For those who identify as religious or Christian, tomorrow is a sacred and celebratory day when we celebrate Easter and the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus. While I want my website and blog to include and welcome everyone, I DO identify as a born again Christian and from time to time I will post religious things. As I reflect on yesterday being Good Friday and as I look forward to celebrating the resurrection tomorrow, I wanted to share a post I wrote years ago on an older blog I used to have. I hope it helps encourage you and I hope no matter what you believe, that you feel loved, and special, because you ARE.
NOV 2013: Words can hurt. Even when they are not meant to sound hurtful. People can have the best of intentions and still manage to hurt, sadden, offend, disappoint or somehow otherwise let you down. It is all due to one thing; we are human and humans aren’t perfect. It is a conscience decision whether we choose to allow words that are said, or actions taken, to offend us. We can choose to look the other way and move on, or focus on how we perceived the words to mean (Whether accurate or not) which leads to overcritical emotions, which lead to full on hurt/disappointment, etc. Life is all about choices.
Recently, I have been having multiple conversations on choices. We make thousands of choices, everyday – from what time to wake up, to whether we wear boots, heels, flats, suits, ties, coats, hat, etc, to what we cook for dinner, and on and on it goes. One of the most critical choices we make everyday is what kind of attitude we will have. We can be let down, hurt, sad, angry or disappointed and still maintain a positive attitude. Often, though, we choose to let circumstances overtake our moods and we become pessimistic about EVERYTHING. This is a miserable way to live. Just last night, something was said to me, indirectly, by someone I don’t even really know, and it REALLY hit me the wrong way – largely due to the fact this person made assumptions about me, which I can’t stand. I really battled with it affecting my mood, and eventually, even my ability to fall asleep. In fact, I literally fell asleep silently praying that God would deliver me from the resentment I was developing from this person’s words. It obviously worked!
Yesterday’s sermon at church was on Romans 14 and focused on how we hold things. There are lessons, commandments, facts, information and yes, even suggestions in the Bible which we are to loosely hold in an open palm. There are other things in the Bible which we should grasp in a tight fist and not allow anyone to shake. There is the fact that Christ was born of a virgin, lived a sinless, perfect life, died on a cross, arose 3 days later, ascended back up to heaven, and will return for Christ-followers one day, to take us to live forever with Him. THOSE are indisputable facts which we should not allow anyone to make us doubt. There are other things – which I will not fully go into, due to some people’s opinion and the fact that it could create war – which we should hold loosely, with the acknowledgement that WE view or believe these things to be true, or a conviction for us, but others may not view the same way. An example might be whether to allow instruments in church, or use only a piano, traditional hymns vs praise and worship music, and many other things. We are all welcome to have a preference in whether we attend a more traditional church, or a more contemporary church, but that certainly doesn’t mean our neighbor, who may prefer the opposite of what we prefer, is going straight to hell in a handbasket (as some in the south would say). It is simply a difference of opinion.
The story was told recently about a man who wondered into church in ripped jeans, a baseball hat, dirty sneakers, and a t-shirt with holes all in it, and no one would allow him to sit in their pew, because of how he looked and smelled. After the service ended, no one could find him and it seemed he all but vanished. In actuality it was Christ, who came to earth as a homeless, poor, smelly man, in search of a Christian to hug and welcome Him to church that Sunday. Instead, everyone AT CHURCH was so consumed with appearing to have it all together and look their best, that they ignored Jesus Christ himself. The pastor put it so bluntly, but brilliantly: “Don’t get so consumed with how YOU imagine church should be, that you are unable to welcome those in, who have NO idea how it should be”. We can’t forget to love those who have never stepped foot in a church before, just because they walk in the door wearing a baseball hat, or flip flops, or ripped jeans. We may be the first glimpse of Jesus they have ever seen.
I get irritated by legalistic people who think their view of Christianity is the decisive lens we should all view it through. So what if your church doesn’t use anything other than an organ? My church has a full orchestra/band. Some people feel most comfortable in a “proper”, serious, sunday-dress-wearing and hymn singing congregation because that is how they grew up and is all they understand. Another church down the street may be the only one the lost guy in a neighborhood will walk into, because they worship Christ with bass guitars, amps, and in untucked shirts and jeans, and that seems more comfortable to him, than a stuffy suit and tie congregation. We have to stop telling people they need to clean up their act before coming to church. Church is supposed to be where broken people go to be healed. I’ve never seen a perfect person at any church I’ve been inside, and yet people continue to come. I hope my church is known as the kind with the open door policy, not exclusive access only.
~Hugs and thankfulness~