Merry Christmas Eve Everybody!
I realize that although this is a time of family and fellowship for many of us celebrating the season of Jesus Christ’s birth and life, there are people out there that are going through some hard times in this season of celebration. So this song that I’m posting by Israel & New Breed (feat. James Fortune and Jason Nelson) called It’s Not Over is to encourage the lonely, the hurting and the ones who need a song to uplift their spirit. God is with you even when you think He isn’t in your present situation. God is in your situation. God we help you come through whatever trial you are going through because God loves you. He will send you the answers you are looking for even when you think you can’t find them. Many are going through “WHY????” seasons…but God can turn around that “Why?” into a “Because” and be the answer you need while you are asking questions. Though we see dimly the light shines through the darkness and that Light that you seek whether you realize it or not is through our Lord and Savior, JESUS CHRIST. God Bless you everybody and may this song minister to the broken-hearted during this season. God has not forgotten you.
I think at times we don’t really understand why some people do the things they do because we tend to judge them before learning to understand them and their circumstances. I find that even I get caught up with that behavior in that I too sometimes judge a person by first impressions…but I have to take a step back and ask myself ”Do first impressions always give you a full picture concerning that person?” I have come to realize that it’s not always the case so I have learned to take time to assess people and always give a person a benefit of a doubt before I reach a conclusion about a persons behavior and character as an individual. Sometimes people act up during the first meeting because of a situation that arose earlier in their day before they came into contact with you and it may give you a lasting impression, but it may not necessarily be an accurate impression of them either because it may have just been an emotional outburst as a result of an earlier confrontation and yet we write these people off so easily, but GOD doesn’t.
I think that if we want to understand people we have to learn to listen to them to avoid misunderstandings and develop a level of compassion that allows us to give people a chance to show us who they really are inside. I know that I have spoken a lot concerning sharpening your discernment in some of my posts, but it’s not always about learning how to discern who your enemies are from your friends; sometimes it’s about discerning the root issue of someones behaviour that manifests in their character. This level of discernment is beneficial to us in that it helps in terms of mentoring someone or counseling someone effectively to receive healing and deliverance in their situations provided that we have a level of patience and compassion with dealing with these personalities. We shouldn’t put people into a box and categorize them as write-offs when God never wrote you off when you were cantankerous and rude and not with it.
Love covers a multitude of sin (1 Peter 4:8).
I often reflect on the different personalities that I encounter in my daily life such as those who are quiet, shy, talkative, narcissistic, arrogant, clingy, needy etc, and I find that they all have one thing in common, and that is that they all seek some level of validation in many different ways from people. I’m not going to over- generalize and say all these personalities do this; however, I do find that with the ones I have encountered in my walk, they display many of these traits born out of some level of personal insecurity that they are dealing with. Their need to be validated is manifested by their actions, typically displayed in their treatment towards themselves and others; most of which manifest negatively in feedback.
Examples of this could be:
A gang member who feels that need to confront anyone violently who stares at them the “wrong way” (from their perspective), or the woman who brags about her possessions to others, or the young girl who gives herself away to any man willing to give her attention, or the young boy smoking drugs with his friends in order to “fit in” the crowd, or the man who competes in conversations to prove that he is “right” or more knowledgeable than his peers about a topic, or the child that is “acting out” by being overtly disobedient to instruction as a means of seeking attention and the list goes on.
These are different examples stemming from that level of insecurity exhibited by negative behavioural actions rooted from that general need of validation from others. I do recognize that there are exceptions to the rule, but for the sake of this post I’m just listing these as potential examples regarding the relationship between insecurity and the need of validation from people.
Some of the reasons that come to my mind as to why such insecure individuals do things by pursuing activities or groups to find that validation could be factored by a number of things.
1. They have not experienced True Love at home or at anytime in their life;
2. The have experienced Rejection on multiple occasions;
3. Victimization – they have suffered abuse in their life – mental, physical, sexual, spiritual; or
4. Suffered Abandonment - from family members or friends or significant peers/mentors.
5. They are Bitter because they have not forgiven or received some sort of closure acceptable enough to let go of the past.
Although this isn’t an exhaustive list, these factors are things I have noticed with the people I have encountered in my walk. At some level, I am able to identify with some of these areas on a personal level which is why I think that we have to learn what it means to cultivate an attitude of compassion, empathy and most importantly LOVE.
Jesus commands us to “love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12), but we all have developed ways of being selective in who we display our love to. I know that I’m a guilty party to this so I won’t hide that or excuse it. On the other hand, I do come across some challenging individuals that really test me and you know, it’s at these times that God calls us to really reflect His image towards such people and that is something I’m still working on. I know I have my own baggage and I have come to realize that I’m not the only one who is carrying bags. Whether you are a minister in church at any capacity or just an ordinary Joe on the street going about your business, I challenge you to be an example of God’s Love for people, Starting Today.
I remember this saying that comes from a well known song: “We are known to be Christians by our LOVE”.
Love is an attitude displayed by both Actions and Words.
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NKJV):
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. [Emphasis added].
Many atrocities continue in our world today because we lack compassion to bring about change. A quote that comes to mind in reflection of this is that: “For Evil to Triumph, all it needs is for Good men/women to do nothing”. I don’t want to reflect this truth. Let’s stand against the grain and be the change that this world needs to see. Let’s admit that we live in a LOVE-STARVED world. Let’s feed this Hungry world with LOVE. We can start by showing love one person at a time. Set aside your prejudices and allow acceptance to welcome those different from yourself into your life. God accepted us as we are, we should do the same to others. Many people experience rejection because they are not accepted for their differences and weaknesses by others. Let’s not judge people too quickly for their appearances and look at the HEART of the individual.
We have a general tendency to judge people by their appearances and negate that it’s the heart that we need to reach. I know that this is hard to believe, but God loves everyone including wicked people. Jesus healed the ear of the servant of the High Priest that was cut off during the time of His arrest while knowing full well that it was Judas who had betrayed Him (Luke 22:47-51). This story always challenges me every time when I meditate on it in that I know I have to get to that place to set aside bitterness, hatred, and anger and learn that Jesus could still Love someone who was his closest companion and yet was the very same one that betrayed Him for only thirty pieces of silver coins (Matthew 27:9). I know that people tend to forget this part of the story, but Judas later on committed suicide because of the guilt and shame of what he had done against his friend, Jesus (Matthew 27: 3-5). I often wonder, had the disciples forgiven their brother Judas Iscariot and sought him out to minister their forgiveness, would such a tragedy have been prevented? It is NOT God’s will that any should Perish but have everlasting life (John 3:15-16; 2 Peter 3:9).
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. [Emphasis added]
Likewise, we have to increase our Faith level to develop our Love level for people to produce HOPE in this Love-Starved World.
Suffering can be diminished when we increase our capacity to care for others as we love ourselves. Let’s start changing ourselves to become the Loving image of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s put a stop to evil and overcome evil with GOOD.