Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bring the Rain Part IV

The tail end of Hebrews began to cover the idea that we need to combine our faith with action. We need to read God's word and be obedient to it as well. As I continue to read on from Hebrews into James this idea, this lesson, only becomes more clear. I'm not sure how any person can sit and read through the bible and not know there is a God. How can one book that I believe to have been written by Paul so easily lead into the teaching from James? Because, the Lord is the author! I'm in awe of his many facets and talents and how a giant puzzle that makes no sense can be pulled together and all in the perfect timing of when I/we need it. Wow!



As I grapple with the idea of forgiving a friend for a very painful event and trying to forge ahead to somehow save what is left of our friendship at the same time, my direction comes from James.



James 2:12 So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.



First of all, let me point out that it doesn't say if he judges you, it says when. We will all be judged, even believers. I have been accused of being judgemental or "riding a high horse." One thing I want to clarify is that I do not pass judgement on this friend or any person based on their actions or the things they do with their lives. I know all too well that I will be judged as well. I have no place pointing the finger or throwing stones at others when I am fully aware of my own faults and sins. Even more so, the bible promises that those who do judge will be judged greater! I've got enough that I need to answer for, I really don't need to make it worse by adding to it by worrying about someone elses faults, actions, or mistakes. I wish I could say that I'm perfect and I never look at a person and draw my own conclusions. But, I can't, I'm not perfect.



Not only am I not passing judgement on this friend for this situation or any situation, I am offering mercy. I am offering forgiveness. I remember the condition of my heart, mind, and soul before I surrendered to Jesus. I was lonely, suffering, tormented, and angry. I was and still do struggle with anger. Now, I'm not accusing this friend of feeling lonely or tormented or anything of the like. I can only assume because even Christians are lonely. Even Christians get hurt, feel betrayed, get angry, and feel sad. We will never be truly fulfilled on this earth, it isn't our final place. None of us will feel completely fulfilled until we reach eternity in heaven with Him.



James 2:14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don't show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?



James 2:17 So you see, faith by itself isn't enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.



James 2:19-22 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can't you see that faith without good deeds is useless? Don't you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete.



I provided the previous scriptures as a baseline just to talk about James 2:22 His actions made his faith complete.



Now my friend and a few others can attest to this. In previous times of misunderstanding I would fly off the handle in anger, pointing fingers, accusing, and making excuses for my own actions. My faith is very important to me. Doing the right thing, being obedient to God, and doing what he would do is very important to me. This current situation has been building for some time. I have forgiven each time I was hurt, each time I felt betrayed as others would relay to me things that she had said and/or done. I didn't go running back and demand an explanation or an apology. I just forgot it and went on loving. I was only trying to put my faith into action. Though there were others that told me I was merely behaving like a doormat. So I tried to behave like a servant but didn't fully understand all that meant. I was still asking myself "what about me, what about my needs, why aren't you there for me, and how can you say or think that about me, do I mean anything to you at all?" But, being a servant is one-sided. My purpose here is not to collect people to serve my needs. My purpose here is to be a servant to those people.



I a reminded of scriptures that speak of Jesus being a servant. Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.



(The next few words are a synopsis from a teaching from sermonnotebook.org)



Love of a humble servant: John 13:1 This verse talks about Jesus knowing his ministry on earth was coming to an end. That he loved his disciples during his ministry on earth and now he loved them to the very end. Jesus knows he was about to be put through a torturous death and yet he was overcome with love for them, unconditional, eternal love. He knew before the betrayal that he would be betrayed, yet, he still loved unconditionally! Forgave even before he was betrayed.



You can read the rest of the sermon here: http://sermonnotebook.org/new%20testament/John%2013_1-20.htm



My point is, I'm at a place in my life now where regardless as to what I have to gain or lose by sharing my life with those I love, I will love them and be there for them regardless. I am not going to try and settle every score or even discuss with the people why they do certain things. Sure, I have questions. I'd love to know why so-and-so said this and why so-and-so did that but that is my purpose here. The bible talks about in John:13 during the Passover meal how Jesus washes the feet of his disciples. He put himself in the most humble of positions to demonstrate his unconditional love for these people. Jesus calls us to do the same. To serve others. To share his love with those around us at all costs so that they might one day find the truth and surrender to Jesus. Our whole existence is for the sake of the gospel. Getting as many souls as possible into the realm of heaven where we were created to be, with Him for eternity in his presence.



I may be the only source of God's love that may friend will ever see. I lay down my feelings and my hurts and forgive. It is what Jesus would do to share his love. It is what he does for me daily to share his love with me. I truly want the very best for my friend. I have in recent weeks spoken many loving words over her and I meant every single word of it. She will always hold a special place in my heart. I will always think of her and pray for her. If and when a time should come that she has need of me for anything, I will be there. It is my purpose in this life to worship my Lord. It is my purpose to allow him and his word to renew my mind. To be made more in his image every day. To allow his love that resides within me to overflow onto those around me. If I weren't full of him, full of his word, full of his love, I wouldn't be able to proceed this way. I wouldn't be able to hold my tongue and resist trying to defend myself, my reputation. I wouldn't be able to resist the temptation to demand and explanation. This is the time in my life where I finally can say I have faith. I truly do believe in what I say I believe in. So much so that I will lay down my flesh and do the right thing. Do good deeds. Show mercy, love, and forgiveness. I can honestly say at this moment I have no hard feelings, only peace, love, and hope for a future that is bright for her. I have tried to my core to be the best, honest, loyal, giving, and supportive person I can possibly be. I can't even begin to fathom how that got twisted but it must have. I just pray that blinders be removed and the truth be revealed. That my intentions, my pure motivations, my heart, and my love for her be shown in truth.



I would love to call and talk it out but I'm certain it will only mean excuses and say to each other only what we think the other wants to hear. So, I am in the process of prayerfully writing a letter. Not one where I will attempt to defend my name. There is nothing to defend. Not one where I make excuses. There is nothing to make excuses for. But, one where I try to explain that it is as if none of it ever happened. I don't care how or why. I'm drawing a line in the sand. Hopefully not one that separates us but one that separates the bad from the good, with both of us standing on the side of the good, together. In a way, some things will never be the same. But my love and loyalty to her will never change.



In closing, what was really a super long post divided into sections, two songs come to mind. The first is Love Is Not a Fight. Love is not a fight but worth fighting for. May the angels always keep the doors barred when either of us tries or wants to quit. Todd, you're stuck with me for eternity! You were created just for me! The second song is Call My Name by Third Day who has to be one of my favorite bands. This is a song I can certainly still relate to from time to time. It's purpose today is for those who haven't yet surrendered. You wander in sadness, loneliness, and pain. There is a savior for you. There is relief. You have a place in his arms and he longs for you to be with him. He loves you! Just call his name. The sweet name of Jesus. Maybe you aren't without love but still something is missing. Peace still evades you. Jesus is the cure. I know it once sounded ridiculous to me. We often say and hear "Jesus saves." You won't understand all those two words truly mean until you have a revelation of his love for you in your life. "Saves" doesn't even begin to articulate what he does for us. But, it is what he does in every capacity, in every area, in every facet possible he saves us. Call his name. Whisper it even, Jesus. Every hair on your head is counted and every tear caught by his loving hand. Jesus.



3 drops of sunshine:

Tabbie:) said...

I think I need to print out your series for future reference.

God stuff!!

Cindy said...

Kari,

I have been away for a few days and am leaving again in a few minutes but I just read your last 4 posts. WOW ~ You have been seeking God with purpose.

James is my absolute favorite book for 'how to live life'.

I will email you when I return because I'd love to share some thoughts with you. You are so on the right path with God.

Bless you my friend, Cindy

Cheryl said...

You're awesome.

Third Day rocks in concert. It is an awesome experience. I hope you can see them someday (if you haven't already). Mac has the most awesome voice I have ever heard. Are you a Gomer? You must be a Gomer!

Family Christian Store has their Christmas CD on sale for $5. It's good. Traditional Christmas songs sung by them. Yummy.