Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Dangers of Stereotyping People

What you see on the outside is not always what lies beneath the surface. Many today look at others and quickly catagorize them into a mold that has been presumptiously set for individuals in society. This type of stereotypical behavior is detrimental to relationships. We judge and often do so ignorantly.

It is easy to say, "they don't know how it feels to be......" The blanks are then filled in to justify our own behavior. What may not be obvious to us is that the very person being judged does know hurt, abuse, brokenness, poverty and neglect. We rashly make blanket statements to make ourselves feel better.

That is not Christian. That is not what God desires us to do. Any behavior, any thought can be justified if we try hard enough. But, God help those who are always looking to justify bitterness and anger. When we begin to justify every action, that is when we need to look into our hearts and make sure that we are examining ourselves with the Word of God.

What someone looks like on the outside may be what helps them overcome hurts from the past. Individuals who work hard to present themselves as holy and Godly can reach out to those in diverse situations. If God can pick me up and change my life, someone who had nothing, and was completely steeped in bitterness and anger then I know God can help others.

The way I present myself does not keep me from reaching a hurting world. I have been there. I know how it feels to have nothing. I know how it feels to be alone. Our lives are a testimony.

I know, from experience, that God opens the floodgates of Heaven when we have a submissive spirit. When we are willing to submit to His word, to His will, and to His leaders we will find true liberation. Never once have I gone wrong when I submitted. I have seen numerous lives wrecked just because they could not submit.

We must be careful that every action, every word and every careless judgement is correct. God wants us to love and not to be led by bitterness. Bitterness is a cancer that will eat a person's soul. Heaven is too prescious to waste. Be careful. The dangers of steretyping could steal one of God's greatest rewards.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Blessed.... but do you want to be broken?

When it comes to blessings I'll admit I am the first one to raise my hand and proclaim that, yes, I am blessed. As a matter of fact it would take me days to pronounce all of the blessings that God has given me. But, when it comes to that deep down touch from God, that blessing that can't be described with words, there must be a brokenness on one side or the other. Most of us don't like being broken. Being broken hurts. However, God in His infinite wisdom knows that it is this brokenness that blesses us again and again.

The brokenness is often needed to smooth out our rough edges. Like it or not we all have rough edges and God uses many different channels to smooth them. He will sometimes break us through relationship issues, illnesses, unkind words, and financial pressures. In the midst of being broken we don't always understand why or what the outcome will be. But God does. Many times we try to run from the brokenness. It was David that said that God is near to those that are broken and He will save them. So, if the brokenness is not followed by blessing, then know that God is near and that it is worth the brokenness.

The following is a song written by one of the members of our church. Though it has only been sung one time, the words are forever ringing in my ears. They remind me that in order to be blessed I must be willing to be broken.

Blessed but I've got to be broken
I fall down on my knees
Blessed but I 've got to be broken
For you alone to please
Consecrate my life Lord
Surround my with Your truth
Blessed but I've got to be broken
To truly worship You.
Words by Bob Truman