Negative Notions

give quoteI am currently reading an amazing book by Phillip Yancey called Vanishing Grace.  If you’ve never read any of his books, I would highly recommend that you do!

Anyway, you would think by the title that it would be right at the top of my list of negative notions that drive me crazy – in case you didn’t know…pessimism bugs me.

However, Vanishing Grace is like no other because it gives suggestion on what we should be doing to FIX THE ISSUE of the vanishing grace in our world!!!

Love, love, love me some solutions!!

Many times, we get caught up in right and wrong and forget that our place here on earth is to live as Jesus did….

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8

Instead of loving, serving and offering abundant grace as Christ showed us – we allow our self-righteousness rear its ugly head and condemn those who believe differently and/or those who sin more than we do.

“Sin more than we do?”

Really?  Who do I think I am?  Like my sin is SO much less.  Eeeeek!  (But isn’t that what we really think sometimes????)

Yancey wrote something that I hope I never forget, “I’ve yet to meet someone who found their way to faith by being criticized.”

Simple.  Truth.

He goes on to write that most of us “Christians” stumble through life making many mistakes and missing the priorities of God’s Kingdom…again, no shocker here.  But, why then do we persecute others for their disbelief?

Judging someone else is – in my opinion – the largest negative notion of all because we are missing the NUMBER TWO command from our most gracious and loving God.

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40

How can we first judge and then love?

The truth is that we really can’t.  In fact, this is where we have to choose how we are going to live.  Will we choose to live as God calls us to or as the world says we should?  It’s a choice we have to make over and over EACH DAY.

Yes, I REALLY suck at the LOVING others’ portion of the top two commandments.  And it’s all because I’m relying on myself and not giving MY LIFE to God for Him to guide.

Think about it…if I gave each moment of every day to God (like I should) then I would be guided by Him in every facet – including loving others and turning from the temptation of automatically judging.

It’s truly amazing what God can do with us and through us if we will just LET HIM.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful…. 1Corinthians 13:1-13

Love is the critical step towards being who God created us to be in this dark world.  We must extend His grace if we intend to receive it.

…You received without paying; give without pay. Matthew 10:8

Loving others knocks all negative notions out of the park because it places God at the center of our lives and that IS HOPE!

How can you love someone today that you disagree with, don’t like or have issues with?

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 29:7 – A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.

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