Christian-Speak #3–Apologies

christian-speak series, identity

To me, one of the greatest proofs of the unity of the Body of Christ is when we humble ourselves and come to each other when we offend each other.

I realized this over the past month, when a member of my church came to me when they thought they offended me.  They didn’t even need me to say anything, they knew they messed up. I almost cried because I thought it was so beautiful for them to come to me, admit they screwed up, then proceed to tell me what God is doing in them and how I could pray for them. Wow!  The other day, I had a professor apologize to me, which I thought was overwhelming–that a professor humbled himself to my lowly, undergrad level when they knew they said the wrong thing.  I realized that this is what the Body should be doing–humbling ourselves when we have done something wrong.

What I think is ridiculous is this:  When we come to each other, and say, “You know, this certain thing you said to me really offended me.”  Maybe explain why it offended you, maybe say that you’ve been struggling with that thing for a while.  And what does the other person say?  “You need to find your identity in the Lord, not in what I say.”  What?  No apology?  You’re not going to admit you were wrong?  So, I can say whatever I want now, offend whoever I want, and I can smooth it over with “Don’t find your identity in what I say, but in God.”

That is one of the most unloving things I have ever heard.  Even if the person does struggle with identity issues, is this really a result of that?  Could it be possible that you just had a moment of word-vomit and said something out of love?

Think before you speak, Christians.  If we aren’t humbling ourselves with each other, how are we going to humble ourselves in order to serve the world?

Comment and tell me what you think!

Christian Speak #2–Pray For Your Enemies

christian-speak series

Pray for your enemies.

We say this all the time as Christians, and a lot of time it’s our way of saying, “I can’t stand them, so I’m going to say the right Christian thing so that I can keep talking bad about them in a seemingly Christian manner.”

I think that we also peg non-enemies as enemies, as well.  Someone cuts us off?  Pray for your enemies.  Someone confronted you?  Pray for your enemies.  Someone stole your woman?  Pray for your enemies.

And what if we really are true to what we are saying?  That we really do pray for our enemies?  What do we say?  “Dear Lord, I pray for Betty Lou, that you can destroy her tomorrow.  That you can expose her hypocrisy to those around her, and that people will start understanding her for who she really is.”

Wow.  I have prayed that prayer.

But wait, the verse that we quote “pray for your enemies” says this:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 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. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)

This verse says to treat our enemies the same way we treat our friends.  Is that prayer loving our enemies?  Do we pray that prayer for our friends?  “Dear God, I pray for my best friend, that you can expose her ignorance and make people see all her flaws.”  I don’t think that’s what I say when I pray for my best friends.

What is it going to look like then?  “Lord, I pray for John.  I pray that he can have a good day today.  I pray that there will be people who surround him today with love.  I pray for this situation that I know he is struggling with, that you can give him discernment. Lord, I pray that I can show him that I love him.”

That hurts, doesn’t it?  Praying such a prayer for people we can’t stand?

But try it.  I have lately.  I realized that I wasn’t praying for my “enemies” like I should.  And now I’m able to see some people in a different light.  It’s humbling, and I hope that I can continue praying for my enemies and those who have really hurt me.  And I hope that those I have hurt can pray for me in the same way.

Christian-Speak #1–"I’ll Pray for You"

christian-speak series, christianity

(this is a start to a series!  I think as Christians, we sometimes say particular phrases thinking that it sounds super “Christian”, but it ends up being heartless through our abuse of words. I’m not sure what I’ll call the series permanently, but look out for more posts!)

I think we can all relate to the following situation: Someone who isn’t necessarily close to us comes to us with a concern, and pours out their heart to us. They kind of smack us in the face with this situation, and whether we really care or not, our response is, “I’ll pray for you.”

But do we? Or do we “forget” about it?

How many times have you told someone you would pray for them, but you “forget”? How many times has it probably been important for you to pray for them? And since when has “I’ll pray for you” become a substitute for “Convo over, get out of my face”?

I am guilty of this. Verrrrry guilty. I’m trying to make a practice out of, if someone genuinely needs prayer, to stop whatever I’m doing and pray for them. Even if they “pop” me on Facebook chat or send me a text message and pour their concerns to me, I can type a simple prayer to comfort them. Prayer is powerful, and it connects the body together and does some fantastic things. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve just stopped and prayed “anyway”, even though I didn’t really “care” for the situation; then after praying for them my heart breaks for them. I feel like if we truly mean it when we say to our brothers and sisters, “I’ll pray for you,” the body of Christ will strengthen. We will begin to understand each other’s concerns more, as well as creating an atmosphere of comfort.

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”  James 5:16

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”  Romans 8:26

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.”  Matthew 6:7

“Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”  Matthew 18:19

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”  Colossians 4:2