Heaven or hell is what we make of life. In my book, Hell's Retribution, many of the characters create their own hell by the choices they may or may not make. Of course, by not making a choice, we have made a choice - a choice not to act. I've put up with a certain situation for too many years. Now I could go into all the psychological reasons why I do what I do (I am a counselor after all), but it's not what I did before, but what am I know going to do? That is the defining choice. As I told my sister, "my life will get even better as soon as I change.
I heard a child therapist once say, "when what you're doing doesn't work, do the opposite."
So, I took a good look at what I had been allowing in my life that was stressing me out.
Rather than list all the problems of which I was focusing on, and all the outrageous solutions any therapist would have helped me figure out, I realized my over-reaction was not what God wanted, and so, I let it go. Guess what? Things began to change. Not because I pushed the people into change, angrily raging, but because I let go and let God take the reins. Though, there was a couple of people I spoke with about what was happening and we came to an understanding.
Darn. what started out as a long blog post suddenly became a lot shorter when I turned my life back over to God.
10 Things Pharisees Say Today
As you read, don’t think about who these phrases remind you of, rather, think about how they reflect your attitude and actions, your voice. Is it the voice of Christ or the pharisees?
1. “If she read the Bible, her life would be better.”
Judgment and self-righteousness rolled up into a neat little package based on a smug and superior attitude.
2. “I follow the rules.”
If you do, awesome. But that’s not what got you into Christ is it? It was mercy of Christ when you broke the rules.
So why follow the rules? It's a response to the love of God, an attitude of gratitude, amazement and humility.
3. “You shouldn’t hang around people like that [sinners].”
Recall our being the salt of the earth today, Do you stay in your hermetically sealed box (your church)?
Salt needs to be sprinkled on food. When was the last time you hung out with a hooker or a junkie?
I've had both living in my house and some days [days of judgment], their behavior ticks me off.
4. “God listens to my prayers.”
God listens to anyone who speaks to Him, on their knees in church or in desperation after sinning.
5. “My issues are between me and God.”
If you keep it between you and God, people will never be able to relate to you. Perfect on the outside and flawed on the inside—is what Jesus accused the Pharisees. The pretend-to-be-perfect Christians it does three things:
Let people know you don’t have it all together but you’ve met an amazing God,
6. “They just need to try harder.”
Jesus loved the poor and had compassion on the broken in spirit and heart. There are some days it's easier for me to have compassionate on other sinners, and some days, I'm angry and mean-spirited, and I'm forgiven.
7. “Yes,I’m a Christian.”
Genuine Christians are filled with wonder, amazement and gratitude that God has accepted them despite their brokenness.
I surely am amazed by His grace. Can you believe God would extend his mercy to someone like me?
8. “Do we stand up for what we believe?”
Maybe one of the best things we can do today is let non-Christians off the moral hook. Why would we hold non-Christians to a standard they don’t believe in? Jesus never did.
9. “I prefer people from my church rather than people who don’t go to church.”
If you want to change, go to a party and get to know some people who are far from God.
You will discover God likes them. And you might discover you do too.
And the people who didn’t use to follow Jesus might even start following.
10. “People who don’t go to church can come if they want.”
Can you imagine what would happen if we Christians today exuded the love, truth, grace and mercy of Christ?
Likely the church would be very different.
• What attitudes do you need to check in yourself?
• What behaviors impede Christ's command to tell everyone the Gospel?