Click, click, click, click, I can hear keyboard clicking in the background, then, “Can I borrow your fly swatter?” “Sure, but it has wasp guts on it.” “Ok, I won’t lick it then.” “Well, unless you chocolate cover it first…”
This is me on lunch break at work, finishing up my thought process from hanging with Dad this morning. It was a good talk with tears, laughter, memories, reflections and insights that only come from chilling and being quiet with Him. All that is required is: time.
It’s weird what I’m learning now, as an adult, compared to when I was a kid pertaining to what Heavenly Dad desires and expects from me. When I was a kid I was supposed to know/serve God because “the end is coming and where will you be if you died today?”
In that walk, there was a constant fear of “the end” looming. I was so focused on trying not to sin—living up to the sacrifice Christ made for me on the cross—that I was looking down (micro-scoping every step so I wouldn’t run into sin) more than I was looking at and appreciating the beautiful scenery God put directly in front of me. It was about the fear of God instead of grasping my relationship as His child and being loved by God.
How many times did I hear, “He/she just broke God’s heart”? Seriously, do you think Heavenly Dad didn’t know that person was going to make that choice? Did they catch our all-knowing Father by surprise? Not that He wanted them to make a faux pas but they definitely didn’t catch Him off guard.
Then there was the way I grew up with “proper” repentance with acceptable confession. Who was it really for? The “bigger“ the sin the bigger the confession. If I really did a doozy then I’d have to go before the church and apologize. If I didn’t, the church could strip me of my membership, which makes sense if I was choosing not to turn away from sin. Maybe that was the motive: shaming people to turn from their sin?
Now, I need to get a grip, right? Isn’t that the way Jesus led people to…Himself: shaming them? Let’s take a look:
-Divorced (5 times)Samaritan woman, living with another man (not her husband): Jesus offered her living water John 4:4-26
-Zacchaeus (thieving tax collector): Picked him out of a crowd to hang out at his house Luke 19:1-9
-Thief on the cross next to Him, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43
Did I miss something? I don’t seem to see any shaming going on but a whole heck of a lot of love. Waaaait a minute! It looks like Jesus LOVED people out of sin. He told them who they were in His eyes, not condoning their past but offering a future. Who would have thought?
Hmmmm…If we don’t expect a toddler’s first step to be at the starting gate of the Boston Marathon, why do we expect perfection in walking out our faith from each other? Where is the love? Where is the compassion? Where is the recognition that the person is not the same person today as they were when they made the poor decision/sinned? If they were, they would not be repenting: confessing and changing? If they just confessed and didn’t change, that’s not repentance.
Now the question begs to be answered: in that type of repentance, who decides when a person has done “enough” repentance to be forgiven? Who gets to take the seat of judgment? Who has the authority to tell Heavenly Dad, “Slide over, Big Guy, I’ve got this,”? What is their motive behind or for their judgment? Wait! I think there IS a verse describing that very person in the Bible! Yay!!! So who qualifies?!? “He who is without sin cast the first stone.“ John 8:7 Oops. That narrows it down.
Now I’m learning that when I focus that much on NOT sinning, I’m actually taking my eyes off of the reason-purpose-Person who I’m learning to be like. How will I know what to do and be if I’m focusing on mistakes I might or could potentially make?
Have you ever seen a child walk behind an adult, acting out their every move? They take big steps, make big arm motions, make facial expressions, and pretend to talk the way the adult talks. They are not focusing on being a child, they are focusing on becoming like the adult.
I get tears in my eyes when I think of Matthew 18:3 “And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.“
I’m so tired of overthinking what people say being a “Christian” is and living by everyone’s rules! So then I asked, “Father teach me to walk like you …”
He always answers.
Philippian 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.“
What does that look like?
What thoughts are going through my head? Is that what God would be thinking? When I’m feeling stupid, ugly, old, unworthy… . The truth is: that’s not how He sees me. That’s not who I am. I am His child and I’m learning to walk as He walks! I will remind myself: Psalms 139:14 ”I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” And I really do!
If I truly want to act the way He acts and walk the way He walks, I have to see what He sees. If I’m looking at or watching something that is not lovely, pure, and causing me to embrace His love, I have no business watching. He loves me too much for me to fill my head with comparison and lies about myself.
Am I am walking into a place that I can’t imagine Him walking into first and have no business being there? Eeeerk! I have to be very careful because He will go into places that I judge unworthy out of love for others. He asks WHY I want to go and what are my motives when I enter. Am I going to a bar to try and fill a God-sized hole or am I meeting a friend to pour Christ into them because that is her hangout place–heart check. I’m not to live in a bubble, I’m living for Him.
Motives: why do I do what I do? Am I embracing and emulating my Heavenly Father that goes before me? Am I acting out His every word and deed, like the child previously described or am I focusing on the child of yesterday (who I was) making that my tomorrow? What I practice is what and who I become.
Philippians 4:9, NIV: “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
Peace—ahhhhhh. Until next time, dear Friends: Blessings!