Two posts: one day? Oh my.....crazy!
One thing I promised myself when I started blogging was to be honest. The main reason I finally jumped in the blogging world was to have a place I could be honest and not hold back and sugar coat my convictions or worry about offending someone. Sometimes that honesty reveals things that I maybe wouldn't "share" on a normal basis. If I'm going to blog about living a Christian life to inspire others, I also have to be ready to admit my own failures and acknowledge when things I'm learning/reading/studying step on my own toes. Today is one of those days.
Yesterday I talked about the closet challenge and how it was to be used as a visual reminder to pray for God to reveal sin in our lives. Well, it sure didn't take long for God to start pointing them out. It sure didn't take long for Him to start convicting me over some of those deep, hidden things that are displeasing to Him.
One of those areas He is showing me I'm failing Him is my attitude about certain people in our daily lives. I generally try to give people the benefit of the doubt and look past their flaws. I usually focus on their positive qualities and the fact that I have my own VERY visible flaws as well. However, there are some people that REALLY make it hard to remember! I've found myself FOCUSING on those visible flaws, hurtful actions, or things that just rub me the wrong way. Instead of TRULY loving them like Christ tells us to do, I've lost that focus. I absolutely believe those people have value and I love them because Christ commands us to love one another, even those that hurt us or those that make it very difficult. However, I've become guilty of making comments in our home about those people. Comments that would be best unsaid. Even if those around me are in 100% agreement, it is wrong to be speaking negatively about them. I should be following the rule of "IF you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all!" It doesn't matter how justified I feel to express those feelings. It's wrong. In other words, I need to let God keep his hand over my mouth AT ALL times!
I had already been thinking about this wrong attitude and how displeasing it is to God, but I've been sweeping it under the carpet and ignoring the conviction. However, after praying for God to reveal those hidden sins....this immediately came to mind. Not only did it come to mind, He provided opportunities to show me just how wrong it is. There were three different times today that He confirmed to me that this is one of this areas he wants me working on. Kevin and both of the older kids made comments today that MIRRORED something I had said more than once about people in our lives. The comments weren't "bad" so to speak, but they definitely carried the attitude that I had instilled in them. They probably wouldn't have noticed these "flaws" or cared much about them had I not been the one to point them out. We don't want to teach our children bad habits or be a stumbling block, but I realized as soon as the words came from their mouths that I am greatly responsible for them carrying those negative attitudes.
I can't change the fact that people do things to annoy us, hurt us, or drive us crazy. I can control how I react to them. I can begin to change how I respond so that my children learn to respond more appropriately as well. When "that" person, makes a promise that we know they will not follow through with....instead of saying "how typical" or "imagine that" and laughing with my kids about it, I should instead be saying something along the lines of "It was thoughtful of them to at least consider it or think of us". I don't have to bring up the fact that they've disappointed us OVER and OVER. When "that" person, cuts one of us down or does something to draw attention to themselves at the expense of us, instead of pointing out how many times it happens or talking about THEIR flaws....I should be saying to the kids, maybe we should pray for her to have better self confidence or a change of heart so that doesn't happen. Instead of pointing out someone's failure, even in the confines of our home or in personal conversation, I should just keep my mouth shut or at least find a way to focus on the positive. Otherwise, I'm teaching my kids that it's OK to talk about someones flaws. Even when Kevin and I talk about things between the two of us, it would be much more beneficial to us to be focusing on their positives or praying for our hearts to handle the hurtfulness instead of focusing on the negatives. Otherwise, we continue to allow the negative to sink in and give it the focus it doesn't need.
God commands us to love the unlovable. God tells us to forgive ALWAYS. God teaches us to guard our thoughts and our hearts. I think He is teaching me that it applies in EVERY situation and with ALL people. He doesn't give us a list of exceptions. He doesn't say love everyone except those that hurt you. He doesn't say love them, but yet come home and talk about them! LOVE them. Completely.....as Christ loves us. God loves us with EACH and EVERY one of our flaws and I should offer that same love to others.....no matter how hard it is at times.