Have you ever had a period of time that hits you like a tornado with it's ferocity and leaves you feeling wind-whipped and disheveled after it's over? Well, that was my last week. It was such a hard one on so many levels.
It started with the sudden and tragic death of my precious sister-friend's Dad on the eve of Easter Sunday. It was a car accident that was caused by someone who was probably abusing some substance which makes it all the more difficult. He was such a Godly, wonderful man and it was proven by the sheer number of people who came to pay their respects. If only we could all leave a legacy like that.
The hardest part of it all, though, is watching my friend and her family suffer. As I type, I have her precious children all sound asleep in various places around the house because they spent the night with us last night. They have been through so much in such a short period of time. It's hard to see it on their sweet, innocent faces.
I have several other friends and family members that are dealing with incredibly difficult things that erupted last week, too. Out of respect for their collective privacy, I won't share, but it's some seriously TOUGH stuff, folks, and all I can do is be there for them and pray my head off. I hate it when my loved ones are hurting. The only comfort I take is that I know God will use it for their good in ways that only He can orchestrate. What a blessing it is to be His child because we can rest assured that even the really, really hard places are never in vain.
On a personal note...and I must tread lightly here... I had a "critic" make their voice known behind my back last week in the midst of everything else. Things like that always punch me in the gut especially when it's not meant for any kind of constructiveness, but pure maliciousness. My skin is definitely tougher than it used to be, but I'm human and I certainly have to deal with the hurt and even anger that I inevitably face afterward.
I'm trying to let it serve as a reminder to ME that when we are image-bearers of Christ, we are called to love in His name. Part of that love is kindness and protection (1 Cor. 13:7), which I believe means protecting the name and certainly the confidences of others. Why are we, as Christians, so easily loose with their tongues when it comes to other brothers and sisters? Do we not know the destruction it causes? James 3 tells us that for such a little part of the body, it has the ability to corrupt the whole thing!
We've all been the recipient of the hurt from a person's careless words, so why do we not realize that this is exactly the way it makes others feel when we are tempted to do it ourselves? Are we that harsh that we don't care? If that's the case, it's so NOT ok... that's a major heart problem.
We're supposed to love others the way we love ourselves. So I ask, would we hurt ourselves the way we hurt others with our judgement and criticism? Probably not. We usually wind up giving more grace and understanding to ourselves than to anybody else.
Finally, how does our gossip or maliciousness or backbiting make us look any different from the world? How does this bring honor and glory to the Lord at all? Of course, it doesn't. It has the opposite affect. It causes people not to trust us. Not to trust the Church. There is no telling how many people have walked away from a Christian whose words crossed the explicit boundaries that the Bible gives us with a skewed view of the Father. How incredibly, horribly tragic.
Please don't take this as a post from someone who's been jaded and then went on to rant. It's something God has been showing me for a long time. It's something He knows I've failed at many, many times myself. Yet, it's something that I absolutely had to get out this time. I hope God will bring it to mind every single time I'm tempted to not protect in Christ's love.
Redeem the time, friends,