To The Ones With A Gentle Spirit

People get so mad.

About everything.

About that this isn’t a full sentence.

Like hate-filled, gossip about you, unfriend you, crucify you, plain and ugly, wish death on you, angry.

They do it about just ….well, about everything.

If you don’t like what someone likes or approve of what a group does, so SO MANY people (and it seems like more all the time) treat you as if they now choose YOU as an enemy.

Precious You, if you’re still reading this and you’re not already writing a hundred word essay about how wrong I am with this blog post, your gentle, warrior spirit is open and please know you’re not the enemy and hear that it’s not about you. Your gentle spirit is a fresh relief from the hostility to anyone with eyes to see. Thank you for being here.

It’s about “lovers of self.” It’s a Biblically prophesied-over, already expected, spiritual war.

And in the middle of it all: is a spirit of pride.

You know the situations I’m talking about.

It happens at work, school, home, in marriages, those you-better-be-at-the-next-family-reunion-or-else (dare I say) celebrations, stores, vacations, church, standing in line, post offices, coffee shops, hospitals, restaurants, wherever you feel led to serve, and everywhere else I didn’t think to mention.

And God tells us to avoid people who are behaving this way.

Check out what 2 Timothy 3:1-9 says about it.

Difficult Times Will Come.

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a FORM OF godliness, although they have denied its power; AVOID such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, ALWAYS learning and NEVER ABLE to come to the KNOWLEDGE OF TRUTH. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. BUT THEY WILL NOT MAKE FURTHER PROGRESS; for their folly will be obvious to ALL, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also.

(emphasis, mine.)

Read through that list again.

It’s insane how many of these words fit everyday situations.

The number of prideful, arrogant people — who have no Holy Spirit so they are able to show no grace — seems as if a giant Goliath and the grace-filled people with quiet strength for the battles seem like David.

(But we all know how that story goes. David defeated Goliath so there’s that.

1 Samuel 17:47-50

Verse 47

…All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, AND HE WILL give all of you into our hands.”)

Praise God for people who are after His own heart!

Acts 13:22

But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man AFTER MY OWN HEART. He will do everything I want him to do.’

David’s oldest brother was mad at him telling him he could not do what David KNEW he was there to do. His brother (Eliab) said his (David’s) heart was wicked, BUT GOD SAYS David was a man after GOD’S own heart! Praise God that he listened to what he knew he could do and did not listen to the ones who didn’t believe and who were jealous.

1 Samuel 17:28-32

When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”

Now what have I done?” said David. “Can’t I even speak?” He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before. What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him.

David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”

(And then even the king didn’t believe David could do what he knew he was there to do.

1 Samuel 17:33

Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”

Sometimes people don’t know what they don’t know.)

 

Whatever unkind, without understanding or trying to see things from your side of the world, prideful ways people act toward you, aren’t your burdens to take on yourself.

These aren’t your behaviors and you can gently, gracefully respond (remembering a gentle word turns away wrath. Proverbs 15:1.)

And you can boldly say, “NO, thank you. The way you’re talking to me isn’t going to be okay. Maybe we can try again another time.” (But maybe not. YOU get to choose. And I pray you find more healthy boundaries – and enforce them – all the time.)

Whether it’s something that has deeply hurt my feelings or feels as if it’s blocking me somehow from what I know in my spirit that I’m supposed to be doing, God has taught me to stop in the moment, just breathe, and (immediately remember to) ask Him 3 questions in every situation:

(Note: This works SO, so, so much better if I do this BEFORE I get my feelings in the way, but often truthfully it happens after something hurt my heart more than I’d like to admit… because I forgot that this life is not about me and yet again tried to make it about me… but 3 things are:)

Lord, what do You want me to LEARN from this?”

What do You want me to DO with this?”

How can I honor YOU in this?”

We get so offended too easily and take on other people’s angry pride as if it’s something we “should” carry. Because honestly people have become really good, experts even, at trying to make others absorb their unresolved junk in life that they have not (maybe purposefully and perhaps not so much) dealt with. It comes out as heavy artillery in our direction. Some days this is overt and MUCH of the time it’s covert. And people use a thousand different tactics to try to make you accept their stuff. (Rest in the Truth that God sees ALL of it and NOTHING is hidden from Him!)

But it’s not ours to carry.

And if we started to, we can lay it down.

We are to mourn when people mourn and rejoice when people rejoice. (Romans 12:15)

But to carry what they won’t hand over to God is not your responsibility.

It’s theirs.

Like a good coach or employer or father would do, God has purpose in everything He allows us to experience whether we’re too short-sighted sometimes to see it or not.

The next time someone does or says something that hurts you, I’m asking you to pray these 3 things because we have been PROMISED we can cast all our cares on Him.

1 Peter 5:7

Cast ALL your anxiety ON HIM

BECAUSE HE CARES for YOU.

Are you doing your part? Every day? Casting your cares?

Carrying that junk that others have been trying to pile on you is way heavy.

And it needs to go.

Hurting from the Inside Out (Quantity vs. Quality -especially in churches)

Recently I visited a church and…

There is nothing wrong with wanting a church, business, school, family, or club to grow.

There IS a problem when the focus is mainly on “the numbers” if the group’s members are hurting from the inside out and they are not being cared for in a healthy way.

Especially talking about churches; If the members are starving for healing, purpose, and love yet the focus is on growing the numbers, there is a problem.

It does NOT matter if you rave about having 300 or 3,000 attendees when so many of the current members are poor in spirit and are not being fed.  Where are the leaders when the people who attend there every week are feeling left empty?

That being said; If the members go to church on Sunday or whenever and then don’t live like Jesus the rest of the week; helping and loving on people God leads them to help and love on, there is something missing. [And of course many people DO help. You know that I know this.]

If we were all doing our jobs then how can there be members in any congregation who have everyday needs not met when they are the very SAME needs they’ve had for years?

And I’m not talking about people who take advantage of others and expect others to take care of their lives for them.

I’m talking about yards needing raked or fences falling down when the family is busy just trying to survive. Physical needs are everywhere. Please help meet them.

I’m talking about people who cannot leave their houses and this may be for physical reasons or emotional ones. Both are valid and people just need to know they matter and that someone misses them.

Yes. Members need to take responsibility to let a true need be known and then we need to help where we are called to help.

And we need to realize there are some people who just cannot ask for help for whatever reasons. We should be looking for those who need help ~ and ask them how we can help.

We don’t need a committee meeting. We need to listen. We need action. God will lead us to the very people He wants us to serve. That tug on your heart is there for a reason.

WHAT IF instead of displaying on the overhead screen how many “bodies” are present, the leadership ministered to the current hurting members in SUCH a healthy way that more and more Christians could keep reaching out to the cities around them?

And I’m not saying preachers, pastors, elders, deacons, or teachers can meet every need. They cannot. But I’ve just about never been part of a church where the elder assigned to us actually takes the time to get to know me and my family; not even over one meal.

HOW can they be shepherds if they don’t know their sheep?

Stop. PLEASE stop counting the bodies and help speak life into the people who are already there!

There is not just ONE group where this fault lies. Members need to be living the way Christ called us to live and help serve when the Holy Spirit moves us to and so do the leaders of the church.

The leaders need to do more than just wear the title. Serve the members so that the members can serve others.

What if we all helped each other find the talents and gifts God has gifted to each of us?

Sometimes stuff in the Bible seems to be far away or not very relevant but the truth is; it IS relevant and it IS a Living Word.

I may not know how to help all churches, clubs, or whatever to be the best they can be but what I DO know (because I have been in this place before) and find comfort in ~ is this:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.  Matthew 5:3

 

I don’t have all the answers but I know we all need to be part of the solution. I was moved to write this because sometimes we get sidetracked with quantity instead of working toward quality.