Seeking the Good of Others

Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, bearing this inscription: The Lord knows those who are his, and let everyone who calls on the name of the Lord turn away from wickedness.

2 Timothy 2:19

This week the Wine Women & the Word bible study read week 2 of the She Reads Truth study. It continues to impress me how blunt and straight forward Paul is. I know it’s true in my own life that sometimes the most obvious things can in fact not be that obvious at all. Or worse, we know the truth and choose to believe it doesn’t apply to us.

I’m enjoying imagining myself as a student of Paul’s. I’ve considered greatly what it means to imitate Christ and to have Godly wisdom guide my decisions and actions. He gives good instruction on keeping my marriage healthy by fully dedicating myself to it. His advice on living well, so as not to lead my fellow friends and family astray, is important.

The way we speak (or don’t speak), the way we act (or react), the things we dedicate our time to (or waste our time doing), the kindness (or hostility) towards others…all these actions speak volumes.

I encourage you to go through your week and think about what kind of example you set. I know we can all be a beacon of light, servant hearted and loving to all because everyone we meet is worth receiving that.

 



1 Corinthians Chapters 6-10

(spark notes edition)

  • Settle lawsuits among Christians and before the righteous
    • 1 Corinthians 6:12 Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims. (The Message)
  • Live in Peace
    • Words to the married and unmarried. Finding peace together so you may work it out in the hard times. Pleasing each other in your marriage, working on all things together.
    • What to do when it doesn’t work out.
  • Don’t cause your brother or sister to fall
    • Living in a way pleasing to God and being a good example for young believers.
    • 2 Timothy 2:15-18 Repeat these basic essentials over and over to God’s people. Warn them before God against pious nitpicking, which chips away at the faith. It just wears everyone out. Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple. Stay clear of pious talk that is only talk. Words are not mere words, you know. If they’re not backed by a godly life, they accumulate as poison in the soul. (The Message)
  • Imitate Christ
    • 1 corinthians 11:1-2 It pleases me that you continue to remember and honor me by keeping up the traditions of the faith I taught you. All actual authority stems from Christ. (The Message)

 

 

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Love Thy Neighbor

I came across this shirt today and thought it summed up the idea of true LOVE for others (picture below). How often have we heard ‘treat others the way you want to be treated’ or ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The concept seems simple right? First, you must love and respect yourself. You must be kind in your thoughts, gentle to your shortcomings and give yourself grace on the hardest days. Sometimes it’s hard to do that, but when it comes to loving ourselves the concept is much easier. We strive to feed ourselves, fulfill our basic needs, necessities and fulfill general duties to our families and friends.

Even at the most surface level, this concept should be easily applied to anyone else you come across. Being kind, respectful, providing help if you can, giving grace when people mess up should be our default…and yet it is so easy to judge and be hateful. This is where many people get it wrong. We were not put on this earth to judge. We all make mistakes, sin and fail. We are called to live a life of love. To serve others the way Christ did. How many stories are there in the bible that has Jesus talking to tax collectors, prostitutes and sinners? Do you see him segregating himself from those he deems unworthy? No. So why do we?

To the clerk at the grocery store, the homeless person you pass on the way to work, the hateful family member, other professions, beliefs, nations, religions, nationalities, prostitutes, sinners and tax collectors….we owe love. We teach by loving and caring.

Something Marshall, my husband, and I often talk about is that respecting someone’s point of view, listening to their thoughts and validating their thought process does not mean you have to agree with it. You can kindly listen and not agree. You can respect and have different views. You can love without jeopardizing your own beliefs. Why is this so hard to grasp?

So remember today:
Love thy foreign, homeless, prostitute, imprisoned, disabled, gay, straight, transgender, enemy, blue collar, white collar, old, young, black, white, lonely, jewish, muslim, christian, atheist, male, female, racist, addicted, rich, poor, liberal, conservative, different from you __________ NEIGHBOR.

Love+Shirt+Main

What identifier do you need to fill in the blank so you remember this? Go out today and LOVE. Be kind, be strong and be loving to everyone you meet. Maybe pray a little too.

~Shelby

 

Images property of https://cyny.org/all/loveshirt. Also- go buy this shirt.

Kinder Than Necessary

It takes more work to be good. I keep thinking about this after a busy week. After seeing closed minded posts on social media, a parent being rude to me, teaching a crazy off the wall class at school…it had me feeling down.

We all have those thoughts that creep in. When we’re tired or upset or overworked it’s a lot harder to see through a clear lens. When people start clouding your focus with bad manners, hate and judgment it’s hard to filter that out to set the better example.

I listened to a podcast this week that talked about ‘being kinder than necessary.’ We’ve seen the Pinterest quotes and maybe even said the words ‘kill with kindness.’ How often do we actually employ this idea, all while letting go of anger or resentment towards the one that did you wrong? Being kind to someone’s face and then turning around to complain about it to someone else is not the same thing. Talking through a problem or asking advice is beneficial, but complaining is not. But seriously isn’t that the hardest?

I started thinking about this idea of being kinder than necessary. Showing love to the parent that was sarcastic and rude was difficult. Helping out a co-worker even when they should have accomplished that task already was not what I wanted to do. The thing about kindness is that it’s only kind if you do it out of compassion, concern and care for that situation. Have I done the kind thing so people think I’m a kind person? Oh, for sure. How often do we do the begrudgingly kind thing because we feel like we ‘should’ and not just because it is needed?

I struggle to see and hear closed mindedness. Sharing your thoughts is one thing, but doing it in a hateful or discriminatory way is never okay. We all have different ideas of what is right and wrong and the most important thing to remember is that each of us feel differently about different things. Assuming you’re the only right person and closing yourself off to conversation is not loving, it is judgmental. It’s also not kind.

It’s easier to be hateful and negative. It’s much harder to be loving. It’s harder to be willing to sit and listen to someone with a different mindset, without jumping in to correct them. It’s harder to accept differences than to categorize someone as bad or wrong. Listening can lead to some of the most fruitful conversations for both you, or for them.

In premarital counseling Marshall and I talked about how validating someone’s thoughts or feelings doesn’t mean you are agreeing they are right. You can validate why your husband thinks one thing, by listening and understanding them, without saying you agree. Validating a person’s feelings is important. If they ask for your opinion on the matter you can give a differing one, all while respecting how they might have come to their conclusion.

Allowing room for kindness, the kind you mean without a hidden motive, respect by listening, and love by caring are 3 essential parts of being a good human. Let’s all practice that today.

I bet you’re picturing that one difficult person in your life right now. How can you show kindness today? How will you balance kindness, validation and love without compromising yourself?

Let’s work on this together.

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She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

Proverbs 31:26

(A reminder for me this week to speak kindly and teaching lovingly!)

 

~Shelby