Cancel culture

I’ve heard it called cancel culture. This idea we shouldn’t have to put up with other people. We can either leave when someone hurts us, annoys us, disagrees with us or doesn’t like us, or make them leave. Today’s society has made it exceptionally easy and justified to just walk away from people. 
Kids walk away from parents, parents walk away from kids, husbands walk away from wives, wives walk away from husbands, friends walk away from friends, sisters from sisters, brothers from brothers, etc. Every kind of relationship in life has been affected it seems by this cancel culture. If we don’t get what we want from someone, if they are no longer a value to us, they no longer make us feel good, we just cancel them from our lives. Easy as that. 
In today’s society we cancel anyone who doesn’t feel good and  hold onto those who do. We are always talking of what’s fair, what we do and don’t deserve, whether or not it’s worth our time, etc. Etc.
We are in charge of our lives and our own happiness, we are kings and queens of our own domains. It’s our “God given right to be happy and emotionally sound and we will make sure we exercise our rights. 
You know what the problem is with this? 
We never learn and we never grow. When we get to be kings and queens or else, we never learn what true selflessness is. We never learn to share even when it hurts, we never learn the value of those who don’t think like us, act like us, smell like us, eat like us, work like us, cry like us, laugh like us. Because we get to decide and we have the option to leave, because there’s always a back door.
We learn to migrate toward like-minded people and quite comfortably go through only surface changes. We never allow ourselves to be refined by the fire because the first sign of sweat we run to the air conditioner. 
All of life is for the most part,  to our standards.  What we think, every single situation is judged by our standard beliefs. Right wrong, clean dirty, good bad, all set according to us. If we don’t like, we leave if they won’t, then they can get out. 
We never have to go through the uncomfortable, embarrassing, unjust, lessons meant to break down our self-righteous, worldly attitudes that in no way resemble Jesus no matter what disguise we present them with. We may struggle all types of hurt, heart ache, pain, but not fire. 
We’re not teachable because we are the teacher, we already mastered how we like things to go in our life, now all that’s left is making sure others fall in line. If they choose to go at things different, than they are choosing to go at them alone.
There is nothing for us to learn really, as we are already us. When given spiritual lessons through reading His word or hearing it preached, our mind swiftly recalls those in our life who would benefit from hearing this message. We get so busy helping others who we know need the teaching we never have time to reflect on ourselves and where we might be in need of the lesson. 
When we give, its with a price tag because if anyone we are giving to steps out of line according to our standard of measure, then they get cut off, left out, excused from receiving from us until they decide to conform or until they can convince us of their reasoning or worthiness. 
We don’t always notice that we are actually taking part in this worldly “cancel culture.”
Luke 6:32-36 NLT — “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return. “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.
Jesus didn’t mandate for us to love the lovely, He didn’t say to love those we get along with, those we call family and friends, no He said to love those who are unlovable. We are to love those who are ugly to us. Those who put us in prison, that talk bad about us, tell lies about us, who steal from us, curse us, etc etc. Jesus said love not cancel. Not stay away from, ignore, leave, reject, gossip about, abandon etc. 
The word tells us
Matthew 18:15-17 NLT — “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.
Notice hear what it actually tells us,
1. Try privately to go and work it out. Why is this do you suppose? Could it be we might be wrong also? Maybe to save us the embarrassment of finding out our perception was wrong and therefore because we sought out an end to the division privately, we now can still hold our head up. We are not found to be wrong in front of others.
2. We are told bring two or three with us to seek an end to the problem. What for? Well it continues and says so we have witnesses to back up what our intentions were and theirs. So if both sides think that they’re correct, we bring witnesses in to hear both sides and they can help us determine if either side is correct and help both sides see where we might be wrong or right.
3. Now if none of that works to bring reconciliation between the two of us, as we are both pieces of the body of Christ, then that’s when you take it to the church.  Our witnesses then are also question by the church, those ones that try to help us reconcile already. Then the church decides, and what the church decides is final.  If either of us don’t like the decision, we have the option of leaving. But see at this point if we leave, we are leaving wrong.  We are leaving prideful, self-righteous, arrogant, unapproachable.  So we leave of our own free will because we will not listen to any reasoning at all. Because we would not see reason, because we would not put aside our pride, our anger, and hurt to stay apart of the whole, we lose the whole thing, the entire church. 
See in all three steps one thing it does not say is that we have a right to excommunicate anybody without going through these three steps first. Here in today’s society we cancel people left and right.  So much hurt around the world from abandonment.   Abandoned by Christians.  Nice twist of the devil don’t you think. 
The Body of Christ has many parts, each unique in it’s own purpose and place. Each part needs all the other parts in order to function ultimately. When we want things our own way, when we act self-righteous, in self-pity, in charge, in judgment, we are trying to change someone from what God made to our ideal of who they should be.  We often use scripture to justify our actions yet scripture tells us (love)
1 Corinthians 13:1-8 NLT — If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!
To forgive but don’t forget, is keeping record of wrongs. You know what that bitterness toward the one we won’t forget their wrongs causes? Deep wounds! Deep deep wounds in us and the one we kept record against. It also causes stagnation in spiritual growth, slow changes, lack of faith, makes people question their value, their worth. Any changes God may be making in the person we have kept record on, won’t be noticed or believed. Because we won’t let go of the past, we miss the blessing our prayers may be producing. We may be productive in our praying for them but not in watering the sprout God started from the seeds due to our prayers. Our bitterness can stunt their growth as well as our own.
Jesus never said love if they don’t make you mad, if they are respectful, if they are a brown-noser, if they never steal from you, if they follow your rules, if you have compatible personalities, if they can give you what you want, if they call you and make you feel wanted, if they act according to what society tells us isn’t crazy, no…. He leaves no room for argument on this very subject as He foreknew what was coming and all the excuses we might come up with to justify our actions against His love mandate. Excuses for our wrong, hidden beneath the, they did to me so I couldn’t help it. 
Wake up humans!!! We do not fight against flesh and blood …
Ephesians 6:10-18 NLT — A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
Make sure who’s side your on! The end is inevitable and coming quick. God is about love in the midst of the worst storms, the enemy is about hurt feelings and bitterness from unforgiving hearts causing division and isolation. This is not a no big deal, not my problem kind of war. No, it sure is your problem because if you don’t pick a side and give it all you got, the enemy will take you over and use you as his weapon against God’s true people.
We need to get far far away from this cancel culture and look inside ourselves, at what needs to change within us, to bring about unity not division.
The people that are hard for us to get along with, are not meant to cancel out of our lives. They are there to help mold and shape us into our true selves. They give our faith a workout, to strengthen us for battles yet to come. We do ourselves a huge disservice when we decide to cancel them, abandon them, ignore them, etc. We are telling God, He made a mistake so we have to protect ourselves. God knows exactly what He is doing and the answer to our prayers may be in the person we chose to reject and in so doing decided against having faith in God’s ability to work in our lives. 
Don’t cancel anyone friends, it’s a trick of the enemy and isn’t a good trap to get stuck in. When you forgive, yes forget, unless you would rather that Father God remember your sins against Him. Choose Love always, no matter what’s done to you, for your sacrifice is where true courage and strength are found, and what All of Heaven is cheering for. 
Until next time may God bless you and keep you as you seek Him with your whole heart. 



Once upon a time

A crazy thing about my mind, I think, is my ability to trick myself. Nobody wants to believe they have any major faults within them. Personally I like to believe I am a pretty good person. Patient, gentle, giving, law-abiding, non-judging, practicing Christian (at least to the best of my abilities) are some of the attributes I would say could describe me.

Sure I have a less than desirable side too that comes out here and there. I’m well aware I have some imperfections, but hey, nobody’s perfect, right? So long as I’m doing my best, not hurting anybody, and not telling anyone else how to live, all is well and good it would seem.

And as long as my final destination, is what may come, from the best of my abilities here on Earth, I’d be right with such ideas as these. At least while I still live.

Therein lies the problem. The final destination I have in mind, is so far beyond my abilities, it’s almost being cruel to myself even entertaining the thoughts that I could end up there. Seriously, my chances are less than a high school dropout getting into Harvard. And to make matters worse that’s only based on who I know I am or who I believe I could be, it’s not counting those parts of me I trick myself into believing insignificant, or not even worth contemplating because they wouldn’t apply to me.

So there I was, according to me, a good person, living the best she knows how to live, all while dreaming of one day reaching a place, that short of a miracle, could never be reached. Then, I got my very own, “once upon a time” fairy tale story.

The beautiful thing about it is, I know the end is guaranteed to be happy no matter what I may run into along the road I walk getting there. For me having that guarantee is more than I could have ever hoped for or dreamed of especially as I’m known to veer off and get myself lost more frequently than I may be worth.

Once upon a time, I met Jesus!

I may have thought of myself as a good person before. That’s  When my standard was the world.

Romans 10:3 For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.

Isaiah 64:6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

Now the standard could no longer be the world. Once I met Jesus the standard became Jesus. Now every hope of someday reaching that place was lost. No effort of mine could erase the bad things I have done and no future effort could possibly be enough to stand before Jesus and plead my case for the right to enter that place. I suppose had I not felt the unconditional, unexplainable, unmatchable love of Jesus, I would consider my chances completely hopeless at this point.

But I did! I did feel the love poured out for me like a tsunami enveloping my entire being.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), Ephesians 2:4-5

My happy ending, yet to come is guaranteed not by my own efforts, not by my own behavior, but by His grace through His love and mercy!!

Praise Father God, Lord Jesus and Holy Spirit!!

Now my final destination will be that place and through no effort of my own!

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

In a world where nothing is free and even the basic necessities of life come only through trading time and labor for money to pay for, grace is a hard concept to swallow. It’s to good to be true, is the first thought. Even the most giving of people always seem to have a price for their giving. I’ve heard them say the gift is from the Lord but come to church or lunch or something. Sometimes it’s a gift yet they mean to choose how it will be best used in your life. All small prices to pay for sure yet a price just the same.

This gift though, grace, Jesus death in place of mine, His suffering so I wouldn’t have to suffer, and all I have to do is say yes. Yes I believe and accept this sacrifice for my guilt, my wrongs. Then I also get to go to that place in the end.

Imagine, what kind of love is this? Love that would cause one to give up everything that’s rightfully theirs including their own life just to have someone like me say yes I accept you, yes I want to be your friend, yes I want to know you. It’s a love this world has never known. God who owns it all, Who’s all powerful, Who’s the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the God who created me and created everything this Earth has to offer for me, truly loves me. Even though I took for granted the very life He gave me, even though I turned away from Him, even though I loved the world instead of Him, He loved me so much He made Himself a man so He could be the true sacrifice to save me from that which I deserved. He loved me so much He took my punishment upon himself. What kind of love is this?

Honestly I don’t have a clue what love this is but I do know that I will spend the rest of my life seeking Him to find out. And at the same time, I will spend the rest of my life, singing His praises, for loving me though lost, so much, that I’ve been found.

Until next time may God bless you and keep you as you seek Him with your whole heart.

 

Battle of wills

If I cannot humble myself to God’s will, with complete surrender and sacrifice of my own ways, needs and desires, then it is foolishness to believe myself a vessel of servitude, reflecting God’s goodness, love and mercy unto others. If I need things my way and in my timing He will step aside and allow me to act like a spoiled princess. At this point, I am then operating according to my own belief, understanding and strength. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB) Says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. He will not try things my way which is limited to my understanding of the world because it’s measure is based on the amount of world I have experienced. Therefore my experience is not even a grain of sand held up beside the size of Earth in comparison to His understanding. No He will not join me in doing what I want, but He will allow me the freedom to choose selfishness over sacrifice. As I linger in my own understanding, living life my way, He stands ready to pick right back up where we left off as soon as my temper tantrum subsides and my realization kicks in of his understanding and my understanding are as an ant to the size of the universe. While operating in my own understanding, belief and strength my life is experienced accordingly. If I see something sad I may react over emotionally and when I feel angry I may permanently damage relationships by my emotionally unrestrained actions and words. All of which God will patiently allow as he gently and persistently calls me back to the safety of his arms and the faith in His ability to guide me in the right way. The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.— Proverbs 12:15(NASB) If I want to decide what’s good for me, what I desire most and demand my rights, Father God will step aside and let me live by what I think and feel is best for me no matter how tiny my best may be in comparison to his best for me. When I insist on doing what I think is right, best, fair, etc. I am then operating within my own strength and abilities. Physical pain may become worse or even unbearable, relationships suffer as emotions become heightened and I start to think my suffering for the sake of others goes unappreciated. Fatigue sets in and time disappears without a trace. My to do’s pile high while my sleep is scarce. Although I may try with all my might, I will fail miserably at portraying The Fruit of His Spirit in my life during this time. Operating in my own understanding and strength will eventually lead me right back to a place of desperation much like where I had started from. What may look to me like a good; thing, way, word, service, etc., is not always good. And how often have I really checked my true motive? See one of the absolute hardest things to do is pay close attention to how we are operating from the inside and what really motivates our actions and decisions. Often coming to realize the natural, almost habitual way we unthinkingly are led by selfish motivation, seems we’re always in some way looking out for ourselves. Sure we can be more then willing to help those we love along the way and even truly sacrifice for them. But if we stopped to look within our own hearts, unbiased, open to truth, would we find out we lie even to ourselves? If our heart is what Father God judges, doesn’t it stand to reason then that we should know what’s in there for him to judge? So many of us avoid even a slight glance into our own hearts because we know that we never cleaned up all the shattered pieces we shoved in there over and over again from past trauma pain and sorrow. We habitually keep shoving the broken pieces back in there deciding we will get to it after the pain eases a little. Our reasoning that we need to be prepared and ready before we go there is why so many of us just never go there. James 4:8-10(NASB) tells us, Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. How long will we wander in the wilderness of our testing before we open our eyes to what needs changing within us? Sometimes we linger in the wilderness, heavy with the burden of the trial, never seeing the light of our breakthrough that leads to our promised blessing. We cannot overcome a wrong attitude, a wrong behavior, or a wrong pattern of thought while we are still trying to justify it. Once we lay down our crown with complete surrender, He promises, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. “— Psalm 32:8 (NASB) And He tells us, For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. — Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB) And remember friends, for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. — Philippians 2:13(NASB) Until next time may God bless you and keep you as you seek him with all your heart.