For Those Moments {When We Think We are Not Enough}

2015-07-03 14.29.30

When I walked up the narrow staircase one week ago today, darkness had already enveloped our country home. It was night-time, around 10:00 p.m. when I knocked on your closed bedroom door, asking if I might come in. You were reading, a bed-side light shining its sheen across the page. The room was awash in a warm glow. You looked up expectantly. I felt such relief at seeing you there. Such a safe place to be— under our roof, where a body knows they are loved unconditionally. Where a body knows that they will be cherished forever.

I sat on the end of your bed and looked at you. Stared unabashedly at amazing you.

And inside my mother’s heart I felt the need to tell you how much you are loved. Felt the need to tell you how much I believe in you: believing that you have much to offer this world, much to give this circle of influence in which you have been placed.

I felt the need to tell you how incredible are the offerings and talents with which you’ve been gifted. Telling you how valued you are to both your father and I— to our whole family. I felt the need to tell you that who you are is enough for anyone, including yourself. You have much to give. Much to put forward to anyone.

I felt the need to tell you. And so I did.

But more than that.

I wanted you to also know that you, Precious You: You are worth so much more than even what we, your parents, think and feel. You are Loved, with an Eternal Love; loved by the One who knows no boundaries, no limits, no restrictions. Who knows no Shadow of Turning, knows no minute fraction of faltering. You are loved eternally. Wholly, purely, completely.

I wanted you to know.

But Child of Mine, there will be some, who will someday, somewhere cause you to consider whether you are enough. There will be voices that will taunt, will jeer. Will question, will doubt. And there will be niggling worries that will grow into all-out, full-blown fears in your mind. There will come a day when you will give ear to the thought that ‘who you are is not enough’.

Not enough for the crowd.
Not enough for the moment.
Not enough for the situation.
Not enough for the requirements.
Not enough for the job.
Not enough for the part.
Quite simply, not enough.

There will be moments, and these moments will come. For they have come for us all, at one time or another.

God says it differently to us:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love… with loving-kindness I have drawn you.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

There is never a question of whether or not we are enough.
We always were. We always are. And we always will be.

There is nothing that will separate us from that Love.

No crowd’s opinion.
No moment’s worry.
No situational disaster.
No lacking requirements.
No failed attempt nor any missing parts that need be present.
Nothing.

“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8)

I left your room that night, tears falling freely. For I am so honored to have been given this opportunity to love you. It is my mission, my heart’s desire to impart to you the knowledge of this love.

A love that will endure for always. And forever ever after that.

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On Fighting in the Family

It’s supper time in our house. As soon as we all come together, it seems the tensions rise. Someone did something to someone else and it just continues to unravel from there. Words fly, accusations are tossed about. Insults become pointed. Sarcasm is certainly the lowest form of wit, Wilde got that right. Everyone thinks their version of the story is the right one, and they are willing to put anyone else on the chopping block so as to maintain face. This is how it sometimes can be when families gather around the table.

And on other nights, I am reminded that civil behaviour is possible. We can show kindness and love. We can be gracious. We can treat one another respectfully. It is possible- there is hope.

Yesterday, I browsed through one of my favorite blogs and was disheartened to find a full-fledged debate about the hot topic of homosexuality and what people believed about such. There were a lot of “I thinks” and verses to sway one side to the other. And on and on it went- one mean-spirited comment after another. I say I was ‘disheartened’ because every time these debates occur, there is in-fighting amongst believers, non-believers and otherwise. And such mean-spiritedness. And hatred. And, ugh…it is all so ugly. It rather reminds me of a family at suppertime fighting about what they believe so strongly to be right- so much so that they would be willing to throw their fellow brother and sister under the bus so as to prove their point.

I am reading a great deal about care these days and one care theorist that I have studied in great depth is Nel Noddings. In her groundbreaking book on caring in schools, she had this to say: “the living other is more important than any theory”. And while I hesitate to include this quote as a blanket-statement, I do think that we often sacrifice the people in our lives for creeds or doctrines we hold as truths. We make adherence to a certain dogma more important than the people we live and work alongside. And while I think there are things we can live and die by- while I believe in truth and holiness and justice and all things good and right, I do not think it is ever worth sacrificing one’s brother or sister- throwing them under the bus to get trampled for the sake of an argument. For the sake of a debate. Debates like these drive wedges deeply between people, Christian or otherwise. As I have watched martyrs for the sake of the Gospel (the Good News of Jesus’ love for us) give their lives for the truths they hold near and dear to their hearts, I cannot help but see in their faces a unity with their brothers and sisters. There is no debating the current topical issues as you stand on the line, your life in the balance at the behest of a terrorist- your fellow brothers and sister in Christ lined up on either side. Clarity and lucidity suddenly comes into full view when the eternal things that really matter are before your eyes.

I love the verses in the Bible that call us to clarity. Verses like Micah 6:8 (NIV):
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly[a] with your God.

Ours is not to do the work of the Spirit of the Living God, acting as our brother or sisters conscience. We have enough work to do in our own lives without trying to take on the job of making decisions for someone else. Getting inside their heart and head so as to figure things out- we don’t know their heart. And we never truly will. The heart is a private place that only the individual and the supernatural are given entry to. We can observe, but we can never truly know. We need to stop playing God. We are not God.

We have just celebrated that glorious of Christian holidays: Good Friday leading way to Easter Sunday. We have risen with Christ- we are no longer counted as among the dead. Why do we continue to live like we are counted among the defeated? It is God who has given us life, we are no longer in chains bound by our own pride and arrogance and superiority. We are free to walk humbly with God. And free to trust that God is doing a work in the hearts of women and men that no eye can see nor ear can hear. His work is often in the secret places- He works that way. With a still small voice.

In the secret.

I love this verse as well, and I believe that for Christians such as me- who have known Christ for a good long time, it is an important one for us to remember first and foremost:

Psalm 51:10 (NIV): “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

This verse calls us as people of God to remember- the work that we so desperately feel MUST be done in others lives, really begins in our own hearts. God works personally. He doesn’t call us to look to the left or to the right- to see what our brothers and sisters are doing wrong (like children fighting at a supper table): He calls us to look inside of our own hearts to see if there is anything there that stands between us and the Father.

Finally, I love these verses about how to act toward our brothers and sisters in Christ- or anyone else, for that matter:
John 13:34-35 (ESV): “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

By our love, people will know that we love Him. What beautiful words to live and grow and breathe by.  May this timeless truth be so in our lives today- that they know us by our love.

Better…not bitter

I have been reflecting the past few days on recovery.  Recovery means different things to different people, as we are all aware.  It means different things depending on the extent of the recovery period.  A weekend bender requires less recovery than a broken leg.  Of course, this goes without saying.  A person recovering from painful, private experiences in the distant and not-so-distant past requires more intense therapy than would a minor slight or insult.

We often don’t allow ourselves enough time for recovery- which is a given in this busy, ‘rush-rush’ world we live in.  But when what we are recovering from is deeply felt, we need time for introspection.  Time to heal.  And time to understand what is involved in that process.  The hope is that in time, we will become a better person for all we have endured.

I believe we are all on different roads of recovery.

My road to recovery looks like this: once upon a time there was a little girl who grew up in a Christian home.  She was exposed to certain ideals within that setting which made her a better person for it.  She was afforded certain privileges. By which, I mean to say she was exposed to and offered experiences which include the many unique and varied personalities/people who were extended hospitality as they passed through the area and thus her home.  She was allowed comfortable familiarity within the setting of a church family.  She was afforded a small town upbringing.  Many people knew this girl and her family on the basis of their position within the church thus enabling the girl and her family protective status.  There were many people who cared about this girl throughout the years.

But that little girl was exposed to other things which were less than ideal.  Less than idyllic.  Less than perfect.  Things like legalistic ideas about what a Christian should and shouldn’t do.  Things like cruelty in the name of faith.  And she was exposed to ideas that challenged a view of God as Loving.  As gracious.  As compassionate.  As kind.

In time, that little girl grew up to be a bigger girl who saw God as a Person.  But she believed that Person was harsh and exacting.  Vindictive and angry.  That little girl thought God was out to expose her and all her many, many sins.  And she believed that she could never meet God’s approval without being exactly the kind of person described to her by the many and varied preachers that stood before her (behind the varied and multiple church pulpits she encountered, week in and week out).  That girl always felt shame and  tremendous guilt.  Guilt for everything- from the smallest of infractions to the largest of transgressions she could conjure up in her mind.  Because God was all about sin.  And sin was pretty well everything.

Let’s just stop here for a moment.  It takes some people a lifetime to recover from trauma.  What if you were traumatized by an incident that left an impression on you to such a degree that it left you believing (erroneously) that you would never be good enough for anyone- especially God?  Wouldn’t that be trauma in its own right?  What if you believed this your whole life?  Traumatizing.  And yet, we don’t stop to talk about this in Christian circles- this reduction to shame and guilt which we see as evidence in many Christian’s lives, which I believe is this way because we are afraid of exposing to the world that we are not as perfect as we’d like to think we are.

Well, it took that little girl years to realize that God was certainly who He said He was- He was perfect LOVE.  And it took her even more years to understand even the tiniest of inklings about what that meant.  That love is many things, but never vindictive.  Love is many things but never harsh or exacting.  Love is many things but it is never cruel.  It is many things but it never shames or exposes to ridicule.  And that this is so is because true love is patient- it is kind.  It doesn’t want what it is not entitled to. It refrains from boasting and from pride.  It does not dishonor others- it is not self-seeking.  It is not easily angered.  It doesn’t keep a track record of all the things done wrong so as to expose and humiliate.  Rather, it (love) rejoices, protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres.

Love is pro-active.  And when it is done God’s way- it is flawless.

And if this is true- that God is love, then He loves us before anything else.  Before discipline.  Before consequences.  Before judgement.  Before accountability.  He loves us first.  The relationship that follows matures into one that allows for growth and change- that allows for human responsibility.  But before any of this can ever occur, God must be seen as love.  He must be seen as the epitome of love-as we can understand it with our finite minds. Or the maturing to faith will be absolutely pointless.

I get really tired of hearing by way of Christian leadership from various platforms about how terrible people are- how sinful we all are, how guilty we should feel, those of us not following the absolute letter of the law.  Because I don’t think that is God speaking.  And I think there is a world of people who have been left to recover from the effects of Christianity that claims to be like God when it is the exact opposite.  What I think we need to hear is how vast the love of God is for us.  And we need to know: God is with us and God is for us.  That message could never be preached enough- because I don’t know if we will ever truly understand this principle, this side of eternity.

We are all on different roads.  Our roads of recovery might look different, but they are often the same.  We are healing from the inside out.  And in the process, there must be a decision made: will we allow these experiences in our lives to make us better for having gone through them?  Or will they leave us feeling bitter?

It’s time to trade in the bitter for the better.  Because in spite of all we’ve been through, there are always moments of growth and renewal.  And those are the very moments which define us- which make us better.

Our roads may begin from different places and lead us down different paths, but it is up to us to embrace and choose: what will make us bitter- and what will ultimately make us better.

Hi.  My name is Lori.  I am recovering from legalism in the Christian church.  But I am daily realizing that God can make beauty from ashes.  Better wine from bitter fruit.  I may not be perfect.  But I am enough.

And I am loved.

The Introverted Christian

Introvert: a quiet, contemplative person who prefers solitude to socializing, who enjoys time spent in thought, who tends to express themselves better after careful consideration, who prefers work in isolation to working in groups.   And to think, that half the world’s population is in this category of people.  Isn’t it time the Church started to see that some Christians are introverted as well?  And that these introverted Christians are going to exhibit introverted characteristics in the ways in which they interact with both believers and non-believers?   Particularly in relation to witnessing and sharing the gospel.  Particularly in the ways in which they proclaim the truths of their faith.  Or as those outside the faith see it, in their proselytizing?

I believe in sharing my story.  And my story is one of faith realized, hope found, chains broken.  It is a good news story, if there ever was one.  And I love to tell my story.  I weave it through carefully chosen words in blog posts.  I speak it in conversations, in dialogue.  I write it down on both virtual and tactile spaces, preserving my story for my children.  My children’s children.

My story is of grace and redemption and love.  It is the story of Love come to life, through timeless words found in ancient manuscripts.  And I believe the truth found therein.  Those words have set me free.  And I will tell anyone who asks me for a reason for my faith in God, in Jesus and in His Spirit here within my soul.  And my belief why these Three matter to the world without.  Outside my own personal views and relationship to God.  I hold to these Three as the anchor for my existence.  And I believe.

Yes, I believe.

But for years, I was paralyzed by fear.  I was under the assumption and the erroneous conviction that the only way to share my faith was through vocal  proselytizing.  And I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t share my faith in that way.  It felt too phony.  It wasn’t me.  And so I kept my faith quiet.  Just like I was quiet too.

My faith in the God of the Bible was introverted.  It was quiet.

And while I appeared to be living my life out loud, pretending as I was that I was a true extrovert, a social butterfly.  Inside, I knew the difference.  I was an introvert by personality.  I was a person who needed to withdraw to replenish.  And I beat myself up for not being more extroverted, more forward.  And even more so, I persecuted myself for not doing what the Church said was the right thing to do: publicly state my faith in a very forward, almost aggressive way.  Boldly proclaiming that I was not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.

But I was ashamed.  I wasn’t comfortable with that approach.  And for years, I silenced the words that were my story.  And it has only been in recent times that I have found the courage to share, from my introverted place of safety and comfort, behind the screen, the words that say it all.

This is my story.  I was lost, but now I’m found.  I was sick, but I’ve been healed.  I was broken, but now I’m whole.  I was dead, but now I am alive.

I am just an ordinary, introverted girl.  Afraid to say things out loud at times, but empowered by His Voice spoken through my written word, I am able to boldly go forward.  Brave, unafraid.

This is my story, this is my song.  And now that I’ve started, I’ll sing of His love.   His mercy, compassion and forgiveness.  His beauty, his tenderness, his joy.  I’ll sing of it.

Forever.

Love wins!!!

I guess you could say that Florida is in the Bible belt.   And for sure you could say that I am in the middle of a Christian retirement community, as I am travelling with my parents.  (And they are attending a Christian conference at a mid-sized Christian conference and Resort Center here in north-western Florida.)  So I guess you could say that nothing really should surprise me.  I AM in the Bible belt, right?  What you see is what you get.

But something did surprise me today.  And it just about took the wind out from beneath my sails.

I had set out for a mid-morning walk around the grounds.  Actually, I was on my way to the pool.  And I decided to take the scenic route through the residential area in which we are staying.  The houses were small and quaint and most had palm trees out front, which I admired.  There were some pretty flowers, and I guess you could say I was in la-la land for the most part.  Brain on cruise control.  (I am on vacay, peeps!) So, I was coming up to some houses, one of which had a fairly large sign affixed to the front, which made me mildly curious. And I turned to read the sign.  And here’s what I read:

“…be sure your sin will find you out.”

That’s right.  Be sure your sin will find you out.  (And….’have a nice day why don’tcha, while you’re at it’.)

I am going to have to apologize in advance for this post.  Because I am so very, very wrought with feeling and emotion right now.  And I feel COMPELLED to write the deepest, most secret feelings I have within my being.  About God.  About church.  About Christians.  About Christianity.

Because like it or lump it.  Christians have failed me.  Have failed US.  The church…the body of believers that represent the Bible and Christ and Christianity…have failed. And miserably.

And I want to start this essay with an apology:

For anyone who has ever read a sign such as I did this morning, I want to offer you love for hate, healing for disappointment and hope for despair.  Because the Jesus I know would never let those words be the first impression He would leave with you.  The Jesus I know is not like that.

For anyone who has ever been hurt by the spiteful, angry words of an ill-meaning Christian, I apologize.  I offer up my own heart to truly say, from its very depths, that that is not what a Christian is meant to be.

For anyone who has ever thought that Christianity is about rules over freedom, hate over love, disappointment over joy, turmoil over peace, negativity over positivity.  I offer myself as the FACE of that apology.  I am sorry for what other Christians have done to you in the name of the Bible.  In the name of Jesus.

For we have been a disgrace to the beauty of Jesus’ precious name. And I am truly sorry for the hurt, the pain, the misery that has been heaped upon you in the name of what is RIGHT and TRUE.

For.    And this is a BIGGIE.   There go I, but for the GRACE, and the MERCY, and the COMPASSION, and the FORGIVENESS, and the endless, limitless LOVE of God.  There go I.  Pointing fingers.  There go I.  Calling names.  There go I.  Pointing out faults.  There go I.  Thinking I am better.  There go I.  Thinking I am worthy because of my faith.   There go I.  Thinking that anything I could EVER do on my own would ever be enough.  There go I.  Telling you what an awful, horrible sinner you are. There go I.  But for the grace of God.  And it is His grace that has shown me that this is NOT what my job as a Christian is.  To point out the faults of others.  I’ve got enough on my plate, thank-you very much, to be worried about you and all you’ve got going on.  My life is far from perfect.  But that’s okay.  Because I am a beautiful, messy work in process.  And God never asked me to be my fellow brother or sister’s keeper.

Pointing fingers at others is not the job of a Christian, people.  I have four pointing back at me, and that’s enough to keep me pretty, darn busy.

So again, I’ll say it.  From my heart and soul, I am sorry if I have ever hurt you with ill-advised words of counsel.  I want to be a different kind of Christian than all that jazz.  That crazy stuff is not for me.

And this much more…I know what it feels like to be hurt by the church.  I know what it feels like to resent the church.  I know what it is to feel wounded by the church.   To be hurt by that body of believers who call themselves the Church.  And, but for the Love of God, His Compassion and Mercy, I would still be in that miserable mess of thinking I am not enough.  Not worthy.

That is not Christianity, folks.  And if it is, then it is a gigantic FAIL.

Because the Jesus I know cannot often be recognized in the face of our present-day Church.  How very sad.  Because we cannot truly understand who we are until we understand who Jesus is, for our encounter with him, this “faceless” figure, defines what it means to be human.(excerpt from Has Christianity Failed You?, Ravi Zacharias)

This, my friend is Jesus:

No one was half so compassionate…, yet no one spoke such red-hot, scorching words….A bruised reed he would not break.  His whole life was LOVE, yet on one occasion he demanded of the Pharisees how they ever expected to escape the damnation of hell.  He was a dreamer of dreams and a seer of visions, yet for sheer stark realism he has all of our self-styled realists soundly beaten.  He was a servant of all, washing the disciples’ feet, yet masterfully he strode into the temple, and the hucksters and moneychangers fell over one another from the mad rush and the fire they saw blazing in his eyes.

He saved others, yet at the last, himself he did not save.  There is nothing in history like the union of contrasts that confront us in the gospels.  The mystery of Jesus is the mystery of divine personality. (excerpt from “Has Christianity Failed You?”, Ravi Zacharias)

And yet.  In all of this, the Jesus I know, that same Jesus intimately knows just what a breaking heart needs, knows what hurt and pain can do to a soul.  Knows what a mess we all are in without the endless, limitless LOVE of the Father.

And Jesus’ message was one of LOVE.  Love trumps everything.  EVERYTHING!!!!  Love wins, folks.  Period.

For God is love.  And if we cannot feel the love of the Father, the Son and the Spirit, what compels us to faith?  To grace?  What is the point?  Why believe?  There are better things out there, better institutions, better clubs to which one can cling or join than the alternative, those that spout messages of condemnation and hate.

But for God’s love, for His healing touch, the balm that soothes the soul after sorrow upon sorrow.  And believe you me, I have had my fair share of hurt and pain at the hand of those who call themselves Christ followers, I again say it:

Forgive us.  I pray we know not what we do.  And in the name of Jesus, let this humble, messed-up example of a Christian, let ME…with the grace of God and through His mercy and tender love, show you.  There is another kind of Christian  out there than what you’ve known.  Than what you’ve experienced.

And for now.  Indeed, for always.  Abide for me and for you, these three: FAITH, HOPE and LOVE.  And as God has loved me, so do I with God’s grace, want to deeply love others too.  And to ever let my life song sing this song of hope and love.  From the depth of my being.

Love wins.

For Me to Live…

http://guardiancomment.tumblr.com/post/42024491123/chelsea-welch-the-us-waitress-who-was-fired-after

Seems every time you turn around, there is something embarrassing posted on the Internet about a purported Christian, that is, a Christ-follower- or at the very least, that is someone seemingly with moral upstanding in the world of human interactions.  And that is what Christ-followers preferably should be.   Morally upright.   Principled.  Full of honor and integrity.  Among other ideals.

And yet.   There it was.   A receipt posted the other day by a former waitress from Applebee’s restaurant in St. Louis on which was scribbled the following: “I give God 10%.  Why should you get 18%?”  The receipt went viral, as would be expected.  Anyone with a few marbles rolling around up top knows that something like that can’t be written down on paper and not publicized in some manner.  The receipt was meant to be seen by someone.  It just happened to get seen by more than the intended readership.

It went viral.  And somehow landed up on my Facebook wall.

The persons in question are a waitress and a patron.  The patron, we know little about.  We can’t know for sure whether or not she was having a bad day or is just an ill-tempered person by nature.  I’m guessing the former, as she had the full staff under question and then some fired for the receipts exposure on the Internet.  The waitress, we can infer, was a likeable employee who took the fall for her fellow waitress for whom the note was intended.  The waitress has also written an on-line rebuttal to those responsible for her firing in which she gives her side of the story.

There are many angles in a story like this one.  There is the issue of low wages for wait staff and the necessity of tips to supplement incomes, along with concerns over privacy issues of patrons and protection of such in businesses and other establishments, as well as the issue of tithing and how it factors (?) with a casual meal out with friends.

And of course, there is the white elephant in the room: why in the name of time Christians can be so mean-spirited.

I’d like to tackle the former as I am also a follower of Christ, and it is in my best interest to understand this subject as much as is humanly possible.  Christ-followers, or as we are often called- Christians, are commonly assumed to be one of three kinds of people.  We are either proponents of freedom to live our lives under the cover of grace, or we are proponents of truth to live our lives under the law or we are strivers of balance seeking to live love in active service through careful adherence to both truth leading to holiness and freedom leading away from binding legalism.

What a mouthful that last one is.

If you are in the first group, you are probably a contemporary Christ follower. You might find that Scripture is open to broad interpretations and you are likely to be very open-minded toward ideas and opinions different than your own.  If you fall into the second group of Christ-followers, you might closely resemble a stereotypical Christian fundamentalist.  And you might also be referred to by other Christians as a legalist.  And you are often not very popular in the modern day church because your ideas are un-malleable, your convictions are often a dictator and you are seen as lacking compassionate understanding for those who do not share your biblical views.  If you are in the last group, you are often seen to be the most balanced of the two.  However, if you even err slightly on the side of truth, you are taken for a fundamentalist.  If you sway slightly to the side of freedom, people are calling you defector to the cause of liberalism.

Folks in this last group just can’t win.

The point is: Christians are not all cut from the same cloth.   We do not all share the same experiences, have the same worldviews, interpret the Scriptures the same.  And, surprise!  Not every Christian is even a nice guy.  Or gal.   True.  We MUST have the common ground of faith in Christ as our Savior if we are to be Christ-followers.  But, past that.  Like snowflakes, no two Christians are exactly alike. And in all truth, Christians are still just simply people.  And we all know.   That people are people are people.  No matter what we claim to be.  No matter what label we wear.  Or what we purport to be.

Which begs the question.  Why should one mean-spirited person’s ill-advised stinginess be the characterization true Christ-followers?  Could that patron not be chalked up to a mere anomaly?  For perhaps other Christ-followers might had already come through the restaurant that day and left generous tips.  And in like manner, those claiming the opposite, to hate God, leaving nothing.  Again, people are people are people.  You really shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

But yet we do.

And here’s the thing.  We are assuming that Christ-followers are close to perfection, which sadly is not the case.  Christ-followers are people.  And people make mistakes.  People are flawed. People don’t always live up to our expectations of what they should and should not do.  Some of us are nice and some of us are not.

This being said.  Should Christians be enabled to continue on acting in ways that are unfeeling, unloving and unkind?  That is, acting in ways that are not representative of the One who was perfect Truth, perfect Freedom and Perfect Love?  If we truly follow Christ, we already know that this is NOT the way we are to live our lives.  And when we err, we ask for forgiveness.  And when we are wounded, we offer grace.  And at all times, our lives must be characterized by love.  Because love covers a multitude of sins.

Love is Christ.  And Christ is love.  And this should be the underlying motive for all we do.

So while it is disappointing, hurtful and damaging that another purported believer of Christ has acted in less than Christ-like ways, and particularly because this act has received such public attention, I still believe that we need to extend compassion to everyone.  To those who know better and those who don’t.  And, underlying every action and reaction we make should be the mantra:  What would Jesus do?

For we know that He did everything in sinless perfection, always keeping the balance of living out the truth in love.  Always reaching out to us with just the right message intended for our soul’s condition, whether that be a need for more grace or more truth or more freedom or more love.  God knows what we need.  Our job is to be like Him.  And when we fail.  To humbly admit our wrongs and do things different the next time.  And this process just keeps going and going and going until we hit eternity.

But until then.  For me to live is Christ…and if I can live like Christ, I have lived a life worth living.