I like to walk away with nuggets when I go to a conference, listen to a sermon or hear a teaching series. You can get nuggets from a good book too. Lots of nuggets form a soup in which you can take and give to someone. I recently came across something in which made me really think about how we may treat others due to the way we treat ourselves which made me think.
I also had a friend who told me how she watch me love on someone after they made a life mistake, instead of me turning my back on them, I showed love and encouragement, accepting them instead of shunning. It is a shame that Christians can take on the same format of the blame game or they get what they deserve the attitude. Let me explain. When we truly want to see the real person inside, and truly want to love as Jesus loved, we will look past the mistake, the unmet expectation and seek restoration in the relationship.
To punish others some people withdraw love, affection and encouragement when the very people they love don’t meet up to standards, accomplish what they want or do what they wanted even when sin is not even the culprit. Why? Because it is believed that those who fail to meet our expectations are unworthy of love and that result or failure from sin must be punished. Sometimes we even put a date or time of how long they should be punished determined in our own minds or how much we feel hurt. Making others feel bad about their decisions is a way of punishing, manipulating and controlling. This is a performance or works righteousness behavior. This seed is sown to produce a sense of when I am hurt, I will hurt until I feel better about what they did to me, therefore I will continue to put condemnation on them. It even goes to the point of sowing discord to everyone who knows them.
When we look at others and are quickly to point out their faults or expectations we have of them, it produces a self-righteous within our own heart, therefore giving us the right to quickly punish the other person at any time they fail or don’t meet our expectation. I have seen families torn apart because of this even when sin is not even involved. Sad but true this also happens in churches. People see old friends out in town and they won’t even speak to them. They still hurt therefore they continue to hurt others in this way.
We should not feel good about the sin committed if there was one, because dishonoring God and bring harm to others produce sorrows. When a sin is found out, repentance should take place and the parties involved need to work in forgiveness and in love in restoring peace. If a person believes himself or herself to be the stronger Christian, the attitude should not be anger and condemnation, for if this is the attitude displayed, then the ones who have failed will try to avoid those who punish them. This is why most people have been deceived about God’s character. They fear God and run away from God because He is going to punish instead of love. Discipline yes but rooted in love.
The goal in what I am trying to convey today is, that the goal of discipline is to restore, develop and perfect. Punishment on the other hand is retaliation and used to impose a penalty which Christ has already paid the price. God’s discipline can be severe but it is prompted by grief not anger.
So how do we know if we fall into these category of self-righteous religious works mentality?
When someone I love makes a mistake or doesn’t live up to my expectations, do I……
a. withdraw love and affection from them as if it is a form of punishment
b. hurt them in ways of talk, action or just plain ignoring them
c. point out other faults to make them feel bad
d. condemn or scorn them for their actions or decisions even when there is no sin involved
e. impose a curse or threat upon them of future tense (example: If you do this, then you will be sorry you did it, you will suffer….etc…)
f. when you are around them, you still feel hurt, agitated or feel as though you need to be in control of their life in making their decisions
If we answer yes to any of these questions, even maybe due to opinion, what right do we have to call ourselves Christ like? We should love, show forgiveness and other fruit of the Spirit when hurt, when people don’t live up to our expectations and yes even when they sin. Christ paid for it all, so lets stop condemning not only others but also ourselves and run to God whether if you are on the receiving end or the giving end.
Do you know we can also do this to ourselves? We can condemn ourselves and feel as though we must be punished. This is another soup I will save for another time.
That is my nugget soup for the day.