Thursday, April 29, 2010

Do Not Hinder Them

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake.  That verse is carrying me right now.   

I'm so very thankful that nothing surprises God and that He goes before me and prepares my way.  I'm so utterly grateful that Jesus' obedience tore the veil that separated me from my Father.  What would I do if I could not hear His voice and know that He has the big picture, even when nothing makes sense to me?

God has had me studying humility and peace in the Holy Spirit.  If I hadn't had my mind focused on Him and these two areas, what I found out yesterday could have messed me up badly!  But, all praise be to Him.  He had me prepared!

When we fix our eyes on Jesus and seek HIM earnestly, He will speak to our heart and lead us in the way of protection!  What a blessed gift!

The last time I posted, I spoke of the importance of giving children a chance to speak up and be heard.  That is so incredibly vital for anyone to feel in any relationship, no matter the age.  

I so desperately want my children to know they can talk to me about literally anything.  I don't believe there has to be a separation just because we are the parents and they are the kids.  That is a lie of this society and culture!  But, I think that will only become a reality if parents are very humble before their children.

In the book I read (Don't Make Me Count to Three), the author stated something that was such a blessing to me.  She calls readers to examine their beliefs and ponder this question:  Do we want our children to act like Christians or think like Christians?

She proposes that if we merely work on behavior modification and get them to act like Christians, we produce Pharisees.  However, if we diligently take them back to what God says about their behavior, they will begin to think His way...Christlike.

That challenged me tremendously, especially since God had me meditating on the verse that says only the Word of God can convict a sinner of his/her sin!  

With enough control and threats and even fear, we can control our children and make them perform the "right" way, but one day we won't be around to control them!  We must point them to the ONLY One who can convict their heart.  

We are to train them to hear the voice of God and follow Him.  If we act as controllers instead of loving teachers, we will embitter them.  That is exactly why so many "children" in churches have walked away...even fled for their lives I dare say!

I am so humble before the Lord right now, asking Him to help me discern, to be approachable, to be a good listener and truly hear people.  I CANNOT do it apart from Him!  My flesh wants to rise up in judgment.  My flesh wants to assume I know.  But, I have come to see that assumption is like deadly poison in relationship.

When we assume we know what others are thinking or what is going on in situations...when we don't take the time to humble ourselves and get the truth (EVEN IF IT CRUSHES OUR EGO), we become deceived...HORRIBLY DECEIVED!  We then begin to operate and conduct ourselves in ways that destroy, tear down, and rip people apart.  Often we don't even realize the wake we have left behind in people's lives.

Quite frankly, it makes me tremble in fear before the Lord!  When we choose to become parents, we are saying we will be in position to be a teacher.  This may come through biological childbirth, through adoption, even by taking a leadership position.  The Lord speaks very blatantly about how He regards the responsibilities of a teacher.  He says it would be better for someone to tie a millstone around their neck and be drowned than to cause a little one to stumble!   This should catch our attention as parents...and as teachers in any avenue!  "Little one" isn't referring to a small child, but any person who is young in anything.

I have watched many situations unfold where the leaders have acted out of hurt, fear, or pride, all the while thinking they know what is going on.  They don't humble themselves to ask the hard questions, or if they do, they don't truly hear what the wounded are trying to tell them!  Lord, help me, I don't want that to be me!  I don't want this to be who I am as a parent or a leader in the church!   I so desperately want people to know that I am approachable and when they come to me, I will listen as intently as I would want someone to listen to me.  

Seriously, so many people today are operating out of their own tormoil.  Things that they have walked through have clouded their eyes.  They deal with jealousy, fear, intimidation, etc...the list is lengthy, but whatever the issue is, it causes them to be misguided in their thinking.  The wrong thinking produces wrong actions and before you know it, other people are hurt.  Hurting people hurt other people!  It doesn't really matter at that point whether it is intentional or not.  The cold, hard fact is that it has happened!  It has been reproduced in another life.  It's such a devastating cycle.

The cycle will only stop when there is true humility and true interaction.  We can't be fake or superficial.  We can't say what we think are the right things to say.  We can't do what we think looks good to do.  We have to BE real with each other...not saying one thing while thinking another!  We have to humble ourselves to hear the truth about ourselves, even when it is from someone God has put under our leadership.  Likewise, we must humble ourselves and obey the Lord when He is telling us to speak up to our leaders, despite the reaction we may get.

Truth is truth and it usually hurts!  That is just the way it goes because we are all having our character changed to be like Christ's character.  It doesn't feel good to the flesh!  But, it is absolutely necessary.

There is little that hurts less in this life than being misunderstood, blamed, or lied about.  I know that my children will experience it at some point.  I know they will, at some time, be hurt beyond expression...and probably by someone who is supposed to nurture them and protect them.  I know I won't be able to do much to help them in that one will.  But, I pray, with all of my heart, that the example I live out before them will help them to find the ONE who can understand them through those times.  I pray they will know that Jesus can hold them and comfort them when no other human can touch their hurt.  I pray that they will know He can give them peace in the chaos, even when the worst is assumed about them.

EVERYTHING we go through, Jesus went through first.  He understands.  The Bible says that we should even count it all joy when we go through trials and when we are persecuted for His Name, for we are sharing in His sufferings.  And He also lets us know that after we have suffered a little while, we will rejoice with Him in Heaven.  

Jesus is coming back.  One day He will set all things right.  The truth of every situation will be revealed.  No one will be misunderstood anymore.  One day, we will walk together in unity, not suspecting the worst about one another and not acting out of our fear.  Oh what a glorious day!  But, until then, we live a world that is plagued with sin and death and evil, trying to destroy us and rip away our peace in every way possible.  

I want to be a person who is open and real in all my relationships.  I want to truly believe the best about everyone and not just say I do because it sounds good!  Even in my hurts, I want to realize there is another side to every story, and I don't know everything.  I want a soft heart that is willing to receive anything I need to hear about myself.  I want the Lord to help me not cause hurt to others by my words or actions.  

I want to TRULY love people.  I want to TRULY be humble so people, especially my precious children, can share themselves with me without fear.   


Katie Ashcraft said...

wow.... I think I need to read that post everyday... there's so much truth in what you're saying. so much Christ-like humility in your words... wow... I hate that our flesh wants to act contrary to what Jesus wants from us... almost every minute of every day I'm battling internally... I can't wait till His return to be set free from this world and this sinful flesh... thank you God for this amazing promise. take care, Katie

Mindy said...

I hear ya Katie-girl! I have to fight just hating myself some days! I still get astonished at times with thoughts that I catch myself thinking! But true humility is doing it God's way even when your flesh is kicking and screaming. We have to buckle down and be prepared for the worst to come against us and draw on Him to react the correct way. We have to abide in Him. We can't do it apart from Him. Praise Him for His Spirit! I find myself yearning for His return and my deliverance often, but then I think of how many still don't know Him. We still have work to do. Thank God we have each other to lean on!