Beth Armstrong

Christian wife, mom, & author. Doing life with my eyes fixed on Jesus. I walk, I stumble, I fall. But God is big. And this is what I write about… Thanks for stopping by!

Archive for the tag “compassion”

ISSUES EXIST…LOVE ENDURES

I have issues. It bugs me when people stand really close to me. I don’t like people messing with my hair. It drives me crazy when, in an empty public restroom with a dozen open stalls, the next person in chooses the stall right next to me.

Like I said…I have issues.

I have bigger issues than the ones I mentioned above, however. I’m stubborn—and it’s not easy to overcome. I’m arrogant—and it’s a daily battle within me to keep my ego in check. I don’t have a stellar bank account or the perfect marriage. And my kids are on pace to be every bit as flawed as their mother. Oh joy!

Like I said…I have issues. I’m not proud of them. I’m not flaunting them. I wish I didn’t have them. But the truth is I struggle with them just like you struggle with yours.

Everybody has issues.

Your friend has issues. She’s insecure as all get out. Your spouse has issues. He/she is arrogant, insensitive, and controlling. Your co-worker has issues. She’s overbearing and doesn’t let you get a word in edgewise. Your neighbor has issues. He lies constantly. You wonder why he feels the need to do that. The lady in your bible study has issues. She’s got a root of bitterness bigger than Dallas, but hides it as best she can. Your nephew has issues. He’s into pornography, but doesn’t see the harm in it.

Everybody has issues. And issues present us with an interesting enigma.

The question is, can you see past my issues? Can you overlook your co-worker’s issues? Can you embrace your neighbor despite his issues? Can you be kind to the lady in your bible study regardless of her issues? Can you get along with your friend even though she has issues?

Here’s what I have found to be true in this interesting enigma: issues exist…but love endures. At least a Christ-like love does.

Issues Exist Love EnduresJesus loved His disciples—all quirky, ill-equipped and flawed twelve of them. I don’t know if that was easy for Him or not. My guess is He wore thin of patience with a few every now and then because you know what? They had issues. Jesus loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Maybe they were easier to love than His disciples. But Martha certainly had issues, and Jesus brought those into light.

Jesus also loved the rich young man who ended up walking away from Him—materially wealthy, but eternally bankrupt. Ouch!

Jesus had compassion on all sorts of people who had all sorts of issues. He hung out with sinful people. He touched “unclean” people. He embraced the ones who were far from perfect. He did life with people who were self-absorbed, broken, messed up, whacked out, and didn’t buy what Jesus was selling.

They had issues. They had struggles. They had challenges. They had problems. They had difficulties. Their lives were not pretty little packages wrapped up with pretty little bows. And truth be told, neither are ours.

Can we have compassion like Jesus did on others who have issues? Can we hang out with people like Jesus did who are far from perfect? Can we do life with people like Jesus did who have hang-ups, problems, and struggles? Can we embrace people like Jesus did who don’t even acknowledge Jesus?

Can we love like Jesus? Regardless…in spite of…even though…
Issues exist. Love endures.
Go love like Jesus!

 

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8 THINGS TO STAND FOR IN A WORLD THAT’S FALLING DOWN

There’s a popular song on the radio that I really like to sing along with, but the lyrics trouble me.

Oh, Lord, I’m still not sure what I stand for…What Do I Stand For?
What do I stand for?
Oh what do I stand for?
Most nights I don’t know any more…

Isn’t that sad? At the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, not to have any idea what you stand for. To be that clueless, or misguided, or misinformed, or confused, or torn. But I think, unfortunately, this would describe a growing number of people in the world.

Here’s the problem as I see it:  This crazy, messed up world we live in has hijacked our truth, our morals, our values, our ethics, our virtues, our integrity, our standards. We have no idea what we stand for because we live in a world where tolerance reigns and truth seems to be a moving target. We live in a world that celebrates boundary-less individuality. We live in a world where any behavior, any response, any treatment, any reaction is acceptable because, after all, “I’m just being ME.” Barf!

The great country music theologian Aaron Tippin sang a song back in the early 90’s which stated:

You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything
You’ve got to be your own man not a puppet on a string
Never compromise what’s right and uphold your family name
You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything

Here’s what I think we should be standing for (otherwise we’ll fall for just about anything)…

Stand for:

  • Treating people fairly and justly–God loves people and so should we
  • Grace–even when you think you’re right, grace must win out
  • Giving, not getting–change your perspective from what you can get out of something to what you can contribute
  • Honesty–if you tell the truth the first time, you won’t have to remember what you said
  • Positivity–negativity is a buzz kill any way you slice it
  • Peace–though you can’t control the actions and reactions of others, you can control yours. As much as it depends on you, live at peace
  • Hard work–slothfulness and apathy will never get you where you want to be
  • Compassion–remember not everyone is as cool as you, as fortunate as you, as put together as you, as healthy as you, as problem-free as you, as smart as you, nor as talented as you

What about you? What do you stand for?

WHY DO CHRISTIANS HAVE TO BE SO LAME?

Why do Christians have to be so lame?

I’m telling you, there are some real dud Christians out there. There are Christians who bash others because of religious preference, sexual preference, political preference, choice of clothing or hairstyle or body art. There are Christians who criticize others because of their parenting style, lack of generosity, choice of music, whether or not you go to church, where you stand on abortion, or what neighborhood you live in. You name it, there are Christians out there who will go to great lengths to make sure you know your sinfulness, make sure you know how wrong you are, and make sure everyone else knows it as well.

UGH! All I can say is forgive us.

You see, I am a Christian. I have Democrat friends, Republican friends, gay friends, straight friends, black friends, Native American friends, Christian friends, non-Christian friends, tattooed and pierced friends, friends who drink, friends who cuss like sailors, friends who vote other than I do, wealthy friends, welfare friends, depressed friends, friends in therapy, divorced friends, friends who’ve had abortions, and on and on. I choose to love these people. I even choose to do life with them.

Here’s the thing…My identity in Christ doesn’t give me the upper hand on any of these folks. My identity in Christ doesn’t give me any authority to condemn other people just because they choose to do life differently than I. My identity in Christ doesn’t mean that I’m better, smarter, nicer, richer, saner, wiser, or more right than anyone else.

Unfortunately, however, there are Christians who firmly believe that if you do life differently than they do, you’re wrong and they’re right. We call ourselves Christians (Christ followers), yet our actions sometimes don’t resemble Christ at all. Again, why do Christians have to be so lame?

Let me enlighten those who are still reading… The world doesn’t get better by Christians going on the attack of everyone “different” than they are. The world gets better when Christians choose to embrace and live out what Jesus taught. And what Jesus taught wasn’t rocket science:

  • Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. (Matthew 19:19)
  • Love your enemies and pray for the folks who do you wrong. (Matthew 5:44)
  • Do good to the people who don’t like you at all. (Luke 6:27)
  • Lend to your enemies without expecting to get anything back. (Luke 6:35)
  • Love…other…people…(PERIOD). (John 13:34)
  • Forgive people. (Mark 11:25)
  • Don’t judge. (Luke 6:37)
  • Be merciful. (Luke 6:36)
  • Turn the other cheek. (Matthew 5:39)
  • Be reconciled to others. (Matthew 5:24)
  • Treat people like you want to be treated. (Matthew 7:12)

In the words of The Lumineers:
Love, we need it now
Let’s hope for some
Cause oh, we’re bleeding out

Indeed, we’re bleeding out. The world is bleeding out. And Christians standing in condemnation of others just perpetuates the hemorrhaging.

To all my Christian brothers and sisters out there, stop being so lame! See others through eyes of Jesus. Have some compassion. Dole out some mercy. Lighten up on holding others in contempt of your judgmental court. Embrace humility. Serve somebody. Reach out. Be generous. Love the unlovable. Grab some grace and spread it thick.

Stop the hemorrhaging.

Stop being so lame!

 LOVE like Jesus … LIVE like Jesus!

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