Hello everyone! First of all, I just want to thank you guys from the bottom of my heart for reading this blog. I was in actual tears reading the texts and emails I got from my last post, and I am so humbled by the way God can use a girl trying to figure life out’s random 2 am thoughts for such amazing things. You guys are amazing. And because of how much love and encouragement and overwhelming amount of blessings from that post, I’ve decided to (try to) start writing on this blog consistently!!! What! Consistently as in hopefully once a week instead of once every 6 months. It’s a step up, people.
Anyway, I was reading through some little drafts I had started for the blog, and boy, I suggest you never read your old drafts for anything because I was both dying laughing and incredibly embarrassed for myself after reading most of them. But, there was one I started in February and never posted that I really felt like I needed to finish, if for no one else other than myself.
The last semester of my high school experience was above all else, a whirlwind of change and excitement, but it was also pretty hard. Not academically, because trust me, I had given up a long time ago in that respect (sorry mom). I had a really bad experience with someone who was in authority over me. I felt judged and bullied by this person because of certain things I believed, but the hardest part about it was feeling like my Christianity was questioned because of it. I was struggling so much one night with feeling like I was not being respected and I was not able to respect this person either because of how they were treating me and how wrong I felt they were. So God, being the loving Father that He is, showed me Proverbs 16. It was the equivalent of a huge hug, tissues, and ice cream, but in a God way.
Anyways, I’m going to leave it to my draft now, but I just wanted to intro that so you guys knew what was going on at this time in my life, and how faithful God is. And how important it is to document these awesome God moments, because they are so worth holding onto. Okay, here i am six months ago.
All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.
To begin, I want to say that lately I’ve been so concerned and burdened by the fact that Christians are seen as so argumentative and close-minded, and I’ve been trying really hard to figure out how to handle those hard conversations with people you disagree with on an issue that they’re passionate about and you’re passionate about too. It seems like a really difficult job to balance maintaining your convictions while still being loving and respectful to others.
The thing is, we as people can make anything seem right to us. This means, we can justify any argument to make it make sense to at least ourselves. But the argument isn’t the thing we need to work on, it’s the motive behind it. If we are trying to prove someone wrong just because we want to be right, we may think we are on the right side of things, but in reality, we are so far off. Jesus didn’t come to earth and argue with people about gay marriage and abortion and politics, he came to earth to eat with sinners and share his love with the world. Sometimes, we get so caught up in our arguments and our own human pride that we forget we are talking to people who Jesus desperately loves and died for.
Proverbs 16:21 says, “The wise are known for their understanding, and pleasant word are persuasive.” Pleasant words are persuasive! That’s what I’m saying. The definition of pleasant is “friendly and likable.” Friendly and likable words are persuasive. That’s unexpected, right? Most of the time we try to persuade others by telling them why they are wrong, and most of the time our temper gets away from us. Or at least in my experiences. (fun fact about me, I’m a very confrontational person, and I get way too hyped up about things I feel strongly about. Sometimes that does not go well.) And it says the wise are known for their understanding. Understanding is defined in the Webster English Dictionary as a willingness to understand people’s behavior and forgive them. How often do we have a conversation, but the entire time the other person is talking we are thinking about how we are going to respond? We cannot understand another person’s perspective when we are waiting to come back with the next point we memorized to make ourselves look smart or right. We have to have a willingness to understand a person’s behavior and opinion, not just a willingness to change their mind.
Proverbs 16:27 says, “Scoundrels create trouble; their words are a destructive blaze.” I know what you’re thinking, not another definition, Claire. But, here it comes. Scoundrel- a person who is cruel or dishonest. Cruel or dishonest! How many times are we cruel during our conversations with people? How many times are we dishonest? Do we claim to be doing something out of love or out of a conviction, but actually speak out of cruelty, pride, or anger? Those words aren’t only not helpful, but they are destructive. They destroy instead of build up, and nothing good can come from them.
Finally, Proverbs 16:13 says, “The king is pleased with words from righteous lips; he loves those who speak honestly.” Honesty. A scoundrel is cruel and dishonest, a righteous person is kind and honest. Our words must be full of grace for us to make any kind of difference. I’ll end this post with my favorite, favorite passage of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:1-8a.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
This says it all. If we speak without love, live without love, or do anything without love, it is pointless. If we can do everything in the world, but have no love, we are absolutely nothing. Love is the point of the gospel, and love is the only way the gospel can be shared without it sounding like a bunch of self-righteous people with a book of rules. Love is the thing that makes Christianity different. We have been changed by God’s love and grace, and to try to make a difference in the name of Jesus without love or grace, not only are we doing no good, we are blaspheming the name of Christ.