One of the most beautiful pieces of “decoration” I have in my office is a hand written note from my son Hunter in which he tries to express his love for me. He is just barely writing and so I can recognize it and it’s just so precious. It was so hard for him to try and write this and it’s far from perfect English handwriting, but his love shines through and I smile every time I look at it. It’s very pure and innocent. And I think it’s such a beautiful picture of our love for the Lord. As His children, what our expressions of love must mean to Him. There have been many times where I’ve thought that what I was doing was a great thing for Him, but it turns out I was offering up a childish note and all He cared about was our love and not what it was supposed to look like.
Yesterday was a good day, but I couldn’t shake this hint of anger and frustration. It comes every so often. Chris gave me some time last night to head to Starbucks and get some work done for Usborne. Before I left I explained to him a little bit about the feelings that I just didn’t like and were dragging me down. He validated them and sometimes when I talk to him he just says the most real things to me. Real is just the only word I can think of. So I was trying to work it out with the Lord and understand my feelings and saw a picture of what life is like with my children, as an answer.
It makes me angry when I see my children playing nice only to catch one of them making a horrible face, or a nasty comment the minute I turn my back. I understand that they want to please me, not so they can get anything, but simply out of love. But what they don’t understand is that I am most pleased when I see one caring for another or being kind to, and forgiving another for hurting them. I would rather my boys be open and honest about their anger and hostility and share it with me, then to hide it from me and be aggressive towards their sibling.
I’ll admit that I am quick to get angry, wish I was slow, really do, but I am absolutely quick to get angry. The awesome part about my personality is that I’m also quick to forgive. Must be the Lord in me because at one time I held grudges, so I am grateful for that change. Anyone who knows me or reads my blogs knows that I can not, with an emphasis on NOT, pretend to be one person while really be someone else. I am all out, for the world to see, and it’s to a fault sometimes. If I have a problem, I have the horrible habit of not being able to sit still until it’s worked out. I am that way in my marriage, my parenting, and with everyone I know. Maybe it’s a good thing, I don’t know. Back to yesterday, I am struggling with those who are mean in private, and sweet and godly in front of others. I am struggling with those who say the most perfect things at the most perfect times, who are lifted up as the holy ones, and are so gosh darn holy, yet are totally mean and nasty to me or any other of God’s children when no one’s looking. I guess we call it hypocrisy, and we all do it on some level, but I’m having a big problem with it in my faith.
I watched a documentary a while back about Christians being mean and the main cause of atheism in the world. It was filmed by a Christian in order to hold a mirror up to what we, the ones who possess Christ in our hearts, are doing. I have a lot of friends and family members who are turned off to Christianity solely because of the behavior of Christians they’ve come across that were complete a-holes. Had I not met Jesus and fallen in love with Him, I would be in that bunch, due to what I see. When Christ walked on earth, he mentioned in more ways than one that we are known by our actions and not our words. What comes out of us is suggestive of what’s in us.
And so I am really struggling right now to be reminded of the wonderful people I’ve met who were expressions of Christ to me, true expressions based on how they acted not only a few times, but continued to act. Anyone can put on a good face for a bit, but we see each other’s true colors when an issue ruffles our feathers. I have been fooled so many times by great speeches of good words that the Lord no doubt used, only to find out that the person is not kind, generous, loving, or willing to be these things.
For years now I have believed in the importance of looking at a person only to see the Christ in them. But what if the Christ in them disappears when things change? Was it Christ at all? Sure, it’s easy to see Christ and to express Christ when everything is going my way, but am I giving Christ if it’s only during times that I accept another? We all love our Brothers, but can we love someone who harms us or is different from us? Someone I respect greatly once said that we can all love those who are in our inner circle, can we love those who aren’t? That’s the real measure of Christ, because He doesn’t talk a big game only to show ignorance or hatred on the flip side.
I hope that I have been sincere in my walk with Him, but have fallen a million times. Hopefully, I have not pretended to love another only to act in anger, jealousy, or worse, hared, when no one else is looking. I am sure I have at some point, but as the Christ grows in me, I really hope that I am not that kind of person in my core. The amount of times one says Christ, the things we tell each other and ourselves don’t make us Christians. It’s what comes out, that reveals what’s inside. A dying tree cannot bear fruit and a person living Christ’s life can not be a nasty prick.
And so that’s what I’m struggling with right now. I have been all over and lived so many lives and now that I am beginning a new one I have been in a state of reflection. The Lord is revealing to me what’s real and what’s not and all I have to go on is Him. I no longer believe something just because someone says it. No matter how good it sounds and how perfect the lingo was exacted. It has left me with this feeling once again of not feeling good because I thought that Christ was something and it turns out He’s something else. I was so deep, so inward focused, and drinking the cool aid by the gallon, only to Christ remind me that those things don’t matter. And that’s where this unsettling came to a head. If it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck, why am I trying to make Christ fit into it? Why am I trying so hard to make who He is, into what I think I know about Him? And why am I trying to make fallen people little walking demi-gods? Because God would never do most things that we Christians do.
If you want to know what’s in a Christian’s heart, appeal to the Christ in them. If it’s genuine, it will last. If it’s religion, it will struggle to keep up with Him because He’s too great for the religious box Christians keep trying to stuff Him into.
So what’s up with the unsettling feeling that was nipping at my heels yesterday? I was looking at Christian love instead of Christ’s love- and they are 2 different things. Christ’s love will shine through a Christian and it won’t change when we think His back is turned. There’s really no confusion if I choose to love everyone, and let Christ or religion, or whatever’s going on in our screwed up minds, let them be who they are and love them anyway. I don’t know who’s love’s been real and who’s has been false, but I have a pretty good idea based on the love or hate that’s shown when I disagree or leave a place, but when I see Christ as a whole and not just the individual pieces that are people, the hypocrisy doesn’t matter. I’m not loving people, I’m loving my Lord and through Him, anyone that resides in Him. In simpler terms, I don’t need to decide who to love based on how people treat me or what they say to me, no matter how nasty it may be, all I have to do is love Christ as a whole and anyone that’s in Him is wrapped up in that love. And all the garbage that’s dead weight gets left out without me having to feel bad about it.
Since moving to Missouri I have been reflecting on a lifetime, most of it with Christ. I have been hurt so many times in ways you wouldn’t believe if I told you, but there’s a Person with whom I’m in love with and will be with for eternity and He has never hurt me. And when I begin confusing Him with people, I get a bad feeling. But when I see only Him, it all makes sense.
Thank you for reading me very draining blog that I needed to write. Christ is different for all of us. We are created in the image of Him and we are pieces of Him, therefore we are all so different. I hope that I never treat others in such a way that they would turn from Christ because of me. I hope I would never say something to another Christian that would make him or her feel as bad as I did yesterday. Our Lord loves us, He is not mad at us, and we are free in Him.
Thanks for reading,