When Sheep Bite : When Christian “Friends” Hurt You

It’s a tale as old as time, Christian’s hurting other Christian’s. I see it as the dark side of Christianity and no one is really talking about it in truth. The funny thing is Christian’s know the cure, if they are reading their Bibles, and yet they continue down the path of least resistance and sin. Jane doesn’t like Sue, so Jane talks poorly about her, then Jane realizes she has said to much about Sue and then BLAMES SUE for her sinful talk. Bob thinks Pastor Gary is prideful and instead of working with him and exhorting him (and even praying for him and asking God to work in his life!), Bob leaves that church for another one. The disobedience to Scripture and the vicious cycle of church hopping just continues on, day in and day out in Christendom.

What is a Christian to do? How do we become one in unity? How can we serve one another and love one another well? The answers are found in Scripture and a fresh, BOLD look into them is what believers need to be doing. If I am honest, I don’t like dealing with difficult people and when I think about them, I don’t always do so Biblically.  This blog post is written to myself in hopes that I will serve Christ and others better after writing it.

What’s A Christian to Do?

We can’t love others well if we don’t love our Savior well first. Loving Christ, above all else, is a daily decision and it takes a commitment to Him, His Word, and a desire to obey Him. I can’t help but go to 1st John to exhort myself in this. I studied 1 John with a group of friends years ago and it made profound impact on me. It is a great book to help you learn to love Jesus and understand His love for you!

Love Christ well by repenting of your sins to Him. This is something we neglect to do. Why? Because we are prideful and think we are “good”. No one is good BUT the Lord God.  1 John 9-10 ” If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” Repentance is a beautiful gift the Father allows us to do before Him through Christ.  Getting along well with others means you take care of your sins before God before you go after another Christian.

What is unity? 

Unity by definition is, the state of being united or joined as a whole. Being unified as believers does not mean you have to have the same convictions as others, but that the fundamentals of the faith are shared. We are unified in the gospel. We are unified in Jesus Christ as our Savior. We are unified in that the Bible is the infallible Word of God. We are unified in the things that are non-negotiable.

Unity in how one other dresses? No! Unity in what is appropriate to watch? No! Unity in how we view sports? No! These are personal convictions, therefore these are left to each individual, the Lord and His word, and personal sanctification. We must all personally work out our salvation, “in fear and trembling” (Phip. 2:12).  Be unified in the essentials of the faith! Don’t give up on a sister who just has not “arrived” to the same thinking as you on a non-essential. R.C. Sproul, a man who I respected greatly, smoked. I did not stop listening to him because I thought he was a reprobate for this. Smoking is a personal conviction, not an essential. Be patient with one another.

1 Thessalonians 5:14-18 “We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Serve One Another and Love Well

I know it’s hard to serve and love well. I certainly don’t do this perfectly (just ask my husband and children). I want to just stay home, read a book in my hammock and let the world pass me by. This is NOT what God’s Word tells us to do. His word tells us to SERVE and LOVE one another. Don’t go hiding in your hammock!

Jesus is the example we need to follow. He was the PERFECT one and so we turn our eyes to Him and His Word for direction. Matthew 16, shows us, he felt compassion on the people, Matthew 23, He longs to gather His people like chicks under His wings, and the plethora of healing that He did show His heart of service. This is what we think of first when we think of how Jesus served.

BUT sweet sister, those acts were just the tip of the iceberg. He served the greatest by His coming. He left His throne and heaven to come as a poor babe. He came to live, serve and ultimately DIE for you and me. He was the suffering servant Savior , in Isaiah 53, who came to serve us the most through His death and resurrection so that we might be reconciled to Him. (Please read that chapter in Isaiah and meditate on it. Can you or I even attain that kind of service to one another? The answer is no, if you are wondering, but we can practice that kind of service and love)

Love one another and “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ” Galatians 6:2. Love is not just words. It is 1 Cor 13 kind of stuff. I honestly struggle to read 1 Cor 13 because I see myself in that mirror of God’s word and find myself LACKING! Love is not easy, but it is the greatest. As I wrote this, I was convicted of my poorly executed love to Christ and to others. It is really difficult to self evaluate but does cause me to be conformed to Christ even more and for that I am thankful.

You may be struggling with other christian’s right now. You might be feeling like giving up on religion and church, I understand your hurt, BUT don’t give up. Christ came for the ungodly, and that is all of us. We have grace for a reason! It is the kind of grace that pardons and cleanses us from sin because we are NOT able to love Christ without Him helping us love Him. We are all sheep that go astray, are you not thankful for the Shepherd who keeps you safe in His care and comes after you when you struggle or stray?

My friend, sheep bite, but the Savior calls you to love those who have hurt you, gossiped about you and ignored you. Pray for these people. Love these people, because Christ loves you.

Warmly,

Brandy

DISCLAIMER: IF YOU ARE IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP, marriage, dating or friendship, I am NOT saying you have to be in it, I am saying to love them. Love sometimes puts up real boundaries to protect you (and children if you have them)

Click here to find help near you!

 

 

Advertisements

A Mom’s Daily Battle

IMG_2663

Lamentations 3:22-23  “The Lord’s lovingkindness indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

The morning has broken, the alarm has sounded and your feet are swinging to hit the cold floor. It’s the moment where you begin choosing the way your attitude for the day is going to go. We can begin one of two ways, with a heart thankful for the new day to serve the Lord or a heart drudging the day with an unwilling heart. I imagine you stumble to the kitchen and you switch on coffee pot, the kids come bleary eyed out of their rooms, and the bickering begins. (I’m not even kidding! I am in my kitchen right now and this is seriously happening!) One sticks out their tongue, the offended yell, “MOOOOM! She is sticking out her tongue.” I ignore the offended, who then chooses to retaliate, not with words but with a sneaky elbow punch.

***Freeze frame it in your mind now*** ( Excuse me while I switch to a first person account, because I am battling this out right now!)

I get to decide how I am going to respond on this one.

“God, help me!” I cry inside.  I had a fruitful, beautiful time in your Word and now these kids are putting me in jeopardy of sinning, or are they?

So, the quick answer is, No. They are not causing me to sin in my possible response. I get that responsibility. Seriously, it is on my heart to respond with an answer that is God honoring and pointing them to the Lord in how they should treat one another. This time I was able to not lose my temper, it’s early in the day and I am still meditating on my quiet time. My desire is that they day will continue in this pattern but I can assure you that it will digress at some point. I am stuck in this sinful flesh that I battle until my weary head hits the pillow at night. It’s then this sinner gets to rest and turn off her mind and tongue until the next morning.

We have a gracious God, who is acquainted with all our needs, our thoughts, and our weaknesses! What hope we have as we walk through this thing called, Motherhood, with Him as our strong tower. He is the one who can filter our thoughts and words for us as we try to saturate ourselves with His life giving Word. The Word is the guide for us in how we should live and move and have our being! Oh, that we would run to it in time of need or that He would bring to our minds what we need when we are at a crossroads of a response to others.

Proverbs 16:24  “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

Lord, I am in need of your guidance on how I should respond to my family today. I am so easily frustrated and I turn to my flesh before I turn to you. Help me to be more like you in how I speak. I give vent to words that should not be said. Forgive me, and help me to point my children to you. Help me to show them, by example how to treat one another and speak words that are full of Your Word.

Don’t Give Up!

     

The weather outside has become wintery and the skies have turned a winter gray, but it is a great time to buckle down and enjoy the homeschool journey.  It’s this time of the year that the homeschool BLAH’s can set in and cause us to become a little down in the mouth. I believe the shorter days and darkened skies can make the days seem dreary and move as slow as a child doing their chores! How do you keep yourself from losing your proverbial mind? How can you make it through the winter doldrums?

Get Alone With God, DAILY!

This is an absolute must for you. Get up and get motivated to sit and read His word for a few minutes each morning and PRAY that He will be glorified in your homeschool and life. Perhaps start reading in Psalms, and move your way through that book as winter progresses. There are 150 Psalms and winter will be over before you’re done! I created a reading plan for this and you can download it from here

90 day Psalm reading plan

Psalm 119:15-17

15  I will meditate on Your precepts
And regard Your ways.
16  I shall delight in Your statutes;
I shall not forget Your word.

Recently, I have had to re-adjust my personal time. I was getting lazy and short sighted in it and had to remind myself of the valuable spiritual discipline of personal quiet time. Life gets in the way and before you know it you have set aside the most important thing in your day for the dross of life. Ask the Lord to help you be faithful in this endeavor to know Him and commune with Him.

Pick a Family Project:

                Your kids are probably going as crazy as you are and getting them involved in something more than screen time can be valuable to their brains! (and your sanity!)

Last year our family decided to do a backcountry hiking trip.  If you’re not familiar with backcountry hiking and camping, it’s where you pack all your needed gear in to a LARGE backpack and carry it into the wilderness where you will stay 2-3 days.  We had to plan and prepare for this ALL winter long. There were gear lists and clearance shopping trips, practice hikes, learning about bears and snakes in the area we were going and more! We had a full winter prepping for our trip. The CRAZY thing about this is that last week one of my kids said, “I can’t wait for winter hiking. It’s my favorite time to hike.” **Insert an incredulous face of a mom here.**

Your family project should reflect you and your family. It can be anything. How many puzzles can your family finish over winter? You can take outdoor adventures in national or metro parks in your area. Make foods from different lands and read about that place or watch a library video about it. Learn to paint or sketch as a family. There are so many wonderful things you can do as a family from free to expensive. Your choice!

If you want to read about our outdoor adventures feel free to check out the blog:

Our Adventure Blog

Set A Schedule:

            Winter can make you lazy. The dreary, dark skies may cause you to get out of routine. Make a loose schedule of your day and try to stay with it. I mean LOOSE! No mom can plan around sick kids, nursing babies, and free-lance messes made by toddlers, or teenage drama, so just make a general plan for the day.

Plan a “free” day every week. It can be a day to laze around the fireplace, do an activity or go out to dinner. It gives you something to look forward to and the kids will know there is a day where you are relaxing or working on that family project. Fridays have been our “free” day for years and we use to enjoy the life that God has so graciously given to us.

Homeschooling can be challenging but you can have a successful winter semester. Embrace the cold!! Sing praises to the Lord for a time where you can slow down a bit and work on school. Grab that cup of coffee or tea and sit in the living room and enjoy the crazy. While the weather outside is frightful, winter homeschooling doesn’t need to be!

In His Grip,

Brandy