Simone Biles’s decision to withdraw from Olympic competition to protect her mental health was met with varied responses.
One can’t help but notice how many people who call themselves Christians were highly critical and down-right MEAN in their reaction.
Simone didn’t meet their expectations…
They feel Simone let her team and country down…
They feel she wasn’t tough enough.
Some of the same people who criticize her for ‘folding under pressure’ watch the world from their smart device or television while never stepping outside the safety of their own daily routines. Many of her critics are much older, yet they haven’t reached her level of accomplishment. And, many claim to be loving, kind-hearted, compassionate disciples of Christ.
We who call ourselves believers need to be careful as to how we define ‘TOUGH’.
If many Christians are honest with themselves, based on how they react to things that happen today…
Many Christians would have called Jesus a failure!
It has been speculated by many that one of the reasons Judas betrayed Jesus is because he didn’t meet his expectations of a deliverer.
Think of the behavior and accomplishments that so many people today consider to be STRENGTH and SUCCESS relative to the behavior that God says is evidence of His Spirit…
Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 [a]gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
James 3:17 (NKJV)
17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
Matthew 5:39 (NKJV)
39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
Unfortunately, too many Christians today consider the above mentioned Godly attributes to be weakness.
Just as they say Simone Biles isn’t being tough enough…
Just as Judas turned on our Savior because he didn’t meet the expectations of a Messiah…
How many Christians, if they were living around 2,000 years ago would have concluded that Jesus…
Was a failure…
Let His followers down…
Wasn’t being tough enough…
Wasn’t what He claimed to be…
Our visceral reactions prove what is inside of us.
To be clear, I’m not judging you as a Christian. Examine your reactions. Examine yourself. Judge yourself.
2 Corinthians 13:5 (NKJV)
5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you [a]are disqualified.
We prove where we would have stood in history by how we react today.
When you think about it, our relationships here on earth horizontal examples of our vertical relationship with God.
Example: Parents, think about your relationship with your children. You brought them into the world. You love, provide for, and nurture them. You took care of them when they couldn’t take care of themselves.
How does it make you feel when your children don’t appreciate what you do or have done for them?
How much does it hurt you when your children only come to you when they want something?
But, how great does it make you feel when your children are truly grateful?
How does it make you feel when they tell you that they love you just because…
When they want your advice…
When they just want to talk to you…just want to be in your presence?
Think of how you feel when someone mistreats them. Sometimes you run to their rescue, but sometimes you teach them how to be strong for themselves.
When they’ve done wrong think of how after you punish them and correct them, you quickly remind them of your love.
In our earthly relationships (horizontal), sometimes we are selfish and hurt the ones we love the most.
Sometimes we take advantage of their love.
But, sometimes love is so rich and wonderful; we wish the moment could go on forever.
Genesis 1:27 tells us we were made in God’s image.
We look like Him. But, how can we look like an invisible God?
God created us with the capacity and ability to love like Him…
To feel like Him…
To hurt like Him…
To have His character…
When we display the Fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22 in our lives, (love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) we are ‘looking like Him’.
The next time you get frustrated about the way that your children, husband, wife or those who are supposed to be closest to you treat you or make you feel(horizontal), be reminded of how God feels when we treat Him the same way (vertical).
Be careful of what’s in your heart when you decide to “KILL THEM WITH KINDNESS”.
That IS NOT what God told us to do. He told us to love our enemies.
Love’s intention is to give life, not kill.
Love’s intention is to build up, not tear down.
God says don’t seek revenge, that belongs to Him. God says don’t repay evil for evil, but instead to help your enemy.
The problem is, that many of us choose to ‘kill them with kindness’, ONLY to “heap coals of fire on their heads“. Many of us are only being kind because we see heaping coals of fire on their head as just another way to get even.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we may just be showing kindness to show them up, to annoy them, to make them feel bad…if that’s the intention then we’ve totally missed God’s meaning.
Helping your enemy is an exercise in developing God’s character. It is planting seeds of love for the enemy and those who witness. It’s allowing everyone to see the power of God. The goal is overcoming evil with good. Well, what about the coals of fire on their head? That’s just the end result of how acts of kindness affect an enemy…it’s a result, not an intent.
The goal is REPENTANCE AND RECONCILIATION. Remember, ‘kill them with kindness’ is catchy, but not of God. Romans 12:19-21 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[a] says the Lord. 20 Therefore, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
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