When We Choose To Believe The Worst

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She was funny. Kind. A go-getter. She definitely knew her stuff … and was nothing like the horror stories I’d been told. And trust me … the stories were not good.

I was new to the company and it was my first time meeting the regional manager.  I was quite nervous … but pleasantly surprised when she finally arrived at my store.

We got along well. We accomplished much … and though she was 20 years younger, I realized this young lady had paid her dues and worked hard.

At the end of the visit, I told her ….  “Dayna, you are nothing like I expected.” Her reply … “Yea, I know all about the rumors that fly from region to region because I do my job by the book. But that doesn’t matter to me Melanie, I’m a rule follower. Those that don’t follow the rules will always have a problem with me.”

That was a valuable lesson for me that blead over into my faith.

A very wise man named Bryan, once taught me …

“We must always believe the best about our brothers and sisters in Christ …   regardless of what we have heard or think.”

Every time I meet someone who’s reputation precedes them or is attached to questionable and spicy details … I remember this.

There is scientific proof that every time a story is retold … the individual telling it manages to embellish it a little in some way.

And then we decide to believe it.

As my daddy always told me …

“There are two sides to every story.”

It takes two to tango … and somewhere in the middle is the truth. Chances are … the real truth will get lost in translation.

So why should it matter to a Christian if the story is accurate, partially accurate … or not?

How should we handle our attitude when we’ve been told details that may or may not reflect this person’s true character or what really happened?

When we allow the influence of the relayed story … to affect our opinion of this person … or it causes us to judge this person’s every motive … or treat them different … we do the Father no good in this grace exchange.

In a court of law, a story being retold by a third party is called “hearsay” and it’s not allowed to be considered by the court for the final outcome.

If only we could adopt this “hearsay” policy as Christians, my, my… what the body of Christ would look like?

Honestly ask yourself these questions.

Every time I see this person am I mentally recalling the relayed experience?

Have I purposely withdrawn from or excluded this person?

Am I guilty of examining their motives?

Is there something deep inside of me that wants to believe the worst about this person?

If so friend … we might as well throw grace out the door and stop saying we believe in the redemptive blood of Jesus … because regardless of what did or did not happen … we are not obeying the Matthew 7 principle …

“Judge not … that ye be not judged.”

We are merely sitting ourselves up for the same standard that we are practicing … in regards to how poorly we are treating them.

Let’s just look at this from another angle.

So let’s say it is true? Do you want to be reminded of certain things you did wrong in the past? Especially if you are trying to live for Christ?

I don’t know anyone who’d want their past rubbed in their noses, would you?

That is a tactic of the Devil called condemnation … a blood bought Christian who claims to love Jesus does not condemn.

And then what if you find out one day … the story was not exactly accurate? What if the story was told from a guilty …  angry … jealous … or even vindictive perspective? Or what if you learn the person isn’t at all what you were deceived to believe?

What a weight that would be right? To think we judged someone based on another’s lies, misinformation or our own condemning thoughts. WOW.

And a key point to remember … everyone is flawed … every single one of us.

So the next time we are tempted to treat someone different based on what we’ve heard …

Try to remember this … Satan is running circles around us … whispering untruths, dissension, accusations and condemnation in our ears.

I know you are thinking …. how can we know if what we are hearing is from the Devil?

If the thoughts you are having contradict God’s commands … then your thoughts are from the Devil.

If the thoughts you are having creates animosity, criticism, confusion, anxiety, disunity or dissension … instead of peace … then your thoughts are from the Devil.

Or if the thoughts you are having are full of condemnation … rather than grace … guess what?  Your thoughts are from the Devil.

Choosing to believe “hearsay” speaks volumes about our character.

The only truth we know is … we will never know what really came down in certain situations concerning relayed stories. And … we will never be able to correctly judge someone’s character or motives … period. We’re not God.

None of us want someone to think the worst about us right?

So because of this fact it’s important to remember …

We are all terribly, flawed humans … therefore, we must operate in grace … because grace gives birth to grace …

And dad blame it …how lost would we be without grace?

“Taking A Slug At The Devil”

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We were just looking for a fun girl’s night out.  Some lighthearted merriment and laughs to escape the winter blues; however, a misunderstanding quickly escalated into a night of embarrassment and humiliation for the four of us.

We misconstrued an invitation, thinking we were all invited to an event when that was not the case. Though we tried in every way to cooperate and diffuse the situation, Satan did everything in his power to heighten it. When I asked if they wanted us to leave, I was reassured no; but from there we were privy to a round of rules and regulations cited for our benefit.

I get rules are a necessity to life and maintaining order, but when rules, passions, ideals, and money get in the way of how people are treated, well….I have to wonder if the man-made rules are pleasing to God?

And then it happened….when I tried to explain we were there just for fun and had no intentions of stealing ideas….the church card was pulled out.

You know the card….the statement made insinuating you’ve done something wrong, and how could you because you go to church?  It’s the churchy kind of statement laced with accusation and reeking with judgment?

It’s funny now that we sit back and have the whole picture, but it wasn’t funny the moment the offender threw the proverbial church card on the table.

I was new to this unjust trick from the pit, but one of my friends, a pastor’s wife, knew it well. On more than one occasion, she and her family have been slapped with this method of demeaning a person’s faith.

So how do we handle those who want to pull the “church card” whenever they feel threatened or offended?

First we recognize…..

We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.    Ephesian 6:12

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The chaos of the moment was orchestrated by Satan, not man. I am grateful for this truth because I can walk away realizing “the blindsiding” was definitely a move by the dark side.

Second….

We choose to love and show grace in spite of all things.  It doesn’t matter what was said or done, I can love regardless. And the reason I can is because I have a Father in heaven giving me the same grace and love.

Third….

Anytime you are known as a person of faith, you are going to be held to a higher standard so be on guard……don’t let the Lord down.

I sat there and prayed, “Lord, what would you have me do? You know our intentions were not evil, what should I do?”

Above the clatter of the moment HE whispered, take the blame, apologize, and show love.

Even when the church card is used by the world, going the extra mile in the kingdom of GOD is always worth the effort.

My friends and I did everything we could to remedy and handle the situation in a Christ like way.  In fact we went out of our way to do the right thing.

So let me encourage you friends, don’t walk away and let the Devil have the victory….step up to the plate and take a slug at the accuser of your faith….knock him out for the kingdom and stand tall.

Leave the world no reason to doubt that you are….what you say you are.

And always remember this…….

Satan is in the confusion, the chaos, the presumptions, the miscommunication, the misunderstanding, the intensity, the bewilderment, the disappointment and the failed expectations.

But JESUS is always in the regret, the humility, the sincerity, the love, the forgiveness and the restoration.

Don’t let someone else’s bad response keep you from doing good. #livefreeThursday http://tinyurl.com/q5hodkd @suzanneeller

So honored to be linking up with Suzie Eller for #livefreeThursday.