If you are already married or engaged…please stay with us!!! I want your insight at the end of this post!
Soon that thought pounded in my head and shriveled its way into my heart until what was first a passing thought become a consistent theme inside me… whenever I walked through her door.
It happened again that week, I walked into another friend’s home…and the same thought re-verberated through my soul, “her kitchen is so much nicer than mine” and in an instant a torrent of other thoughts and emotions overwhelmed me –
“Why, does she get a better kitchen than me?” “What have they done to deserve this? I think I deserve the nicer kitchen…I’m older, I’ve gone through more, I’ve worked harder.”
My ridiculous tantrum grew into my head, until I had a cataloged, alphabetized list of why I deserved a nicer kitchen than both my friends. My list grew for a week, until the Holy Spirit convicted me.
To soothe my insecurity I had begun to build an airtight case for why I deserved what they had.
It had happened so quickly, this funnel cloud of comparison, shame, insecurity and judgment. My funnel cloud could have quickly become a destructive tornado, sweeping in to suck up the vulnerability, encouragement and life which had been growing in our friendship.
I wanted to stop it, but how did one thought turn into a potential destructive disaster? It happened when I began to believe the lie of the enemy: that I didn’t have enough.
I realized how ridiculous that lie was, I certainly have more than enough.
The fact that my husband and I even own a home, much less live in one puts us in a very small category of people in the world.
We may have laminate countertops, 90’s orange oak and mismatched appliances – but its ours, and we are living in abundance – by the sheer fact that we need a fridge and pantry to hold all our food.
Comparison can quickly can bring destruction and division in our relationships if we aren’t vigilant in guarding against it. During the 2 weeks when I was wrestling with kitchen comparison, it was causing division in my heart with my friends.
Every time I walked into their kitchens instead of focusing on our conversation or developing our friendship I was focused on granite countertops and their un- orange cabinets.
When I look back on that, I am so sad that I wasted any time or emotional energy comparing my kitchen with theirs instead of investing in our friendship.
I needed to set things right with my friends, although they had no idea what was going on in my heart and my mind, so one afternoon I told both of them that I had compared my kitchen to theirs, been jealous of what they had and that I was so sorry.
I told them I never wanted comparison to be in our friendship and I asked their forgiveness. They completely forgave me.
Honestly, from that moment on, I didn’t even struggle with comparison whenever I walked into their gorgeous kitchens.
When we bring what is in the dark (in this case my ugly case of comparison and jealousy) into the light (my repenting for my wrong) the enemy loses his power over us.
It was a very humbling conversation to bring up, because I had realized at that point how petty and ridiculous my thought process had been – but that’s ok…I need humility, I need authentic friendship and I need freedom much more than pride and granite countertops.
I love this bloggers perspective on her kitchen and comparison over at Organizing Homelife, it really convicted and challenged me as I was wrestling through similar thoughts!
I would love to hear your feedback! Have you struggled with comparison? Why do you think it is so easy to start playing the “comparison game?”
The countdown has begun! In 5 days, my hubby and I will celebrate our 1st Anniversary! I can’t believe we have almost been married one year. Does that mean we aren’t Newlyweds any more? I have always wondered what defines a couple as a “newlywed.” And if we are no longer “newlyweds,” are we “olderweds?”
With our first anniversary approaching, I have been reflecting on all the things the Lord has taught me through the beautiful and mysterious gift of marriage.
Today, my reflection is a story of an unusual way the Lord convicted my heart during a “discussion” (we don’t argue we discuss…ha…ha!) my husband and I had.
We had been there for maybe 15 minutes when my husband said something that hurt my feelings. I knew it shouldn’t have, but the longer I thought about his comment the more and more mad I became.
In my mind the beach trip was ruined…and of course the lengthy “discussion” that followed didn’t ease my angry emotions.
We came to a point in the “discussion” where I knew I should let it go, apologize for my horrible attitude and move on. But I didn’t want to.
“Why should I be the first to apologize?” I rationalized in my head.
“He started it, He shouldn’t have said that”
So I sat on my towel….
I had a pout on my lips and my eyes squinted with self righteous disdain, like a 2 year old who can’t eat their cookie before dinner.
As I glanced down to see what it was I felt 2 more splats on my upper arm and…yewwwww…my stomach!!!!! It was white, filthy and stinky sea gull poop…
And it was all over me!!!!!!!!!!
I started laughing…then screaming…then running to the water…
My husband helped me wash off the poop in the ocean. I wondered if salt water could kill the bacteria that had been living in that poop.
Our beach day was over…as if the “discussion” hadn’t killed the easy summer living mood, the seagull poop certainly had.
I raced towards our car with one thought in my head..
Get me to our shower and my soap ASAP!
In the 20 minutes drive home…I found myself laughing again as I thought about the events of the day.
– Husband makes comment.
– I take huge offense (although I knew his comment was not in any way meant to be offensive or hurtful)
– I harbor my offense
– I pout
– I refuse to apologize
– I get pooped on…3 times in a row.
“Babe”, I said, my heart humbled and softened after the previous 45 minutes…
“I think God is trying to tell me something.”
“What?” He asked…
“Stop having a POOPY attitude!”
We both laughed as I apologized for having a poopy attitude and ruining our beach trip.
Marriage, is a lot like that fateful beach day. We can believe the worst about each other or the best. We can hold on to offense and refuse to apologize or we can repent, forgive and move on.
We can find the fault in our spouse…while not realizing that the fault may be in us.
Until your folly is revealed to you by a pooping sea gull…
p.s. I was pooped on one other time this summer by a sea gull at the beach…this time it was witnessed by a group of friends. I am happy to report that I was not having a “poopy” attitude that day….
Any other “newlyweds” or “olderweds” out there? What has God taught you during your beginning years of marriage?
Advice on Having Successful Long Distance Dating Relationships, Part 3
Last Wednesday I gave you three pieces of advice on how to have a successful long distance dating relationship, through my experience of dating long distance.
Last Tuesday we heard from a guest writer, Heather who shared her story of long distance dating, engagement and separation as a married women because her husband is a Navy Pilot.
Today we conclude our series, with 3 more thoughts about finding success in long distance relationships.
4. Get some face time together! I felt more connected to Rene when we were able to talk on skype at least a few days a week. Seeing him made me feel like he was closer and also helped us grow in understanding eachother’s non – verbal communication.
5. Create a shared experience: We read through the books, For Women Only and For Men Only, by Shaunti and Jeff Feldham. We each read the books for our own gender (i.e. I first read For Women Only) and highlighted the parts that were applicable to us. Then we switched books so the other person could see which points of the book were most important to the other person. This gave us a non – threatening way to improve our communication skills and understanding of eachother.
6. Reflect on the positives: Its so easy in a long distance relationship to get hung up on the negatives, wishing that the other person lived near you, the annoyance and expense of travel, the pain of being separated, and the weddings and special events you still attend “dateless” because your date is far away.
I can see how God used the season of long distance dating to prepare us for a healthy marriage:
– It improved our communication, and when we got married we weren’t surprised by the amount of in depth communication you need on a daily basis.
– It solidified for me, that this was a person I did not want to live without.
– When we saw eachother on weekends it was a very special time. We made an intentional effort to explore together, try new things, do activities together… we were trying to squeeze a week of dating into a weekend. We have so many sweet and fun memories of our time dating, from pumpkin patch visits, to painting projects, travelling together, and playing bocce ball. The intentionality we put into planning our weekends, helped solidify our resolve to still “date” even after getting married. Now we have a date night every week. It is something I look forward to every week, and it continues to refresh us and knit our hearts together.
– The resources, (emotional and financial) we put into travelling and communicating made me realize that together we could conquer anything! We both sacrificed a lot during this period of time so that we could develop our relationship, but I would do it again with no hesitation. To flourish in a long distance relationships you each have to be 100% committed to make it work. Seeing his commitment to our relationship thriving regardless of circumstances helped confirm to me that he was the man I wanted to marry.
What about you? What are some things you have learned about thriving in a relationship, whether long distance or close -by?
As I mentioned yesterday…. in Part 1 of “Advice on Having Successful Long Distance Relationships”– If you missed it: http://claritywithcharity.com/?p=544
My husband and I spent the entire course of our relationship before marriage being separated by a approximately 5 hour drive. I say approximately because my husband always managed to make it in 4 ½ hours and it always took me at least 5 hours. I can’t help it that I drive like a Granny who is perpetually paranoid of getting a speeding ticket, and that when I would call friends on my drive I would get so absorbed in our conversation that I would catch myself driving below the speed limit.
We met on e-harmony, and like a growing number of couples who are dating long distance because of making an online connection, we navigated some untraditional methods of communication and dating. Skype and our cell phones were our primary tools but despite the incredible technology we used, we found ourselves facing a unique set of challenges than a “typical” dating couple.
Today I am sharing with you the top things we learned about how to thrive and find success in a long distance dating relationship.
1. Plan times to talk: It may not sound like the most romantic thing in the world, but because we were long distance it was important to talk about our schedules at least the day before so that we could find a good time to talk. When we didn’t plan in advance, inevitably I would miss his call when I was at my work out class or a meeting. Instead of playing phone/skype tag, a few moments of conversation can give you some clarity as you plan your day.
2. Sometimes there will be awkward pauses: I am a talker, I have never met a stranger, and could carry on a conversation with a brick wall if necessary. There are few times, and even fewer people that I feel ok just being quiet with. This isn’t one of my greatest qualities, and I am learning to be better with the silence…but I was not ok with the silence on the phone or skype with my boyfriend. Especially, at the beginning of our dating relationship, I would wonder,
“Why is it quiet? Is he thinking I’m boring…oh no…must think of something cool to say!”…than I would end up asking some dum ice breaker question like “what kind of animal are you most like?”..and the silence would get even quieter….because my husband hates those kinds of questions.
One day it hit me….
When you talk to someone on the phone or skype everday 5 days in a row, sometimes you aren’t going to have anything to talk about. Because how many people do you talk to 5 days in a row for at least an hour straight without the interruptions of eating, watching tv, folding the laundry, going on a walk ect..?
There is going to be silence…and that is ok!
Some days we would talk for an hour and a half and it felt like 15 minutes, some days we both had boring days, were tierd and really just wished we could be chilling on the couch together watching tv. Our conversation was about 20 minutes those days.
You don’t get chill time in a virtual relationship so it is normal to expect some silences. You can make them awkward moments of panic where you worry that maybe you aren’t compatible or the other person thinks you’re boring. Or you can just remember, its normal to have silences even between the best of friends. Silence can be difficult to handle over the phone, but don’t decide the health of your relationship based on that.
3. Beware of In person disillusionment: Rene and I saw each other almost every weekend when we dated, but I know many long distance couples who maybe see each other every month or even less. I noticed that every Friday night when I was driving the 5 hours to visit my husband or waiting the 5 hours for him to get to my hometown, my expectation of our “reunion” would grow with every mile.
I would imagine him greeting me with a huge smile, jumping up and down for joy as I pulled into the driveway and then letting out an exuberant scream, “You’re here!” while a few tears would roll down his cheeks as he exclaimed, “I missed you soooooooo much!”
If any of you know my husband, you know this is not his personality at all. What I am describing may have been my reaction upon his arrival, but I can’t think of a single time, Rene pulled up into my driveway shrieking with delight. That’s not his personality or how he reacts, but for some reason I expected our reunions to look like a Hallmark movie scene where a war hero is reunited with his family.
Weekend, after weekend I would feel disappointed as his arrivals were marked by that romantic declaration, “I need to use the bathroom.”
That is the reality of dating long distance, you may see eachother after long weeks, long hours on the road or on a plane and if you are expecting to meet a cheesy character from a Nicolas Sparks novel when you get out of the car, you will be disappointed.
However, if you are expecting to say hello to: a real life imperfect person, with emotions and exhaustion – who has fought traffic and ran through airports to get to you – and this is a person that you love and care about – that you would rather be with more than anyone on the planet – even if they are jet lagged and exhausted..than be thankful because you are living in a real life love story.
Next Week I will share a few more thoughts to wrap up our series on successful long distance relationships. I hope you will join me!
Let me know: Have you or are you in a long distance relationship? What has your experience been like? What advice would you offer?
The lyrics from Grease kept running through my mind as I thought about the series we are beginning, “Advice on Having Successful Long Distance Relationships”
It turned colder, that’s where it ends
So I told her we’d still be friends
Then we made our true love vow
Wonder what she’s doing now
Summer dreams ripped at the seams”
Did you find a love this summer? Are you worried your summertime love will be “ripped at the seams” because of attending separate universities, an impending job transfer, or a military deployment? Are you are facing the entrance of a long distance relationship?
Today, I am thrilled to welcome to our blog for the first time, Heather. Heather is a writer, newlywed and the wife of a Navy pilot. She understands acutely the challenges facing engaged and married couples who are separated. She will be sharing her insights today about how to thrive in a season of separation.
Tomorrow, I will be sharing how to be successful in a long distance dating relationship, reflecting upon the almost 2 years my husband and I spent, building our relationship, dating and spending our engagement long distance.
Blessings through the Distance – By Heather
For most people a “long distance” relationship is not their first choice. Why would it be? Being away from a loved one or meeting someone and starting a long distance relationship is a hard commitment and definitely has its challenges, but it also has its rewards. Most people don’t hear about the blessings and the growth that can come through a long distance relationship, but believe me, as a military wife, there is great reward when Jesus is the author of the distance.
My husband and I have been married just over a year. We met through our church right before he left for a deployment overseas. Honestly, I was grateful for the distance between us because it gave me the opportunity to have wisdom and discernment to know if this relationship was of God or myself.
Sometimes relationships can be based on emotions or the incredible “high” we get when we’re with that person. I think it’s safe to say that those are natural feelings that come with any new relationship and are truly a beautiful thing, but it can also cloud your mind and prevent you from knowing deep in your spirit what God is saying about your relationship. Distance, for me, was a powerful tool to help me think and see clearly that God was the author of this relationship. I had all the same giddy emotions and butterflies that come with the excitement of a relationship, but the distance allowed me to relax, pray, and hear the voice of God.
Distance was also a huge part of my growth. A week after my husband proposed he was sent out on a six month deployment overseas, and once again I was forced to be parted from him. This time was much harder. We only had four months together before he had to leave again and I felt cheated. “I just got him back, Lord. Please don’t take him from me now.” I cried and begged God to allow him to stay. I knew this was what I signed up for when I said “yes” to marrying him. He was worth it in every way but that didn’t mean there wouldn’t be pain or hardship.
I realized very quickly after he left that God had so much He wanted to teach us and have us walk through before we entered into our next stage of marriage. I cannot thank God enough for that precious time my husband and I had with the Lord in our time apart.
God wanted to meet with us and show us where we needed growth and ways we needed to learn from each other, and Him. There was a great deal of dying to self and stripping away layers of insecurities, allowing Jesus to be the center of our relationship. He showed me how to be patient and how to rely on Him through the distance, teaching me that He was carrying us both through this season of our life. It wasn’t easy but when my husband returned home we were stronger and more committed than ever before.
If two wasn’t enough, three would definitely do it. About five months after we were married, my husband once again was called out for another deployment. We knew ahead of time that another was coming but getting the official orders was much harder than I had anticipated. I had just adapted to a whole new life. I was used to having him in our new home, holding me through the day and protecting me through the night. I didn’t know how to do this new season of life without him, and one of my biggest concerns was not having him close.
“Touch” is one of my primary love languages and I knew not having his physical touch would be one of my greatest struggles while he was away. God began to speak and reveal to me that there were more ways to love than what I was used to and communication was one of the gifts God strengthened us in. We found that developing good communication patterns was our strongest asset, and through it we were able to grow stronger and deeper together.
We talked about so many different things that helped our marriage grow leaps and bounds; things that had hurt us, things that we needed, things that made us feel special and loved. Having distance between us caused us to work through the hard things and fight for each other’s heart and happiness.
It has been a long, hard experience walking through a long distance relationship but I wouldn’t trade what God has given us through each time apart, for the world. Something I have come to understand is that if God authors it, God blesses it. It wasn’t the military bringing my husband overseas. It wasn’t orders on paper forcing us to be apart. It was God. It was always God and it will always be God. It’s not to punish or hurt us but to bless us and help us grow. I had plenty of opportunity to whine and complain and to feel sorry for myself while my husband was away, (believe me, there were endless nights where I did). However, something shifted within my spirit and I realized that if God was the one orchestrating the separation then this was a plan for His purpose and we would receive great and abundant blessings from it.
I am not sure if you are in a relationship now or currently debating whether it’s worth it or not. One thing I want to tell you is: if God brings you to it, He will see you through it. God WILL equip you for the journey and through each season of your relationship. Don’t fear the unknown or the fret the distance.
There is great reward for those who wait. Isaiah 40:31 says, “Yet those who wait upon the LORD Will gain new strength.” God has a powerful plan and purpose for all things and if you commit to Him your cares and worries of the season you’re in, approaching, or even one you’re considering, He WILL give you the strength to carry it out and the joy to dance in His blessings.
I hope you are having an amazing Monday.
I wanted to share with you about my weekend because it was the best weekend of my summer!
I went to College Station, TX, and I helped my roommate of three years, Katy, walk down the aisle and marry the man of her dreams.
It was such a beautiful wedding, and God gave us a miraculous cold front and breeze for the morning photo shoot outside. If you are from Texas, you can understand how miraculous a cool breeze can feel on a typically stifling August morning. It wasn’t humid, I barely sweated, and the beautiful bride was completely comfortable in her layers of stunning white .
The reason this wedding was the highlight of my summer, is for one simple reason it was a celebration of the goodness and faithfulness of God.
At the rehearsal dinner I told a story about how every Friday night during our excruciatingly long single years we (Katy, myself, and another roommate) would gather in our pj’s in our living room. I would smash a few soft avocados into smooth velvety submission, zesting the dip with lemon juice and garlic salt. My guacamole, became a staple of our Friday night roommate time, along with rich conversation about our busy weeks.
Tears and tissue were passed around the living room freely because of one topic…men…
The distinct lack of men in our lives, along with the multiple wedding invitations, save the date magnets and engagement announcements which paraded across our fridge singing a taunt of loneliness and fear. Fear that because we were in our late twenties and early thirties, we had been forgotten. I wondered if the movie 27 dresses was actually a secret documentary about our lives. We would pray, we would cry, we complained, we questioned… “WHERE IS MY HUSBAND!” so many times….and yet every time we would pray together my heart grew with confidence that God was preparing a man for each of us.
We ended most Friday night, vegging out watching our favorite reality wedding shows, like Four Weddings and Say Yes to the Dress. We would wipe our eyes, and dream…giggling like 3 junior high girls, about where we would get married, what our wedding dress would look like and of course who the groom would be!
As I watched as the most stunning bride walked down the aisle to marry her best friend, her lover, the groom God had been preparing all along – when getting married seemed as plausible as a cool front, in the middle of Texas, on a typically scorching August morning – my heart (and tear ducts) burst with thankfulness.
On those Friday nights, when our relationship futures seemed bleak and despair whispered lies in our ears like a close friend…we had prayed to and been heard by an extraordinary, Father.
For a year and a half I put this verse on the door of our duplex I shared with my roomates.
I posted it as a declaration over myself and my roommates, that God was big enough to bring our husbands, and that even when we saw nothing changing in the natural realm that He was bringing promises to fruition in unseen places.
Katy, you are a warrior, and overcomer, you have laughed in the face of the enemy through every attempt he made to steal your joy and hope in the area of marriage. You have fought with unrelenting fierceness, you have held onto to the truth that God is good, and today I rejoice with you because you are experiencing “the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13)
Please Share! (I love comments) Have you seen the Lord bring to pass a promise that you had prayed and believed for? I would love to hear about it, reading testimonies of breakthrough can build our faith in a powerful way!
How to Resolve Conflict with a Friend.
Today I am answering a reader’s question. Do you have a question that you would like answered in the “Dear Charity” section of the blog? Please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org Please include if I have your consent to post your question on the blog. Also please include how you would like your question to be signed. (i.e. Anonymous, Your Name, Searching in Seattle ect…)
How do you apply Matthew 18 in your daily life? (a.k.a. when people are being rude and gossiping about you?) What does that look like? Or what about the flip side when someone is talking about someone else without going to them first? Even about the little things?
What a great question! I am so impressed by your desire to apply Matthew 18 in your everyday life.
This is a very important passage of scripture, but often people overlook it because it means they may be put in an awkward position. It is easier to satisfy our flesh and gossip or complain about others instead of honestly trying to work out a hurtful situation.
The scripture the reader was referring to is:
Matthew 18: 15-17 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”
We’ll start with the first part of your question: What do you do “when people are being rude and gossiping about you.”
In Matthew 18 the word is “sins” but in some translations it is also interpreted “sins against you.”* In your situation it sounds like you feel a sin has been committed against you.
According to Matthew 18, the instruction is clear – you need to address this situation with the person.
I think it is very interesting that the words brother and sister are used here*, the original word is “adelphos” which refers to another disciple (someone who follows Jesus). I am noting this distinction for a few reasons.
If someone is not a follower of Jesus, I think it is still a very good general principle to address the situation. However, you may want to change your approach. If someone does not acknowledge the authority of the Bible, it may not be very productive in your conversation to start with “you know Matthew 18 says that I should talk to you because you have sinned against me” The Bible is the best manual we have for how to live our lives and its principles are applicable whether you are saved or not, but it may only isolate a non believer if you start off the conversation with a scripture.
Realize that the way you handle this conversation is a reflection of Christ to this person. I am not saying that you water down the truth of the situation, but I am saying to keep the grace you have received through Christ at the forefront of your heart and mind as you talk with the person.
1 Peter and 2 Timothy gives us a few great reasons to express grace in our conversations with non believers:
– People may come to repentance, and become a follower of Jesus.
– We will be blessed.
– Your conscience will be clear.
– You will prove their accusations wrong.
2 Timothy 2:25:
“Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to acknowledge of the truth.”
1 Peter 3:9:
“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”
1 Peter 3:15-16:
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
– Start with a heart that has forgiven. If you express anger with the person because you have not forgiven them you are missing an opportunity to share the grace of Christ that you have already received.
– Before the conversation, ask the Lord to show you what His thoughts and heart are towards this person. He may say something like “they are really hurting right now” “I love them and I want them in my family” or “I have an incredible purpose for their life.” When we take a few moments to see beyond the surface of our own pain and frustration and see what God sees when He looks at another person, our heart attitude towards them will be one of love instead of condemnation and shame.
– Starting the conversation. I think the beginning of these conversations are very important to think about as it will set the tone for the rest of your interaction. Here are some possible beginnings:
- “Suzie Q. I wanted to talk with you about something that has been hurting me. I want to talk to you about it because I don’t know if you realize that it is hurting me, and if someone was hurt by me, I would want them to come to me first instead of holding secret bitterness inside.”
– Repent at the beginning. Before I begin a conversation like this I always ask the Lord if there is something I need to apologize for to the other person. Guess what! There usually is! When we begin these conversations with acknowledging our own wrong and asking for forgiveness to the other person it is much more likely that your humble apology will soften their hearts to hear what you are saying.
– You are working towards reconciliation.
Saying something like the phrases below can help to set a positive atmosphere that lets the other person know your heart is for reconciliation:
- “I really want us to get along as co-workers, neighbors, friends ect… and I want to work towards a positive outcome for both of us”
- This situation/comment/gossip has hurt me, but I want you to know that I have forgiven you.
- I want us to have an even better relationship at the end of this conversation.
– Take 1 or 2 others with you. If it is a situation at work, you will want to talk with your supervisor and your human resources person. If it is a personal situation, I would suggest taking 1 or 2 people who are respected for their wisdom and Godly counsel. I would also suggest it not be someone that would be immediately associated as being “on your side” (i.e. your Mom or best friend). Take along people whose hearts are for reconciliation not just that you are proved right.
– If the person is a believer, Matthew 18 gives us clear instructions what to do next: If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church.
Tell it to the church, means approaching your spiritual authority at your church. This may be a mentor, small group leader, section pastor (i.e. Woman’s Ministries coordinator), associate pastor or possibly your senior pastor. If you are at a large church you may not have a relationship with your senior pastor and it is a good guideline to approach spiritual leadership that is more connected to your life. If you are unsure who can help you with this at your church, contact your church office and ask who you should talk to help you resolve a conflict between believers.
– If they refuse to listen to the church authorities: “and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” Hopefully it will never come to this, and you should never make the decision to treat them as a pagan without the church being in complete agreement with this decision. Remember the goal is reconciliation within the body of Christ, not that someone would be cut off from the body.
If the person is not a believer and doesn’t listen to you or others, the answer is love, grace and prayer. Pray for them to know Jesus. Extend as much grace and love to them as you can, remembering that God tells us our response to their wrongdoing may be what brings them into a relationship with Jesus. A wise pastor once told me “lost people will act like lost people.” This has always stuck with me and helped me when I become frustrated with the behavior of lost people. If someone doesn’t have Jesus I can’t expect them to act like what a follower of Jesus should act like. I shouldn’t be surprised when I encounter un -repentance, anger, and hurt. I need to be vigilant in interceding for their life and looking for ways to show the love of Christ to them.
Have you ever been in a similar situation? How did you respond?
* Source is http://www.biblegateway.com
Finding a Love Who Will Never Leave
This was originally posted at http://www.brooke-nicole.net/2013/08/singleness-series-guest-post-by-charity.html
When I was a teenager, I read an article written by another young woman about singleness. She said she didn’t have a boyfriend for Valentine’s Day, and that it was fine because Jesus was her boyfriend. I thought it was one of dumbest things I had ever read. My response was, “I don’t care how awesome Jesus is, Jesus can’t send you flowers or get you sweet gifts on Valentine’s Day! I would rather a hot boy arrive at my door with a giant stuffed teddy bear and a bouquet of roses then tell everyone that Jesus is my boyfriend, while I go to the store and buy myself Dove chocolate to eat alone.”
Although I disagreed with the article, it placed this question in my mind, “could someone really be ok with being single on Valentine’s Day because they knew Jesus?” I didn’t understand how Jesus could invade my life in such an intimate way that He could be as real as a boyfriend who brings flowers to your door. I had yet to discover Jesus as my lover.