Sunday, November 3, 2013

No Offense but...

Hello Dear Ones,
It's been a while, in fact I haven't really written since fall has begun, which is a little sad because so much has happened in my life and I have so many good things to say about the Season of Fall. Maybe I'll add that in for an "end of the year" post.

Anyways, moving on with the present post, I must say that I of all people love and hate those catchy, cliche phrases and sayings that everyone starts using.

Reasons why I love them:
1. I can whittily use them interchangeably and make people think I'm super funny.. (Les- be- honest, I am super funny.. ;) ) -P.S that's a "Pitch Perfect" reference

2. They're so easy to slip into casual conversation.

3. When other people use them properly they make me laugh, also making me think they're super funny.

Reasons Why I don't love them:
1. They soon become like an overplayed song on the radio and you start hearing the phrase used so often that you can't help but roll your eyes after the 855 millionth time of hearing it used in one week.

2. When used improperly it can be awkward for everyone involved in the conversation, no example needed..

3. If used with a person you don't know very well, especially when being sarcastic (which they usually are) you can come off as very mean, and not funny. Apologies in advance for the poor souls I've done this too.

This post really will end well, but I had to start with some background information on catchy phrases. I'm sure most of us remember the phrase, "No offense but,.." and then telling the person information about themselves that would actually be taken as pretty offensive, but using that conversation starter as if it would take away the sting from being told something offensive. We all know that one, right? Well, I was thinking about this phrase last night after having a really good, eye- opening conversation with my friend Aubri. Then I thought to myself, "what if people couldn't get personally offended?" "How much better would the world be? The church? How many more people would find the true healing that they need?" and here's the personal story that lead us there..

I previously had a group of friends that I spent a lot of time with, a while ago, and it was a mixed group of girls and guys and we all had a blast together. We would do things in large groups, we would hang out at school together, they made the last couple years of high school a great, memorable time for me. It was also nice because there was maybe one, or two, actual couples in this group of friends but the majority of us had a common knowledge that we were, "just friends" and that there was no pressure of being pursued, not feeling the same way, avoiding the opposite sex after an awkward "relationship defining conversation", etc. Well, this all changed when a young woman started spending time around our group, she had a reputation for being very flirtatious, but having little to no intentions for an actual relationship and I learned this very quickly when within a couple weeks she bounced from one male friend to another, because one happened to be more attractive then the other. So last night I found myself telling my friend Aubri about this girl, and going on about how awful she was as a person because she had so little regard for these young men that she led on and then left in the dirt, and how much she bothered me as a human being when Aubri said, "Man, that's how I was before I met Jesus, I can't even imagine how I would be now, had I not fallen in love with Him, and had he not changed my life." and silly me, wanting to continue complaining, started making excuses for why I should still be allowed to dislike this girl. Aubri then went on to say, "I wonder what she went through to make her behave like this, I wonder how she felt, and why she acted out towards other people like this. I'm not by any means excusing how she behaved, but did you ever find out why she acted like that?" in that moment I continued making excuses for why I felt the way I did about this person and the conversation ended moving forward to something else but later, before I fell asleep I found myself thinking about it. I'm sure it was God, because the realization of my faulty feelings started to hit me and change the way I've felt about this person for about 6 or 7 years now. I thought about how I really had not taken the time to know why this girl was acting this way and instead chose to take offense while, in retrospect, it had nothing to do with me. I realize now that had I taken that time and put myself aside, maybe we would still be in each others lives, maybe not, and I'm not dwelling on that relationship.  However, This makes me think of  couple God breathed verses to back this up; Romans 12: 14-15
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

and  Matthew 5: 43-45

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Please do not be confused, I am not saying that this means we need to completely overlook people's wrong behavior. The point I'm trying to make is that while we cannot continuously excuse other peoples wrong behavior, because otherwise they would never grow and be able to change, we need to fight hard against the offense that Satan puts in our hearts towards them and the faulty belief that we are "entitled" to have these feelings towards them.  How could I, a fellow sinner, hold such a dislike towards this girl just because she was sinning differently than me? I see now that I am called to love these people, to get to know them and pray for them instead of being offended with their behavior because I have absolutely no idea what they are going through. It brings me back to that cliche phrase that I keep seeing, "You don't know what someone else is going through, so be kind." or something to that effect, and it is so true. It is very rare that we can know the life of the people we come in contact with everyday and yet, the way we regard them can make such an impact on their lives.

So my friends, I pray for you today and as you read this post that God would open your eyes and heart as he has mine, and that you would look past offense and see God's people as He sees them. That instead of casting curses, you would pray for their healing, that they would be made whole through a God who loves them and sent His only son to die for their freedom.

Until we meet again,Sarah