by David Brenneman
"For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:26-28 NASB.
Oh the deception in believing that words don't hurt as much as we think that they can and do. "I didn't mean it...I was only trying to have fun." "I didn't intend for them to take it that way! I was only making a joke!". "Don't take it seriously! It's just a rivalry!".
Oh the excuses and reasoning behind excepted hatred and excepted pain.
Excepted because that word means "not included in the category or group specified".
Accepted is defined as generally believed or recognized to be valid or correct.
One becomes the other as hearts tend to become more hardened. In many many places in Scripture we read of the dangers of a hardened heart. The heart of man was meant to feel. Intentionally making choices that deaden it's effects harden that heart.
The problem with the excuses made for what's excepted or accepted is that someone at some level is hurt. Damage is done in places that people don't see.
What isn't widely known of my school years is that in many many of those years I had to deal with bullying from many many of my peers. It's a very very big reason why I cannot tolerate seeing it as an adult happening to others. It's seriously by the grace and mercy of God that I haven't ended up in prison for wanting to do something concerning seeing bullying happen to others. I have zero tolerance for it from going through it.
Those excuses listed above were but a few of the one's that I heard during those years when by God's intervening that I was saved from someone who was doing something to me.
As an adult living where we were...hatred...a very very potent and powerful emotion...was widely accepted as being an exception to God's Word concerning the treatment of others by way of a simple description given by people who are supposed to be Believers in Christ Jesus : It's just a rivalry.
I have to wonder just what kind of excuse they will give Jesus when they face them some day as to why someone they were harsh to or someone who might have even ended their life because of their treatment of them will be.
I don't condone it under any circumstances. I've left a room because of the words of others that weren't thought out that actually caused hurt to another. To this day it bothers me that someone whom I considered a friend would say of me because I was not an OSU fan : I'll pray for you concerning that. I was so appalled at such a thing that to this day it bothers me that anyone who is a Believer in Christ Jesus would say such a thing even in jest.
In Scripture we read of not participating in course jesting. To prefer one another above ourselves. How are we obeying in that by using words and doing things that cause deep scars in someone else?
How will they ever see the love of Christ, the light of Christ in us, if we're too busy trying to fit in with the world's ideas of what's funny and entertaining?
The most interesting of things happens every day when I'm sitting here waiting to write and to see what it is that God might pull out of my own life to use as an example. I do not remember who it was to whom I was a willing participant in while in Elementary School, but I do remember how, to this day, it bothers me that I was intentionally crafting as hurtful a word as I could towards them because of peer pressure. The wanting to fit in with some group any group of kids my age.
I honestly have no good excuse as to why I did such a thing. As adults I watch other adults use various excuses to cut down other people. To demean other people without knowing what's going in their lives...and this from other people purporting to be Believers in Christ Jesus. What excuse can possibly be valid in the eyes of God for doing such a thing? It's entirely why I do not follow sports. It's why I do not even advertise on the hat that I wear or the clothes that I wear outside of shirts for work. I'm very very picky about what shirts I wear because of how it might give the wrong impression to others. We're supposed to lead lives that show us APPROACHABLE because of the work of the Spirit in us. We are NOT approachable when we've just ranted about some play made by someone or some coach making a call that isn't liked or had any apparent value. We're NOT showing Christ to anyone when we give way to any form of ungodly hatred and anger.
What good is it to say we're living for Jesus and yet tear down those around us because we want to feel better about ourselves and are crafty enough to be intentionally in situations where we make that happen?
We who are in Christ have no justification to violate God's Word in any given situation or moment in time. Yet we do. We hope nobody noticed we hope that nobody was looking. We so quickly forget that Jesus is alway looking and always notices. As was said the other day..we're NOT to dethrone Jesus from our hearts for the sake of anything this world has to offer...just to feel better about ourselves? Just for fun? There's no good reason to dethrone Jesus from our hearts for anything or anyone in this world. Jesus said that if we love anyone, mother, father, sister, brother, anyone more than Him that we are not worthy of Him. Read Matthew 10:37 NASB "The one who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and the one who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of Me."
David Crowder Band has a song called How He Loves.
"And he is jealous for me.
Love's like a hurricane. I am a tree, Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory.
And I realize just how beautiful You are, And how great Your affections are for me.
And, oh, how He loves us, oh.
Oh, how He loves us.
How He loves us, oh.
Yeah, He loves us.
Oh, how He loves us.
Oh, how He loves us.
Oh, How He loves.
And we are His portion and He is our prize, Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes.
If His grace is an ocean, we're al sinking.
And Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss.
And my heart turns violently inside my chest.
I dont have time to maintain these regrets, When I think about the way...
That He loves us.
Oh, how He loves us.
Oh, how He loves us.
Oh, how He loves.
1 John 3:1 NASB "See how great a love the Father has given us, that we would be called children of God; and in fact we are. For this reason the world does not know us: because it did not know Him." Think about that. We shouldn't be so cozy with the world that the world doesn't know that we're children of God.
We should not be fitting in so well with the world that the world doesn't see Jesus.
We all at some point have seen or heard someone say something about children and how you can tell that one's certainly their father's son, or that one's certainly their mother's daughter. Can it be said of you that you certainly are of your Father in Heaven? Does your behavior show Christ?
Do you or are you including in your 'world' things that you've accepted that you've made exceptions for that are NOT honoring God? Is it your choice of music? Is it your driving? Is it your choice of what you call entertainment? Do you even place your health above your life in Christ? That you expend far more time, energy and effort at that than you do in your walk with Jesus? I work right next to a place where people come daily concerning physical fitness. I have to wonder if if they are Believers and if they put that much effort into living for Jesus. There's always a surge in those making New Years Resolutions to gyms and it always fades off by February-March. In your walk with Jesus have you let it fade off after coming to Christ? Are you coasting? Are you comfortable with the things of the world you've allowed into your life?
It's certainly evil to have divisions within our hearts and minds that permit or allow that which God's Word says are evil to take place.
No where did Jesus tell any of the Disciples when He called them to "Come, follow me...AND it will be ok embrace what you want, it will be ok."
Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He came to pay for the sins of mankind so that we might come to Him and be called Children of God. Children are a representation of their parents. We represent Jesus. There should be no exceptions.
Look at your life and what you've embraced. Because we have all done it. We read in the Bible of sin that so easily entangles. We willingly wrap those chains about us and then wonder why life isn't going so well...and refuse to believe that it's the chains of sin that are weighing us down!
We can also let fear of what God MIGHT ask us to do to keep from living out life the way He wants us to. We want a full life that fits what we want to see, hear, and experience. We want joy and laughter on our terms. We want prosperity on our terms. We're afraid at times of what God might be asking us to do. What we might have to give up.
Realize this: At any second of your life...all that you've built up around you can be taken in an instant by God if He so chose to. At any given second of your life you could find yourself stepping into Eternity. Then what? What will you say about how you've lived? How you treated yourself and others? How will you explain all that you spent on you when God gave that to you to give to others or to share with others?
How will you defend your actions against knowingly and willfully sinning in your behavior towards the people you were here to reach for Christ?
We are all living in this here, this now, because this here, this now, is ripe for a life in Christ for us in human history. Satan would rather destroy us if we won't follow him. He would also much rather us hinder ourselves than for him to have to get involved. Think on that one. We often do the work of Satan by embracing the world on our own, without his help all because of our own sin nature.
Pray for your heart to be right, to be healed of what you've done to it out of personal selfishness. We all have endulged in personal selfishness especially when others have hurt us. Check your accepted and excepted things at the door to see if they are in obedience to Christ or are in obedience to YOU.
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