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Lessons Learned

Today, I’ve been reflecting a lot on what I’ve been teaching the teens in youth.  We’ve been exploring wisdom and the book of Proverbs.  The older I get, the more I realize that I still have so much to learn.  Everyday there is an opportunity to learn something about yourself, God or others, if you are tuned in to what the Teacher wants to teach you.  I’ve always liked the book of Proverbs, even when I was running from God.  I think the reason I like it so well, is because it simply shows you the cause and effect of your actions, good and bad.

I came up with three quick “Rascally Proverbs” that I’ve learned through my life so far. The first one is “The more crow you eat, the easier it is to swallow.”  It stinks to admit when you are wrong.  There have been moments in my life that I’ve thought beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was right about something, only to quickly realize I was completely wrong.  Nothing is quite as embarrassing to have to eat a heaping pile of crow in front of those you’ve vigorously argued against.  The crow slowly morphs into a nice fat slice of humble pie with each swallow.

The second one is “Jealous or untrue words against someone is like a baseball bat to the knees.”  The bible says, in the book of James, that we praise God with our tongue and with the same tongue we turn around and curse our brother who is made in God’s image.  Blessing and cursing come out of the same mouth and it shouldn’t be.  The old phrase, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me,”  is a big gigantic lie.  Words hurt more than anything else someone can do to you.  Words of others can paralyze you.  Words can weigh you down.  Words can make you unsure of yourself.  Words can make you doubt.  Words can cause you grief.  Words can make you sick.  Words can make you bitter and angry.

Yet, if we allow the holy spirit to guide our words they can bring peace to someone’s sorrow.  These words can propel people toward a goal.  These words can lift heaviness off of someone’s shoulders.  They can make someone believe and trust again.  They can make people smile.  They can make people grow and flourish.  God reminds me daily to bridle my tongue, sometimes I let words slip and I need to quickly apologize when that happens.

The third and final Rascally proverb of the day is, “Forgiveness rescues your heart and soul from disease.”  There are people throughout my life that were hard for me to forgive for various reasons.  I remember being so weighed down by unforgiveness that it anchored me in hate.  I was hurt and instead of letting hurt go, I fed it.  That unforgiveness and hurt made me rebel against God and any other authority in my life.  I blamed God for what people did, instead of seeing that it was their fault, not His.

But, as I progressed through my life, I learned that I diseased my heart by letting unforgiveness grow there. I tried to keep the hurt enclosed in a petri dish inside my heart but it was growing out of control.  I was destroying myself with it.  That unforgiveness was released when I saw someone I hadn’t forgiven; completely broken themselves.  I saw them sobbing and spiritually devastated.  I could’ve easily laughed and say that’s what they deserve, but instead I saw them as human again.  Weak flesh, like me.  Fragile, so easily broken.  Compassion overwhelmed my heart and I went to them and let them cry on me.  I started crying too; with each tear drops of forgiveness melted within me.  The balm of forgiveness repaired hearts and relationships that day.  “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other;as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”  Colossians 3:12-13.

God, continue to teach me daily. Help me to see when you are trying to show me something and help me to extend your love to others.

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Posted by on January 18, 2015 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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Is Integrity Lost?

Is integrity lost in our society? I feel that it is lacking greatly in character among many that I encounter on a day to day basis. It saddens me that the world has become such a self-indulgent monster, devouring whatever lies in the path before or ahead of it. Integrity is defined as the quality of being honest and fair. It’s also defined as a firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values. I grew up in a time that we were taught to be mindful of others around us, to give an honest answer, and to be ready to pitch in whenever a job needed to be complete. Now, it seems you have to prod people to notice their behavior, you have to pull teeth for the truth, and you have to beg for something to be done.

Being a mother, I hope that my son will grow to be a man of integrity. I know that I am not perfect, but I hope that the lessons his father and I teach him stick. It worries me that he has to grow up in a world that seems anything but honest. Those who are honest have to question others simply based on the lack of honesty as a whole. This is what happens when God isn’t the center of our lives. My prayer is that people will awaken from this monster of self-indulgence and that they will run away from it; that they will see the need of God being the center. My prayer is that people will diligently seek to be changed by God to where others can’t help but see Him residing in their lives. If we say we are living for Him then why do our fruits stink to high heavens? It’s because we are living for ourselves and not Him. We want the benefits of God but not the sacrifice that comes with it. We would be so much better off if we would yield to God and be his true representatives, don’t you think?

“The godly walk with integrity;
blessed are their children who follow them.
When a king sits in judgment, he weighs all the evidence,
distinguishing the bad from the good.
Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart;
I am pure and free from sin”?
False weights and unequal measures[a]—
the Lord detests double standards of every kind.
Even children are known by the way they act,
whether their conduct is pure, and whether it is right.”

Proverbs 20:7-11 (NLT)

 
 

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