Happy Valentine’s Day to who?

There were those days, too many of them in fact.  The days were every married couple around me seemed so very connected.  I noticed the inside jokes or references.  I noticed glimpses of affection and courtesy.  I would envy the opportunities for connection:  Sitting together at church, worshiping and studying together, shopping together, dining together, ect.  These were not just tasks done at the same time, but and honest time of connectivity.  Either an opportunity for new ties, or old ties strengthened.  They are living life together.  I couldn’t help but begin to feel hopeless.  I saw everything that my marriage lacked, blinded to what my marriage had.

I have been studying and observing how offense has such an impact on our relationship with the Lord, and with others.  One of the most common, overlooked trap is comparison.  When we are busy comparing to others we are no longer focused.  In almost ALL cases of offense, wheither we are offended or happen to be the offender, we are not focused 100% on the Lord.  Yes, 100%.  Do you actually think He would actually require less?  If we keep our focus on Him, are no longer concerned with the affairs of others, what they may say, or what they have or have not done.  We look for Him in all aspects of our lives.

I should be focused on how He works in my own marriage.  I will never see the blessings if I am busy counting what is lacking by comparison to others.  I have a husband that would give us everything he has.  He is loyal, and he loves me unconditionally.  We have challenges that most other marriages do not have to contend with.  He is home only a few days a month.  Our only source of connectivity is the phone, almost 90% of the time.  Fatigue, bad service, and general communication failure happens daily.  Even more reason to remain focused on the Lord, who saw fit to bring us together.

That being said, wives — If you have your husband home every night, love him.  If you have the joy of serving the Lord with him, praise God.  If you have your husband there to pray when you pray, you are very blessed.  Always have his back, and speak highly of him.  So forgive me if I do not always seem so eager hear stories of all the wonderful things that your spouse is able to do.  But do know that I praise God that He is working in marriages around me.  He is working to take that sting away, a little at a time.  I can not afford to be pricked by a thorn of jealousy, for it is a huge stumbling block in my relationships with my friends that are happily married.  We are called to share in praises and blessings with in the body of Christ.  Jealousy, or the act of comparison gets in the way of being able to wholeheartedly take part.

There was a man all alone;
    he had neither son nor brother.
There was no end to his toil,
    yet his eyes were not content with his wealth.
“For whom am I toiling,” he asked,
    “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?”
This too is meaningless—
    a miserable business!

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.

Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecc 4:8-12

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Which side of the FINGER POINTER are you on, today?

DISCLAIMER:  Please do not apply this as a personal message to any one person.  It is not.  I just  honestly believe it’s something we should be thinking about; something the Lord is working on in me.  I have spoken many many times on the cultural gap in churches.  Feel free to browse my blog 🙂

FINGER POINTING:  WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?  No matter what, you WILL end up on a side:  Deliverer, receiver, or just plain stuck inImage the middle.

So like I just HAD to dig up this song….it’s from a Christian Punk Band (some of you will debate whether that is possible or not…that is not the “point”) … The date on the link says 2009 but this is from the early 90’s if not 89 or so.  My best friend at the time, her boyfriend (now husband) was the drummer.  I have grown not to be so harsh as I had once been…but despite such MONUMENTAL growth…some still see this within me…..and that’s okay 🙂

Finger Pointer, by Nobody Special (I apologize but the link only works on PC)

Sometimes we do not realize just how hampered our vision is by cultural differences.  Cultural differences hampers communication, both in delivery AND in reception, yet BOTH are equally responsible.  “Love in action” can be defined in very different ways from one person to another, from one generation to another, from one part of the country to another.  Maybe you are so busy judging the “pointer’s” delivery, you have not realized that there was a legitimate message to be received.  It’s almost like a double negative!!!  What do we get with a double negative?  🙂  While YES we are to deliver in love…but also respond/receive in love as well.  So let’s remember that when there is communication we have an opportunity to have it be ALL POSITIVE, no matter the delivery, no mater the how it’s received.  So let’s not hamper GROWTH!

Cultural differences hampers communication, both in delivery AND in reception; yet BOTH are equally responsible.

Only God can build that perfect bridge of communication between cultures….but will you let Him?  He has built bridges in my life to those that felt to be a millennial of years away from ever understanding and for that I am forever grateful.  Those my friend, are called miracles and they happen ALL THE TIME 🙂

Are we letting people be who they are, or who we think they should be?  Are we letting people take their places in the body based on gifting … or are we trying to make the body into what we think it ought to look like?  These are legitimate church growth questions we all should be asking….That I am asking myself.

Finger pointing generally starts with an expectation.  Some where or some how that expectation fails.  Failed expectation always leads to offense.  We must be on guard!  Flee from offense at every opportunity.  Maybe it’s time to reevaluate my (our) expectation of others.  After all this all has NOTHING to do with us.  It’s all about what HE wants to do!! In a way that HE wants to…  ❤

Finger pointing generally starts with OUR expectation of others, that fails.  Failed expectations always lead to offense.

Typically it’s failed expectations on BOTH parts.  The pointee:  “Oh but he did not come to me in love! That was just outright not nice!”…or The pointer:  “I’ve told them once, I’ve told them twice, no use in casting perals after swine…”  But we are to have NO EXPECTATIONS OF OTHERS.  Expectations often lead to accepting exceptions and there are no exceptions in the Word of God concerning love.

Love must be without hypocrisy.  Detest evil;cling to what is good. 10 Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor.11 Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit;serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer. 13 Share with the saints in their needs;pursue hospitality.14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice;weep with those who weep. 16 Be in agreement with one another.Do not be proud;instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Try to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes. 18 If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone.  Romans 12:9-18 HCSB

One of my favorite passages:  Note it gives NO CONDITIONS or exceptions.  It does not say….”Outdo one another in showing honor…as long as he doesn’t cuss”…or ….”associate with the humble, as long as they don’t wear rock and roll T-shirts” … or even….”Share in the saints with their needs; pursue hospitality…..unless they live in the next town over”

Expectations often lead to accepting exceptions and there are no exceptions in the Word of God concerning love.

There are NO CONDITIONS on love, even if you a called to love a “finger pointer”, or maybe you have been over exercising your own finger, please remember to open your palm once in a while, reach out, and love those you have messages for, and to receive messages given.

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