This past week has been a volatile one. I don’t need to rehash it. Terrible things. Terrible actions. Terrible ideas. Terrible people.
Forget Trump. Forget politics. Forget all that.
Let me be clear: I do not agree with the ideology of those who stood in Charlottesville. The racism, the Nazi nonsense, all of it is horribly appalling. I am similarly appalled by the Antifa Communism ideology. And by any side of the “Lives Matter” debates when the message turns violent. I am similarly appalled by what’s left of the Westboro Baptist Church cult. I am appalled by Scientology, by Muslim extremists, and by Kim Jong Un. I am grossly appalled by anyone who calls themselves a Christian and lets hatred and bile fly off of their tongues.
But more than all of these, the person who most appalls me is… myself. I am the chief of sinners. I am worthy of no love, honor, or respect. I am the scum of the earth.
Yet, my God loved me enough to come to this earth, take my sins upon his shoulders, and die in my place.
BY KEVIN WELBORN
I have now officially been without my full voice for two weeks. At this point I can communicate clearly, but depending on the time I either sound like Whoopi Goldberg or a pubescent Peter Brady. It is irritating, infuriating, and irksome. With the heat of the Saharan sun do I scorn my current deficient vocal aptitude!!!
Being able to speak as a pastor is fairly, you know, important.
As a general rule, I do not think that I talk that much. When a subject in which I am interested is broached, I will surely jump into that conversation. Or, there are times when it is nice just to say your piece to a willing listener and let go of some thoughts be they consequential or not.
Whether you are reserved or a chatterbox, let me encourage you to remember there is a large difference in having something to say, and in having to say something.
I can think of two specific examples of men that I know or have known that rarely spoke a word.
BY KRISSY FIELD
“Some of the meanest people I have ever known are Christians.”
How sad. Isn’t that sad? I have heard that statement many, many, times. Actually it probably rivals “I don’t go to church because it is full of hypocrites.” (Also a sad statement, but not the topic this time.) I’m going to be honest. I too have encountered some pretty mean Christians.
Right now, our country is in a state of upheaval, turmoil, disorder, etc. At least it seems to be. And, oh my goodness, we are getting mad about EVERYTHING. This includes Christians. All you have to do is scroll through social media for two minutes and the evidence is very clear.
Aaron Jeffries | @churchhusher
After arriving home my children ran from the van, to the door, as they do every time. Typically my oldest wins the race as he knows the fastest way to get there. This time however, my youngest won the race and my oldest threw a fit.
After calming the situation down, (my wife and I don’t talk to our children like babies we explain things to them) I told him not to be so consumed with winning, that sometimes it is okay to lose. After a little whimper and sigh it was over and now they’re back to being best of friends.
I say all this to say that too often our being right and them wrong is celebrated -- when our ultimate goal in life is to glorify the Father in heaven. While on earth Jesus had to deal with a lot of argumentative folks, and every time Jesus opened His mouth, he was right and they were wrong. But he didn't argue. He stated the truth and let those who heard make up their minds.
Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, SO THAT YOU MAY NOT GROW WEARY OR FAINTHEARTED. Hebrews 12:2-3, Emphasis mine
Aaron Jeffries lives in the wild and wonderful state of West Virginia. He is married to his beautiful wife Kristen, and has been blessed with two amazing little boys. Join him as he writes about life and our amazing Heavenly Father. He can be reached on Twitter at @churchhusher.
Ellen Martin | @ellenmartin03
Something I struggle with on a daily basis is quickly saying something harsh or something that I don’t mean. I find that Christians, myself included, can be so quick to judge and criticize the behaviour of others. We need to remember that everyone is messed up somehow and we all need love and grace.
Proverbs 13:3 says “The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; The one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” Further, Proverbs 18:21 says “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.”
The tongue is a powerful thing. It can be used to build one another up, or tear one another down. We need to guard our tongues. It is so easy to say something that could hurt others. We hold the power to either make someone’s day better or worse.
Megan Oaks | @MeganCOaks
Have you ever read something and thought “I agree fully but I wish the delivery would have been a little less harsh”? Maybe you’ve listened as two friends openly discuss a matter of disagreement and walk away feeling like the person who’s opinion you most related to was overshadowed by the loudness or fast talking ability of their opponent.
I’m sure most of you have heard the saying “you attract more flies with honey than vinegar”. This is a saying that I feel many of us can benefit from. Whether it’s using social media, sharing the gospel or even dealing with marital or parental challenges.
"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father and with it we curse human beings who have been made in God's likeness." James 3:9
Recently with the election season upon us, I’ve noticed an influx of bashing on my newsfeed. It was bound to happen obviously. I have friends who are passionate about their beliefs and passionate about the future of this country, which are both honorable causes to be passionate about. However, there are many times throughout the day where I find myself wishing their delivery was a little more sweet and smooth to digest like honey, instead of reeking of the bitterness of vinegar.