|Posted on August 1, 2020 at 10:55 AM|
It’s hard to look at the current times as a growing season. Between worry about finances, fear over our health, the many unknowns, and the unrest we are seeing all over the world, it’s much easier to either bury our heads in the sand or just stay in a state of hyper alertness. Neither is conducive to the energy that’s required to see and create growth in our personal life, or that of others
But if we shift our focus just a little, and try and visualize what we can do to make this a time of learning, can we change the trajectory of history – or at least of the community around us? I think we can -- if we don't lose sight of the fact that our primary mission here hasn't changed.
In a study by Beth Moore she says “God wants to send us… into the world in His name. Our tongue is the instrument of His greatest potential use.” We know that scripture also gives us that instruction. The words of Jesus are written in Mark 16:15: “you are to go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere.”
While we might not be able to travel, our ‘world’ is defined by more than a mission field in some far-off country. Our world is anywhere our lives intersect with someone else’s. And that really is where we have the most opportunity to make an eternal difference in someone’s life.
It can be as simple as practicing kindness and charity. I’m not talking about giving someone a couple of bucks when they have their hands out on the side of the road. I’m speaking of letting things go when it’s easier to be offended. Charity means giving something that isn’t expected or required – and sometimes that’s just us not responding to a snarky opinion on Social Media, or a rude person that somehow crosses our path.
I used to take a lot of pleasure in the fact that I could cut someone down with my words, and the recipient of my acidic comments hardly saw the ax coming. Being intelligent and articulate is a gift, but also a great responsibility. Today, I’ve come to understand that those mean words (whether I thought they were justified or not) were only making me feel temporarily better. They didn’t solve anything, they didn’t teach anything, and they certainly didn’t do anything to change the situation.
In truth, just because I thought they were justified, doesn’t mean they were. Who was I to judge someone else’s behavior or words? Proverbs 18:21 says that “death and life are in the power of the tongue.” There is no good enough reason that we should execute someone else, particularly over something said to us that has absolutely no authority over us.
So back to the original question. Can we grow and flourish in this unprecedented season of struggle? Anything that is an opportunity to witness is a chance to create a new life in Christ. Sometimes that happens by us just stepping back and letting something go. And there’s no more precious seed we can plant than that.
When we want to respond to a situation with anger, sarcasm, or negativity, but instead choose charity and kindness, we’re planting a seed. When we see a horrible injustice being done, and we spread healing oil instead of gasoline on the waters of change, we prove that victory can come with peace rather than violence and hate.
Psalm 139:4 reminds us that “before our words are on our tongue, You (God) knew them.” Judgement will come, but not by us. And while it’s convenient to think our “tormentors” are the only ones who will face judgment, Scripture shows us we are all subject to it.
God doesn’t judge as much by what’s done, as by what’s in our hearts. And that is evident by our words because “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” [Matthew 12:34]
The best advice we could get, and one of our most effective witness tools, come to us from James the brother of Jesus. He simply said, “don’t be too eager to tell others their faults.” Because to decide what someone’s “fault” is, we must step into the role of judge – and that’s so far out of our pay grade it’s not even in the neighborhood.
We can’t change our external dialog until we change our inner feelings and thoughts (our heart). So during this time of isolation and uncertainly, let’s make it an opportunity to get to know God a little better, and take a moment to decide how He would respond. When this crisis has passed, as it most surely will, let’s plan for a great harvest.
Be blessed my friend. God is on the throne!