10 days. Ten days have passed since I last shared my thoughts, and a lot has happened in those 10 days. I guess the most moving thing is that I have been reminded yet again that Satan sure knows how to "get at" me. We are definitely at war. I know as a believer in Christ that he can not possess what belongs to God, and, knowing that full well, he certainly takes every opportunity to oppress God's children. One of the best ways he can do that to me is by using the opinions of others. When those opinions are favorable, I easily catch myself in the trap of believing all is good and that I am where I am to be, doing what I am supposed to be doing. When those opinions are negative, I easily sway the other direction and ask questions that truly were already answered. Oddly enough, according to Scripture, the opinions of others are not my standard. My allegiance and obedience are to God, first and Darin, second. While others may earn a role from time to time, they never qualify for positions one or two.
I've also been reminded that I have no right to criticize someone else's servant, especially when I have no information about their walk with God in the past or present. And isn't it interesting how most people who criticize the way you serve God truly have no desire of understanding your point of view? Oh, they'll feign an intense listening pose or nod from time to time as though actively receiving your thoughts and words, but internally, they are plotting their next argument and wording their next reply. Most times, talking to these people is a waste of time, and truly not worth the emotion or energy put into any explanations. I know, because I used to be one of those people. To be in a conversation with me was a one-sided monologue. My heart never heard the opinions of others, because I was so sure I was right. And changing my mind was like re-routing the Rio Grande. Being a communication major (instead of music) in college was undoubtedly God-ordained because he used those classes to teach me what it really means to listen, not just hear. It also helped me become a more careful reader of printed word. I learned to be more cautious about reading my own assumptions or points of view into prose and even poetry. A writer has the blessed privilege of expressing his or her perspective, but a reader has the opportunity and even responsibility of meeting that content without presuppositions. The truth is, that's virtually impossible if you know the person, but I'd like to think that in that case, especially if it's someone you like, you'd come to the table assuming the best, not the worst. But, agenda get in the way, and that's where I believe Satan plays the game most effectively. (Especially since he knows how vulnerable to emotion I am as a woman.) Of course, I still fall back into my old habits from time to time, but God forgive me when I do, for it devalues the human being standing in front of me who is made in Your image.
Just as others should not criticize someone else's servant, neither can anyone define what obedience is for me, just as I can't label it for anyone else. The truth of the Gospel of Christ offends, and sometimes, the truths of my heart (when acting in obedience and writing from its depths of love for Christ, in purity and with all confessed sin) may offend, too. Never with malicious intent, though, because that in itself is sin. I am the world's worst when it comes to tact. I am more willing to not state the fullness of what I feel or believe for fear of offending. I all too carefully word my heart's thoughts. To the point, in fact, that I sometimes believe I've been disobedient by not speaking the truth in love more strongly. But it's because I'm so afraid of being the catalyst Satan uses to (1) bring disunity in the body of Christ or (2) drive someone away from the Gospel of Peace. Yet, when I think about the things that Paul wrote to the believers in Rome, Galatia and Colossae, I doubt every sentence was taken with gladness, grace and gratitude. (Imagine how embarrassed Euodia and Syntyche were in Phil 4!) God give me that kind of boldness in speaking truth in love.
If you haven't figured out by now, over the last 10 days there have been some things that have brought hurt to my heart - misunderstandings, etc. But, just as a giver of harsh words can stir up disunity, the recipient of those words can be equally as guilty of bringing disunity when bitterness takes seed. I don't want to be guilty of that, either. I've been so surprised that anyone would assume malicious intent on my part. To my knowledge, I've not given reason or cause for that to be assumed about my character, especially of people I thought liked or at least appreciated me to some degree. So, until this is all resolved, I'll take my grief to God, for I know with complete assurance the purity of my heart's intent, and that what I said and what I did were in direct obedience to him. So, it's his to deal with, as Master of my soul and Lord of my life, even through the last 10 days.
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