Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Judge for Yourself

My husband and I have been the pastors of four churches in our ministry career, youth pastors in another and assistant pastor in yet one more. Each of these churches had one thing in common. As soon as we arrived at each new posting we were greeted by people who wanted to protect us or help us and chose to do so by warning us about this trouble maker or that one. Each conversation began with 'I just wanted to warn you to watch out for ________'. Its inevitable. It has happened every time without fail. I don't think that the people who warned us were trying to stir up trouble or anything like that. I think they genuinely wanted to help, but it still gets your guard up whether you want it to or not. 

I have always been so proud of my husband though because in each situation he has told the person that 'everyone deserves a clean slate', in other words a second chance. In fact he has even stated from the pulpit that if you have been a trouble maker in the past this is your second chance to be a better church member and that he was giving everyone a clean slate with nothing from the past held against them. Without fail, we have seen former trouble makers rise to the challenge to be a different person than their reputation had dictated. 

We have always found that actions speak louder than words. People might say terrible things about you; there really isn't much you can do about that. But you can choose to make their words a lie. You can choose to act differently than what you have been accused of. If someone has accused you of being hateful, then choose to be the most loving person you can. If someone has accused you of lying, then be the most truthful. Fight against people's preconceived negative opinions of you by being the exact opposite. Prove them wrong by your actions. If you try to prove people wrong with your words it will just be your word against theirs, but you can very effectively prove them wrong with your actions. 

If only everyone would give people the benefit of the doubt what a wonderful world we would live in. Instead people listen to bad opinions of someone and form their own negative opinions about them without even knowing them. That's sad. As children of the Most High King we are to love in action. We are to show our love and sometimes we do that best by forming our own opinions, based on our own experiences, about the people we meet. 

So if someone tells you something negative about someone else, please watch that person's actions and make your own opinions. But do so in love. Everyone deserves a clean slate. 

What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them. Matthew 15:11

the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. Matthew 15:18-19

Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. 1 John 3:18

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