Is your heart and mind right with those around you? In other words – are you IN offense….or maybe ON the fence in relationships? You know the enemy is a liar and his job is to kill – to steal – to destroy what God gives you to treasure and to hold near. Don’t assume you are “in the right” because your right can be very wrong in the eyes of the One Who desires unity with His friends.
Sometimes you don’t know how to honor someone. A learning curve perhaps. This does not mean you are dishonoring. This is where relationship comes in and dialogue and freedom to make mistakes and to love and be loved as an imperfect person yet HE died for them too. My way or the highway.
Do you take offense? Are you offended? Is someone on your last nerve? Have you decided you are done with this person or that person? Maybe you feel you have been hurt for the very last time by xyz? Code words for offense. Jill Mitchell O’Brien, an international speaker from the Houston area, lives a life of honor and teaches on honor. One of the statements she uses is, “Honor is what loves looks like.” She also says, “Humility never takes offense.” Thought provoking isn’t it? But how do you live this way the attitude of those around you is – my way or the highway? Or could it be this is your own private mindset? I grew up with a father who would say, “My way or the highway.” Honor was just keeping your mouth shut and doing whatever he wanted however he wanted with zero communication from or with you. Disagreement was not acceptable. So, our relationship was pretty much non existent and then mostly fear based for most my life. Fear based. Let me explain. If you or I ask a question and before we ask, we already know the person is more likely to yell at you, disagree with you, not listen, interrupt and not let you finish, tell you you are stupid, reject you as insignificant or just flat walk away offended by you…that is a fear based relationship.
Ask yourself if you are this kind of person? OR are you controlled by someone who only gives you the option of my way or the highway.
Father, I pray that you would give us grace to move forward – show us how to #Bebraver by honoring the one who dishonors – giving them and us mercy and by remembering it is only by grace that any of us face today and tomorrow.
Today, it is one year since I watched my sister Mary Ann in her big boy bed begin to make her move to heaven. I was by myself. My husband was out of town. No friends were to be found. My sisters had not yet arrived. My brother in law was not there as of yet. No pastors had come to visit. It was a divine time really – it was divine in that it was my assignment – God was with me and it was my privilege to be with her. I was supposed to be alone. Yet in that solitary place – I felt the Presence of His Strength, Guidance, Love and Mercy. His Realness was there upon me like a well fitted coat that provided all I needed in every moment. My other sister Sandy had been with numerous others as they had passed from life on the planet into their eternal home. She had held my mom’s hand when I was 17 as she moved to heaven. She had held our father’s hand in her own living room as he moved to heaven. We had surrounded her husband on the day his spirit moved to heaven. She had been with best friends when their spouses had died. She had cared for her husband’s parents and so on. Truly, you would have thought she would had been there for this move to heaven but it just was not her assignment. She had been through enough and it was simply my time. I knew it and I’m sure all my sisters knew it too – including Mary Ann who had looked at me with those trusting eyes before she slipped into an incoherent state. Eventually, she became unaware of my presence as I prayed and cried and paced and questioned and asked and pondered and started all over again. Was it the end of life? This was my question over and over and though I should have figured it out by then, I just had not figured it out. It was as if my spirit knew but my soul was slow to adjust. It had definitely been a fight for life.
The thoughts came, “How do you fight for the very life it is time to release?” It was perplexing. The thought broke into the silence of the sleeplessness. I did not even know how to let go. Yes, I believed heaven was real and do believe heaven is a real place. But, I had NEVER NOT PUT UP A FIGHT FOR LIFE.
Fight for Life. It rolled across my mind…over and over and over it spoke to me. It was a whisper. Then, it was louder than the voices around me. My mantra had ALWAYS been to fight for life. Yet, this felt different. Was there a time to let a life go? This was another thought. You would think it would be easy when you know the person you are loving is stepping to see The One Who Lived and Died for her. Yet, it was not so. I still wanted to fight for life.
It was intense, intimate and I recognized that this time it could be final.
Life comes and death comes as a process of life.
Sometimes the fight for life comes as a suddenly. You are in the middle of living your life coming here and going there and BAM you are stopped in your tracks. Everything gets put to the side and you don’t even have to think it through. You just know innately that some things at that very moment have little importance than does what lies in front of you. Fight for life. Sometimes it is a process. Sometimes you are ready and sometimes you are not ready and truthfully even when “made ready” are you ever really prepared? Sometimes you want it now as in today and then, sometimes you wish tomorrow would never arrive. Even so, whether you are old or whether you are young – we have an opportunity to fight for life.
Sometimes it is personal – you fight for your own life or the life of a family member and then sometimes it is a fight you fight on behalf of a friend or neighbor.
While I was watching my sister and contemplating her life and the life she had lived and the life she had wanted to live – I looked at my own life and the life I had lived and the life I had wanted to live. At that moment, I wanted to be nowhere else but right there with her – loving her and appreciating the time on the planet we had together. It had been an honor. I had learned so much walking life out with someone who had little to return to you. I remember how she would attempt to lift her head and try to talk but little could come out. Her complaint was being tired. She was not very cognizant and most the time unaware of my praying, crying, pacing and staring. I was stumped. I had always fought for life and had many times fought for her life. So many times it seemed she would not make it yet the human body is more resilient than we understand. God put within us this uncanny ability to fight for life.
So, how do you fight for the very life you need to also release?
Fight for Life. These words change you, your perspective and it changes the lives of those around you.
How do we fight for life? How do we live life? How do we release life? Seriously. These are the kinds of thinking that flow through my brain, my mind, my heart, my spirit, my thought life. One day at a time seems to be the only answer.
So, this is what we did – we surrounded her and loved her in this fight for life. We caressed her forehead and spoke our love to her into her ears. We held her hand. We spoke hope into her ear and into her soul and into her spirit. We decreed HOPE for her brighter heavenly tomorrow.
I thought about what had passed and what was in front and realized that the responsibility and privilege of loving one another was crucial whether we are living for many years to come or leaving planet earth any moment. What does the future hold? Only God knows and only HE can put within us a fight for life.
I want to encourage you today in your position in life, in family, in community – to take an inventory of your heart.
Is your heart and mind right with those around you? In other words – are you IN offense….or maybe ON the fence in relationships? You know the enemy is a liar and his job is to kill – to steal – to destroy what God gives you to treasure and to hold near. Don’t assume you are “in the right” because your right can be very wrong in the eyes of the One Who desires unity with His friends. In other words if you are right with the wrong attitude – you too are in the wrong.
How is your mouth with those you hold dear? If tomorrow does not come with you and that person – how will you handle it? Will you be guilt ridden? Will you be filled with regret? Pain? Condemnation? If that is the case then you are a candidate for a new heart toward not just them but yourself and with God. Don’t go to sleep tonight without righting what has been wronged EVEN if none of it is your fault.
Lastly, we do not take any of this earthly stuff with us…..not even the body we live in here on planet earth. What is precious to you? Where do you spend your time? Maybe – just maybe – you might need to re-prioritize your time, your efforts, your finances, your life so that you can live with you when it is all said and done.
Pray with me – Father, we come in Jesus name and ask You to reveal by Your Spirit any wrong done that has affected how we relate to others including ourselves. We change our mind God. We sever this from us and command it to be under our feet once and for all. Show us how to approach others for restoration – even if we are not in the wrong. We ask You to forgive us Father for You paid the price for us to stay in right standing with You and one another. We receive Your forgiveness. We forgive ourselves. We forgive them God – we know who they are and we choose to forgive. Show us how to talk to them before its just too late and the enemy has his way. We release Your peace, Your forgiveness, Your mercy and Your restoration into us and those around us in Jesus name and with His resurrection power which no foe can withstand. Let it be. Let it be.
Let’s continually surround those we love with our time and effort. Let’s speak to one another our sincere love and appreciation and encourage one another when it is still today to not just give hope but be hope….for a brighter, heavenly…tomorrow whether we are still here on this planet earth breathing breath or we step into heaven after taking our final breath.
Have you ever been doubted by a friend? No matter what you do – they doubt your every moved? One minute they tell you they are for you and the next they have so much unbelief towards you – you have to ask yourself why you became friends in the first place? Tough stuff when we have friends who just can’t seem to get it together for us huh? You feel loved one moment and unloved the next? You are not alone. You are in good company. Jesus lived in the midst of betrayal, was rejected and doubted by a friend.
Have you ever allowed yourself to be so close to another human being that you thought they knew you inside and out and then you find out later that they never knew you at all? As a matter of fact you are doubted by a friend who lived out life with you.
You are not alone.
So was Jesus.
I want to talk to you about the reality of living life and loving others until the very end – even when doubted by a friend. Picture Jesus – sitting with his friends at a feast, washing their feet, drinking with them, eating with them, conversing with them and loving them…until the end. Thomas is one that doubted Jesus – have you ever been doubted? Check out this short 3 minute video:
You can read about it yourself in John 12-13 – how Jesus chose not to be offended and how Jesus loved Thomas even though HE KNEW he doubted Him. UNOFFENDABLE!
Maybe you are in a relationship with someone you know doubts you and you know deep inside your gut that at this season of your life – you just want to walk away from them. BUT GOD. To your face – they love you and act as if they will be your friend forever and they believe in you and are for you but then they come out with a statement that throws you for a loop. What do you do with a friend like that? How on earth can you remain unoffended by their actions? What do you do when confronted with the door of doubt?
Can you love them anyway? Can you love them as if they will never hurt you? Can you serve them and honor them in the midst of them not being able to love you with the same love you give them? Can you in fact be unoffendable by their doubt?
This is what Jesus did and it is a hard thing you know – to love – to really love – not with lips but with actions that speak louder than words. It is possible as long as you love with HIS love and forgive with HIS heart and look through that person into the potential of who they will or can become. Otherwise you will have expectations that never are met. Am I saying trust them with your innermost thoughts? Probably not wise to trust one who doubts you that much – however you can love them with HIS love anyway. After all – why do we doubt others – it is because we lack within ourselves something…… confidence…..that rooting and grounding…..IN HIM that keeps us stable – and gives us the fortitude to believe in others. The enemy wants you to hate them. God says love instead. Even when doubted by a friend.
Jesus loved Thomas though Thomas even doubts HE was resurrected. Jesus meets Thomas right where he is and lets Thomas feel the nail print to PROVE it is HIM. Wow. This is how much Jesus loved Thomas.
Sometimes we must be BRAVE and see one another as we are and accept one another right where we are – with imperfections – with doubt – with unbelief. Be BOLD and look doubt in the eye and say though you do not trust me – I LOVE YOU ANYWAY. Have RESPECT for yourself and follow up on whatever it is they doubt you in – maybe they doubt you because you continue to fall through for them and maybe they have reason to doubt. WHOA. Imagine that. So, this time – take ACTION AND follow through and follow up and finish what you started and do the best you can do – not for them but for God. Be VICTORIOUS over your weakness to feel rejected OR to not finish. ENCOURAGE yourself in the LORD because the bottom line is that they won’t be next to you when you stand in front of the Lord in that great day. So, let them be them and you be you and LOVE until the very end – even if they stand in the door of doubt.