Admitting Faults

“I was wrong” is the hardest sentence in the English language to say. Due to perceived, as well as legitimate wounds in our past, we are afraid to admit that we have faults.

We think that we have to be perfect in order to be loved; and that we must earn the love, which we need, by making other people happy and proud of us.

We fear rejection so much that we will make excuses or lie to cover up our faults and mistakes. We wear masks so that people do not know who we really are.

If we admit that we did something inappropriate, we may fall into the black hole of condemnation and shame, which nips at our toes and plots ways to swallow us whole.

If we agree that we are wrong, we will topple over the edge of the dark abyss of shame, and we will be trapped, hopeless, useless and totally rejected forever.

In order to escape the bottomless pit of shame, we either do our best to become invisible, or fight tooth and nail to retain some semblance of order in our life, or hide behind a wall of pride and arrogance.

Bullies are motivated from their fear and insecurity. They surround themselves with controllable people who have qualities, which they feel they lack. When they hurt others, they feel powerful and in control of at least one part of their life.

Once we come to Christ for forgiveness, He exposes Satan’s lies and frees us from the evil task master of shame. Then we no longer experience the devil’s condemnation (Romans 8:1).

If we could be perfect, Christ would not have suffered that horrendous crucifixion. Through His sacrifice, we enter His rest and are able to breathe unhindered by stress, fear and insecurities.

If one person abandons us, or turns against us, we have a whole family of Believers who will love us for who we are, even with all of our faults, insecurities and over-reactions (Ephesians 4:32).

Prayer:
Father God, often another person’s wounds expose our wounds and weaknesses, and we fear rejection. Therefore, we walk away from them, before they get a chance to reject us. We dispose of them from our life, rather than working out our issues together.

Help us to look deeper, beneath the surface of a person’s words and actions, to see the real person, which they are hiding behind their false facade. Remind us to show mercy and grace to everyone, and not to reject someone just because they are wounded.

Thought for the Day:
Make allowances for one another’s faults and idiosyncrasies; so, that if someone offends you, you can forgive them time and time again, as you help to strength them to feel secure through God’s love within you. – Matthew 18:21-22; Colossians 3:13

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Loving the Unlovable

Too often we judge people for their peculiarities and idiosyncrasies. We categorize them, box them up in neat little packages and stick them away on a shelf in our mind, ignoring them as much as possible.

Once in a while our paths cross again, and we are forced to interact with this peculiar individual once more. We take down our box, stick new labels on them and place them back on the shelf as quickly as possible. They may be our neighbor, spouse, child, sibling, relative, church member, co-worker or even our employer.

Please realize that within each of these precious people is a wounded soul. They are a product of a lifetime of events, which molded their personality to give them unique characteristics, which may irritate or even wound us deeply.

We may go so far as to harbor bitterness toward them and possibly even dismiss them from our life as a lost cause (Ephesians 4:32). However, these unlovable people are diamonds in the rough.

They are created by God, and He has a special plan for their life, just as He has for us (Ephesians 2:10). God put them in our life for us to minister His Agape love to them and to give them a secure and nurturing place to live (Matthew 5:47).

We are all fallible and have our own weaknesses and peculiarities. How would you want this person to treat you? There is healing for everyone at the cross of Christ.

Sometimes, people are unaware of God’s grace, and He gives us opportunities to give them unconditional love, patience, security and friendship to model God’s character to them. His plan for this relationship may be for us to help heal the deep wounds within their soul.

Prayer:

Father God, You create everyone in Your image. We are all unlovable until You redeem us (Ephesians 1:7). In fact, You loved us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). Teach us that when we allow Your Agape love to flow through us to someone else, it is hard to stay angry at them or to consider them worthless.

Remind us to pray for them and to look for opportunities to bless them. You may just use this individual to bless us in some way too, if we look beyond the aspects of their life which irritate or hurt us, and love them anyway.

Thought for the Day:

Don’t throw people away, because God wants us to use our freedom in Him to love and serve one another, just as He died for and blesses us. – Galatians 5:13

Opposites Attract

God made men and women with differences. We compliment each other’s weaknesses with our individual strengths. We serve in different functions in our union, which enhances our productivity. Men and women actually have the same basic needs, but we want them provided for in different ways. Sadly, these differences often drive a wedge between two people.

When a woman thinks of romance, she envisions sweet gestures, thoughtful gifts and romantic words. They want focused attention and help around the house. When a man thinks of romance, he pictures a trip together to the sporting goods store, or the fishing hole or the hockey game. Many men believe that “bringing home the bacon” is enough work for one person and they resent family expectations.

Women want their man to look nice; but whether he is in jeans or a fine suit, it does not really matter. Most men like their women to look like a supermodel. They do not want their wife walking around with uncombed hair and no make-up, or in a tattered t-shirt and jeans. Men appreciate it when women make an effort to look and smell their best.

There are exceptions, but women usually find it easier to express their feelings and to communicate what they need and want. Many men find it hard to communicate. It is easier for them to show their love than to say it. Some even bottle up their feelings and an avalanche of accumulated resentment finally buries their love. The couple ends up frustrated and growing apart.

As virtual strangers, the only hope we have is for both genders to honestly communicate with each other and to volunteer how we feel and what we need rather than to keep our partner guessing. We can ask our mate to stop doing something that offends us, to start doing something we are failing to receive or to change the way we both do things and to serve one another as Christ serves the church (Galatians 5:13).

Prayer:
Father God, You are preparing us as the Bride of Christ. We are learning Jesus’ character and how to communicate with Him on an intimate basis. Our love for Him grows with each passing day and we honestly share with Him what we think and how we feel. Help us to do this same thing with one another. This will improve our relationship and prevent many divorces. Remind us to pray, praise and worship together.

Thought for the Day:
One way to create a mutually edifying relationship is to learn how to communicate your feelings and needs effectively.

Inner Transformation

God promises never to leave us nor to forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). When He seems distant, it is because we have drifted away from Him, not that He left us. Mental knowledge about God cannot compare with knowledge of God in a personal, spiritual relationship (John 17:3). This intimacy transforms us from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18).

God’s presence in our life changes us from the inside out. We are still rough around the edges outwardly; but inwardly, we have more peace and joy than ever before. The fruit of God’s Spirit replaces our carnality (Galatians 5:22-23). We fall more in love with Jesus every day. Our fears, deep-seated anger and insecurities diminish as God heals the pain of our past.

Our faith in God’s faithfulness grows with each trial, which He works out for our good, as well as through each weakness He enables us to overcome (Romans 8:28). We come to Him and willingly lay our goals and desires at His feet, embracing His will for our life. Our prayer time grows from a few moments each morning to continual communication throughout the day (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

We feast on God’s Word and allow it to dictate our thoughts and behavior. When we, who know God intimately, share with others what Christ does in our life, many of them will desire to know the Lord too. I do wish our passion for God was catching, so that everyone would come to know His love intimately. However, everyone does have a chance, because He calls “whosoever will” (Revelation 22:17).

Prayer:
Father God, our unity with You is our greatest joy. All of our other relationships and activities are influenced for the better, because of Your presence in our life. We love that we can be Your friend (John 15:13-15). King David gives us such insight into our relationship with You. The possibilities are endless (Psalm 63:1-8). Thank You for making us joint heirs with Jesus Christ of the glory of Your Kingdom (Romans 8:17; Philippians 3:10).

Thought for the Day:
When we fully love God and keep His Words, the Trinity makes their abode in us. – John 14:23

Perfect Strength in Weakness

There are times in life when we beg God to help us because of some physical illness, emotional turmoil or trial in our spiritual life. Paul did this too. He had a “thorn in the flesh” and begged God to remove it from him. There is much speculation about what that thorn was, but it does not really matter.

The crux of the issue is that God’s grace was sufficient for Paul to excel in life in spite of it (2 Corinthians 12:8-10). Paul actually learned to brag about his imperfections and infirmities, so that the power of Christ in him would give him rest for his soul. God’s power, strength and ability are perfected in our weaknesses.

All we need to flourish in this life is His grace. Whenever we are weak, Christ in us is our strength (2 Corinthians 12:8-10). The prophet Daniel relied on God’s strength in his times of weakness too (Daniel 10:19). The warrior and national leader of Israel, Joshua, found strength and courage in his times of fear (Joshua 1:9).

If we have personal power, we would not need God; and we could boast in our abilities and accomplishments (2 Corinthians 12:1). However, our life in Christ is not about us at all (Ephesians 2:8-9). That is why God uses the weak and foolish things of the world to confound the mind of those who consider themselves wise (1 Corinthians 1:27).

Our faith does not rest on human abilities but on God’s power within us (1 Corinthians 2:5). A surrendered life is the successful life. Out of God’s glorious riches, He empowers us by His Spirit, which abides within us (Ephesians 3:16). We can excel in the will of God and live a fulfilled Christian life, because He lives in us (Philippians 4:13).

Prayer:
Father God, You remind us not to be anxious about anything, but to come to You in everything, letting You know what we need. We start from a place of gratitude for all You have already done for us, and then we make our requests known to You. This results in a shower of Your peace on our life, which transcends every negative aspect that we are experiencing (Philippians 4:6).

Thought for the Day:
God’s peace guards our mind and heart in Christ Jesus, in spite of what life throws at us. – Philippians 4:7