Things are not always as they seem

Have there been times in your life when you were certain that something was exactly the way you saw it and then found out later you were wrong?   It’s interesting how certain we can become when judging another person’s motives with no concrete proof.  Many times our “concrete proof” is skewed and we are not seeing the entire picture.  Our minds can sometimes convince us (along with the power of indwelling sin) (Romans 7) that something is absolutely true when it is not.  I have encouraged some of my clients to say three words at the end of their definitive thought.  “Maybe, maybe not.” It is not a bad practice to give the benefit of doubt to others and an absolute crucial practice to take every thought captive to God.  No matter how convinced we become; we cannot fully know another person’s motives or see into their hearts.  We often forget that we have an enemy and it his joy and job to kill, steal and destroy.  His favorite target is our relationships.

Maybe it is your relationship with God.  It may appear that He does not care or that He is not real.  If this is the way you are feeling, be honest.  That is absolutely the best place to start as you search for answers.  I love to hear stories from people who cried out to God, “If you are real, prove it to me.”  God has a way of speaking to a person or showing Himself to a person in ways that are custom made exactly for that person.  It is a life changing experience when God speaks to you in a way that convinces you it is Him.  This can bring deep inner healing to the most wounded heart.  Maybe you are struggling with a relationship with a family member or a friend?  Have you asked God to give you His perspective on the situation?  Have you considered that you may not know the entire story?

Nothing hurts more than being misunderstood.  I would imagine there has been at least one time that you were misunderstood or falsely accused.  There are no quick fixes for this type of pain.  It’s difficult to shake the hurt and it takes time to forgive and accept the reality of what just happened.  The first emotion we have to work through is shock.  However, it’s interesting to see the personal growth and tough skin a person can receive when they go through a series of rejections.  I want to have tough skin but never a tough heart!   No one can relate more to this type of experience than Jesus.  He was even accused of being possessed by a demon!  He was misunderstood in every way possible.  He was laughed at and spit upon.  He was beaten and crucified.  The bible tells us in Hebrews that He has been tempted in every way that we have been tempted.  This tells me that, “HE KNOWS HOW I FEEL.”   We can deeply bond with Jesus in the midst of rejection like no other circumstance.   However, even if we are confident in our identity in Christ, it’s still never fun to be misunderstood.

As I find myself adding a side job to my resume; I realize some of the experiences I have had in the past 30 years has prepared me for these days.  First of all if you teach grace, you WILL be misunderstood and rejected at times.  I’ve heard it said that if you are not being misunderstood, you are not fully teaching grace.  We have seen pastor’s lose their jobs and relationships hurt over someone understanding and living from a grace perspective instead of a law perspective.  Living from grace merely says, “I want to” instead of “I have to.”  IT is life changing to see a grace perspective.  Things are not always the way they seem. Grace does not give people a license to sin.  They don’t need a license anyway.

Second, if you feel led to join a multi level marketing company, you may be misunderstood.  Let me correct that sentence.  You will be misunderstood.  Ouch!!!  I want to scream, “Please don’t look at me with suspicion and skepticism.”   Do I care more about helping other’s than what they think of me?  I honestly felt sick when I stopped myself from sharing with a dear friend who was deathly ill because I saw doubt in their face as I began to talk.  Sad to say my fear of rejection can sometimes soften the passionate fire that lives inside of me.  So I’m being stretched and I am learning and growing.   And I’m learning my job is to simply share what I believe is truth and to let go of the results.  It’s encouraging to see that in the day and time we live this skepticism is happening less and less.  (Honestly folks, MLM companies are not what you may have heard. They have come a very long ways.  It’s a great way to make a living. Cutting out the middle man is brilliant.  Helping one another succeed is refreshing. )  Things are not always the way they seem.

Here is another example of something we can all relate to in 2016.  If you feel led to vote for a presidential candidate that is unpopular with many of your friends, you could be criticized or even ostracized.  It concerns me to see our country in such a state of disunity!  Relationships are being harmed and our stress levels are off the charts.  Believe me I understand conviction and I understand passion.  I care deeply for people, causes and missions.  I desperately want others to experience some of the things I have enjoyed or learned.  But in reality everyone has their own opinions and we cannot always change them.  Do we need to give up our right to be right?  Do we sometimes need to give up our right to help someone “see the light”?     One of the things I have learned over the years is that when I feel frustration or anxiety; there is a right to lay down.  This is the only thing that will bring me peace.

What convictions are you holding in your heart that lie dormant because of your concern for how you will be seen?  Jesus said, “Take up your cross daily and follow me.”  Can you die to self protection?  Can you make yourself of no reputation, like Jesus did? (Phillipians)  What convictions are you aggressively trying to convince other’s to believe?   Can you believe whole heartedly in your convictions but remain gracious when misunderstood or you hear a different opinion?   Can you give other’s grace realizing that everyone has their own grid that they see things through?  Things are not always the way they seem.  And it is quite possible I could be wrong in the way I am seeing things.

Christ had very definitive beliefs and convictions, yet He showed compassion and used discernment.  Yes, there were times He let a few of the Pharisees have it.  The bible certainly talks about righteous indignation.  But if our righteous indignation is more the rule than the exception, there may be a problem.  It’s important to talk to Jesus about our beliefs and concerns before we talk to other’s.  Ask Him to speak through you when sharing.  I believe  you will see a difference in your delivery and their response.