The Toxicity of Indifference

There’s a meme that’s been popping up on my facebook feed recently, and it is one that breaks my heart. Not only does it sadden me, but the fact that it is being affirmed by fellow-Christians is what I find to be most disturbing. Its content is as follows:

I’m at the point in life where I don’t care about losing friendships or relationships.
I don’t even speak to some of my family, and it doesn’t bother me one bit.
People come and go.
I’m not here to chase anyone or beg for friendship and loyalty.
If you feel me and we vibe, then that’s what’s up.
If not, then it is what it is.
See ya.

Seriously? Am I the only one who sees the selfishness and the totally un-Christlike attitude of this statement?

If you have reached the point where you can walk away from family members and friendships without being bothered by the fact, then I fear for you. I really do. Because to reach a point of such indifference can only make me wonder how deeply you have embraced hurt and are holding on to bitterness in your life.

Now before you begin your rant against me, please hear my heart. I realize some of you reading this post have had terrible things happen to you at the hands of those who should have shown you nothing but love. I’m not making excuses for behaviors of abuse or malicious harm inflicted upon you by people who preyed upon your youth or innocence. But the above statement does not directly address those issues. It is thrown out with what seems to me as a flippant attitude of “whatever.” A “If you’re not good for me, then why should I care about you?” air of selfishness and disdain.

If you allow people to so casually come and go in your life without a thought or care of repairing relationships, then what does that say about your own heart? Does it truly not bother you that family members won’t speak to you? Or that relationships are lost without fighting for them?

I know it can be hard to get along with siblings or parents or friends or really anyone who has walked up close with us for any length of time, but to hold on to those relationships should mean something to us. To pursue people with love and to opt to live peacefully with others should be a main goal of anyone who claims Christ as their Savior. Love is a central core to our make-up in the body of Christ. Indifference toward others should have no grounds on which to stand when we claim to follow Jesus.

Building and maintaining relationships is hard work, but it is also one of the most beautiful gifts we have been given this side of eternity. The gift of family and friendships and God-life breathing through each other, inhaling and exhaling grace and love and acceptance even through the pains of life is just that — a gift. Sometimes difficult to give, sometimes difficult to receive. But always a treasure.

Oh, I know it would be so much simpler if love came in forms that were easy to embrace — in the noble and pure and kind. But in reality, love shows up in the messiness of bruised knees and broken hearts and awkward caresses. Love stretches us to be kind to the loud-mouthed and offensive, to be grasped by dirty, little beggar hands reaching for help. Bankrupt souls clamoring to be noticed, desperate for attention.

Instead of protecting ourselves from the toxicity of relationships, what might happen if we determined to find love there instead? What if we were willing to look beyond the grime of beggar hands greedily grasping, and peer into the eyes of hurting souls? Would it change the way we see that difficult spouse or annoying sibling or unkind parent or caustic coworker if all were viewed as beggars for the love we carry within us?

Sometimes love cannot give back because its own pockets are empty. Sometimes poverty strikes out in anger. Or with indifference.  But I pray we don’t join the masses of beggars. I pray we seek to become prosperous in God’s character traits, instead. Living to become wealthy in love so we can give it generously, even to ones who may never return the favor. Even to the ones who will squander our love with no thought of us or our own needs.

In a world where unconditional love is in short supply, may we link arms with Jesus and scatter it liberally. May we accept the weaknesses of others and overlook offenses more readily each day. May we overcome the irritability which often accompanies love-giving, by looking to the relentlessness of God’s own love to fill the gap. In both ourselves and in others.

Instead of pursuing only those who flow with the same “vibe” as us (What does that even mean?!?), how about we pursue love with all mankind. Let us love through the awkward moments when neither party knows what to say or exactly how to respond. Let’s offer a cup of kindness to dirty hands extended, hoping to grasp a bit of respite. And let’s DO care, more than a bit, as we allow grace to rise within our own hearts and hold back the flow of provocation. Let’s invite peace to override the temptation of removing our presence from the presence of others.

It is a selfish person who walks away from relationships without a backward glance, but those who belong to Father stand alongside Him waiting on the dusty path for prodigal’s return, patiently hoping for love’s remembrance to stir the heart. Steadfastly looking for opportunities to pour grace upon thirsty soul soil, and not being surprised when it is quickly soaked up and needs replenishing again and again.

Let us join the ranks of Christ-followers who stand with staying power to see each relationship through to the end, who continue to scatter love and gather others as we ourselves have been gathered. May we draw near to family and friends with loyal love found in the shadow of Calvary’s cross. I pray we overcome indifference as we move to the rhythms of Savior’s heartbeat prompting each act of kindness, no matter how small. May love move from a novel idea to an expected deed as we bind the wounds of hurting hearts. Standing firm, yet giving sway to the needs pressing upon us.

Step by step, may we discover love through the ongoing process of knowing and being known. Choosing to place ourselves at Savior’s service, even when it means walking into the line of fire. Making ourselves vulnerable and willing to absorb some hurt. Targeted for love’s sake so others may know His name when they encounter us.

Let us remember that though love may be difficult in the moment, its purpose is far-reaching and timeless.

Difficult will not last forever, my friend, but love will.

So with that in mind. here’s to a different meme . . .

13230162_10209099524752636_301366347771920944_nTherefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s trespasses against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ: Be reconciled to God. God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)

© merewhispers.wordpress.com

Let Your Little Child Lead

“As a mature Christian, I had somehow stepped over the phase of being a child with my heavenly Father.”
– Laura Bower

As I pondered the above statement, I had to give a nod of acquiescence to the reality of these words holding true in my own life. Time and again, I’ve forgotten the importance of being a child with God.

Instead of skipping through my days with wonder, I’ve rushed to grow up, developing and maturing, so I could take control of my life and fulfill my duties in the Christian realm. Seeking to please by performing, I’ve often raced right past Father’s open arms waiting to draw me near. I’ve neglected to learn how to trust in His presence simply by spending time there.

In God’s upside-down Kingdom, a little child shall lead them. Skipping and giggling, hand glued to Father’s own. Secure. Fully known. Forever loved. Delighting to work and play alongside Daddy. Eager to help and eagerly received, even when all she can do is make mudpies and pick dandelions. It is enough for Daddy.

God really doesn’t need us to do anything for Him. He’s far more capable than we are of keeping the universe in motion. He doesn’t need our timid acts of service — He wants our hearts. He wants to grasp our grubby, little hands in His own and spin us wildly in circles of grace before tumbling into the grass together in fits of laughter.

Because here is where we learn His love. In the presence of a King who not only rises to show us compassion and save us from damnation, but in the arms of a Father who delights to draw us near and sing lullabies to quiet our souls.

This is where we begin. This is where we mature. This is where we stay and to where we return again and again, to learn and relearn His ways.

We grow in His presence. Emulating His character, mimicking His movements, and yes, fulfilling the work He has called us to complete. But not on our own. Not because of some irrational need for approval. Not in our ill-equipped independence.

We work at His side because this is where love develops, swinging hammer in sync with His own as we pound out this new ancient way. Here in His presence, the work becomes more like play as we converse and laugh in a closeness that grows as we stay by His side. Asking questions, following His example, noticing the things that tug at Father’s heart. And believing we are valuable just because we’re His.

This is where we mature as Christians – day after day abandoning ourselves to the child inside and allowing her to lead us to Him.

www.hdnicewallpapers.comThrough the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. – Psalm 8:2

 

 

The Unveiling

Then behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom…

Jesus came to earth, lived and died among us, and cast His sacrificial love fully into the great unveiling of restored relationship with the Most High.

Yet we live as ones still cloaked in darkness.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve encountered fellow-Christians who struggle with their identity in the Beloved. Admittedly, I have joined them there on far too many occasions.

“When I’m honest, sometimes I struggle to believe that God is good.”
“Can I really believe God has my best interests at heart?”
“What if I’ve disappointed Him one too many times?”
“I just don’t feel worthy of His love.”
“Sometimes, I wonder if I’ll ever be good enough to earn His favor.”
“I wonder, really, if it all sounds too good to be true.”
“I think those things were only for the apostles to experience.”
(Feel free to insert your own questions or doubts here…)

No matter our propensity toward doubt and unbelief, there is one thing which has the power to undo the strength of every question…

The Cross of Christ.

Jesus didn’t leave the realms of heaven to step into our world and dole out punishment. On the contrary, He sacrificed Himself so we wouldn’t have to pay for the price of our sins. Ever.

He came as Rescuer and Redeemer. IN FULL.

When we truly ponder the extent to which Jesus offered Himself for us when we were still at enmity with Him, how can we possibly come up with the thought that we could somehow either earn His favor or lose it at the hands of our own making? What makes us think that after giving His life for us freely, He now desires to live heavy-handed with us? The thought is ludicrous.

If He did not cast us aside when we were wallowing in the filth of our sin, thumbing our noses in the face of all that is holy, then why are we tricked into thinking He now plays games with His love? That He is somehow straining to see the first inkling of a mistake so He can snatch His grace away?

How it must break Father’s heart when we fail to believe in the fullness of His love for us. When we continually act skeptical toward His unrelenting goodness. When we raise our eyebrows in cynical glance, waiting for the other shoe to drop and shatter our dreams.

How could He possibly exceed what has already been done at Calvary to prove His love toward us? How could He ever expand upon the vastness of grace portrayed through arms bleeding and broken, spread wide to embrace the sins of the world?

Yet we shake our heads in disbelief, as if it is not enough to restore us.

What more proof is needed than a blood-stained cross and an empty tomb and a temple veil ripped from top to bottom, exposing the way of entrance into the Beloved of Christ?

Remembrance is key to walking as ones set free.

The world would try to taint our thoughts with spiritual amnesia in order to paralyze us. The enemy whispers lies that good deeds and perfect performance are necessary to secure our place in the kingdom of God when the only reliable bond is the blood of Jesus Christ.

That one, lone thread of redemption hangs as a solitary Sentinel. Standing guard over our claim to His kingdom, with all its rights and privileges.

Yet we choose to live as ones still bound. Still held captive by the weight of our sins. Still sitting outside the gates in pauper’s garb, desperately searching for a way to be noticed in our own rights, clinging to a shame that was never intended to remain. Cloaked in the forgetfulness of a try-hard life looking for acceptance that has already been given.

Beloved, it’s time to lay claims to grace. To rise and to walk in the goodness that consumed our past separation and consumes us still – moment by moment – as we call to mind the Hope that is ours. The hope we have now.

It’s time to take God at His Word and receive Him for Who He is. For Who He claims to be in all His truthful glory, not in our own man-made image of deity. It’s time to live as if it really is finished. To breathe each breath with belief in His promises. To run free in the abiding abundance of His presence, no matter the struggles or the unknowns that surround us. We are invited and equipped to live with faith through the uncertainties and the hards of life as we look upon the Cross and know it is well with our souls. To live in the triumph that shakes the earth with glory light and opens tombs and releases bones long dead.

It’s time to live as ones who know we are held. And loved. Unconditionally. For keeps.

This Christmas season, may we make our way to humble stable and rise to the calling of Calvary, allowing the memory of that first encounter with the Savior to make its way into the forefront of our lives this day and save us once again as we choose to believe that He is good still. That we are loved – boundlessly and without limits. That life has meaning beyond this temporal sight of earthly wonder and sinful woes. That this world and all it has to offer is just a momentary breath of eternity, a brief exhalation of grace unfurled upon humanity.

May our hearts be stirred to reach with hopeful hands toward truth as we determine to catch it more fully and release it more purposefully, word by word, into our own hearts and into the hearts of all whom we encounter.

We are free, dear ones.

It’s time to live as if it were true.

It’s time to live with unveiled eyes…

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 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14