!” It’s then the lies kick in. “Well, Mandy, you’ve been mean before. This is karma, kicking your butt. You deserve this!” But I don’t. And my children don’t deserve it either. This will affect them far more than it will affect me.  I fear, and I try, oh I do try not to listen to those lies and those angry, unloving words from people who do not know me – do not care to know how much this hurts us.

But I will hold on to Jesus.

I will seek Him. I will chase after Him, and I will seek His Truth. I will Listen to Him, and when I fear – I will repent. I will daily study His Truths and lock them deep in my heart. This scripture came to mind recently as I was praying, and it’s stuck with me as a comfort when I’m tempted to fear what may happen.

For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of calamity.

Proverbs 24:16 (NASB)

It’s helpful for me to remember how far God has brought me, and that this is not to my ruin, but to my benefit! I am being tested and refined as silver is refined through fire (Psalm 66:10) so that God may see His image in me. This is a blessing! The more that stress presses in on me, the more I pray. My kids see me praying and they often catch snippets of those prayers. They have, in turn, began developing an active prayer life of their own. In fact, one of my most frequent prayers is that of thanksgiving for these beautiful children that God has blessed me with!

Theresa praying Chelsea praying

It’s during moments of pure blessing like these, that I remember just how amazing God is and that He alone can strengthen and prepare me for anything. I remember that our family’s house is built on The Rock, and it will weather any storm.  I stop and take a knee, thanking God and asking for what I need in that moment, for that day and He answers me, filling me with love, patience, wisdom, and Truth. He reminds me that I am never walking alone, nor am I expected to handle big problems alone. He enables to me to shine His Light, no matter how big that storm raging around me is.

The wise man built his house upon the Rock - and shone His light for ALL to see. Even in a severe storm.

 “All who listen to my instructions and follow them are wise, like a man who builds his house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents, and the floods rise and the storm winds beat against his house, it won’t collapse, for it is built on rock.

Matthew 7:24-25 (TLB)

And I will continue to shine His light, and proclaim His Truth from our house upon The Rock, when the sun shines and when the storm rages, for I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.