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It is my hope that by reading this daily you will grow in your walk with Christ and be set free from any struggles in your life that are weighing you down. Be blessed to be a blessing.

Friday, March 25, 2011

THINGS ARE NOT WHAT THEY ALWAYS SEEM

It is easy to look at a situation and think we know why something is happening the way it is or why someone is acting the way they are but we do not know 'the rest of the story' as the late radio announcer Paul Harvey used to say. For instance, you see an American flag torn and shredded like it was shot out of a cannon and assume the people who own it do not care about America when in fact maybe they do not notice it because of other pressing things going on in their lives. A phone rings in church or a movie theater and you angrily glare at the person who was so rude to bring their phone to the theater, and then have the audacity to leave it on, when in fact it may be a total accident that they had it with them in first place.You are driving home from Sunday church and see children playing in a front yard and may think to yourself, 'can you believe the parents of those small children do not care enough about them to get them into church?' when in fact maybe they were there Saturday night or went to an early service because not every church is on an 11 a.m. time table these days. Driving down the highway you observe a bunch of litter in one place and think to yourself that some disrespectful young people or drunks the night before threw it out their car windows, but maybe it was garbage that fell out of the bed of a pickup trick or even out of a garbage truck. There is a pretty young looking girl who is on heavy set side and you may be thinking, why can't she get out and take care of herself and the 'temple' God gave her when in fact maybe a medical condition is preventing her from even moving without pain.

 These are just a few scenarios where we can get in a complaint or judging mode  when in fact some of these situations may have truly been an accident or not the fault of the person. True, there are those on the opposite spectrum of these examples such as the litterbugs and things like that but why not for our own sakes give the people the benefit of the doubt? The point is we need to keep our mind not thinking bad unmerciful thoughts or it will be hard to develop a spirit of compassion for those around us.

It is much better to look on situations with compassion and grace to be able to have a good attitude instead of always trying to find fault with something. What do we gain by nitpicking something apart anyway? As a believer it makes us look really bad. Try to operate in a spirit of compassion and not judgment. It does take some work especially if you grew up around a flurry of judgmental comments.

In the volunteer counseling I do for a pro life center I can not be looking with judgment and condemnation on the young unmarried ladies who come to see us. I have to share Christ's love with them. You do not win people by judging them. John 8:10-11 says when speaking to the woman caught in adultery, "Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”  “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”  Jesus told her to go and sin no more. He did not say, "you stupid idiot, didn't you know better?"

It seems it is easier to be negative than positive sometimes. How many of us have hung around negative people who drag us down or try to gossip and fault find? It is very tiring on our spirits to constantly hear griping and negativity. Let us instead not get caught up doing this but instead think of good things. Purposely go through your day looking for the good and not the bad. Sure the bad is still there but let us try to find good things around us.Try to maintain a positive outlook and attitude. We are not here to 'fix' everyone anyway. If you have a problem with this area then pray about it and ask for God to help deliver you from a condemning spirit.

Philippians 2:5 tells us "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus."  This is good to start practicing on a regular basis in daily life. Reach out to others with the love of Christ. Further on in Philippians chapter 4 verse 8 it says " Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." The more we practice thinking positive the easier it will get. Do not let negative people drag you down in their pit. Jesus wants you to be his 'hands and feet'. It is hard to do this when condemning others.

PRAYER: Lord we know none of us are perfect and we all make mistakes. Thank you for your mercy and forgiveness and thank you for being patient with us in our imperfect condition. Lord we want to be like you. Take out that part of us that is not Christlike and replace it with the love and compassion of Christ. Help our hearts break with the things that break your heart. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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