Monday, June 29, 2015

What Are Christians Supposed To Do? (Part 1)

Photo Credit: Damien du Toit

The events of the last week have brought much passionate discussion and intense debate. Both the rainbow flag and the Rebel flag have been critiqued. I have remained relatively quiet on both topics. I have explained what I understand about various sides of the issues to those who were asking and open to discussion. So relatively quiet. I have had no Facebook statuses or pictures to declare my opinion. However, I do not live under a rock. I have read what many have had to say. A few of those people have had thought provoking posts. One of those posts got me to thinking.

What if I have misunderstood my mission as a Christian for years?

I have felt as a Christian it is my mission to tell people the right way to live in an effort to proclaim the Gospel, lead people to Jesus, and bring glory to God. I try to do it with genuine love and gentleness, but none the less I felt that is what I was to do in my personal relationships with others. What if that isn't the way I should be proclaiming the Gospel, leading people to Jesus, and bringing glory to God? I know Micah 6:8, act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God. I know John 15:12, love each other as God has loved me. I know Matthew 22:37-39, love God with all my heart, my soul, my mind, and my strength. and love my neighbor as I love myself. Those seem pretty clear about the mission of a Christian. Love.

What if I am supposed to love everyone and let Jesus deal with their sins? What if the way I bring glory to God and lead people to Jesus and proclaim the Gospel is to love people like Jesus loved?

I'm not saying to give people a pass on their sins. Jesus didn't do that. He told the woman at the well about her sins and proclaimed himself as the Messiah. He told the woman who was caught in adultery to go and sin no more. He didn't tell either of them that it was okay to keep doing what they had always done. He did confront them with their sin, but he did it in such a way that encouraged them to change. He only spoke the woman at the well about her sins AFTER they had begun talking about spiritual issues. In the case of the adulteress, he sent the condemning crowd away from her and spoke to her one on one about her issues. So maybe I've been doing it wrong. Maybe I'm supposed to love and let Jesus work on the heart. Then if someone comes to me and asks about living like Jesus, then I discuss in gentleness and love their sins and the way to be free of them. Maybe I need to stop thinking "Look what this world is coming to" and instead think like the early church "Look what has come into the world." Expect the world to sin and be messed up and love them anyway because Jesus has come to take care of the messy sinful heart issues. I'm just here to love and only after seeking more, then am I to tell people the right way to live.

As the pastor said this morning, lost people are going to act like lost people, so there is no reason to be angry or judgmental about it. Christ is sufficient to cover those issues with those people in His time. I must try to live like Jesus, not endorsing, supporting, or condoning the sin, but not being angry or judgmental about it either. Love them and let Jesus deal with the sin.

In answer to my question in the title, Christians are supposed to love first.

NOTE: If you feel the need to discuss my personal opinions on either of the two major issues mentioned at the outset of this post, feel free to message me privately and we can discuss it. My personal opinions do not need to be aired publicly. Thank you.

Friday, June 12, 2015

To My Former Students

Last night was graduation. I haven't been a participant of graduation in several years. I had forgotten how emotional it can be, especially when some your favorites are graduating. (Yes teachers have favorites. The list is just longer than most expect.) As I drove home I started reflecting back on my 12 years teaching.

Photo Credit: Deapeajay

I realized that some of the first students I taught are approaching their 3rd decade. I can't believe it has been that long. Even though many years have passed I still think about my "kids". So for the graduates of 2003 and for the graduates of 2015 and all of those in between, I wanted to send you a message.


You are important. You aren't forgotten.

It may have only been 10 days since I've had you in class and it may have been 10 years. I still remember you. I still think about you sometimes. Once you have been one of my "kids", you will always be one of my "kids". I still worry about you. Not because I don't think you are capable, but because life is harsh. I worry that life will be harsh with you. I don't want you to have to suffer. But if you do, let it make you a stronger and better person.

You are successful!

I see the amazing people you are growing into and I am proud. So many of you have made amazing decisions. You have decided to love people even when it is hard. You have family that you are putting first and defending against the slings and arrows of life. I know some of you are stuck in jobs and wondering where your career is. I don't have any answers. Just know that I see your struggles and I believe in you to make a good decision. Some of you are stuck without a relationship and wondering where your other half is. Don't find another half. Be a whole you and wait for the right whole person to show up that makes your life better. Some of you are in college. Keep working hard and I know it is HARD. But the hard work pays off and the results are worth it. To all of you, don't be afraid to take risks, but count the cost before you take the risk. Make sure it is worth it.

I thank you for the joy have brought to my life. I also thank you for helping me grow into a better teacher and a better person.

Mostly, I still love you all. 

And I know some of my former students aren't here to read this. I still think about them too. I miss them. And I love them too.

Friday, June 5, 2015

What I want

A new phone
New flooring in my house
A pretty front porch
My preferred teaching schedule
Some new Jamberrys
A couple new Scentsy warmers
A new pair of flats
A new pair of boots
A new skirt
A new dress

I'm sure there is more. And of all those things on that list, I need exactly none of them. But I'm having a very serious case of the "I wannas".

My husband's phone bit the dust last night, so he is getting an upgrade. And I'm jealous!

There is a house near mine for sale. Of course I found it online and looked at pictures. It has great flooring and a super cute front porch. And I want it!

The end of the school year brings thoughts of the coming year. I have big plans for a paperless classroom with lots of Project Based Learning. And that seems within my reach. However the schedule it seems I will get is not the best for me in my mind. And I'm freaking out.

Jamberry, Scentsy, shoes, skirts, and dresses are just more things that I think will make my life better. And I want them.

Have you noticed a theme? What I want. What is best for me. Me, myself, and I.

Lord, help me keep my selfish heart in check. Remind me of all that you have given me. Help me look to the best of others before I look to what is best for me. Amen.

Photo Credit: Proverbs 31 ministries