Replace Condemnation with Confidence
“If our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God.” (1 John 3:21 NIV)
RAMBLINGS from Lacy’s dad – I was talking to Lacy the other day about all the struggles going on in the world and how it can discourage us. We had listened to a report on the radio about the rising number of Christians around the world being murdered in places like Egypt, Syria, Nairobi and Iraq.
This was on the heels of the latest fiasco of what Christians have “said” and been roasted for saying. We seem to alternate between getting shot in the back by the other side, and shooting ourselves in the foot. When we do mess up (and we all do), we beat ourselves up over it and wallow around in pity and self-condemnation. I imagine the whole time God is up there saying, “Get up! Of course you are going to fail. Of course you are going to fall. You are human! I don’t expect you to be perfect. I just expect you to try. And when you do fall, which you will, get back up, brush yourself off, and try again.”
Yesterday I drove several hours to meet with Phil Downer, good friend and mentor. It was so good spending time with him and hearing how God is using their ministry, to reach so many. We discussed work, country, and eventually the conversation came back to the one I had a few days earlier with Lacy.
My friend had some interesting comments through his eyes as a Marine. He reminded me how the US had suffered the least casualties ever in the first Gulf War in Kuwait. He asked me if I remembered why? I quickly replied that I didn’t, he told me that we did it by sending some Marines in on the beach, as a distraction, while the main force swept around on the ground and flanked them in a span of 24 hours. The fighting was brief, it was almost over before it started. He related that to us Christians getting caught up in the battles over hot issues of our day. Sometimes we even turn to infighting, condemning each other or ourselves. In reality the enemy wants us to focus our efforts there, in fruitless arguing instead of doing the two greatest commandments: Love God, and love our neighbor.
Wait, you mean I need to love the person who politically is the polar opposite with me?!? You mean I need to love the person whose morals clash with my convictions?!? I need to love the jerk who says hateful things about my beliefs?!? That’s a hard pill to swallow!
For me it was a real epiphany.
Maybe we should replace our condemnation with a quiet confidence, because we know how the story ends. But also supplement it with LOVE. What would the world look like? Heck, what would our neighborhood look like if we started pretending we were Jesus and loving the misfits we are around today?….
May I wholeheartedly follow Your decrees, that I may not be put to shame. (Psalm 119:80 NIV)