Saturday, February 28, 2009

I'm grieved

The Lord has been speaking to me lately about being patient with other believers.

You know what I mean; you don't have to blow a gasket just because someone believes a little differently than you do. You don't have to walk up to a girl in church who is dressing immodestly according to your standards and give her a lecture. So many of Paul's letters address this issue of...well, to put it in my own terminology,...not being nit-picky.

Number one, maybe I am being legalistic. Gasp! You mean it's possible for me to be wrong?! Humbling as it is to admit it, I have to come to terms with the fact that if God's Word spells something out black-and-white-in-clear-concise-English, then that particular thing is correct. If He says it's sin, it's sin. If He says it's right, it's right. Anything else - any laws and standards I have - I get from my interpretation of His word. And there is the possibility that I'm wrong about what He means in a certain passage.

Number Two, if I'm mature in a certain area of my Christian walk, and I do have the correct interpretation of a passage, the correct conviction in an area...then I ought to be mature in the way I apply it. I ought to realize that there are weaker brethren who have not "seen the light" yet.

Hey - if God showed something to me in His own good time, and convicted my heart about it, then why can't He do it with those people too?

Without my help.

Has your heart ever changed because someone walked directly up to you and confronted you about something you were doing wrong? Count the number of times that has been effective in your life. Not many.

How many times has God changed your heart indirectly - through a message you heard, and conversation you overheard, a chapter you read, a time spent in prayer? Ah, now those times I can't count on my fingers. Or my toes too, for that matter.

I know there's a correct time and place to personally confront a brother or sister in Christ about something in their life. I'm not saying it's wrong to do that. I'm just saying I often do it when I shouldn't be doing it. There are many times when God was getting along just fine without my help, and I stepped in just because my time table wasn't His, and I thought that I could raise His children better than He could - that I could mature them faster with MY child-rearing method.

Sounds foolish, huh? I can't believe I give in to that temptation so often. But I do.

Then I feel guilty.

Then, like a true human....I swing to the other extreme. I tell myself not to open my mouth about anything. I don't want to confront anybody, at any time, about anything. (Well, if they're a sibling, that's a different matter....)

But, honestly, I sometimes just want to open my arms, accept everybody and anything, and say "It's okay, you can just be yourself, and I'll love you."

That's fine. I should love them. The problem is, I sometimes start loving what they're doing wrong, too. In fact, I start "loving" them so much that if they honestly sit down and ask me if that particular habit is wrong, I start getting wishy-washy. I don't want to hurt their feelings.

"Oh....well, I don't think it's a sin, ....necessarily. It's all about your attitude. God sees your heart...and, well, I think you're fine."

And a perfect - perhaps God-given - opportunity for gently correcting a brother or sister in Christ has just gone out the window.

Whew! What a mess it is, being a human.

Do you know why I started this post?

Because I wanted to "rail" against a certain...thing...that bothers me - grieves me. I don't want to rail against the people that do it. I love them! I just want to be like those who stand in front of a group of people and preach against lying in general, without saying "Mr. Smith, you shouldn't have told your wife that, and Mrs. Simms, you should have said this instead of that to your neighbor."

I think I can honestly say that I don't care if my readers agree with me on this topic. It's kinda a "as for me and my house" type thing. I don't want y'all to feel like I'm passing out a new copy of the tablets of stone God gave Moses. *grin* It doesn't make me angry to have people disagree with me on this particular topic. That's why I titled this post "I am grieved" not "I am mad." I can deal with grief much better than anger. In fact, if you want to disagree, that's perfectly all right. I believe we've already established the astounding fact that it is possible for me to be in error. *grin again*

I just need a place to "vent," as one of my friends says, and what good is a blog if it doesn't provide a place for you to get up on a soap box once in awhile?

So...

I've just looked up, in an online Bible concordance, the word "goodness." Do you know that word is used 50 times in the Bible? And do you know that only 3 of those times the verse is talking about anything other than God?

That means that out of 50 times the word is used, 47 times the word "goodness" in the Bible refers to God. "His goodness," "Your goodness," "My goodness," etc. Over and over again, the Lord proclaims His own goodness, someone tells God He is good, or a group of people exclaim in wonder over His goodness.

My favorite out of all these verses is Psalm 144:2. David is praising the Lord, describing Him, and when he gets to verse 2 he says "My GOODNESS, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me."

He calls God his goodness.

And God is our goodness! We are nothing on our own. We are filthy. We are wicked. We are not good. But God - ah, He is goodness itself! And even in the Old Testament, David understood that Jesus would give Himself as a covering for us - to literally become our goodness.

He is MY goodness.

Wow.

I love the many names of our God. I have a bookmark that has some of them on there.

Jahovah Jireh - the LORD provides.
Jahovah Nissi - the LORD is my banner.
El Shaddai - Almighty God.
El Elyon - (Isn't that beauuuutiful?) - God Most High.

I could go on. Talk about lovely names! Each one sends shivers down my spine.

And there are other names, too. Names that aren't really proper names, but we use them anyway; we call God our refuge, our strength, our strong tower, our shield...

...And our goodness.

Now, picture spending time on your knees in prayer, calling out to the Lord, praising Him, and thanking Him for indeed being your goodness.

Then go shopping at the store, attend a church service, browse the library...in short, go to any gathering of people, and hear at least a dozen people use that very same phrase as....well, they put it in where other folks would probably insert swearing.

"Oh my goodness!"

Can that fall on deaf ears? Can I actually hear folks who know nothing of my God use that phrase and it not make me wince? Especially my Christian friends. I know they have no intention at all, in the slightest, of sounding the way they sound to me. They're just talking like they've always talked. But in my head, I think "they have no idea what they're saying!" and I am grieved.

Now, like I said, perhaps I'm being legalistic. I don't think so. I'm not creating any new laws, and I'm not telling people how they have to talk. I'm only discussing how I like to talk - or not talk, rather.

I guess I just needed somewhere to write down how I'm feeling tonight. I guess I just get tired of hearing people steal that phrase. It's mine - and yours - our special description for One we love very much. I wish folks would stop inserting it where the heathen insert swear words! I do indeed.

Ah, well, thank you for bearing with me. I'm amazed at how many rambling posts you put up with. They aren't ramblings to me (most of the time!). They are out pours of my heart. You seem to understand that, and take my words, sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.

Thank you for that. Please do it tonight.

5 comments:

Mrs. Hurzeler said...

I understand exactly what you are saying. Sometimes I wish there were more clearcut rules about everything that way I know when things are right or wrong. But like you said there are alot of things that we may believe that we can't pass on to others. And when I feel something 100% it doesn't mean I am right, or that others need to agree with me. Even when it comes to things like modesty. The Bible clearly says to dress modestly but, really what does that mean? I think I know some good guidelines, but there are no real inch by inch guidelines. I am sure alot of the people that get really legalistic(ie. trying to find rules that are not really set) about things, are well meaning people trying to find answers because they are desperate to follow God's ways. And so they search for it. I have seen people take verses and really dissect them down to where they get meaning out of it that I don't understand. Anyway, I didn't mean for this comment to get long. You don't have to publish this. But my e-mail address is carrieleehurzeler@yahoo.com and so if you ever wanted to contact me feel free. God Bless.

Alethea Jordan said...

Hey, I know that gets on my nerves, too. I don't think you're being legalistic at all. The Bible plainly states(as one of the ten commandments) not to take God's name in vain. It honestly amazes me how much you hear those phrases in the span of ten minutes outside of your home and church(sometimes). So, I guess I'm just saying I agree with you. =)

Leah said...

Amber, I really appreciate this post and I agree with you. That phrase bothers me as well for the very reasons you gave. It makes me think of Proverbs 20:6 "Most me will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?" I don't want to be among the "most" of the world! 1 Peter 2:9

This also brings to mind that Christ is our righteousness.

My Mom wrote a good post about that here: http://preachersathome.blogspot.com/2009/02/are-your-children-putting-on-whole_20.html

Truthfully Amber, I like to read your long posts! So, keep them coming! :)

Sandra said...

I don't mind your rambling posts, Amber. Not at all :)

Wow. I never thought of it that way. I mean, I feel saddened when I hear someone exclaim "oh my God!!" or something along those lines, but I never really thought about, "oh my goodness." Your reasons for why you believe it's wrong sounds legitimate to me. Next time I hear it, I'll probably feel grieved. I don't think I say 'oh my goodness." allot, but I'll try and stop from now on.

And Amber, I'm very sorry if I've ever said it to you. I'll try not to write it in e-mails or anything like that ever again :) please forgive me.

Amber said...

I didn't realize other folks felt the same way - I always felt my family was alone in this, ya know? It's nice to know we're not.

Sandra, I totally have nothing to forgive.

And thanks, ladies, for not minding my long posts. :)