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Graciousness and Christianity
Have You Ever Been Hurt By A Christian?
I grew up in a broken Christian home. I learned first hand that we are sinners saved by grace. As I grew up, a church- going, saved by grace, baptized believer, I know that I offended a lot of people with my tongue! I had no filter, and whatever I thought popped out of my mouth before I could stop it. I was growing. There were many life lessons that I needed to learn.
Once I became a woman of God, I met people along my journey who would refuse to attend church because they had been hurt by a Christian. They didn't want to have anything to do with church because they didn't want to get hurt again.
Along my walk, I met women who professed Christ as their Saviour, but seemed very "Power-hungry". These women seemed to think that it didn't matter if they hurt other women in the church because those women were "saved" already, and "they should be forgiving," or at least that was their attitude.
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis is a deep read that really helps a Christian to understand how important it is to "walk your talk".
This is an in depth (very deep read) on Christianity, which I highly recommend.
How Gracious Can I Dare to Be?
She looks at me with contempt, crosses her arms, and tosses her head!
Her spurn is obvious. Her hatred deep. She thinks that she hides it well!
I sit in my chair, pull my coat closer about me, and face my meeting with dread.
She is so transparent that you can see the flames burning in her eyes.
Poor "Christian " soul, that she is- I think she is really from hell!
What torment is she going through, that she must target me?
I am not her nemesis. I pose no threat. Why can't she just let me be?
What about the Golden Rule, I think to myself.
Shouldn't Christians treat others with respect?
With believers there should not be this disconnect.
I wrote this to help me work with my feelings, when what I really wanted to do was lacerate this person with my tongue. You see, the Lord had been dealing with my heart about being defensive and just automatically retorting. I am quite good with sarcasm. For some reason, it just comes easily for me.
What Does the Scripture Say About Grace?
Hebrews 12:14 -15 says, " Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God, and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
This scripture hit home with me. I needed to watch my mouth. I needed to learn a different repertoire of skills to deal with someone who "targeted" me, and I had better make sure that I watched myself, for I had no right to bully anyone either.
You see, we can sin by our actions or our reactions. I can't control someone else's free will. By their own free will, they can make choices that could cause me heartache and pain. How I react to that says everything about me. My reactions reveal what is in my heart and soul.
According to this scripture, I need to be in a state of holiness no matter how badly someone has hurt my feelings. That is soooo hard.
Life isn't going to be easier, but you will be stronger when the attacks come if you are seasoned with God's word ingrained in you, and you walk in fellowship with him through prayer.
Let's look at the first line of that verse, "Make every effort to live in peace with everyone, and to be holy."
Do you notice the word "effort"? That means that it isn't easy.
The next line says, "Without holiness, no one will see the Lord." That is powerful.
"See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God." This means that I have to demonstrate that grace, and it will take effort.
"And that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and to defile many."
We can sin by our actions and our reactions. How I react to an attack matters. Attacks can have a domino effect. I could counter- attack, then go home and attack someone else, etc. We reap what we sow. If I counter - attack, or attack someone else in my anger, then I have participated in sowing seeds of bitterness that will cause trouble and defile many.
It is my responsibility to kill these seeds. I have a responsibility to stop the spread of bitterness.
How does one prepare for that? Spend quality time with the Lord. Commune with Him daily. Seeds of grace will be planted in your heart, and that is what you will sow.
Pray Hard for Others
What Should You Do?
When you deal with a person in the church who is hurtful, pray for them privately on your knees. Pray for them daily. Ephesians 6:12 tells us that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities in high places.
Make sure that you put on your Armor of God.
If you have to be around this person, make sure that you always have someone else with you. You may be less likely to be targeted if you aren't alone.
Never allow yourself to get caught in the trap of defending yourself, justifying yourself, or retorting.
The Bible instructs us to love our enemies and to love our neighbors. Be aware that the person attacking may have " head knowledge" of Christ, but may have never had a heart conversion experience.
It is important to not blame God or the entire church because of one person's behavior. Also, don't allow that person's words to eat away at your soul. Rebuke what is spoken over you in the name of Jesus, and declare His blessings over you- and His mercies over your enemy.
Keep yourself in God's word, and meditate on the Scripture daily. Journal about what you read, and pray over your situation.
Fight Your Mightiest Battles on Your Knees
Praying should be your first resort, not your last. Your prayers matter, and they do make a difference. Don't resort to praying for the person and telling your woes to the Sunday School class. That comes across as gossip, and it isn't gracious.
Kneeling to pray shows that you are subject to the Lord. You are recognizing His sovereignty over the situation. Praying out loud demonstrates what is in your heart, and the Lord judges our heart. So, if you want forgiveness, profess out loud (in private prayer) that you need help forgiving others. The Lord will help you.
Remember, this is actually a spiritual battle that you are fighting. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities in high places.
Read The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis. This satire will really illlustrate the battle we fight on a daily basis.
The Screwtape Letters
C.S. Lewis wrote an amazing satire that portrays the spiritual battles that we go through. I highly recommend this book.
Stay on Your Knees
Matthew West- Grace Wins
Here are some scripture verses for you to read and use for your private meditation:
Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
BIG QUESTION: Do you want to eat dead/ rotten fruit?
For who desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.
Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Matthew 12:36-37 I tell you, on the day of judgement people will give an account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.
As I stated before, I have offended many with my own tongue. Is it too late to apologize? I hope not! I am sorry for offending church people by arguing about theologies, Scripture, or just not filtering a judgmental statement .
While it is important to remember that we are all at different places in our journey with the Lord, please remember the Golden Rule and follow it. Love your neighbor as you love yourself, and love your enemies. Make it a point to speak blessings over your relationships.
Remember, You Aren't Alone
You aren't alone in this life. You are surrounded by God's warring angels, and there are people who you can turn to when you need prayer. God made you, and Jesus died for you, and The Holy Spirit brings conviction and healing to you. This means that you are precious and valuable. Guard your heart, for out of it flows a wellspring of life- and know that you are loved.
The book I recommend to help you know that you are not alone is Joshua, by Joseph F. Girzone. It is a powerful read, and I am closer to the Lord for having read it.
Joshua: A Parable for Today
This is one of my favorite books. I read it years ago, and it spoke to my heart about how gracious Jesus really is to us. It demonstrates how gracious we should be to each other.
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© 2017 Laura Tallo