The question “How are you doing?” in one form or another probably gets asked about a billion times a day. Many of the times it is asked, it is asked by a stranger. It could be by a cashier at the grocery store, or someone else who has been told by their boss to ask it to all their customers, or just said in passing by the average person. Do we ever really sincerely ask that question, or is it just a cultural convention? This question was given to me years ago when I was at a local event. I walked into a tent that was being used as a store, and in passing, I asked the shopkeeper how he was doing. His reply was “Terrible!” I had been so used to asking this question as a cultural convention, that I almost didn’t hear the answer. When I realized that his answer wasn’t what I expected, I stopped in my tracks to talk to him. It turned out that he wasn’t doing terrible after all, he only said that as a test to see if anyone was listening or even caring. He thanked me for being the only one out of the many states he visited to actually pay attention to his reply!!!
Now I know that we can’t always truly mean the question, if we are on the clock, or running late to pick up a child from school, we just don’t have time to properly listen and to help, but when we do we should pay attention to the answer. If we can, we should help people who truly are not doing well. We can ask their name and pray for them, offer to buy them a cup of coffee, anything just to prove to the person that the world isn’t as ugly as it may seem in the moment. The smallest act of kindness can change lives. I have even heard stories about people who intended to commit suicide who were stopped by a simple act of kindness.
We tend to think of heroes as characters in comic strips, and movies, but anyone can be a hero!
Addie Rodriguez is a cheerleader at her school in a tough spot. Her squad was supposed to do a routine that involved their fathers. Her problem was that her dad is in the military, and could not make it. Along came Matthew Garcia…
Notice that he had not exactly had a good day, after already having done a good deed that week (donating blood), a deed that may have cost him a slot in the state finals he went to see his mom who was watching the game at Addie’s school, where he saw yet another opportunity to be a hero to someone. Few would blame a teenager for being a little self-absorbed in a moment like that, but no, he saw someone in need and did what he could do to save the day. For his actions, he deserves the title HERO!
I mentioned earlier that most people think of comic book characters when they think of heroes, some have a wider definition that includes the military, police officers, firefighters, but janitors can be heroes too.
Not everyone can save the world, but we all can change someone’s world!
“Tragedy is that our attention centers on what people are not, rather than on what they are and who they might become.” ~Brennan Manning
“Perhaps, if you weren’t so busy regarding my shortcomings, you’d find that I do possess redeeming qualities, discreet as they may be. I quietly carry the burdens of others as though they were my own. And I say ‘I’m sorry’ when you don’t. I am not without fault, but I am not without goodness either.” ~Richelle E. Goodrich
“There’s nothing wrong with enjoying looking at the surface of the ocean itself, except that when you finally see what goes on underwater, you realize that you’ve been missing the whole point of the ocean.” ~Dave Barry
“To love a man enough to help him, you have to forfeit the warm, self-righteous glow that comes from judging.” ~Ron Hall
1 Thess. 4:9-12
9 About brotherly love: You don’t need me to write you because you yourselves are taught by God to love one another. 10 In fact, you are doing this toward all the brothers in the entire region of Macedonia. But we encourage you, brothers, to do so even more, 11 to seek to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, 12 so that you may walk properly in the presence of outsiders and not be dependent on anyone.
A lot of people seem to think that grace is a license to sin, and walk around in a fashion that gives people no clue that they are a Christian. Many live in sin, are lazy gossips. That is not how to walk in a manner worthy of God! We are the only Bible that some folks will ever read. If we are not living the way that God wants us to live, where will they go for the truth? Why should they search for it at all when they see Christians living like the devil?
We need to show them a people worth copying. Unless they see Christ in us, that isn’t going to happen.
I have often stated that debating is my sport. While it can be fun for strange people like me, we (Yes I am including myself in this) need to be very careful not to lose focus on what is really important here. The goal should not be to smash our opponent’s face in with our fist till he or she is to battered and bruised to get off the floor. It is tempting to say that some people deserve it, I personally have been battling harsh feelings toward someone who claimed she was my friend, and have been quite grumpy toward people with similar philosophies for almost a year now. It is time that I STOP IT! Our goal should be to lead them closer to the truth, not to obliterate their face! Being mean wins no one, if Christ loved you before you were saved, you should at least try to love the person that you are debating. If you are mean, you could do more harm than good. It is possible to win the battle, but lose the war.
2 Timothy 4:1-2 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
Many people think that Matthew 7:1 forbids judging, and they use it as an excuse to just sit by and endorse sin by keeping our mouths shut, but if you have read the definitions of the highlighted words above you know that the Bible tells us that there are situations that we can correct, express disapproval, criticize sharply, and warn people away from sin. All of those things are kinds of judging. So Matthew 7:1 can’t mean what people think it means. If you read down to Matthew 7:5 you will discover that it is referring to hypocritical judgment.
This isn’t an excuse to be mean and nasty if you reread 2 Timothy 4:1-2 you will see that it ends with the phrase “encourage with great patience and teaching. “. While there are forms of judging we can and should do, we should not do it with the purpose of making the person feel below you, we are to teach them with patience. Sometimes we may have to speak sharply like when some drunk person wants to drive a car filled with kids, but that kind of judging should be limited to situations that demand action that minute. If you are judging because you care, and not out of hate, it is a legitimate thing to do. Just remember that God is love, and wants you to behave with love too.
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Matthew 22:36-40 English Standard Version (ESV)
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
You shall love your neighbour as yourself. Every Christian should have heard that phrase, but have you ever really thought about it? This is one verse that I believe can be turned on it’s head, You shall love yourself as you love your neighbor.
I used to think that being humble meant that I could not love myself, but if you hate yourself, then the second greatest commandment would be more like hate your neighbour as you hate yourself. God definitely doesn’t want that!
God wants us to love ourselves, To hate yourself would be to hate someone that God loves.
“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”