A little over a year ago I left a church. It was a church that I truly loved, it wasn’t big, it wasn’t too small but as Goldilocks said as she said ate, sat, slept and finagled her way into baby bear’s things “It was just right” – I mean I’ve been to other churches before but this one allowed me to really express myself and use the gifting that God gave me. I mean, while there’s no perfect church. I felt as if this one was the perfect fit for me. Well as you know anytime you get comfortable with someone or some-thing – the enemy has to come in and play his dirty card hands to make sure “your perfect sunshine” turns into doom and rain and that is exactly what happened in this case.
All I will say is, there was something heard, a whole lot of wrong communication said, my emotions took over and went into overdrive and I became very sarcastic, distant and said a bunch of things I didn’t mean (I never said I was an angel). I ended up leaving that church as fast as I had become a part of it, I vowed that I would never step foot into that place again. While I didn’t share what happened with anyone outside of the people in whom were involved; the incident left me very bitter towards them and a silent grudge within my heart.
So what does the bible mean when in Hebrews 12:14 (NLT) when it says:
Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.
You see?, following peace is really about maintaining relationships with people, because as funny as life is, we never know whom we might need to reach out to in order to ask for a favor, we also never know whom may need us, so we must maintain a peaceful spirit and character as well, I mean think about it, if you say you’re a Christian (and most people have their different meanings as to what this means to them) and you’re supposed to be repping Christ, do you really think you should not have a good, peaceful, approachable attitude? I mean how would Jesus look if every time someone approached him with a question, he gave you the Ice Cube look…..
Not only would you not want to approach him but you’ll be afraid to ask him for anything. You should think about that the next time someone steps to you, are you giving them the Ice Cube look? (nothing against Ice Cube by any means =)
But following peace with all men is not an easy thing to do as they definitely wouldn’t care if you have peace concerning them. My mom used to tell me often, “Roshonda, it’s not what they do but what you do that matters.” And while I couldn’t understand what mama was saying at that time; as I became older, her words of wisdom became perfectly clear. When you’re representing a higher power it really does matter how you carry yourself. When we took the charge to be a Christian, we took an oath to not only be a follower but also a doer of his word, which means we have to represent him no matter what others do or don’t do.
Don’t get me wrong, this “following peace” way of handling things sometimes is not the most popular stance to take as I want to get my Ice Cube look on and break some necks and dare somebody to say something but I took an oath to follow Christ and with that, that means that I must follow peace. That also means that I have to apologize, even when I don’t want too – even if it wasn’t my fault. I have to forgive people, even when they laugh in my face and I know they talking about me behind my back. I have to do good to the people that just last week, threw me under the bus just to cover their tracks and I have to pray for the ones that I don’t want to pray for because I feel like they’re evil and don’t deserve God’s mercy, but then again, None of us do….
In prayer the other morning – God laid that church strongly on my heart and I reached out to the pastor….not expecting a response because it had been over a year, I imagined all the things they could have said to me, but what I got in return was love and a warm welcome. I was so elated and grateful that God put on my heart to go back and make amends and I was glad that I was still in the land of the living to do it. A lot of times we don’t want to admit when we’re wrong because we want to shift blame and refuse to humble ourselves, but if Jesus can forgive the people that done him wrong and still die for their sins inspite of their attitudes toward him, What about you? What about Me? Are we any different or above the law? NO, we’re not.
Listed below are a couple of tips to help you follow Peace more Easily…
Forgive and Move Forward, Literally
I can’t tell you how much time we lose trying to get people to respond to our plea for forgiveness. Listen, they’re not God and their opinion of whether your forgiveness was real or fake will not put you in heaven or hell. It’s not what they do or don’t do, it’s what you took the courage to do in spite of. The only person you should ever worry about is God himself, you know the one who actually created you? Yeah, him. Don’t waste no more time on people – whether they forgive you or not is their business and between their God, do what you were asked to do and Move On…
Expect Nothing In Return
Just because you had a come to Jesus moment with yourself doesn’t mean others have taken out the time to have that same conversation with him. God dealt with you about what you needed to do – don’t expect anything more from them. If they are true believers, they’ll come around otherwise again, do you and move boo.
So, What is a Christian Again?
Being a Christian means doing things as Christ would have and you have to ask yourself, would Christ hold a grudge, would he be upset at someone for years and not speak to them or bless them? Just as he wouldn’t, you shouldn’t either. Being a Christian means being Christlike even when we don’t want too.
Sometimes Peace Is Hard – Forgive yourself for your actions
Romans 12:18 (NIV) says, If it is possible as much as depends on you live peaceably with all men. When the Apostle Paul wrote that scripture he was referencing that the believers aim should be to live peaceably, but knew that sometimes peace would not be within our control. People will be people, while some will forgive – others will not but you’re not responsible for their actions and can’t help the feelings that they may have toward you, just know that God forgives you and once you’ve forgiven yourself? Feel free to move forward. When you’ve done your part, then you have to step back, let go and let God do his.
Roshonda N. Blackmon – Creator of JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager
Let’s Live Well, Laugh Loud, Love Hard & Inspire Often!
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