Fighting the Darkness

As a church employee and, I believe, trusted friend, I often have people tell me about their struggles, their pain, their darkness. As I looked around the church this morning, I realized once again that most of us think we’re the only ones fighting the darkness. “Yes,” we think, “other people may have their challenges, but their challenges aren’t as bad, as agonizing, as life-altering as mine.”

But they are.

This is an important fact to remember. Unless my neighbor has told me about her struggles, I have no idea what’s hiding behind her smile. Is she wondering if she dares trust that her husband will never have another affair? Is her mother dying of cancer, leaving her feeling like an abandoned child? Did she just lose her job right after buying a new car?

I don’t know. So…

I won’t judge her when she upsets me, because I DON’T know.

I won’t assume that her life is hunky dorey and no one is living through a hell as bad as mine, because lots of people ARE.

AND I WON’T GIVE UP HOPE.

As I looked around the sanctuary this morning, I saw many people who are even now fighting the darkness, but I also saw a room full of conquerors who have battled time and time again and, with God’s help, WON.

Philippians 4:13

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

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The Way of Escape

You reach for the door handle and it breaks. In that first instant you may think you’re stuck in your car with no way out. Of course, you realize quickly that you can roll down the window and open the door from the outside, or even slide over and exit on the passenger side. Either way, you do have an escape route.

When this happened today, it started me thinking or, rather, remembering. Waaaaay back in the olden days, before cordless phones and caller ID, when the phone rang so seldom that you always went running to catch it, my boyfriend and I were alone in the house and got a little carried away.

But EVERY time we went too far in the wrong direction, the phone rang, and EVERY time it rang the person on the other end hung up as soon as I answered. After the fourth or fifth time, we realized we were in danger of being late somewhere and I had the sense to insist on us rushing to get ready to leave.

It was some time after this that I discovered 1 Corinthians 10:13.

“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (NKJV)

What happened that day was clearly God making a way of escape for me, and it is a lesson I have never forgotten. If I give in to temptation, it’s because I ignore the escape routes He has opened for me.

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

Airing Dirty Laundry

If you’ve never hung clean laundry out to air dry in the sun, you’ve missed a unique satisfaction. As a kid, few things were as pleasant as the smell of clothing and sheets that had just come down from the line. Everything was crisp and obviously clean and fresh. I loved it.

With this in mind, I can’t currently think of anything less satisfying that air drying, or airing, dirty laundry. First, I’d never want the neighbors to see me doing anything so foolish. Second, WHY?! Pulling it off that line would give something far from the satisfaction I got from pulling clean laundry, and even as I took it down I would know my work had just doubled or worse: Dirty laundry that has been aired is even harder to get clean because all the dirt, soil, and stains are baked in.

The same holds true on social media. It seems to me that airing our dirty laundry has become the order of the day, and I find it appalling on many levels. It flat out makes the person doing the talking look foolish and wrong, especially if later on it turns out the facts weren’t quite as they thought. Even worse, though, it can completely destroy relationships that could have been saved if the parties had come together instead of one or both airing their problems in public. And for the Christian? Frankly, it’s dangerous.

God’s Word presents the concepts of love and forgiveness repeatedly, and love in particular is something I think we truly don’t understand. One line that took me years to comprehend is, “Love will cover a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)

The full verse is this: “And above all things, have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’”

Who is He talking to here?

Christians.

What is He saying?

Our brothers and sisters in Christ WILL sin. They WILL do us wrong. They WILL make mistakes. They ARE NOT PERFECT no matter how much anyone thinks they should be. (The absurd belief that Christians should be perfect is fodder for another post!)

What else is He saying?

It is our responsibility to LOVE ANYWAY. It’s our responsibilty to cover their mistakes and, yes, even their sins, with love.

Example: When, as a young wife, I felt my husband had done me wrong, I did NOT go running to my mother to tell her all about it. I chose not to because I knew he loved me and I didn’t want to say something to her that would ruin his reputation where she was concerned. Instead, I took our issues to God and we dealt with things privately.

God IS love, and He expects us to work on becoming more like Him all the time. He doesn’t just ask us to love one another; He commands it. As Christians, when we’ve got a load of dirty laundry, we are responsible for making the right decision on how to handle it. Tossing it out to bake in the light of public opinion pretty much guarantees it will never be cleaned and the damage will become permanent. It is the exact opposite of what Scripture commands, and it makes us look bad as individuals and reflects poorly on the community we live in, the church.

Let’s trying cleaning it instead.

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C