Christians Are Supposed to Forgive

Yes, we are. Jesus commands us to.

He tells us to turn the other cheek when people abuse us.  He didn’t specify which people…just “people.”

But how does he tell us to treat one another?

Oh yes…He said to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  That is, treat others the way you want them to treat you.  So if you want people to treat you nicely, you need to be nice to them too.

So I find it frustrating when Christians use the commands of forgiveness, and turning the other cheek, as a license to treat other Christians badly, and then expect to be forgiven because that is what we’re supposed to do.  Christians who behave that way are not really playing fair.

Nobody likes being wrong. Nobody likes to eat crow and admit they screwed up and ask for forgiveness, but it’s the only mature thing to do…

Erectile Dysfunction & Public Pajama Wearing

There has to be a connection.

One of my online friends commented that she is getting a lot of spam touting cures for erectile dysfunction.  Of course, we are all familiar with this dire problem.  There must be a strong market for this type of stuff, otherwise we wouldn’t see so much spam about it.  It’s interesting to note what the Hot Buttons are.

I came across another “hot button” here several days ago.  Evidently, public pajama

Fuzzy Pajama Pants

Lustful, Wicked Garment

wearing by women is a growing plague, and it is bothering many men in the process and causing them to sin.  According to an official poll taken by one of the participants in this discussion, men look at women wearing pajama pants and then assume they are not wearing any underwear, and then they’ve opened the lustful Pandora’s Box.  All because of these.  ———>

I took my own official poll, asking The Hubby, if he notices women in pajama pants in the store.  Yes, he does, and he doesn’t like it because it looks sloppy.  (Which was the general consensus of the discussion. Most people feel you should be dressed more formally when you go out in public.)  But then I let the shoe drop:

“Do you wonder if they’re wearing any underwear? Does it make you think sinful, lustful thoughts? Does it make you think about —the bedroom?”

At this point, he probably wondered if I was suffering from a mental malady due to the great juicer incident of a few days previous.  Maybe some of the shrapnel hit my head.  Looking at me like I was stoned, or worse, he said, incredulously, “No……”

Personally, I think the problem is greater than that. I think that women wearing pajama pants in public is the cause of this scourge of all this erectile dysfunction going around! Maybe if women would dress decently in public, the Viagra spam would STOP!  It makes more sense that this type of dress would have THAT effect rather than a “Come hither, hot mama!” effect….it ain’t exactly Victoria’s Secret stuff here, people!

ON A SERIOUS NOTE…

Some of the comments in that discussion about pajama pants were rather disturbing.  Some of them were downright mean-spirited – saying that seeing someone dressed this casually in public makes them think “Trailer Trash!” or “SLOB!”   This is coming from Christian women.

Personally, I dislike seeing women in pajama pants but I think it’s probably because I’m jealous – I’m jealous that I don’t have that much confidence in myself to dress comfortably and take a risk at looking a little “sloppy”.  Plus you never know when a prospective client will see me and it really isn’t good to look like I am headed to (or from) a slumber party.  It’s not fair that *I* have to be dressed up and others get to go as they are to the store.

[Allow me to interject that I find the school PAJAMA DAYS intensely annoying. We are NOT pajama people; we wear long johns or sweats and PAJAMA DAY means I have to go BUY special pajamas for the kids to wear to school.  THANKS A LOT.]

Back to the original discussion, there were a lot of comments about worrying about what people think of you.  It is important, they stressed, to keep in mind that other people will form opinions of you based on your external appearance.

Oh.  Seriously? This is so juvenile. I remember my mom using “I don’t have anything decent to wear” to avoid going to church.  With women like this around I guess her feelings were legit.

I remember when I first made the decision to follow Christ, I befriended a girl from town who had problems. She had a bit of a reputation, had undergone at least one abortion, and was now a single mom.  Someone from my church got stirred up over it and called my mother to tell her what kind of girl I was hanging around with, and it wasn’t right for a nice girl like me to be seen with someone like her.  This. Is. True.  I was LIVID.  I should have started my “unchurching” journey then, but it would take many years before I came to that point.

We all know that “people” had very strong opinions about Jesus and the things HE did.  They didn’t like that He hung out with prostitutes, crooks, and other sinners.   Well, why not? He wasn’t welcome with the “goody goody” people. They had no room for Him in their lives – they were doing just fine, “keeping up appearances.”

What does our Lord think?

1 Samuel 16:7: “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

Jesus was very harsh with the Pharisees (who were very concerned with outward appearances) in Matthew 23.  He called them “whitewashed tombs filled with dead people’s bones.”

Wow.

Maybe we should worry less about what other people are wearing, and worry more about the state of our own heart that allows us to think about these things. Who really cares what someone else is wearing?  Really? Trailer trash?  How about…minding your own business, dressing the way YOU feel comfortable, and let others do the same?

Wond’ring About My Wand’rings…

Yesterday, I was wishing I had an old fashioned journal – the kind you have to physically write in, with your own handwriting.  Actually, I’ve wanted one for a long time in spite of the several that I’ve started over the years and never finished.  Having something to jot thoughts down in is really a great thing.

I wish I had thought to chronicle not only the brilliant bursts of thought and spiritual revelation (on all too rare occurrences, to be sure) but also just to record the ordinary and seemingly mundane details about life and thoughts I’ve had throughout the days.

I wish I had thought to take more notice of my town – my small town of Hawley that seems, on the surface to remain ever the same, yet upon close inspection, has undergone many changes over the course of my life.  As it has slowly evolved.

I wish I had taken pictures of Brown’s Pharmacy (though a picture could never capture the interesting way the place smelled – like bandages, iodine, and perhaps, Vicks VapoRub), The Hawley Department Store (to be fair I probably didn’t even have a decent camera when that store was open for business, but I remember it….and miss it), and Smith’s Ice Cream Parlor before they closed and their spaces were reinvented.

Did Hawley change for the better? Or merely change?

Likewise, I wish I had taken note of my own evolution, spiritually as well as just plain mentally.  Were I to look closely at my journey, perhaps I would be pleasantly surprised at the progress I have made but was unaware of along the way, and is now lost and obscured to me as the details have been obscured.  Or maybe I would be saddened at the lack of growth and maturity I display…

Alas, no record has been kept by me but my Father in Heaven has not missed one detail.  He has seen every stumble, every victory, every heartbreak and every joy.  Not only has He seen these things, but according to His Word, He has been with me (even when I thought I was treading through the darkness and sunlight alone)

Hebrews 13:5 – “Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.”

Matthew 28:20 – “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

He knows my heart, and he knows every step of this journey that I embarked upon nearly 23 years ago when I made the decision to become a Christain and walk in His ways.  He knows – and forgives – and loves – whether I think He’s paying attention or not.

In 2011 (why do we always do this kind of thing at the end of the year?) I want to know Him better than I ever have. I want to cling to the promises and spit out the fears and doubts that have always plagued me – I guess those fears and doubts were planted inside me in infancy, when my biological father abandoned me and my adoptive father never seemed to accept and love me.  (See my other Puzzle Pieces posts for an explanation if you are so inclined).

I renounce the fears, I renounce the doubts, and I praise Him – I thank Him for not letting me wander too far without calling me back.

Puzzle Pieces: Come In

Puzzle Pieces: Come In

by Karen Keim Rice on Tuesday, March 2, 2010 at 1:13am

This week marks the 22nd anniversary of my becoming a born again Christian. Thankfully, I’m a lot smarter now, than I was then. Back then, I think I was actually quite offensive. The Master has worked on me these past two-plus decades, softening my edges and hopefully making me a vessel of blessing rather than sandpaper and splinters to those I come across.

Before I made the decision to be a Christian, I struggled a great deal with “belonging.” So often, I felt like a misfit. My real father (Nick) did not want me. My adopted dad acted like he did not want me. My adopted mom was always trying to change me. The kids at school, with a couple notable exceptions, preferred to laugh at me and exclude me, rather than include me. It really kind of sucked. Pardon the language. (and yes…I will agree and admit that I was not always a nice person at school either. That is to my shame.)

At some point, I think I was 12 or 13, I remember crying on my bed over some hurt – probably a fight with my dad or something. I had gone to Sunday school at the Baptist church in Hawley with my girlhood friend Cindy (one of many Cindys to bless my life) and for whatever reason, decided to memorize Psalm 23. I recalled it that evening through my tears, and in my mind’s eye, I saw that green pasture, and I saw Jesus standing there, motioning for me to “Come!”

To make a long story short, eventually, I did. It wasn’t until years later, but I did. I went to the little Baptist church again, this time as a grown woman who was very broken hearted and in despair. I won’t tell my war stories because frankly, I was a wimp…my life wasn’t so bad. I’m embarrassed to admit how little it took to “break me.” At any rate, I felt I was a fraud. God certainly didn’t want me. And that same Cindy friend coaxed me into going to church with her that night. I went to appease her.

I had been there off and on, so while nobody was a stranger to me, I definitely was a stranger to them. They did not know my story, and if they did, they wouldn’t want me there. The old pastor, gentle, godly Merle Watkins, sat down at the piano and began to play a song that would follow me the rest of the days of my life: Surely Goodness and Mercy.

“A pilgrim was I and a wand’ring, in the dark night of sin I did roam….when Jesus the kind shepherd found me…and now I am on my way home…surely goodness, and mercy, shall follow me, all the days, all the days of my life….”

Wait – Jesus wants me even though I’ve been in sin? Of course. His message has always been…Come. Come in.

Last week I was sitting in church at Lords Valley, thinking of all the trite cliches that churches put on their display boards in hopes of enticing someone on the outside to come in. Well, what if they gave up with the cliches, and just gave that simple message: Come. Come in. You Are Welcome Here.

Once you come in, regardless of where you’ve been and what you’ve done, once you come in, mercy and goodness will follow you.

Yes, it most certainly has. I still screw up. I still bring shame to His name. Yet, He still forgives, He still leads me beside the still waters, He gives me a drink and soothes my soul…and He continues to lead me in the paths of His righteousness. And if I get stubborn, if I wander off, His shepherd’s hook is always there, gently pulling me back. All the days, all the days of my life.

I could not find a really nice version of Surely Goodness And Mercy online. However, I found this old song by Steve Green that fits as well – I have loved Steve Green’s voice for years and years. Enjoy – “That’s Where His Mercy Begins.” I think I even sang it at Cole, the Baptist church once; back in the day, I used to sing a lot. Songs have always been a blessing to me…hope this one will be a blessing to you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ju447_6gHt4

More of my Puzzle Pieces Journey, if interested: Click Here

Karen Rice, AKA Wizzy