October 2, 2018

31 Days of Becoming the Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt... Day Two


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Be Kind...
  Be kind... it sounds so simple... so easy. 

But you don't need to scroll through your newsfeed or channel surf for very long to see that this is not really happening in our world right now*.  I mean, if it is --it's not making headlines or getting all the retweets, for SURE, right?

My, how I long for the days when life was simpler... less plugged in and 'connected'... less 24-hour news cycle and the rush to have a breaking story or inside scoop without having facts first (on both 'sides' of any given issue)... 

Our society right now... 
Man, we have a serious lack
of giving the benefit of the doubt!

I don't blame technology or the current events... and I am in no way saying to bury our heads in the sand and just be happy.  That is not reality and it is actually not helpful, either!

However, may I be bold enough to suggest that maybe... just maybe... the internets are not the places for all of these hard conversations? (At least not exclusively or incessantly!)

Let's start off with this: I promise to not get all preachy on you in this series! I won't... but this entire series came reluctantly through prayer and from seeing a need to just be kind.  

When I asked the Lord for a Scripture to confirm this, immediately I thought of Ephesians 4:32... and while this series will most likely include Scriptures here and there, and it will be grounded in Christ, I won't preach at you. I won't quote scripture and move on as if that is enough to put the truth into practice. How many of us know the truth... but it's the walking it out that helps to set us free! Plus --how many different ways do we interpret 'Truth'? But I'm getting ahead of myself here... 

I was just going to quote verse thirty-two from Ephesians 4 and move on... however, I realized this would not give us enough perspective and because verse 32 starts with a 'but' let's back up a little and read a bit more of the text, starting with vs17:
"So with the wisdom given to me from the Lord I say: You should not live like the unbelievers around you who walk in their empty delusions. Their corrupted logic has been clouded because their hearts are so far from God—their blinded understanding and deep-seated moral darkness keeps them from the true knowledge of God. Because of spiritual apathy, they surrender their lives to lewdness, impurity, and sexual obsession.
 But this is not the way of life that Christ has unfolded within you. If you have really experienced the Anointed One, and heard his truth, it will be seen in your life; for we know that the ultimate reality is embodied in Jesus!
And he has taught you to let go of the lifestyle of the ancient man, the old self - life, which was corrupted by sinful and deceitful desires that spring from delusions. Now it’s time to be made new by every revelation that’s been given to you. And to be transformed as you embrace the glorious Christ-within as your new life and live in union with him! For God has re-created you all over again in his perfect righteousness, and you now belong to him in the realm of true holiness. So discard every form of dishonesty and lying so that you will be known as one who always speaks the truth, for we all belong to one another.
But don’t let the passion of your emotions lead you to sin! Don’t let anger control you or be fuel for revenge, not for even a day. Don’t give the slanderous accuser, the Devil, an opportunity to manipulate you! If any one of you has stolen from someone else, never do it again. Instead, be industrious, earning an honest living, and then you’ll have enough to bless those in need.
And never let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth, but instead let your words become beautiful gifts that encourage others; do this by speaking words of grace to help them.

The Holy Spirit of God has sealed you in Jesus Christ until you experience your full salvation. So never grieve the Spirit of God or take for granted his holy influence in your life. Lay aside bitter words, temper tantrums, revenge, profanity, and insults. But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love." ~Ephesians 4:17-32 The Passion Translation
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Listen, I'm not even going to go there regarding how to interpret those first few verses, because I have friends who will think they affirm their views and other friends who think the verses are affirming an opposing view. 

But this is the point --no matter what your view, 
the rest of the verses above negate picking fights or being unkind to each other!

We don't have to all agree.  
We won't all agree!

Yes - if we are believers, we agree on Christ and Him crucified... and yet, even while we unite around Jesus, we can and will disagree on various other doctrines, practices, and social issues.

My goal here is not to take a political or social stand for or against anything. 

My goal --and I believe the reason why the Lord put this topic so heavy on my heart-- is this: 

The Bible is clear. 
We are to be kind... to hold our tongue...
to love our friends and family, yes
--but we are also called to love our enemy...
to bless them and pray for them. 

I mean, you guys...
I'm not makin' this up! 
It's in there! (Matt 5)  

Do you know what else is in there?
--That we will be known by our LOVE... 
by our love, friends! 

Man, we need to work on this! 

Many phrases stuck out to me in that portion of Scripture (which I put in bold type!) however that one that I can't get over is this:

"...for we all belong to one another."

YOU GUYS?!!? I mean...???

Here's the thing:  
I can be right, without proving that you are wrong.  
Or even insinuating it. 

I can love you even if we disagree on theological issues,
social issues, political issues, parenting issues,
dating or sexual issues, likes and dislikes,
preferences, sports teams, hobbies,
...you get the picture! 

Some of this stuff is trivial and we know it's silly. 
Some of it is not trivial at all... and it's easy to see
how we could think it is our job to correct and inform.

I'm not saying there is not a time or place for that!
There is... There are times when those hard conversations or those heart to hearts need to be spoken and put out in the open, but --guys! -- that is rarely, if ever, on the interwebs!

Those communications are best done over time when you have already been kind and held your tongue and built a real relationship first. 

They should be face to face, 
not hiding behind a screen... 
they should be organic and honest,
(not calculated and abrupt!)  
They should be brought up when you are
willing to not just do all the talking but also
willing to listen and really hear, too!

There are times for confrontation and challenging beliefs...
but those times come AFTER we have
put into practice the  call to
"be kind and affectionate toward one another."

...Something about how it's the KINDNESS of God that leads to repentance. (Romans 2:4)

So my hearts' cry as I scroll through my (diverse) newsfeed or look around a family or church gathering or turn on the news is this: BE KIND!
"The only way to tell the truth is to speak with kindness. Only the words of a loving man can be heard." ~Henry David Thoreau

Wasn't that the message of Mr. Rogers...
and of Jesus, Himself?
Isn't this the message of tolerance?
Let us actually PUT IT INTO PRACTICE
and be kind... with those whom we agree, of course... but more importantly, with those whom we don't, can't,
or won't see eye to eye with
--now, and maybe not ever... 
because Kindness goes a long, long, way!





Today is Day Two of 31 Days of Becoming Queen of Giving the Benefit of the Doubt! If you missed the kick-off and official 'Homepage' for this series, you can go HERE and catch up! You will find links for each days' postings, added daily throughout the month. If you'd prefer to have them delivered right to you, I invite you to enter your email address to the right ('Subscribe Here') and subscribe to the blog. That way, once a week, each post is delivered to your inbox in a single email over the weekend and you'll be sure not to miss a thing!

Also: I promise the posts in this series will not be this long! Honestly... I don't have that many words! I just wanted to set the foundation today!

* = It is not lost on me what today's' news will be saturated with... and I don't think it was lost on God, either! He may have asked me to write this whole series just for this one post, on this specific day! But we will press on and learn together how to put this whole thing to practice!

Come back for a shorter post tomorrow where we will talk about Setting our intentions to Believe the Best!

8 comments :

  1. Karrilee, LOVED this post on being kind. MY 31 day series is about kindness. ;)
    That visual picture of our words being as beautiful gifts, (encouraging one another) is helpful.
    I want to keep in mind (more) what type of gift my words are. Are they priceless, appreciated, on the mark? Or are they dog dung, hostile and preachy.
    Thanks for praying about this and sharing this much needed truth about kindness on social media.

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    1. Susan... yes! I subscribed to your blog the other day because I noticed you, too, were planning on talking about kindness this month! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  2. You mean Twitter isn't the best place to have an in-depth conversation?! I need to rethink my whole life.

    You're right. In the past I've had good discussions on social media, but that just doesn't seem possible right now. I am figuring out exactly how to navigate that. I don't want to run away from the hard things but I also don't want to contribute to any problems.

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    1. LOL! I mean.. I have had some pretty stellar social media conversations, too... but it does seem less likely nowadays! It DOES still happen... but it (will) happen more often when we remember to be kind! ;)

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  3. This is so good Karrilee! Thanks for sharing what God put on your heart! Looking forward to the rest ❤️❤️❤️

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    1. What a nice surprise to find you here, sweet friend! I'm so glad you are joining me on this journey - online and in real life! (Speaking of which... ;) Let's make a date!)

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Thanks so much for stopping by! I always love to hear your thoughts! Remember to: Speak Life - Be Love - Shine On!
~Karrilee~

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