WHEN SCANDAL IS EXPOSED

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Your grandmother’s pearl necklace is a treasured family heirloom.  You toddler looks at it every time she passes your dresser.  It hangs from a special stand, it calls at her… longing to be held.  Every time she asks you if she can wear it, you tell her no.  Or, not right now.  You know in your head this is a special gift you want to give her on her wedding day.  She doesn’t know or understand that at all, she just knows that she wants to touch it.  This curiosity carries on for years.

Mom, can I wear it?

No, not right now.

When?

When you are older.

Why?

I don’t want you to break it.

I promise, I won’t!

I am not taking the chance.

One day, you happen to be distracted in the garden.  You are preparing your spring plantings.  Opportunity has presented itself, this time temptation overwhelms.  She sneaks in to your room, climbs the chair next to your dresser, slides the necklace of it’s stand and around her sweet little neck.  She hears the front door open, fearing getting caught, she panics and attempts to take the necklace off, and return it to the stand.  It snags.  Pearls fly every where.

Enter mom.

You see the pearls strewn about the floor.  You are angry.

You look up & see her tear stained face, lips quivering.  She knows she was wrong.  She knows she is trouble.  But worst of all, she knows she broke your heart.  This necklace that meant so much to you, is in pieces… just like her spirit.

What do you do?  How do you respond?

Do you point in her face, exclaiming how you knew this is what would happen?  Do you take to facebook, twitter or your blog and brag about you just knew this would happen, that it was impossible for your child to control her self?  Or, do you scoop her up and love her first…. worrying about the pearls later?

How would you feel if you shared this story with your friends, and the next day you find hundreds of shared posts about how your daughter messed up, questioning your parenting for leaving her inside unsupervised, that they always knew you were a bad parent, had bad children, etc?

What if your daughter could see all of those comments hurled at you, about your family?

This is the scenario that runs through my head every time I see some sort of major scandal break the news.   Particularly when it is a high profile Christian, or Christian family.  Very quickly the masses weigh in:

I always knew there was something wrong with that family, they can’t be that perfect.

I knew there was something untrustworthy about him, I just couldn’t put my finger on it.

What a hypocrite, teaching his church one thing, while he lived another!

She had it coming, something about her just seemed off. 

No wonder her marriage failed, look how she treated him!

… and the list could go on forever.

In these comments, we are bragging about ourselves at the expense of someone’s deep pain.  And, even if “the guy” or “the girl” was wrong, totally, we ignore that they have a family (or church family) that is hurting too.

We don’t restrain our words, we just let them fly loosely, sticking where they land.  We don’t recognize that they are landing right in the lap of the woman who was cheated on, the church that was taken advantage of, the victims who have been trying to heal, and the children who have had their hero exposed to be a villain.

This isn’t a blog article to vindicate those who are guilty, to excuse their behavior.

It’s just a caution, that when a scandal breaks… before we do that victory dance, bragging about how right we are…

…. let’s not forget that someone is hurting in a way we can’t fathom.

Someone just had their world torn apart.

Someone just had an old wound ripped open.

Someone needs you to say, I am sorry this happened to you…

… more than they need to hear how right you were.

Someone, needs your prayers.

WHEN YOU CAN’T WIN

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I’d love to claim this is some great blog article, well thought out and written with perfection.  However, it isn’t.  In fact, it’s more just a thought that has been brewing.  I’m fleshing it out here, so bare with me and my train of thought.

I keep camping on this notion that as Christians, we simply, can’t win when it comes to how we are viewed by the general world.

If we adhere to our convictions, if we following God’s commands and statutes, if we accept and preach His word as infallible truth… we are labeled a lot of things.

Intolerant.  Judgmental.  Narrow Minded.  Naive.  Ignorant.  Discriminatory.  Foolish.

But, on the other hand, if we bend or disavow ourselves to any portion of our beliefs, we are hypocrites.

Scripture tells us that we are not to be of this world, but in it.  We need to be present with others, who do not share our beliefs, in order to show them Jesus.  Yet, it is our differences from the rest of the world, that causes them to withdraw from us.

We can’t win.

And we never will.

We couldn’t win in the Old Testament days, and overcome our own sins and shortcomings.

We couldn’t win in the New Testament, when 3 times the rooster crowed & Jesus was denied.

We can’t win today, in Church Age, when we are too busy arguing amongst each other about what is “right”.

And, we don’t have to win.

The victory isn’t ours.  It’s God.

The battle is already won.

RECOMMENDED READ: Are You Fighting for Victory… or resting Victoriously?

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There are times when someone else says what I am thinking or feeling much better than I could ever put it to words.  In this blog article, Brandon Chase does just that.

~Peace, Gena

I AM NOT THE BOSS

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Since I was a small child, I have been a bit of a boss. Some would say it is my Irish heritage, others would say that I am like my grandmother. The fact of the matter is, I can be bossy. Really bossy. A fact I have spent years trying to correct. Couple my inherent bossiness with my need for justice, and I am a force to be reckoned with. A great example of this, will take us on a journey to about 10 years ago.

I was working in direct sales & I was doing really well in the company, leader over my entire state. I also and had a very good relationship with the owner of the company.    We were getting ready for a large training event, and I sincerely disagreed with a decision the owner had made. I confronted the owner about it. I continued the disagreement with her over the issue to the point we had to have mediation through a neutral third party.

It was during a women’s conference, about a year later, that in a single moment truth hit me. Who was I? Who was I to think I could tell this woman how to run her company? Right or wrong, this was not MY company. I had no right to expect her to bend to my demands.  I came home and immediately drafted a letter of apology to her. It had nothing to do with my feelings about the decision, but everything to do with me taking accountability for my actions. She graciously accepted my apology & our relationship began to heal over time.

Proverbs 29:11 A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.

In my situation, I certainly felt I was right. Sometimes though it is not about being right, it is about being wise.   I made poor decisions on confronting the owner, poor decisions on how to react to her stance & in the end poor decisions on my part on how to proceed further.   The deeper I allowed myself to get into the argument, I became angry & I gave full vent to that anger. I made it personal, I elevated the situation and ultimately I brought us to the point of mediation. If I were wiser at that time, I would have tempered myself and my tongue.

Proverbs 12:18 Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Once I was able to realize my error, I was able to make amends. But, what was a strong relationship was going to take time to heal. It was a hard lesson to learn, but once you learn such a lesson you strive to not repeat the same mistake again.

God wants us to approach situations with wisdom and not foolishness.

Two women were before King Solomon, each claiming a child as their own. Solomon ordered the child to be cut in half, then each woman would be given half of the child. The true mother could have continued to argue that the child was hers. She would have been right, but her decision would have cost the life of her son. Instead, she opted to make a wise decision. She told Solomon to spare his life and give him to the other woman. It was through this wise decision on her part, that Solomon knew who the real mother was. The woman who put aside being right, and instead spared the life of the child. (A Wise Ruling 1 Kings 3:16-28)

Can you think of a time where your quest to be right, cost you more than you would have gained?

How can you rectify this past occurrence, or prevent it from happening again?

Heavenly Father, I ask you today to guide my words. Guide me to fight the good fight and to turn the other cheek. Help me to discern between being wise and being right. Let me find peace in times of strife & help me to find the path to restoration in relationships my decisions may have damaged. Through you I can forgive and be forgiven. Amen.

*Written for the TC3 Women’s Ministry Devotion Blog