Authority?

Human beings cringe when we hear the word law. We don’t embrace strict rules. Like Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean, we much prefer guidelines or suggestions. Something designed into our very core causes us to automatically reject rules and those that would attempt to enforce those rules. You know what it is like, that feeling that rises up inside when the flashing lights of a police officer in your rearview mirror threaten to ruin your day. Sure, we were in a hurry and driving ten miles over the posted legal speed. But there are serious crimes being committed out there and this cop has nothing better to do than harass a law abiding citizen like yourself? We are all guilty of this thinking. Even those of us who attempt to show the officer respect and accept our ticket with some semblance of maturity drive away feeling as if we have been treated unfairly. Others of us will spend a huge portion of our day explaining why the ticket was unfair, (how the cop was actually in the wrong) and determining how to fight the citation in court. Reactions to a traffic stop can range from a speeding ticket to gun play and actual death. However (in most cases) the truth is, a law was broken; you broke it. There are consequences for breaking laws. You chose to drive ten miles an hour over the posted legal speed, you chose to not show up in court, you chose to rob a bank, you chose to drink and drive, you chose your actions; you were, therefore, saying that you were willing to accept the consequences of those actions.

One of my girls attended a college where certain movies were against the schools listed rules. She asked me on one occasion if I thought it would be ok for her to watch one such movie in the dorm with her roommates. I explained that her dad and I had no problem with that movie and we felt it was completely acceptable for her to watch with her friends. I also explained that her dad and I do not make the rules for the institution that she was attending. I wanted her to understand that, by breaking the rule, she would be saying that she was ready to accept the consequences of her actions regardless of the severity. She and her friends watched the movie. They were caught and had to go before the discipline committee. She called to let me know that she had been reprimanded and wanted to know if I was mad. I informed her I wasn’t mad. She did the crime, she did the time. She accepted the consequences of her actions.

In the climate of our current world there are those lining up against law enforcement. I am not implying that police officers are not capable of committing atrocious acts. They are and they have, just like the rest of us. The point of my writing is always the same. I want to inspire myself and others to look inward. If you find yourself against ALL law enforcement, I must suggest that your issue is not with “bad cops”. Your issue might be with authority. You might have a problem with someone having the right to tell you that you are wrong. You might kick against the thought that someone has the right to to hold you accountable for your actions. If this is you, then I suggest you do another litmus test.

Do you accept the authority of God? Whether or not you acknowledge Him, He is. He created you and everything you know, He made the rules. He decides the consequences. This is why some of you refuse to believe, and this is why some of you have walked away from a God you once loved. It is not because you are smarter than those of us who place our faith in Christ. You are gambling that the rest of us are wrong and that there is no one that will hold you accountable for your actions. That is a big gamble.

Allow me to get this part out of the way. I love God. When I say God, I am referring to the Creator of everything that is and everything that ever will be. I am referring to the Heavenly Father of my Savior, Jesus Christ; the God that sent His only begotten Son to die in my stead on a cross, so that I would not need to pay for my own sin debt. He was my sacrifice, restoring me to a relationship with our Father so that I would live in fellowship with Him for eternity. God designed this plan for all of us. Regardless of race, political affiliation, sexual preference, or your disregard for authority. The invitation is there for all who will simply acknowledge His authority and accept His free gift of salvation. In the movie, National Treasure, Detective Sadusky asks Ben what he wants out of the deal for returning the Declaration of Independance. Ben replies, ” I would really like to not go to jail”. The Detective says, “Somebody’s gotta go to jail, Ben.” The truth is, according to God’s word, somebody is going to pay the debt owed for your inability to live up to His Glory. Somebody is “going to jail” for breaking God’s laws. We can pay our own debt, or we can accept that Christ paid it for us and accept Him as the Savior He was sent to be.

Your refusal to accept the police officer’s authority will not keep him from ticketing you or taking you to jail. Your rejection of God’s authority does not alter His authority, anymore than your failure to accept the law of gravity will keep you from falling to your death if you jump off of the Empire State Building. In our analogy, when that police officer hands you your speeding ticket, Jesus steps up and pays it for you. God’s word does NOT teach that you must be living perfectly to believe or to walk with Him daily. It only requires that you humble yourself enough to know that you deserve “the ticket” (consequences ) of your actions and that you acknowledge Christ’s authority and the fact that He paid for those consequences for you.

I teach my yoga students that you cannot learn yoga without doing yoga. It does not matter how many books and articles you read or how many questions you ask. In the same way, you cannot understand what it is to walk with Christ until you accept Him. I encourage you to look inward and assess whether or not you have an authority issue. Determine why you are rejecting God’s authority in your life. Make a plan to correct any issues. Reach out to someone who is willing to talk and withhold judgement if you have questions.

Seek enlightenment always.

Namaste

 

 

Shaping Our World

My family and I lived in Ghana, West Africa for several years. One of the many things that experience taught me is that a society must be viewed through a “cultural lens”.

For example, in Ghana, when we arrived, it was practically taboo for a married couple to show physical affection in a public arena. To hold hands or share a kiss, even to sit together in a church service was just not done.

The point isn’t whether this is right or wrong. The point isn’t whether or not this practice was healthy or even serving the marriages well. The truth is that, for better or worse, this was the predominant cultural view adopted by the Ghanaians at the time.

Therefore, when a well meaning national told me that she had been offended when my husband had put his arm around me in church, I was quick to reply, “When the Africans stopped urinating on the street in front of me whenever and wherever they felt the urge, I might consider her point of view.”  I was simply reflecting my cultural opinion.

You see, the environment in which we live shapes us. I am not concerned with which culture holds the correct view. My goal is to inspire each of us to examine the culture in which we live and determine how it might be “deciding for us”.  You might agree that growing up in the United States has shaped your opinions. Would you also agree that within any large group there are also cultural subsets at play?  These might include religious, political and economic affiliations. Where we were born, what family we were born into, the friends that crossed our path, and the schools we attended can influence the way we see our world.

I believe in certain absolute truths.  However, ABSOLUTE truths are not cultural.  The fact that it is absolute means that it is true no matter where you are standing. For example, gravity is gravity whether you jump off the Empire State Building or a grass hut in Ghana. If you cannot get oxygen, you will suffocate. Are you with me so far?

Yes, I believe in absolute truths; however, I do not believe that a dominant cultural idea or opinion equals an absolute truth. In some of our cultures and subsets there are ideas that are so pervasive that we feel pressured to accept them simply because we have to live within this arena. It is my belief that in allowing these pervasive cultural views to shape our decisions (and ultimately our lives) we fail to seek the absolute truths that should guide us. Simply adopting the societal opinion can close us off to being truly loving, compassionate, forgiving human beings.

For many years in this country, the dominant cultural view was that all  black men should be owned as slaves. I wonder how many white men felt in their heart of hearts that this was a  moral wrong, but lacked the courage to make a stand against the predominant viewpoint. Where was the compassion for another human being?  Where were the men and women who could see past their cultural opinion, and make a stand for what is an absolute truth, that ALL men are created equal?  Perhaps the moral fortitude of the white men that lived then was located in the same place as that of many of the “Black Lives Matter” leaders today.  When your culture says that any man’s life is more worthy than another man’s (regardless of your reasoning), you are pushing your agenda, not a truth.

I haven’t lost you all yet?  Let’s try this one on for size. I believe that the existence of God is an absolute truth. I believe that His Word is and absolute truth. I believe that, in His Word, God list things that are considered sin. By that I mean actions that, when committed, open us up to consequences that have been set in place since the beginning. I do not believe that God is sitting up there waiting for us to break one of these rules so that he can exact vengeance.An absolute God makes it very clear in His absolute Word that ALL of us have sinned and come short of His glory. The consequences of our actions, just like gravity, have always been in place. Therefore, to get up and preach that any group of “sinners” is somehow worse than any other group is pharisaical at its best and downright evil in most cases. To say that a homosexual with his choices is any more of a sinner than the best christian on the front pew is with his choices is to not have a clear understanding of the teachings of Christ. In adopting this cultural view, we sit self righteously on our church pew and fail to reach out and show Christ’s love to what we have concluded as a group of people somehow less deserving than ourselves. I repeat, when your culture says that any man’s life is more worthy than another man’s, regardless of your reasoning, you are pushing your agenda, not a truth.

I’ve probably lost most of you, but I’m gonna go for one more.  If you have stuck with me this far then I’m betting that you (like me) believe that all men are created equal.  You believe (like me) that we are to show Christ’s love to everyone.  Including that person who hurt you?  That person who has done so much damage to you and your family?  The person who made your heart hurt so badly that you wished you didn’t have to wake up? That one person who causes you to embrace your anger, perhaps even hatred? Even him?  If your culture, including the one in your own heart, says that any man’s life is more worthy than another man’s, regardless of your reasoning, you are pushing your agenda, not a truth.

My only goal as a blogger is to incite introspection and growth.  I do not ask that you believe everything that I believe. I ask only that you analyze  each cultural influence in your life, from the part of the world you were born into, down into the deep recesses of your heart, and if you find there lack of love, forgiveness AND restoration for all men, alter your life accordingly.

Namaste

 

 

Platitudes

Platitudes.  We have all heard them.  We have all used them.  But what really do they mean?

The word platitude is defined as a remark or statement, especially one with a moral content, that has been used too often to be interesting or thoughtful.  Webster’s Dictionary goes on to shed more light on this word:  A statement that expresses an idea that is not new.  The quality or state of being dull or insipid. A banal or, trite, or stale remark.

Insipid is the word that most clearly describes my feelings toward the incessant use of platitudes.  Lacking vigor or interest.  Lacking interest.  Folks there we have it!  The reason that comments like Good things come to those who wait or It was meant to be roll off the tongue, is that they require absolutely no thought or introspection on the part of the commenter.

Everything happens for a reason.  Really?  That phrase brings no comfort to the person who has just received a fatal medical diagnosis or the wife who has just buried her husband.

Good things come to those who wait.  I wonder how many times that one has been offered up to the person who wants so badly to get married or have a child.

It is what it is.  This one is used for everything from car accidents to losing jobs.

Money can’t buy happiness.  That might be true, but I’m betting that many of us would like to give having money a shot and then decide for ourselves.

It’s all good.  Nope, I’m 47 years old and I can assure you that not everything is good.

Love means never having to say you’re sorry. If that is the case, then I’m betting you haven’t loved someone very long.

Tomorrow is another day.  Ya’ think?

The best things in life are free.  It doesn’t feel that way when you need to buy groceries or pay the electric bill.

Better to have loved and lost.  I prefer to love and keep, if you don’t mind.

Only the good die young, All’s fair in love and war, there are plenty more fish in the sea, think about how much worse other people have it…. after all…People are starving in Ethiopia.

The list goes on and on.  Now, don’t get your panties in a wad, I freely acknowledge that many of these saying are grounded in (or at least contain an element of) truth.  My issue is not with the wisdom (or lack there-of).  Far too often, when these trite tidbits are offered up it is because the offeror has not taken the time to actually consider and ponder what is actually needed by the person they are attempting to “encourage”.

Here is a challenge.  Can you remember a time when you were facing a battle and a person came along and offered up an uninspired, not well thought out bit of encouragement and you were just left shaking your head?  Can you think back on a time when you were in the middle of a life altering event and a person came along and said exactly the right thing at exactly the right time?

I do not know what obstacles you or your loved ones will face today.  Let me encourage you to think before you speak.  The words you choose to utter, when chosen carefully, can literally speak life to another human being in need of encouragement. As you go about your day, meditate on the fact that your words can bring life or death to the hearer.

Speak Life

Namaste

Misguided Facebook Post

If we had been friends…

Well, if we had been friends I would have counseled you not to.
I would have told you not to go on social media and attack a lump of dirt. I would have reminded you that, after all, ultimately, that is what we all amount to.  One lump of dirt name-calling another lump of dirt holds no value.  I would have advised against calling anyone a snake on Facebook.
Were we friends, I would have warned that doing so would make you look like less of a man.  After all, a snake is another name for the devil.  As you know the devil is called the Father of lies. If we were friends I would have gently but firmly reminded you that although I believe your attacker was misguided and ultimately wrong in the way he treated you, I have never known him to tell a blatant lie.
I would have given you the look.  You know the one.  That look that reminds you that you have struggled with honesty many times and therefore probably should not “cast a stone”.
As I am sure you know, God tells us that “He that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin”.
I cannot tell you if your accuser knows that his treatment of you and others has been wrong.
What I do know is that you know your treatment of him and others is and continues to be wrong. I know this because you told me with your own words. I know this because God outlines how we are to treat others in his Word.  And the others that you have wronged did not take to social media and call you a snake…
If I were your friend, I would have admonished you not to seek validation through social media.  If your goal was to convict this person and cause him to consider his actions you fell quite short of the goal.  I suspect, however, that your goal was less noble.  My guess is that you were wounded and you were simply venting and feeling the need to get your side out and rally support.
If we had been friends, I would have told you just how petty this  would make you look.  I would have gently reminded you how you sat quietly and defended no one as the same man attacked others.  Even those who rallied around your post on Facebook and left you encouraging comments could not count on your loyalty or a word in their defense when they were likewise treated.
If we were friends, I would have pointed out that your own fear and inability to make a stand when it will cost you personally, actually led to your own demise.  You see, all that is needed for evil to thrive is for good men to do nothing.
No, if we were friends I would have admonished you to realize that to chastise that person publicly for his treatment of you while in the act of treating others with more disdain and less compassion than he did you is not only narrow minded, but could actually bring God’s judgement as it represents iniquity in the truest sense of the word.
If we were friends, I would have offered no platitudes of mock comfort.  As your friend I would have offered unconditional support and encouragement while pushing you to address your own issues with “snake-like tendencies”
If we were friends, I would have read out loud (to you) your public accusation of another.
If I were your friend, when we reached the part in your social media outcry where you implore “How could someone I thought was my friend treat me this way”, someone that you had been loyal to, when you had done nothing to deserve this treatment….I would have…. as your friend …laughed my ass off. I might have, as your friend, suggested that God had answered someone else’s prayer and was showing you how it feels…
I would have laughed so loud and so hard that with tears streaming down my face due to the absolute absurdity and irony in such a question …as your friend ..I would have fallen off my chair. Do unto others and all that.
As your friend, I would have given you the benefit of the doubt yet pushed you to be a better man.
But, if we were friends it would imply that you wanted people in your life who are capable and willing to tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.
If we were friends, I would have expected you to be a man worthy of that friendship…
Worthy of Christ’s friendship…
The man I know you can be..
Not the man you have proven yourself to be thus far..
But , alas, this matters not…
It could only have mattered, it could only have made a difference in how others see you, How God sees you and ultimately how you will see yourself, it could only have impacted your life…
If we were friends…
How often do we use social media to further our own agendas? Personal battles?
If we were friends, I would admonish you to always look inward first, realizing that rarely will we discover that we are not guilty of the very thing that is aggravating us with others.
Today, choose to take the high road.  Choose to encourage rather than attack. Mom said it best:”If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all”.