Just Don’t Get Caught

I was reclining in a chair, watching as my children played “Red Light, Green Light.”

Sometimes I sit and watch them play and just marvel at how awesome it is to have such great kids who enjoy playing together. Today was not that day. 

Today I was focused on something else.  See, the person who won the round of “Red Light, Green Light” got to call the next round. So obviously, all my children wanted to be the caller. Well, the caller was purposely trying to get them to mess up, so that they would have to go back to the start line… I noticed that often they would mess up by going when red light was called or running when yellow light was called.

But all my children would only admit they messed up if they knew they had been caught. One of my children gave a certain facial expression every time she knew that she messed up…But she only went back when someone called her out on it.

She only admitted to being wrong when she was caught.

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Ok, I can relate to that. Especially when I compare my life before I started walking with Christ to now.

Growing up I got this subtle message that it was ok to do “bad” things as long as you didn’t get caught.

Drinking- The legal age for drinking alcohol is 21. BUT if you are going to drink, don’t drink and drive.

Sex- Sex is meant for marriage. BUT if you are going to have sex, use protection. You don’t want an STD or unplanned pregnancy.

I know the adults in my life meant well. I know they were just being realistic about the culture I lived in. But I really felt like they were telling me, “Here’s what I am supposed to tell you… But if you are going to do it, don’t get caught.”

This concept flooded into so many areas in my life. The moral line became so blurred. I know I am not supposed to do this. But…as long as I don’t get caught, it’s ok.

It really piled up when I started giving myself permission to just tell a little lie. Then I would have to tell another lie to cover that one up. Then I would have to exaggerate a story and add details so people would believe me. I would get so caught up in defending my little lie with more lies, that soon I didn’t even really remember what happened. I would get so worried about getting caught, that I didn’t even know what the truth was. This is an exhausting way to live.

If you are only worried about getting caught, all you care about is not being found out.

I’m so glad the Holy Spirit came into my life and started showing me a better way. Not long after I met Jesus in my backyard, I learned a really important lesson. The reason you don’t do those bad things is not because of others, but because you want to grow in relationship with God.

For example, alcohol restrictions are in place to protect young people from the negative effects of drinking. God told us to obey the law of the land. Also, his word tells us not to get drunk on wine.  It never says don’t drink. You can do that. But responsibly and within the limits of the law. Make sure you are in control of your actions and emotions when you do. Those boundaries are there to help you and guide you.

The reason you shouldn’t have sex before marriage is so much more. God put a boundary on sex because sex was meant to be a good thing. It was meant to show a union between two married people and yoke them together. By choosing to wait until marriage, you are respecting God’s boundary. You are growing in relationship with the Father. And as you grow closer to God, you are preparing your heart for a marriage that will glorify God.

See, I missed all that, when I was focused on me. When I was focused on not getting caught, I had no clue that the first part of that message was about a relationship with Christ.  The adults in my life knew that the world would tell us otherwise, so they were trying to keep us safe.

Truthfully those truths were easy to see as they were spelled out to me. However, the ones I am still learning have a deep and meaningful impact on me.  For example, the Holy Spirit really got a hold of me when it came to lying and gossiping (as you can probably tell by the topics of most of my blogs.)

See prior to walking with Christ, I had a really bad problem with stretching the truth. I had a horrible issue with gossiping. I didn’t even realize I was doing it. I just wanted people to see why I felt the way I did. So, I told the story with colorful glasses on. I left out parts that made me look bad. I added details to make the other person look like a monster. Before I knew it, the story I told only shared a thread of truth. I was not a good person before I meet Jesus.

But a lesson I have learned through this sanctification process is that the truth frees you. If you always tell the truth, you don’t have to remember what you said.

Tell the truth. The truth frees you. It frees you from the worry of being found out. It frees you from the tornado you create to cover up your “bad” actions.

When you walk the way God calls you to walk, you don’t have to put on a show, fake the funk, wear a mask, or pretend to be anything other than what you are. You don’t have to worry about being caught.

You are exactly who you are.  A flawed sinful human trying her best to be the woman God has called you to be.

So, if you are worried about getting caught, I challenge you to pray about that situation. Ask the Holy Spirit to convict you, lead you, and help you overcome that area. It won’t be easy, but I promise it will be freeing.

You were not meant to carry the weight of your sin on your shoulders. Walk in peace. Go and sin no more.

Just a Little…

Last week my children and I were in a little fender bender. We were traveling on the interstate and switching highways during rush hour. While we were stopped on the exit ramp, a lady rear-ended us.

As I sat in my van waiting on the police officers to show up, I was annoyed. Annoyed that I had to sit on the side of the highway while I watch the traffic get thicker. Annoyed that now my van has a dent in the bumper. Annoyed that now my children have officially been in an accident. Annoyed that my husband insisted that the EMTs check us all out. Annoyed that I was supposed to have an extra hour and a half to get to my location, and now I was going to be late. It was just a little fender bender. We are fine.

So, after almost two hours, we were finally on our way to our chosen location.

But guess what? We weren’t fine. That little annoying back ache I told the EMTs about started to be a much bigger pain. The pain slowly crept down my back, into my bottom, and shot down my leg. So, I went to the hospital.

I was officially diagnosed with a sprained shoulder and back pain due to an irritated sciatic nerve.

It still all seemed annoying. It was just a little fender bender!!! How can it cause such a big impact?

Even if it’s just a little bit… it’s still enough. Enough to cause pain. Enough to cause trouble. Enough to throw you off completely.

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Just a little…

That’s all it takes.

Just a little gossip.

Let me just vent this one frustration.

Next thing I know I am swirling in a tornado looking for more juicy details to justify my stance.

Now, I am separating myself. Of course, I am separating myself from the person who has wronged me. But I am also separating myself from God.

I am not acting the way a Christian should act. I am misrepresenting that person. I am causing others to think poorly of that person- why? Because I let my emotions control me and gave into that sin God has been convicting me of.

But it was just a little.

And I was right…

Well, at least I thought I was right…

Now, I’m not so sure… But everyone else thinks I am right, so I dig my heels in.

I backslide just a little.

But just a little is enough.

Now my peace is disrupted.

Now my personal time with God is a checklist.

Now I am living for myself.

It was just a little gossip, God. Why does it have to have such an impact?

Because when I give into the temptation to gossip, I have put other people’s opinions above God’s. I have started looking for satisfaction from other’s opinions and misfortune, while looking to others who have negative opinions. I have lost sight of God, because I have put too much focus on others.

When I was under the strong conviction to stop gossiping and to only talk positively of others, I realized just how hard that was. But I also realized this desire to gossip came from an unhealthy value of other people’s opinions. I wanted them to like me. I wanted them to care about what I said. So, what if I said she looks like she’s trying too hard to dress nice. It’s the truth. But whose truth is it? My truth or God’s truth?

Ladies let me tell you, we all want to be accepted. We all want to be loved. But when we are looking to others to accept us and love us, we fall victim to the trap of sin. We allow ourselves to think and act negatively. So, instead of tearing someone down to feel good, try building her up so you can both feel good.

Gossip is a much bigger deal than our culture wants us to believe. It’s everywhere!!! I mean just checking out at the store you see magazines filled with gossip. Watching television, you rarely see people talking well of another person unless it makes them look good. Kid shows are teaching young girls its ok to be frenemies. (A person you call your friend but really dislike.)

We have to shine a light into this darkness! We cannot allow our daughters to think its ok to be frenemies with anyone. We are called to love others above ourselves. When we give into the temptation to sin, we are loving ourselves about all. We must show others the love of Christ, and that starts with our hearts.

Create in me a clean heart O’ Lord. We have to train ourselves to think positively. To think the way God calls us to live. Only then can our action be true and sincere. It must be an overflow from our hearts.

It’s not an option. We must teach our children to live the way God calls us to live. And we must teach them by modeling proper behavior. We are called to live counter-culturally. 

Our culture doesn’t care about your well-being. Everyone who lives in the world cares about themselves. Which is why the world drives you to be selfish. It temps you to fall back into that trap of sin.

Even if it’s just a little bit.

It’s enough.

God’s not trying to be a “mean dad” by withholding something from you. He’s trying to free you from the weight of that sin. Only then can you draw closer to Him and continue to be transformed into the image of Christ.

Thank you, Lord, for never giving up on me. Thank you for your convictions that free me from the weight of my sins. Thank you for the peace you have filled my life with! Thank you for walking with me as I go through this process. Thank you for being the awesome and amazing God you are!

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.”

Ephesians 4:31 (NLT)

Dietary Restriction

We recently learned that our daughter is lactose intolerant. Let me tell you, I had no idea how hard a dietary restriction was on a four-year-old.

The first week, I felt like I had to make her “a special” meal for every meal… apparently I overuse dairy in my kitchen. Luckily, she was a champ and thought making a special spaghetti was pretty cool…  

I made some adjustments in the kitchen, gathered some dairy-free snacks, and life seems to be moving smoothly…

Until we are out in public and someone offers my kids a treat. Chocolate, cookies, muffins, donuts, cheesy crackers… guess what they all contain- dairy…

Even when they do try to accommodate (and I really do appreciate it), she still feels cheated… I can’t really blame her. What kid wants to eat pretzels while her sister is eating a chocolate chip cookie???

My poor daughter doesn’t understand. She knows she can’t have dairy. But she really wants it. She knows a belly ache is coming if she eats it, but she still really contemplates it.

The world does not really care about her needs. It’s a fact- she can’t have dairy. Yet, everywhere she goes, people will be eating dairy products. I will continue to be the “mean-mom” who tells her she can’t have it, while allowing her siblings to have some. I know it doesn’t seem fair, but they don’t have the same needs. 

There are many people who are just now learning about her dietary needs and trying to accommodate. They are looking for treats she can have and offering them instead. I know as more and more people come alongside her and understand her dietary needs, it will be easier. But the world will still offer diary… a lot…

dietary restriction

I have definitely felt like my daughter during some of spiritual pruning.  Sometimes I know the area God is working on me, and I am striving to align my will with His. But then I see other Christians doing the same thing God is leading me to NOT do.

It doesn’t seem fair. It doesn’t seem right? Why is God choosing to convict me of gossip while the ladies in the front of the church are sharing not so great information about another member of the church? Why is God convicting me of my love of food, yet every gathering has an unlimited supply of junk food.

The world doesn’t care about our convictions. The world cares about themselves. Knowing this, we can go out in the world prepared to battle that sin.  But it feels different within our Christian circles. We are following the same God, who is a personal God, yet works on us each individually.

The truth is life is not about other people. It’s about God!  The Holy Spirit is leading you in this way so that you can grow closer to God. Your job is not to understand but to submit.  

You have no idea what God’s plan is. Maybe your conviction will change your behavior and help spread His light. Maybe you will help inspire a conviction of other people. Or maybe you will be the safe person that this person can turn to once the Holy Spirit reveals a similar sin to them.

Instead of thinking it’s unfair, pray. Sanctification is not meant to be fair; it’s meant to be personal.  Pray for the strength to overcome this sin. Remember to keep your eyes on the Lord. You cannot ask a neighbor to remove their speck while having a log in your eye. My relationship with God is between God and me. God is completing a good work in you and is faithful to carry it out to completion. 

Guess what? He’s doing the same thing in every believer’s life. It’s our job to love other Christians, walk beside them, and help them in their walk. Remember your convictions are your convictions. Share those convictions, but do not push them. It’s not your job to change another person, that’s God’s work. Clean up your own spiritual diet and allow God to do what only God can do.

We all have a spiritual diet. What we fill our hearts with is very important. Use those spiritual disciplines and listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Read you Bible. Pray. Meditate. Yes, even if that means waking up early or staying up late. Find a time. Do it.

Gather for fellowship. We have a very real need to be surrounded by like minded people. Iron sharpens iron.  

Share your testimony. Share your God moments! Share your struggles.

When God first called me to share my testimony. I straight up told Him I don’t want to. I cried wondering what people would think. I cried knowing just how hard it would be to share the pain I have endured.

Then God showed me the Garden of Gethsemane. Guess what? Jesus didn’t want to do it either. He begged His Father to let this cup pass. But He submitted, “Not my will, but Yours be done.”  

I, too, submitted. I learned that sharing my testimony may help others. But really, it’s helping me. It’s showing me just how active God is in my life. It’s helping me recognize His activity. It’s helping me leave the old life behind and embrace the sanctification process.  It’s helping me be open in all areas of my life. Yes, being open about my shortcomings, struggles, and faith has also helped some other people do the same. But really, this was about obedience and growing closer to God. Not just about helping others. 

Share your testimony. Share how God is active in your life. Someone else may see their new convictions as a “dietary restriction” and needs to see you holding your head high walking with the Lord. They need to know they are not alone.  

Escape Room

 My husband and I had the opportunity to do an Escape Room Challenge for our anniversary. It was super fun! If you have never done one, I would highly recommend it. We will definitely be doing another one soon.

 

Well during this challenge we were locked in a room for an hour with clues and a ton of locks to open. We sifted through the clues and found the first combination. But then we went to a lock… and it didn’t work!

 

What! So, we tried the combination backwards… nothing…  we had to ask for help… we used our first clue. Do you know why we needed that help? We were on the wrong lock!!!

 

So, we started trying all the other locks. Some locks were key locks, so we knew those wouldn’t be the right lock. Some locks had longer combinations. But it still took us a little while to figure out which lock it was.

 

As I looked at the clock ticking down, I wondered how we would complete this entire task on time. But we ended up finishing with 15 minutes to spare.

 

See as we went through the process, it got easier. We started piecing clues together quicker. We also knew where all the locks were. We started seeing the patterns quicker and were able to use previous knowledge to help us in our current situation.

 

Yet, we still did struggle occasionally, especially with having the right numbers, wrong order.

escape room help

This is such a clear picture of a Christian’s walk with Christ.  When we start out, we are excited and ready to start the journey. But that first bump leaves us a little shaken. We are not real sure what to do next.

 

It’s so important to ask for that help! The person who helped us with our challenge knew exactly why we were struggling… and he knew exactly what we needed to complete the task…  but we were frustrated and confused.

 

While we were in this rough spot of the challenge, my husband and I could have chosen to throw our hands up. We could have decided to vent about how ridiculous the challenge was or how dumb the lock was. But that would not have actually helped at all with our challenge.

 

One of my biggest hang-ups in my Christian walk has been gossiping. See, I was the person who needed to vent. But my venting sessions usually including me talking poorly about the other person or thing that was causing my frustration. I was seeking the approval of the person I was venting to and definitely not sharing the whole story- just my frustrations. This was in no way helping me grow closer to God. In fact, it was 100% feeding my flesh.

 

I learned that venting did not actually help the situation… and sometimes… most of the time… it was downright sinful. It never fixed anything and still left me feeling defeated.

 

I needed to go to the one who could actually help me in this situation- God. I needed to go to the Lord in prayer. Instead of venting, I needed to pray for that person. I needed to pray that God would help me see that person the way that He sees them. I prayed for patience, understanding, peace, and growth. And I began seeing answered prayers.

 

Through this process, I also learned that I am not alone in this struggle. Other people have this struggle too. Everyone struggles with sin. It’s part of our nature. I needed to intentionally look for other women and men who have walked the same path I have walked and are still standing strong in their relationship with Christ. I need mentors. I need my sisters in Christ.  

 

Think about it- my husband and I would have never gotten out of that Escape Room had we not asked the mentor- the person who knew our path- for help.

 

Sometimes it’s hard to find that circle of Christian women to surround us. As a baby Chrisitan and very much an introvert, I found a lot of support through online communities like Proverbs 31 and Club 31.  It just so happens that during this season of my life, they were doing a book study on the book Keep it Shut by Karen Ehman (a Bible study on gossip). I know this was no coquidence, but a God thing. I learned to love all the ladies who write for them. They are so relatable. They make me feel like they understand my issues, that I am not alone, and I can conquer that sin with God on my side. They gave me the courage to start sharing my own testimonies, struggles, breakthroughs, and so on. 

 

But don’t stop there! Online support, books, blogs, they are great tools. But we are called to fellowship!  A friendship rooted in Christ is an amazing gift! Get involved in your church. Join that prayer group. Join that Bible Study. Join in that fellowship opportunity. 

 

And when you stumble, because you will, reach out to someone for help. Let them console you. Let them pray for you. I know it can be scary to just put yourself out there. But when someone tells you that you are not alone, they’ve been there, and here’s what I’ve learned- it’s seriously a gift from God! Sometimes, you may not like what they have to tell you, but that doesn’t mean they are wrong. It means you need to look to God and access His ways. 

 

We are all on this journey called life. Don’t let a little bump derail you. Keep your eyes on the prize- Christ. And when you need help- ask. 

 

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”

1 John 1:7

The Splinter

One of my children recently had a splinter in his foot. Now this child is extremely sensitive to touch and pretty much all sensory inputs. He showed me the splinter. I pushed the skin slightly around it and he started crying, “Owwey Owww.”

I took a look at him and said, “Son, I’m not cutting your arm off. Do you want the splinter out, or do you want it to stay in there and keep hurting?”

He thought about it for a minute. Then he asked, “If you don’t get it out, when will it come out?”

“Well, not anytime soon. You can either let me get it out now, and it will stop hurting. Or you can leave it alone and let it keep bothering you. But if you want me to get it out, it’s gonna hurt for a minute.”

I honestly thought he was going to tell me to leave it alone, so I didn’t give him a choice. I grabbed his foot, endured the tears, and pulled the splinter out in about 30 seconds.

Once it was out, he said, “Thanks mom. It doesn’t hurt anymore.”

Imagine that. Once the splinter was out, the pain was gone. But the immediate pain of removing the splinter actually had my son considering leaving it alone.

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Come on. I know we can all relate to this. We all have that guilty pleasure, secret sin, that we know is hurting us but can’t let go of.

For some of us, it’s gossip. We get sucked into that real-life soap opera and crave the details. (more on this in a little bit…)

Maybe it’s lust. Watching those romantic comedy movies has you secretly wishing your significant other was more romantic, funnier, or better looking, so every time you are alone or bored, Netflix has you sucked into another movie.

For others, it’s food. We know that those sugary treats are no good for us, but hey no one is watching. A donut for lunch is just fine for now.

I do not know your personal struggle, but I know you have one. The Holy Spirit has slowly shown me areas in my life that need pruning. If you have been following my blog, you may recall some post about my struggle with gossip and drama. Let me just say, this is an area I continually need reeled back in on.

First, I was convicted to turn off the television. Then I was convicted to redirect conversations that do not honor those who were not present. But the next step was a hard one. I had to distance myself from people who would not respect my boundaries around drama.

“Bad company corrupts good character.” Wait God… there’s no way you were talking about them… what will people think when I distance myself from them?

Oh man! You can see my next conviction in that statement- why are you trying to please man rather than God? Whose approval do you really seek, Renee?

Obedience is rarely easy. God’s word is not something that is popular. Many people want the Bible to be a buffet that you can pick and choose from. But it’s not. It’s one big love story between God and His creation. We cannot just choose the parts of the story we want to hear.

Let me be honest, it was painful to put up those boundaries. It was even more painful to stand firm in my convictions. I literally tore myself up inside. I knew what people would think. I kept trying to convince myself that these people needed me to point them to God… But all they were doing was stealing my joy, keeping me on guard, and continually disrespecting my boundaries. Sadly, that showed me I had remove the part of my body that caused me to stumble. God gave me peace over the situation. And once I distanced myself from the company that kept dragging me back into my sin, the struggle with this particular sin lessened.

It’s no different than an alcoholic choosing to no longer go to a bar or hang out with his partying friends. If you are going to grow, you must remove the weeds that are choking your growth.

Removing things or people who are bad influences is hard. But the peace that comes from being free to walk with God is unexplainable. If you are feeling the Spirit prompting you to remove a splinter, do it. But know it won’t be easy. You will have to lean into God. You will most definitely need to ask for prayers and support from your Christian friends. It will hurt. But, if it is from the Holy Spirit, you will be better for it.

“If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to depart into hell. “

Matthew 5:29-30

Part of the Story

My boys have gone a kick where they enjoy making books. They draw sequential pictures to their stories and occasionally add some words. Then they will assemble their books with a three-hole punch and three pieces of yarn.

Earlier today my son was sharing one of his books with me. I opened up what I assumed to be the cover and started to “read it.” He quickly corrects me flipping the book to the last page. “Mom that’s the end. Start here.”

Oh, my bad… I didn’t realize that I was starting at the end. Or that his book was assembled backwards. Nonetheless, I needed to read the book in “order.”

This got me thinking. How many times do I start in the wrong spot of a story?

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It’s easy to walk in on someone else’s story and assume I know the beginning, middle or the end. I may have one important detail; therefore, I know everything… This couldn’t be further from the truth!

For people who “know” me, it’s easy to make assumptions about who I am. You may read my blog, follow me on Facebook, or watch my family while we’re out and about. Based on all these interactions you may assume you know me or know my character. I’ll be honest, you may make some pretty accurate assumptions. But I know you may give me too much credit… or possibly not enough…

Some people may know me from high school or college. These people have a part of the story but have missed chapters that have made me who I am today. These people have a piece of the story that some people I know today do not have.  When I was younger, I was crazier. I was wild. I chased what the world had to offer. I did not really know God, and I definitely did not try to walk with Him.

Other people may not really know me, but they know someone who does know me. The stories they hear about me are filtered. Whether or not these people like me is completely dependent on the perspective of the person who claims to know me.

If I’m really honest, not many people have the full story of who I am. Parts of my story are purposely not told. Not because I do not trust you with it. Not because it is not important. But because some things have a time and place to be shared.

It does no good to share a sob story when everyone is celebrating life. It does no good to share my success while others are mourning. The Bible tells us to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who are mourning.

I think all too often people forget to realize that everyone has a story. Everyone experiences joys and disappointments. Just because someone responds, “I’m good,” doesn’t actually mean that’s how they are doing.

There are so many days that I do that. So many days I put on my Sunday best- including a smile, and walk into Church. These days can be crazy and hectic. But as I walk into church, no one knows the story of the morning.

Like last Sunday when I had to go to the grocery store before Church. I only had 3 items to check out- but they had to be purchased before leaving for church. I had these items in the cart and ready to check out in less than 5 minutes… But I got in line at 8:57… three minutes before Schnucks will sell alcohol.  Guess what the four people in front of me were trying to purchase… beer, liquor, wine, and wine coolers. I guess the cashier decided to scan the alcohol before nine o’clock, so when the first person in line tried to pay, he was unable to do so. Instead of re-scanning the items, they decide to wait. Well, at 9:05… now 8 minutes after I had been standing in line… she calls a manager. This manger cannot figure out what’s going on. So more waiting. And more waiting. And finally the four people in front of me check out with their adult beverages. I can check out. But the cashier decides she needs to talk to the lady at the next counter about what just happened. Here I am- trying really hard to stay patient with my six children in and beside the cart. Knowing I have to be at church- 30 minutes away- in 40 minutes.

I am frustrated. I just want to leave. My time feels wasted. I feel rushed. But I am holding it all together. I turn on my Jesus Jams and head to church. As soon as I get to church, I start smiling at everyone and telling them I am good. I am good. I just had a rough morning. It’s part of the story that feels inappropriate to tell even my mother-in-law sitting beside me.

Every single person at church had a morning story. I bet some of them had a happy breakfast with their families. I’m sure someone overslept. I’m also positive someone else felt rushed. Me- I had a frustrating shopping trip.

We are all human. We all have stories that do not feel worthy of being shared. Share them anyways. Someone can relate. But more than that, we are the body of Christ. If I am feeling off, it is important to ask someone to pray for me. They don’t need all the details about why it was frustrating (we need to avoid gossiping and putting down others), but there really is something powerful about knowing you are not alone. What is even more powerful is inviting God our heavenly Father into the situation. He cares and wants to be apart of it, but God will not force His way into it. Invite Him in and watch what a difference it will make.

Remember we all struggle. We all fall short. We all have days where we feel like we are on top of the world, and then days where nothing seems to work in our favor. But as sisters and brothers in Christ, it is important to ask each other for prayer and support. We do no have to do life alone.

One of the most amazing realizations I had, was when my husband and I were sharing our early marriage struggles with another Christian couple. They laughed at each other and then said, “What do you think we used to do?”   I don’t know what they did- I wasn’t there for that part of their story. But those few words lifted a burden off me. I wasn’t alone. We weren’t alone. They’ve been there. They got through it. We can get through it too.

So don’t judge someone based on the part of the story you know. But more than that, be willing to share parts of your story that may not be glamorous, so that others can see the hope you have in Christ! You never know how much a simple, “I’ve been there,” can change a person’s outlook.

 

“Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am.”

Matthew 18:20

 

 

 

Defending the Lies

“MOOOOMMMMMM!!!!”

I looked up and saw my daughter running towards me, “The boys said I did ______, but I didn’t mom.” I see the tears forming in her eyes.

“Honey if you didn’t do it, why are you worried about it?” I asked.

“I just didn’t do it mom, and I don’t want them saying I did.”

How do you explain to a 5-year-old that actions speak louder than words? How do you tell her that if she didn’t do it, don’t worry about it?

She came running to me to defend herself, but it wasn’t needed. She wasn’t going to be in trouble for the act they said she did in the first place. To top it off, she didn’t even do it (I am still not sure what “it” was in the first place). It’s no big deal, wipe it off, and carry on.

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But is it really no big deal? I’ve been there… I am there… people saying very untrue things about me, trying to destroy my character and image with their slander. I desperately want to defend myself, but I know there’s no point. A liar is just going to keep lying… keep twisting facts to make their point known. Unfortunately, some people would rather believe their lies than the truth.

But what can I do? I could spit out the facts, tell my side of the story. I could defend myself and drag those people who want to spread lies about me down. But honestly, what good comes from that? None- Now I have brought myself into drama.

Repaying evil with evil benefits no one. (Not that sharing facts is evil, but motive matters. Sharing facts to make someone look bad is wrong. Gossip is gossip whether the facts originated in truth or not.)  This only results in everyone being hurt, frustrated, mad, and other negative feelings. No situation like this can be handled by man’s (or woman’s) scheming.

There’s only one opinion I need to worry about- that’s God’s opinion. He’s been there through the whole thing. He knows the truth, and He has brought me through the situation into His love and peace. As much as I want to defend myself, I know that God will defend me.

I know there is no reason to indulge in the drama… but that doesn’t mean my sin nature doesn’t get a hold of me and try to convince me to participate by defending my honor.

At times like this I have to remember Proverbs 6: 15-19, “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” These people will be brought to justice. God hates what they are doing. It is not my job to bring their justice. It is my job to trust in God’s perfect timing.

So, what can you do when you are in this situation? The only answer is give it up to God. Pray for those who persecute you. Pray for those who spread lies and partial truths. Pray for those who are influenced by their misconceptions. But most importantly, pray that God guards your heart so that you are not swayed giving the enemy a foothold of your heart.

Allowing just a little sin, even when worldly justified, is not worth it. Trust that God has it under control. Pray for those people. Pray for them because no matter what you do, at the end of the day, God reserves the right to change another person. We do not have that ability. Pray for them because they need Jesus. They need a relationship with Christ.

As much as these lies hurt me, it also saddens me. I do not want anyone spending eternity separated from God. I pray that the Lord continues to pursue and reveal Himself to these people. That they will let go of their selfish ways and their pride and allow Christ to be the King of their hearts.  I pray that they can turn from their ways and embrace God’s ways.

Anyone who is in a similar situation- I know. I know how hurtful it is to know that people you care about believe lies spread by another person. I know how hard it is to not defend yourself. But remember, you are better than lies. You are better than drama. You are a daughter of the heavenly King. He will defend you. He will bring you through the storm. It may not turn out the way you want it to, but His plans are far better than any plan you can dream of yourself.

Trust- God’s got this under control.

See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.

1 Thessalonians 5:15