Tag: family

Have You Ever Been Disowned?

How many times can a person be disowned without it affecting them? 

Have you ever been disowned? Have you ever been told you’re no longer part of the family?

Maybe not a family, but perhaps a softball team, church, group of friends, or dinner club?

And why the announcement? Because you didn’t measure up in someone’s eyes. You were either too this or that; somehow you didn’t meet the expectations of the designated leader.

And it’s such a shame.

Or is it?

How do you feel when you’re told in no uncertain terms, “You do not belong! You are no longer one of us”?

I know it can really hurt. I’ve experienced it several times in my life. I wanted to belong, because I believed I should.

There have even been times I felt it was my God-given right to belong; my birthright, if you will. But hey, what do I know? I wasn’t the one making the rules.

Even though I knew I was loved and appreciated by a number of other people, and I’d try to act like it didn’t matter, it still hurt to be disowned.

It hurt like crazy. 

Perhaps you’ve experienced some of the same rejection. How does it make you feel? What are you doing with your feelings? Are you handling them well, or do you find yourself making excuses for the rule maker?

 How many lifetimes will you have to live before you find the correct formula for making the grade? 

 And what if the rules change, like they sometimes do?

Can you maintain your vigilance, chasing the elusive right to belong, and still be who God created you to be?

I think I’m finally starting to understand that to some, unless I act exactly according to their rules, I’ll never belong.

What about you? Are there people who love to hold the coveted “you are finally good enough to belong to us” award in front of your face? They know you can’t live without it; you so want to belong to their group. Family, friends, team, whoever; you only want to belong.

But you can’t. Because if you have to change that much just to fall in line with them, are you really you?

I am so glad my Heavenly Father doesn’t treat His family that way.

“…those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them.” (John 6:37 NLT)

“The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary” (1 Corinthians 12:21-22 NLT)

Notice the Head (Christ) won’t say to the feet (you and I), “I don’t need you.”

Even when we don’t measure up, the Ruler of the Universe offers grace and mercy. Though we may have disgraced Him, His Name, and His Family, He says, “Come unto Me.”

And He’s always ready to help us with any changes we may need to make.

Though we may be disowned and cast aside like a used paper towel, God has promised to never leave us or forsake us. He says we belong. 

His blood was sufficient for all our shortcomings, all our failures. That’s why He went to the cross.

Others may be too good to help someone as rotten as you and I measure up to their standards. But the Lord of All came in our stead, took our place, so we could become part of His family.

Disowned? It happens, and it hurts. But you don’t need to be alone. There’s Someone Who will receive you; all you need to do is receive Him.

“For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT)

Will you?

Tired, Worried, and On Edge

Sometimes I get tired, worried, on edge, maybe even a little scared. 

Yes, I’ll admit it. There are times I’m not the faith giant I like to let on that I am.

It’s not that I’m trying to deceive anyone into thinking I’m something that I’m not; nor am I trying to kid myself into believing it.

But I’ve got to face it; sometimes I’m not as put together as I might appear on any given Sunday. 

But it’s no excuse to act or react in a mean way. It may be the reason, but it’s not a good excuse. 

Like when I’m short tempered with my wife. How stupid is that, anyway? To wound with words, or even the way the words are packaged, the very person who means more to me than life itself?

Inexcusable.

Maybe you’ve never acted in such a brutish way. Congratulations. Or maybe just now and then. But once is more than enough.

It is not the way Jesus expresses His love to His Church, and it is NOT becoming. To anyone.

If you’ve been behaving in such a way, there’s only one thing to do.

Stop it. Drop the excuses. Take responsibility for your actions. And DON’T promise to never do it again.

Just DON’T.

Instead, love like Jesus. Even like He did while hanging on the cross. With thoughtfulness, tenderness and truthfulness.

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” (Ephesians 5:25-28 ESV)

It’s what I intend to do; even if I’m tired, worried, and on edge.


Familiarity

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Familiarity:
-the state of being familiar with something
-the state of having knowledge about something
-a friendly and informal way of acting or talking

There’s an old, well-known expression regarding familiarity. You may never have said it, but I’m certain you’ve heard it.

“Familiarity breeds contempt.”

In other words, the more we get to know someone, the more apt we are to notice their faults, flaws, and freaky mannerisms. Their shining armor becomes tarnished. It’s not like we try and find something to pick at; it just happens. Their jokes are no longer funny, their apologies sound like hollow, empty words, and their table manners are abhorrently disgusting.

The honeymoon is over.

What happened? We were never bothered or irritated before when they told their jokes. Why now? Is it just because we’ve been together too long? Is that why it seems as though we’ve grown apart?

I’d say no. Probably not.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things that should be changed.

For instance…

Familiarity breeds, not necessarily contempt, but slothfulness; i.e.- laziness.

I’ve noticed this in my own life: in the different places I’ve worked, and in the various relationships I’ve had through the years.

Who’s the person who normally gets the brunt of our grumpiness? People to whom we’re supposedly the closest to.

Professional drivers can, at times, let their focus on safety become slack. After all, they’ve driven the same road over a thousand times, and without incident. So what if they are driving a little fast, or the road’s a little wet. They know what they’re doing.

Until the crash that claims their life, or the life of someone else

.

A letter carrier, walking the same route everyday, house to house, can become so used to their surroundings they never notice when something changes. I know a guy who, after walking the same route, months on end, walked into the raised tailgate of a minivan. Cracked his head wide open.

Never saw it. He allowed familiarity to blind him.

Another guy tripped over a rock. Someone had changed the landscaping but the carrier didn’t see the change. He was blinded by familiarity. He quit looking. And broke his ankle.

Have you ever owned something brand new? You were its first owner. Remember how cautious you were with it? Careful! You don’t want it scratched, or messed up in any way.

At least for the first few months.

But, after a while…

A lot of the problems husbands and wives face stem from this thing called familiarity; not because the honeymoon is over.

No, generally familiarity leads to…

Laziness. Slothfulness in the way we look at people, treat loved ones, or even take care of ourselves.

Laziness in communication. No longer thrilled to spend a quiet evening with family; it’s just too boring.

And one day our world crashes in. Or we walk into a raised minivan tailgate.

Or our spouse walks out of our life for good. Or…

Familiarity can breed contempt. It can mark the beginning of an end. It can spell danger.

Yet familiarity isn’t a bad thing, because real intimacy grows from such closeness.

Familiarity is the outgrowth of shared experiences, even tragic experiences.

It’s easy to share nice, feel good experiences with someone you love. It doesn’t take much effort to enjoy the company of someone you’re physically and emotionally attracted to.

Familiarity is fun in those cases. Wouldn’t you agree?

But sooner or later, at some point in our lives, we’ll find ourselves in the familiar company of someone who irritates the daylight out of us. It may even be our spouse!

And yes, we may need a little space in order to return to some semblance of sanity. But let’s keep our eyes, and our heart, on the prize; the prize of intimacy with people we truly care about.

People we love.

Let’s endeavor to maintain intimacy with God, our spouse, our family and loved ones, in the bond of peace; regardless of the work involved.

“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with long-suffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3 NKJV)

Familiarity breeds contempt?

It doesn’t have to.

And it won’t, if we will do our part.

Equal Rights

equal signIn the beginning, whenever that was, God created.

He created the Heavens and the Earth. He created everything in, above, under, and on the earth, giving each created object His blessing and mandate. Be fruitful and multiply.

Every plant, bird, and animal; all were equally adored, and blessed by their Creator.

Finally He created man (and woman) , the crown of His creation. Unlike His other creations, mankind was of a different class; an immeasurable “cut above” the rest. Mankind was created in God’s image, after His likeness. Created with the ability to believe, to reason, and to love.

God blessed them and gave them a mandate like the rest of His creation: be fruitful and multiply. However, He added one more point. He said, “Have dominion, rule, govern, the rest of creation. Specifically, rule over the plants and animals. Including every living thing that moves (or, crawls, creeps, glides swiftly across the ground) on the earth.”

All of God’s creation was placed into some kind of “family”. The dogs were in a family, the otters and the birds each had their own family; even whales were placed in a family. Though each species belonged to their own family, there was at least one common thread linking them back to their Creator. They each had the ability to reproduce after their own kind. Each species would continue God’s glorious creation! So to replicate what He began, He divided each species into two groups; male and female. Simply put, the male would bear the seed and the female would carry, and care for, the seed until gestation was finished.

And everything was great!

The Heavens and the Earth were in total harmony with each other. There was no question about what constituted a family, human rights, equal rights, or the like. God had established the Law of Life and, under His loving care, everything was “very good.”

However, man decided to listen to a particular serpent; one who yielded itself to be used by the devil. The devil, speaking through the serpent, suggested man’s “human rights” were being restricted, or violated, by the narrow minded Creator God. So the man and his wife believed him (remember, mankind was given the ability to believe) and yielded their “dominion, rule, and governing authority” over to the devil. Human rights were never the same.

Until Jesus.

Jesus said, “The Son of Man has come to seek and save (restore) that which was lost.” Luke 19:10
The apostle John wrote, “For this purpose was the Son of God revealed; to destroy (undo) the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8

Jesus came to restore to mankind their human rights! The right to believe, reason, and love life at its best! Live and love without regret, pain, hellish consequences; without eternal death. The right to live with purpose, dignity, and usefulness. The right to reproduce, spiritually and naturally, new, glorious life.

No one’s ever cared more about human rights than Jesus. His words to the Samaritan woman (John 4), the Syro-Phoenician woman (Mark 7) and others indicate His care for each individual. But mankind, left to their own desires and opinions, cannot have true equality; cannot enjoy their true “human rights.” Selfishness, pride, greed, and lust will not allow people to treat others like they want to be treated. Instead, the “rule” is, “treat others like they’re going to treat you, only get to them first.” Mankind, without God’s active influence in their life, has a twisted opinion of equality. It has more to do with “my rights” than “our rights”, “my feelings and desires” verses “what’s best for society”, “my gratification” instead of “the Creator’s plan.”

The Lord has always desired equality for everyone. Regardless of sex, race, national origin, ethnicity, language, rich, poor, short, tall, bald, whatever! He wrote the book on it! He’s also the ONLY ONE Who can really set the moral standard for equality, for He is the ONLY ONE Who always has mankind’s best interest at heart.

Equality is tied directly to value and honor. Man, without God’s influence, will always value some more than others. We honor, prize, what we value. But God demonstrated our value to Him by giving His best, His Son, for us.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:9,10 – “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived (or believe the wrong thing). Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

Paul listed a group of people in which, without Christ’s forgiveness and restoration, we are all part of. See the equality? Those who were “washed and sanctified”, regardless of their past, now are equal in God’s sight. They each have the same “benefits” as everyone else in the Kingdom of God. In fact, they are “heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ.” Romans 8:17

There will be a Day, after all is said and done, when the Heavens and the Earth will once again be in total harmony with each other. All of Creation will be in unity, equality a non-issue, and redeemed humans experiencing the everlasting joy of fellowship with their Creator, Redeemer, and Savior.

With all the voices clamoring about equality and human rights, may we stop and hear God’s invitation to eternal life; planned before the foundation of the world.

God and man in eternal fellowship; the epitome of human rights.

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