Hospitality Hugs

15a089398b9c839566337bb12bdb5d1aAbove all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. (1 Peter 4:8-9)

What do you have difficulty embracing?

How do you handle sin in someone else’s life? Does it differ from how you handle sin in your own life?

How hospitable without complaining are you?

 

Just as God wants us to love what He loves, He also wants us to know what is outside His intention and ideal. No matter what someone is doing, God doesn’t hate the person. Each person is His creation. God has purpose for each person, whether he or she fulfills it or not. He doesn’t want to lose a single person from eternal life with Him, but He gives us choice, and our eternal lives are impacted by those choices. God hates sin. He hates anything that comes between us and Him. We are made in His image, and He intends for us to become more like Him every moment as we pursue Him through faith. We need to know what He loves and what He doesn’t. However, it’s not about legalism. We cannot consider God’s justice without His grace.

We don’t carry the responsibility of God’s justice. We are not the moral police. He is the judge. There’s a difference between being the judge and jury and being a discerning believer who isn’t gullible enough to accept falsehoods or too proud to acknowledge or assume truth. As we become familiar with God’s will and He stirs the passions within us, He will let us know when we need to respond appropriately to something that angers Him. And He will equip us to confront, speak the truth, and love in His way. We don’t have to fix everything. We don’t need to convict someone. But we also don’t need to stand beside the road and ignore what is outside of God’s intention and ideal. The key is discernment, trusting God’s timing in every response of thought, words and actions. Just as Jesus did, we will often be prompted to embrace the outcasts, ill, and misunderstood.

Give a hug today. In fact, give as many as you can.

A Reminder for Today

PrintThe following is a powerful reminder and promise for today. Sometimes the truth is difficult to seek, hear, sift through, and incorporate into our lives.

Therefore justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us.
We hope for light, but there is darkness; for brightness, but we live in the night.
We grope along a wall like the blind; we grope like those without eyes.
We stumble at noon as though it were twilight; we are like the dead among those who are healthy.
We all growl like bears and moan like doves.
We hope for justice, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us.
For our transgressions have multiplied before You, and our sins testify against us.
For our transgressions are with us, and we know our iniquities:
transgression and deception against the Lordturning away from following our God,
speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering lying words from the heart.
Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far off.
For truth has stumbled in the public square, and honesty cannot enter.
Truth is missing, and whoever turns from evil is plundered.

The Lord saw that there was no justice, and He was offended.
He saw that there was no man—He was amazed that there was no one interceding;
so His own arm brought salvation, and His own righteousness supported Him.
He put on righteousness like a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head;
He put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and He wrapped Himself in zeal as in a cloak. (Isaiah 59:9-17)

I’m thankful for Truth, not the idea, but the person.

Justice

cj_istock_000006259503largeThe Lord rises to argue the case and stands to judge the people. The Lord brings this charge…(Isaiah 3:13-14a)

God has multiple roles in justice, because He is justice. We most often declare God as judge. Often it’s not a positive declaration: “Don’t worry. God will ultimately judge him!” In essence, we’re already judging someone and declaring God will certainly agree and handle the person with as much harshness as we want.

Good thing we don’t always know how God deals with someone. He deals in both justice and grace, righteousness and compassion, judgment and mercy.

And He isn’t just the final judge. He brings charges and argues the case, too. Because ultimately, they’re His standards. We can make all the laws we want and hold people accountable according to them. There are consequences on earth, as there should be. God created us for eternity, and time on earth is part of it. But there is a broader perspective than what we see. And perhaps narrower in some ways.

We don’t understand it all, but we can pursue truth even in our areas of uncertainties. We can invite correction into our lives. We can seek wisdom, then live it out. We can trust Him – for today and eternity.

Some Evolution

024“They’ve had some evolution.”

The statement declared some growth, some change toward what the speaker believed. People were growing into what he proclaimed, so he saw it as evolutionary, productive, advance.

We need to be careful what we see as progress. We can encourage people in directions that might not be the best (or the best timing) for them.

I’m not saying anything is wishy-washy and relative and that there is no direction that is better or worse than another. There is truth. Absolute Truth. But many of the things we claim as evolutionary are more on the fringes of truth than the center of it. There is spine truth and rib truth. The spine is non-negotiable. The ribs give some structure but we can do without one or two.

Through it all, the person is more important than the issue. When we define people based on where they are or where they’ve been, we minimize them even in the context of what is intended to be a compliment. We make people about their actions instead of their motivations, reasons, potential, and purpose.

Fight for What You Want?

you-want-it-then-fight-for-itThe world teaches us to fight for what we want, not what we need.

The world certainly doesn’t encourage us to fight for what and how God leads.

Maybe it’s because seeking God and grasping His will is a bit more challenging than understanding and reaching for our own. After all, we know what we want.

But it changes.

Consider what you most wanted when you were two years old. Eight. Twelve. Nineteen. Twenty-five. And so on. Now consider what would have happened if you had actually received what you most wanted.

On the other hand, what if someone could see and understand the bigger picture and guide us, not just based on the desires of the here and now but the benefits and consequences down the road a bit?

That’s what God can do.

So instead of fighting for what we want, let’s put all that effort into pointing toward Him. He is powerful enough to fight for Himself. He doesn’t need us to figure it all out and proclaim solutions to everyone. He wants us to seek Him and trust Him to take care of all the details along that pursuit. We wants us to honor Him with grace, mercy, love, compassion, and truth every step of the way.

Uncertainty and Hypocrisy

photoWe can be okay with uncertainty but not hypocrisy.

When we’re not okay with uncertainty, we invite hypocrisy. When we’re not okay with uncertainty, we claim something just to seem or feel certain. We think a firm stand is better than no stand at all. But we can easily find ourselves on anything by firm ground. Just because we take a firm stand doesn’t mean where we stand is firm. We claim what isn’t true or right or correct, and we find others see us as hypocritical.

Perhaps what’s more important is that we begin to see the hypocrisy within ourselves.

Just because we’re confident in one thing doesn’t mean we have to have all the answers in everything. Just because we stand on a firm foundation at one time because we’re certain of a core truth doesn’t mean we can claim firm truth under our feet no matter where we step and what topics we cover.

Humility is essential to being a lifelong learner, and if we’re not willing to learn and change throughout our lives, not only do we lose, but so do others around us.

No Matter What We Feel or Think

270c2c15a97b46580e5c893c68fdb5c6For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor, a lifetime. Weeping may spend the night, but there is joy in the morning. (Psalm 30:5)

Sometimes it seems the opposite is true: His favor seems more fleeting, His anger more lasting, joy temporary and weeping chronic. But our feelings and perspective can deceive us. When we claim God’s perspective and truth, we can claim and trust what is lasting and what is fleeting.

No matter what, God is God. He is faithful and trustworthy. He is merciful and just. He is sovereign. He created, cares, corrects, and comforts. He encourages, equips, and engages. When we know Him better, we know ourselves better. Because, really, it is more about Him than us.