When We Choose To Believe The Worst

Featured

judge motives

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Have I purposely withdrawn from or excluded this person?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?

“I Am Just Like Her…..Messy Enough To Need Prayer”

Featured

james 516

“I could never put something so personal on Facebook.  Can you imagine what people would say about me?” I asked.

My husband and I were having this conversation years ago, about someone who had posted a prayer request, and  the request revealed a lot of personal things some might see as dirty laundry.

I felt sorry for the sweet girl, marveling in her bravery.

“We are supposed to confess our weaknesses to our brothers and sisters and ask them to pray for us….you know like the bible says in James 5:16?” he said.

“But sometimes I think we can be guilty of judging one another and praying at the same time,” I replied.

“Yea, I know…..I don’t think men struggle with that like women might,” he said nonchalantly.

I am ashamed I could relate to what he meant.

As sister’s in Christ, sometimes we can be pretty hard on each other.

Why are we women so apt to gaze into each others life and clearly see the wrong and reason out the circumstances, chalking it up to sin failure?

Does it make us feel better to see someone else struggle too?

Could it be a coping mechanism the devil has taught us to use in order to compare our sin? Maybe we feel better about our own sin when compared to others.

For years I missed the whole point of the scripture in James.

The reason behind confessing is to hold us to a standard of accountability.

Gosh its tough to admit we even need accountability isn’t it?

It was for me.

We don’t like to admit to ourselves much less another Christian our character flaws or sin. Heck, we have trouble confessing to GOD.

We are supposed to be Christians….not sinning Christians…..at least this is the world’s view of the church.  It would be taboo if we admitted to each other we struggle with judging, gossip, jealousy or hate etc….yet James tells us to.

The plain and simple truth is I am a sinner. If we are breathing….we are all sinners.

The accountability I got from my brutally honest husband was the catalyst to help me face my sin.  The pride and judging issues had nagged me for years.

God started convicting me about looking at the negative in a prayer request.

This sweet soul was hurting…..regardless of the why or how she ended up in the situation resulting in a prayer request….she was in pain.

GOD took me back to a time when my own decisions resulted in a time of pain.

Something inside me clicked.

I related to her anguish.

I am just like her…..messy enough to need prayer.

If we are honest….we all have areas in our life making us messy enough to need prayer.

When I judge another…I am putting myself in GOD’S place of authority.

I imagined GOD asking me point blank…..

“So you think you are HOLY enough to do my job?”

Now I ask him to help me focus on my own messes, and not my sister’s when entrusted to pray.

Since I have been praying this simple request over the last few years….there has been sort of a revolution in my heart.

GOD is making me more compassionate…..something I struggle with.

I’m finding my prayer life is more enjoyable….easier and sweeter.

I am experiencing real freedom through GOD’s grace and mercy.

And it feels good.

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”  James 5:16

To be righteous means to be right with GOD.

I want to be right with GOD….everyday.

I long for my prayers to accomplish much in my own life as well as those who ask me to pray.

How about you?

GOD make us accountable, trustworthy, prayer warriors….and make our bonds of sisterhood stronger than any snare Satan can set.

“Taking A Slug At The Devil”

Featured

what you are

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

ephesians

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.

A Special Day

Featured

20150120-Porter-Heart

This is a special day for me.

My first guest post blog is featured on the women’s devotion website Incourage.

I am amazed GOD has even brought me to this opportunity in my writing journey. This journey started as a little girl writing poems, songs and short stories.

As I became a teenager, I found comfort in writing my prayers, revealing the most intimate details of my thoughts to my heavenly father.

Through the years, GOD started speaking to me in between the lines of my written prayers.

As the words would unfold on the page, I heard the HOLY SPIRIT telling me specific directives, convicting, comforting and encouraging me.

Now the words I write are how I work out my salvation.

Many will never appear on a blog site, but I write them anyway because I am desperate to hear from the LORD.

Please take a moment and click on the link Incourage and read my post about friendships and perceptions, entitled “She Scares Me.”

It’s a true story that happened in the hallway of my church not too long ago, yet the lesson I learned from the HOLY SPIRIT will stay with me for the rest of my life.

A special thank you to the creative staff at Incourage for this humbling opportunity to share my heart with you.

May you find fun, favor and the father in all of your friendships.