If you can’t say something good about somebody, then don’t say anything at all.
This is one of those lessons that most of us heard from early childhood. However, our parents would teach us this lesson and then we would hear them talking about someone. People like to talk and they love to talk about people. Those sentences that start with, “Did you hear about…..” usually don’t end well. People love to talk about their friends, family, foes, employers, employees or just an innocent bystander on the street. People say things about people that are not good. It is usually our uniqueness that brings out the best of the worst in people. I know I have had people talk about me. We all have been the object of someone’s gossip, meanness, stupidity and hatred. Momma said, “If you can’t say something good about somebody, then don’t say anything at all.”
Scripture says, “be kind to one another”, “love one another”, “bear with each other”, “encourage one another”, “pray for each other”, “forgive one another”, “be at peace with one another”.
So, today whoever you come across say something good to them and about them. Teach your children by your example of good speech. Lastly, remember the words of Scripture, “be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19).
Be like Aibileen Clark who said, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” The Help
It is amazing how quickly we can “go back to normal”. Our nation has seen so many devastating events over the last 50 years. It began with the assassination of John F Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. We have seen Vietnam, Desert Storm, the current war in the Middle East and man more conflicts around the globe. We have seen millions of babies aborted, children abused and teen suicides. We have seen addiction destroy lives and homes. We have seen divorce continue to escalate. Substance abuse continues to plague so many. 9/11 was the first attack by another people group on the United States within our own boarders. There are so many other events that could be mentioned like Waco, Oklahoma City, Columbine, Virginia Tech and more. We commit to change after these events, then we go “back to normal”.
The moment of the event, the hours that follow, the first days of trying to grasp what has happened we pray and seek others to pray – everyone to pray. We begin to have a discourse about God in the public square. Churches fill with people seek God, answers, comfort and more. Then over time we forget. We go back to life as it used to be. We quit praying, talking about God, filling our church, and seeking spiritual direction.
God created us and warned those who went before us and also warns us.
Deuteronomy 4:9–10 (ESV)
“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children— how on the day that you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, the Lord said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.’
I think we need to create a new normal.
I ask you to read this prayer and if you agree, pray this prayer.
“Holy Spirit we need YOU to invade our lives. Not buildings but in the lives of your children. Into the hearts of dads and moms, sons and daughters, grand moms and grand dads, employers and employees, singles and married. Into faith families across our land. We need YOU to draw us with YOUR strong strength. We need YOU to soften that which we have allowed to become hardened. We need hearts to be healed. Marriages to be strengthened. Bondages to be broken. We need YOU to teach us. We need YOU to help us remember whose we are. We need YOU to magnify Christ through every song we sing, every prayer we pray, ever word that is spoken, every opportunity to participate with you. We need freedom. We need YOUR Word to EXPLODE from the pages of our Bibles into the core of our being. We need to remove everything that hinders. We need YOU to break down every barrier that we have allowed to be raised between YOU and us. Break down those barriers that we have constructed and those we have allowed others to construct. We need honesty, transparency and healing. We do not desire to just do life, family or church. We desire YOUR life, godly families and obedient faith families. We desire to be YOUR church, YOUR body, bringing YOU glory, praise and honor. Please accept our weak offering and use it. Right now please begin to draw us with YOUR strong strength. May this time be YOURS. I come to YOU as YOUR child, not in ignorance but in simplicity. I love YOU. In Jesus name and under His blood. Amen.”
“There is no remedy” (2 Chr 36:16b). That is the outcome of the of the verses that follow. Those are words we never want to hear. When the doctor looks at you and says, “There is no remedy”. When you spouse looks at you and says, “There is no remedy.” Dreadful words for sure. So, we must move while there is a remedy. We, the Church, need God to hear, need God to forgive and need God to heal. We need His eyes and His heart. It all hinges on “IF”.
IF we are humble ourselves before our Mighty God.
IF we pray to our Hearing God
IF we seek our Discoverable God.
IF we turn to our Forgiving God.
Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord and the king’s house. All that Solomon had planned to do in the house of the Lord and in his own house he successfully accomplished. 12 Then the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, 14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time. 17 And as for you, if you will walk before me as David your father walked, doing according to all that I have commanded you and keeping my statutes and my rules, 18 then I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to rule Israel.’ 19 “But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will pluck you up from my land that I have given you, and this house that I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight, and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. 21 And at this house, which was exalted, everyone passing by will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land and to this house?’ 22 Then they will say, ‘Because they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers who brought them out of the land of Egypt and laid hold on other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore he has brought all this disaster on them.’ ” (2 Chr 7:11-22, ESV, emphasis mine.)
Tomorrow I will post “The Remedy”
Some words have more power than others. “I came in 1st” has more power than “I came in 2nd”. I just want you to know that God does not do 2nd no matter how pretty we make it. “I love you” makes up one powerful sentence just as “I hate you” does. In our society, “I hate you” has more power than “I love you”. The reason is that we rarely tell someone “I hate you” and we tell so many “I love you” (I remember the first time a friend told me “I love you”. To be honest I was a little uncomfortable). I hope that little exercise helps you understand the power in words. Powerful words, “God don’t do 2nd”. please keep reading
Most of us can look at most all of our action and trace them to some motivating force. It will do us all good to review our life and ask, “Why do I do what I do?” Here is a good example:
“We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people” (Colossians 1:3, 4 NLT)
The Colossians had faith that people were taking about and word was out about how they loved each other. What was the motivating factor for them to be so effective?
“which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News.” (Colossians 1:5 NLT)
The motivating force was “their confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven”. They were convinced about eternity. They focused on the long term goal (heaven) not the short term goals of this world.
What motivates you to do what you do?
I have been quiet on the blog for the last several day. Why? I have had nothing to say. There have been times in my life when it just seemed like I had run out of words (I know that is hard to believe). I have over the last 25 years of ministry experienced many feelings, failings, and fortunes. Feeling lie to me as well as tell me the truth. Failings do not define who I am. Fortunes are always the gifts of God. I have developed strategic plans both personally and professionally. Some have succeeded and some have failed. I have come to this conclusion. Let prayer and faithfulness be my strategy. I will seek to pray about everything and seek to be faithful in everything. Then I will just trust. The results will not always be what I want but they have not been up until now, so that is no change. I cannot figure it all out but I will seek to watch and pray. I hope this is not just words on a page but a new way of living.
“Bless those who curse you.”
- Use KIND words instead of BITTER/HURTFUL words.
- We must recognize who is really at work here – the devil.
“Do good to those who hate you”.
- Benevolent actions for spiteful actions.
- We must recognize who is really at work here – the devil.
“Pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you”
- To be persecuted because of righteousness is to align ourselves with the prophets (Matt 5:12).
- To pray for those who persecute us is to align ourselves with the character of God.
- Talk with yourself and God before you talk with them.
- We must do some personal evaluations.
- We must recognize who is really at work here – the devil.
- Ask God to have mercy on them. Ask God to forgive them.
Love your enemies! Bless those who persecute you! Do good to those who hate you! Pray for those who persecute you!
Why did He not say, “Forgive your enemies!”, “Forgive those who hate you!”, “Forgive those who persecute you!” ?
Because love is not offended!
When Jesus was on His way to the cross, He was not offended!
When Stephen was being stoned, he was not offended!
Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do!”
Stephen prayed, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”
No where does it say, “Forgive your enemies!”
Forgiveness is definitely part of the equation but we must not be so easily offended. It seems people get offended at the smallest things these days. Today, if someone acts in a way that you do not feel is right respond with blessing, doing good and praying. God ahead and forgive those who might hurt you before they do. When we choose to get offended and respond in like manner we join the devil is seeking to destroy them. Join God in His redemptive purpose by blessing, doing good and praying for them.
Matthew 6:5–6 (NLT) 5 “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. 6 But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
If you are not praying in private your public prayer is hypocritical. Often we find ourselves moved in public setting and we have a great demonstration of prayer. Pray in your closet and then you might be ready to pray in a public place.