Tolerance is a buzz word nowadays. Everyone needs to be tolerant. We need to tolerate everyone’s beliefs and lifestyles etc. But is that really what our goal should be?
As Christians, we should move beyond tolerance. Jesus doesn’t ask us to tolerate our neighbours. He asks us, commands us rather, to LOVE our neighbour.
How does love look different than tolerance?
An attitude of tolerance means you do your own thing and I won’t interfere. I’ll leave you alone and you leave me alone. What kind of effect does that have on society? It separates us. We end up shattered, broken, and crumbling apart.
Love binds. Love means I’ll help you and be there for you, regardless of your beliefs, lifestyle, or the sins you have committed. Love means realizing that God died and rose for your sins as much as He died for mine. It doesn’t mean that I will support your sins, nor should you support mine. It means that we can show and practice love, regardless. It builds relationship and communities.
Our country is crumbling because of tolerance. The only way it can be rebuilt is through us allowing Christ’s love to flow through to us.
A while back I had a dream that I had cancer and was only given 1-2 years to live. I woke up thinking about what I would change if that were the reality. What “legacy” would I want to leave? What kind of mother would I want my children to remember? The biggest thing God impressed upon my heart that morning was that I want them to know and share God’s love. The first way to accomplish that goal is to love them hard every single day (any mom will agree that, some days, this isn’t an easy task). The second is to continually remind them that their mission on earth is to show love. We need to be so full of love that it flows right out and into society.
Fill up my cup, let it over flow with love.
What the world needs now is love, love and only love.
But not just any kind of love. God’s perfect and healing love. Let’s set a higher standard for ourselves than mere tolerance. Consciously make the choice every morning to take a big drink of the spring of Living Water. Fill yourself with so much Perfect Love that it can’t help but overflow. That’s what we can do to heal this world.
The sermon last week was on the sword of the spirit. The pastor reminded us that all the chaos in this world is not a matter of political or religious issues. It is not about flesh and blood. It is a spiritual battle. It is not an attack on a country or people. It is an attack on Christ. The armor of God supports us with being a Christian in a broken world. And we cannot turn a blind eye to the attack on Christ.
The sword is the only offensive piece of the armor of God and it is not even ours. We have the ability to pick up the sword, not our sword. It belongs to the Spirit and refers to the living and life-altering Word of God. The Spirit uses the Word to comfort, encourage, and convict us and those around us.
Jesus used the Word when He was tempted in the desert. The devil backed down. The Word is active and alive and powerful.
Read your Bible to get it into your mind, let the message penetrate your heart, so you can be prepared to wield it when needed. It is available for us to call on when we are in the fight for our lives.
Christians in this world are in a fight for their lives.
When the enemy makes us question, we can wield the Truth. We get to hold onto to the promises of God. Pessimism is from the devil. It is a lack of trust in God’s promise. In His love.
The enemy has gained ground. He gains ground in our world, countries, society, and in our lives. But the enemy must obey. He will be removed.
We will be free. Free from the darkness and injustice and brokenness. Actually, the truth is that we are already free. We have been released. The enemy has been defeated.
A friend recently asked me some questions about my beliefs on a few things. God put a lot of stuff into my head and I just typed. It’s rough, it’s uncut, and it’s real. I’m publishing it partially to have a record for myself and partially because perhaps it is something that someone else out there might need to read.
I saw the photo and your comment. Lots of deep stuff in there 🙂 I actually just read a really good book that addressed a lot of your thoughts. It’s called The Shack by William P. Young. It’s a fictional story about a man who ends up spending a weekend with God. He asks God a lot of the same questions you asked. I just read it last weekend and there was a lot of good philosophical stuff in it so I’m thinking I’ll need to read it a few times but, even the first time through, it really helped me to understand more about why bad things happen and what God’s will is for the world. And it really helped put into perspective how our own sinful decisions can impact ourselves and those around us and the whole world in general. It shows how God can use the mistakes that we make and the things that seem bad to us to paint a more beautiful picture than we could ever imagine.
Keep in mind that I’m not speaking in behalf of all Christians, I’m speaking on behalf of myself and where I’m at with this right now. I am learning and growing and understanding more each year but there is no way I’ll ever fully comprehend the entirety of God’s mind and plan.
I have a friend who’s daughter recently got diagnosed with cancer. She’s just a few months younger than Biscuit and a super sweet girl and her parents are amazing God-fearing, faith-filled, born again Christians. It has been incredible to see the strength of their trust in God’s ultimate plan through this. It’s not easy for them but they recognize that we live in a fallen world and that there isn’t always an explanation that makes sense to us but that God’s picture isn’t finished yet.
Kind of like when I discipline my kids. Like when they reach for the stove and I pull them back. They don’t understand, they are hurt by my actions, but I do it out of love. How much moreso does God love us? Even if my children choose to go against me and touch the stove behind my back, they will get hurt. Not because I didn’t love them, but because they made the choice to do something that would hurt them. Sometimes they knew it would hurt them, sometimes they are just unable to understand the consequences of their actions. They just knew that I was preventing them from doing something they wanted to do but they didn’t see the whole picture. Either way, I comfort them through it, if they let me.
God warns us of the consequences but gives us free will to make the choice for ourselves. “If you love something, set it free,” in a way. My kids will (and already do) make choices that break my heart, but it is never because I don’t love them and want what’s best for them. They often don’t see how their choices today can influence them in the next 30 years because all they see is what’s right in front of them. As they get older, they’ll learn how to see further down the road but God will always see and know more because He isn’t restricted by time and space.
As for the “born gay” thing, that is a whole different ball game. I do know that a very high percentage of gay people have suffered abuse and/or had an absent parent (usually the father). I also know that some people see their 6 year old going through a dress wearing phase so they start believing their child is gay and it becomes a self fulfilling prophesy. Schools encourage children to come out of the closet at young ages, ages when they are too young to make life altering choices. They kid isn’t even aloud to decide what’s for supper but is encouraged to embrace a specific sexual orientation.
I, personally, believe in embracing who my children were designed to be. They were designed to be boys so I will treat them as boys and explain to them how a boy’s body works and encourage them to embrace and accept the fact that God designed them perfect just the way they are, as boys. Just because one is more sensitive and “girly” than the others doesn’t make him any less of a boy. (That’s just my personal conviction and I’m not speaking for all Christians because I don’t know how all Christians raise their boys).
As for judgement, there is a difference between disagreeing with someone and hating someone. A Christian will not hate someone for their sin. That would be ridiculous, considering all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We are all sinners, we just sin in different ways. Christians believe a lot of things that are societally acceptable are wrong but it seems that people really like to focus on just the one thing and blow it out of proportion. There’s a verse in the Bible that talks about how if you break on law, no matter which law, you are a lawbreaker. At the end of the day, we are all lawbreakers and in need of a Savior. According to that, there is no hope for any of us.
That’s why Jesus came. He never broke God’s law. He was perfect. When God started dealing out punishments to all of us lawbreakers, Jesus stepped up and said, “punish me instead.” He loved us so much that He was willing to die the death of the worst of sinners. (I use the term “worst” according to human standards, God doesn’t judge one sin worse than another). Jesus took on the death that we were supposed to die. (It still boggles my mind of the fact that He was willing to do that for me.) Even if nothing else happened after that, Jesus death wiped the slate clean for us. But, on top of Him interceding for us and taking God’s wrath onto Himself, He beat death. Death was brought into the world by our mistake, our bad decision. And we were trapped by the cycle of life and death. But Jesus rose from the dead and broke that cycle. So, going back to my friend’s daughter, her earthly body may dies from this cancer. Because we still live in a fallen world and she lives in a fallen body. But her spirit, her soul, will live on, because this little girl clings to Jesus. He will pull her spirit out of her lifeless body to be with Him in paradise.
Holy moly, I just went through a bit or a mental journey as I wrote that. I’m not sure if it’s what you were expecting me to say or how much of it you have heard before but I pray that it falls on listening ears. And I want to thank you for asking me because typing all of that out was …. incredible. Thank you. And I hope that you can make some sense of it 🙂
First time obedience sounds like it would be fantastic, but it’s often not a healthy expectation. If my husband came in and said, “Woman, make me iced tea. NOW!” I would give him an earful about showing me respect and not treating me like a doormat. That’s not how you treat someone you love. Love means to serve, not be served. If he came in and said, “Honey, it’s hot outside and I’m out of iced tea. Could you make some for me?” I would be much more willing to do that small thing for him.
I mentioned that one of my “cranky mommy” triggers is feeling unheard, which often gets aggravated by unrealistic expectations of my children’s capability for obedience. I would love for them to create the habit of putting dirty laundry in the basket as soon as they take it off. But, being perfectly honest here, I don’t even have that habit. If I’m nearly 30 and still working on developing that habit, perhaps I should give a little grace to my kids who have really only been working on that habit for a few years.
I feel that my request is more important that the current game my son is play. However, it isn’t. Truly. I’m learning to step around the socks a little more and wait until there is a natural break in whatever game they are playing. If I wait for a natural pause, the boys are more capable of switching focus and taking a minute to complete the request properly.
Making iced tea for my husband could become an act of love and service. The next time he runs out of iced tea, I’d probably notice that it’s hot and remember he likes cold iced tea on a hot day. I would probably make him iced tea before he even asked. I don’t drink iced tea and I couldn’t care less about it. But I care about my husband so I try to keep the jug filled.
A couple of weeks ago I talked about how you should give yourself grace with housekeeping. Now I’m telling you to give your kids grace. They do want to please you, even if it is only done halfway. They should get credit for trying, just like my husband gives me credit for those evenings when I only get supper half made. Sometimes I don’t finish the job because I got distracted by life (typically in the form of small people). Just like my boys don’t always finish the job because they get distracted by life (and yes, play is a huge and important part of their life). And you know what my husband does when he sees I have gotten distracted? He comes alongside to help me finish the job. That’s my personal enlightening moment of today. I appreciate his coming alongside much more than I would appreciate him nagging me to finish on my own.
It is really tough for me to wrap my mind around the fact that my role as a mother is to serve. The miracle of the service of motherhood is that, after a while, my kids start to come alongside me.
Linked up at: Babies and Beyond, Cornerstone Confessions, Timewarp Wife, Gospel Homemaking
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I spent some time reflecting on the past year as I made my Life Plan for 2014 and our sermon yesterday was a review of some of the congregations blessings over the past year. I’ve had “Count Your Blessings” stuck in my head all day. So here are some of my favorite memories and blessings of 2013 (in no particular order):
- The birth of my third son. What an unbelievable experience! He is 7 weeks old now and has made such a seamless entry into our lives.
- Hiring a close friend to work with us on the farm and having him and his wife and kids move just down the road. I love having a friend 5 minutes down the road and their whole family has been such a blessing with the extra help on the farm, support for when I had Baby Bear, and friends for my own boys to play with.
- A bountiful harvest. There is something to be said for irrigated fields. We have never, in all the years we have been farming, seen such an amazing harvest. And God protected our fields from the crazy weather too!
- A new brother-in-law. It wasn’t the prettiest process but my sister-in-law’s new husband is a wonderful addition to the family. And he brought with him two incredible new nieces, who I hope will learn to love our family as much as we already love them.
- The best family Christmas in the last decade. After many years of … upside down Christmases, Hubby and I both truly enjoyed spending time with both sides of our family as well as having more intimate celebrations with our own three boys.
- A new vehicle. I can’t say enough how much I love our GMC Acadia. Not only is it perfect for our family’s needs, it is a truly beautiful machine on the inside and the out. It is the first new vehicle I have ever owned and I feel so blessed to call it my own.
- Miracles and progress on the farm. We went through quite an adventure with moving a whole herd of cattle plus all the machinery last winter and much of this year was spent trying to figure out the new system and farming rhythm here. It wasn’t always easy and it was a steep learning curve but God answered our prayers and we are finally feeling like things are headed in the right direction.
- A church family that completely enveloped my family into their fold. We weren’t able to attend regularly throughout the year (partially due to farm work and partially due to our own fatigue after a long, hard week) but the congregation continually greeted us like we were old friends, with no judgement. It is very exciting to be at a place in our lives when church attendance can become more regular and we are able to leave feeling refreshed in both heart and spirit.
- Growth in my marriage. After 9.5 years of marriage, Hubby and I are closer than we have ever been. It is truly a God-thing to grow closer in spite of the busyness of the last year. Or perhaps it is because of it. I love being on the same page as him when it comes to goals for our family and the farm.
- My own spiritual growth. I’m actually excited to read my Bible. My post partum depression (from after my second son was born) has been defeated. I’m singing in worship again. But most importantly, God has convicted me of the importance of pursuing Him, for both my own sake as well as my family’s.
This year had led our whole family on an adventure of ups and downs and has taught us, once again, that God is in control and the only way to make it through any season of life is to fully rely on Him.
What are some of your favorite memories or blessings of 2013? How are you allowing the lessons you’ve learned in 2013 shape your 2014?
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Time-Warp Wife Ben & Me