Monday, May 24, 2010

What "ought" we do?

I actually had a topic request! Too cool. A reader asked if I would put my mind to work on the topic of "if thy Brother has ought against you." This is found a few places in the Bible but the most popular is from the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus delivered. It reads like this:

23Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
24Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

I thought about it in several ways and even thought about a top ten list. Something like:

1. If your Brother has ought against you, always remember he is your Brother.
2. If your Brother has ought against you, you ought to pray for him.
3. If your Brother has ought against you, ask yourself if you gave him reason?
4. If you didn't give him reason, go back to praying for him.

The list could go on and maybe will some day but I'm getting a mind cramp and it hurts.

Let's talk about "ought" for a moment, which is actually the King James word for the smallest of offences. It literally means the tiniest particle. Do we have them? Only if we are breathing. Being offended is a greatly misunderstood concept. When we are offended, little else matters. It becomes all that we can see, think about or focus on. It may seem insignificant to others but when it bites us, ohhhhhhh, brother, watch out.

I've never claimed to be the sharpest knife in the drawer but I have learned a few things about being offended that I would like to share.

The first is that being offended is a choice. It's a button that someone has pushed that we allow to become activated within out heart. So the question begs of itself, what pushes your buttons? You can say a lot of things about me and I probably won't care too much. I take a pretty good ribbing like many others but if you make my Debbie or my Momma cry, I will want to hurt you, in Jesus name of course! :<) It's a fairly base instinct within Sons and Husbands. It's what we do next that is sooooooo important and the second thing I have learned, which is,

How much power will I allow the "button pusher" to have over my life? Yes, that's right, when I choose to be offended, I give power to that person over me? In most cases of offence the "guilty" party usually doesn't even give the matter a second thought but I have witnessed people that hang on to that offence for literally years. The one that offended may not even remember the occasion but the offended one can give you every detail and USUALLY WILL.

The third thing I have learned is that if I make better choices at the onset of the problem, I simply live a better life. I'll admit that it's not always easy to do and that there are times that I fail miserably but for the most part, I usually say to myself, "No, I will not give anyone that kind of power over me, I choose to forgive."

Now, that is not to say that there aren't moments when those bad thoughts flood in. We are human. Sometimes we need to remember that and grant it to others as well. Being initially offended at something, IN MY OPINION, is not sinful in and of itself. It's when we choose to allow it to take root in our heart and grow and fester over our Souls that it becomes a sinful problem for us.

This is what Jesus was speaking of in the text and in the text we see the criteria for when the offence has festered. When we bring our gifts before God and His Spirit quickens us a reminds of of the festering, it is time to deal with it. What are our gifts? I would dare say anything we attempt to give Him of ourselves. Maybe its prayer time. Maybe when its when we do what we do to be considered "good." What ever the case, I believe we all know when we have felt that prompting. So what do we do?

The text outlines it pretty clearly. When offence is revealed, go deal with it. Now that doesn't mean go duke it out, rehash all the old junk so that someone can be justified. Deal with it to the point that the text makes clear, "FIRST, BE RECONCILED."

The hard part is that we usually want to be justified before we are reconciled. I had someone involved in a dispute say to me recently, "there are two sides to every story." Actually, there are three sides. 1. is the Truth and the other two are both sides story of the truth.

The truth that matters is this. We are ALL Brothers and Sisters and like all families do, we will encounter offending times. The question is this, will I choose to allow offence to dictate my life and my responses or will I choose to be reconciled. The need to be justified in offence will leave you bitter, cold and alone. Being reconciled brings forgiveness and peace. As Sam says, "do the math."

I hope I have done the topic justice, if not, please forgive me. :<)

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Yes, we are at that time of year again. Spring is in the air, the flowers are in bloom and I've forgotten to mail my Mothers Day Card AGAIN! (sigh)

It's not that I mean to, it's just that I'm really that dense! Mom deserves so much better. That's why I'm hoping my siblings have done much better than I. With 3 out of 4 the odds are in Mom's favor. But then again, that is the cool thing about Mom's and specifically my Mom. They realize their kids flaws and love them anyway and I give her plenty reason to love me! :<)

Mom has always been one that has given to others for her entire life. It seems that it has been a built in propensity. We moved a LOT in my younger years. Different Houses and Parsonages. Some nice, some not so nice. No slums are nothing, just some were nicer than others. One was right in the middle of the little town we lived in and town folk would determine whether or not we slept in by whether the blinds were open or not. We lived practically every where and in every situation. There were times we had plenty and times when there was plenty to want. We lived through sad times, hard times, times of prosperity and times of great joy. The one thing that was constant was Mom. Every House was made to feel the same and every experience was made bouyant, as though we could sail through anything together, whether it was a bratty kid with a German Shepard down the Street or some of the ordeals of life as we grew older. There was always a place at the table and a bed to sleep in, even when it meant a slew of relatives in a 2 bedroom house and the bed may have been a "pallet" on the floor.

My sense of humor was largely influenced by my Mom and through the years, she sure has paid for it. The time comes to mind when I almost had her falling off of the Church pew by saying one word under my breath as the Adult Sunday School teacher was "opening in prayer." Or the time she hung up on me as I prank called her at Thanksgiving, posing as someone selling Newspaper subsriptions. Of course there have been plenty of other times that she turned the tables on me but she doesn't have a blog so those will remain as they are! LOL

I still remain amazed as I have witnessed this person that has always given, give even more after the debilitating accident of my Dad. A strength that comes from something more than human and love that inspires everyone she knows. Happy Mother's Day, Mom! I love you.