That Time When She Ripped Me To Pieces on Facebook

galatians5-22

She ripped me to pieces on Facebook.

This person I didn’t know called me a “so-called Christian” who demonstrated absolutely “no love” in my answer to her question.

I read over what I had written that pushed her buttons.  It seemed pretty straightforward.  Something like, “If you click on this post here, you’ll find everything you need to know about what we’re reading this month and how to join in.  Hope that helps!”

So-called Christian?  No love?

Even if she didn’t like my answer, I’d say attacking my personal faith seemed pretty out-of-line.

I’m a people-pleaser.  My love language is words of affection.  So, when someone vomits criticism all over me like that, I’m pretty much a mushy puddle of disaster on the floor.

Clean up on aisle 5.  That’s me.

This time I at least had the gumption to try to let it go.  But it’s been a few months since that post and it still gets my heart racing when I think about it.

Sadly, we’ve entered some bizarre dimension of space and time where we can hack at people from the distance and anonymity of our computer.

People don’t feel personally responsible anymore for what they say because there’s no immediate or relational consequence to verbal abuse.  We just click ‘send’ or ‘reply’ and cyberspace takes care of the rest.

I’d like to say that as Christians we’re known for rising above these drive-by slanders, but we’re not.

Paul wrote, “Let your gentleness be evident to all” (Philippians 4:5 NIV).

And yet, are Christians known for gentleness?  I’d say not likely.

We’re not even known for treating one another with gentleness.

Too often, we’re quick to condemn, mock, judge, criticize, and ostracize one another instead of obeying Scripture and learning how to  correct our “opponents with gentleness” (2 Timothy 2:25 ESV).

Maybe it’s because we think gentleness is synonymous with wimpy or weak.  But that’s not the biblical definition at all.

We model true gentleness after that of Christ, who showed restrained strength and self-control even when responding to attackers.

Those who are spewing harshness are the ones who lack self-control.  Gentleness is like holding back the full force of the ocean with quiet determination.

Maybe we think we’re just not gentle people. It’s not our personality.  Other people are gentle; but we’re outspoken and frank and that’s just who we are.

Last year, I interviewed Mary Ann Froehlich about her book Courageous Gentleness and she said

 “the fruit of the spirit is not a personality trait.”

It’s not like God made some people to be loving and some people to be peaceful and some people to be gentle.

The fruit of the spirit isn’t another biblical catalog of spiritual gifts.  It’s what every believer should have at work in us because the Holy Spirit is at work in each of us.

No Christian is exempt from the biblical mandate of gentleness even when handling those with whom we disagree.

In her new book, If I Plug My Ears, God Can’t Tell Me What To Do, Jessie Clemence writes:

Disagreement and discernment are both acceptable. But criticizing people’s efforts to serve God to the best of their ability is totally not fine. Romans 14:4 says, “Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? Their own master will judge whether they stand or fall. And with the Lord’s help, they will stand and receive his approval” (NLT).

Who are we to condemn the service of another?  Who are we to cut down the Lord’s anointed?

But we do it.  Sadly we do just that.

Even in cases of doctrinal error, a private conversation or intense prayer can be far more meaningful than public denunciation and mockery.

In Scripture, David made the choice twice not to lay hands on King Saul.

God had abandoned Saul and anointed David to be King.  Saul was in error.  He was in sin.

If anyone deserved to be confronted publicly, condemned publicly, and punished publicly, it seems like it should be him.

And if anyone deserved to put Saul in his place, it seems like it should be David.

But David wouldn’t do it.  Instead, he told his men

“The LORD forbid that I should do this to my lord the king and attack the LORD’s anointed one, for the LORD himself has chosen him” (1 Samuel 24:6 NLT).

David trusted God to handle Saul.

God forbid that I attack the Lord’s anointed.

God forbid that I criticize them, mock them, or try to destroy their ministry.

God forbid that I stand on my own platform and use it to judge their offering or pounce on their every word in order to pull it apart, take it out of context and denounce them.

I choose gentleness.

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness (Galatians 6:1 ESV)

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2015 Heather King

 

Why not riding a roller coaster is really being brave (no matter what anyone else says)

Bravery doesn’t run rampant in this house.

Me and my girls freak out about bugs.joshua1

We grab for a dry towel when water splashes into our eyes.

We talk through all possibilities and potential scenarios so we won’t freak about what’s new and different. 

We inch into doorways when there’s a room full of new people.

Me and these three daughters of mine, we’re not adventurers or discoverers, explorers or conquerors.  We’re not risk-takers or rock-the-boaters.  We’re not the movers or the shakers.

No, we’re planners and organizers.  We’re the faithful and the hard-working and the folks dipping their toes in all gentle and nervous on the side of the pool to test the waters before jumping in.

I’ve been spending all these years of motherhood encouraging my daughters to have courage. 

I tell them:

It’s okay to make mistakes, so just give it a try.

I tell them:

God is with you, so don’t fear.  Just relax and trust Him.

I tell it to them and maybe along the way I’m preaching to myself.

So, there we were at the amusement park this week for the last hurrah of summer break. And this daughter of mine, the one who screeches the loudest of all about spiders, announces she wants to ride her first big roller coaster.

Oh, yes, the real roller coaster, not the one with a Sesame Street character on the front in the clearly marked kiddie zone.

I balk at her request.  Is she sure?  Really sure?

Oh yes.  Her friends all ride this roller coaster and she has her heart set on it.  Today is the day.  She’s going to do it.

I poll the family.  Anyone else?

Nope.

No one else feels the need for speed today.

So, we visit all the normal rides and enjoy all the usual adventure and it’s just about time to go. 

She pouts.  She really wanted to give it a try and now she’d have to wait another year.

I decide right there that if this child feels the urge to be brave and say yes to what frightens her, then there was no way were leaving without her riding that ride.

Dad took her one way while I took the other non-roller-coaster riders another way.  This was her big moment.

Forty minutes or so later, we meet up again and I throw up my hands in a big question:  “So, how’d it go?”
She didn’t ride.

Dad says it simple.  She looked up at how high it went, down at how low it dropped, and wrinkled up her nose.  Maybe she really didn’t want to ride that ride after all. 

Maybe doing it just ’cause all her friends can do it wouldn’t be so fun for her.

Maybe she just needed to wait a bit longer.

And that’s okay.

Yes, that’s okay.

I was proud of her for stepping up there and looking over that beast of a ride and then making the tough choice to be wise and true to herself.

That’s brave.

I’ve spent a whole month this summer learning to say, “No.”  I’ve learned that bravery doesn’t look the same for everybody.

You stepping out in faith and saying “yes” when God calls, that’s brave.

Me doing what you’re doing just ’cause you’re doing it, or just ’cause it needs to be done? 

Or me doing it just because you want me to or ask me to…or maybe because society tells me I need to or because I don’t want to upset anyone by saying, ‘no’?

That’s not brave.

That’s being a coward in a brave costume.  It’s choosing to give in instead of stand up and say the hardest thing:  No, thanks. 

That young shepherd-warrior David stood in front of the Mighty King Saul and tried on the king’s very own armor (1 Samuel 17).

The King’s protective gear swallowed the teenage boy up. It was hanging off him, clanging and heavy.

It fit Saul perfectly.

It didn’t fit David at all.

So, he had to say, “No.”

That had to take courage, to tell a king, ‘No’ instead of just follow blindly and obediently.

I guess the truth is it takes bravery to do what you know is right, whether that’s saying, ‘Yes’ or saying ‘No.” Courage is knowing what God wants you to do and doing it no matter what.

In Let’s All Be Brave, Annie Downs says, ‘The road to courage is lit by God’s wisdom.”

During this year-long pursuit of God’s presence, I’ve spent this month learning to say, “No.” That meant seeking His wisdom and His opinion over everyone else’s and shaking off the people-pleasing and the cowardice.

Because I want to be where He is. I can do anything if He’s with me and only if He’s with me.

I found courage in His presence.  Courage for yes and Courage for no.

To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below!  Won’t you join me this month as I ‘Learn to Say, ‘No?’

In Times of Need

They gave her some string, a box, some tape and a few other odds and ends and told her group of second graders to design a leprechaun trap for St. Patrick’s Day.

If they’d thrown in a bar of soap and a paperclip, MacGuyver might have been able to break out of a sealed room packed with explosives on a timed detonator with two seconds to spare.020

As it was, these kids designed a contraption that would entice the leprechaun, and then stick him to the floor when he stood on the tape, and finally capture him inside the box.

My daughter described the process to me and I asked her—Did you use peanut butter to lure him in?  Did you have a stick that would hold the box up and then collapse down when you pulled on the string?

“No, mom,” she tells me, “we didn’t have any of that.  We had to use only the things on the desk.”

I could design a successful leprechaun trap, too, if I had more supplies available.  After all, I have experience from all those years as a kid with hamsters that could escape out of the most escape-proof cage and then skitter around the house…until, of course, we laid out our peanut butter trap.

It’s one of those lessons of life, though, the making do with what you have, the realization that sometimes you face circumstances where you feel oh-so-insufficient to meet the demand.

The days are hectic, the to-do list long, and we just don’t have enough time.

The relationships are stretched to breaking, and we don’t have enough patience.

The bills are too much and those unexpected expenses keep dumping themselves down on us, and we just don’t have the money.

The need is overwhelming, weighing down on our shoulders until we’re pressed to the ground, and we just don’t have the strength, or the wisdom, or the experience, or the training, or the spiritual gifts, or the manpower.

I am, after all, only one person and I only have these two hands. 
There are, undoubtedly, only so many hours a day. 
The dollar, sad but true, only stretches so far.

And even though we’ve said it so often before (God will provide) and sang it out so many times (You are more than enough for me), still we feel the lack and still it’s hard to see past the need.

Yet, when Jonathan stood with his armor bearer overlooking the Philistine camp, they were just two guys out scouting a more powerful enemy.  It was crazy to think they could actually win a fight.

But Jonathan knew that whatever the statistics said or however the odds might have stacked against them, “Nothing can keep the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few” (1 Samuel 14:6c).

Nothing can hinder our God from rescuing us and equipping us.  Not our lack of resources.  Not the strength of the enemy.  Not the circumstances or the “facts.”  Not our own weaknesses.

That’s why God’s people could walk away from slavery in Egypt without a battle.

Or why a teenage shepherd boy knocked a Philistine giant to the ground with a stone in a slingshot.

That’s why God built an army for David out of “men who were in trouble or in debt or who were just discontented—until David was the captain of 400 men.”  This rag-tag army came as they were, refugees, runaways, and rejects, and they managed to evade King Saul’s “3,000 elite troops from all Israel” (1 Samuel 22:2 and 24:2).

And that’s why Jonathan and his armor bearer led their nation to a great victory against the enemy that day.  It started with two men stepping out in faith and trusting that God could save them whether they had 10,000 soldiers or just themselves relying on God to rescue them.

Rescue them, He did: terrifying the enemy until they scattered in fear and sending an earthquake at just the right moment.

We just don’t know what resources God will use to provide and deliver.  We can look at our projected income all we want.  We can stare at our day planner and refine the to-do list as much as we please.

We can consider every possibility and take into account the likelihood of this or that.

But if God has decided to deliver us, then deliver us He will…whether by many or by few…and nothing will stand in His way.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in November 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

One of the King Girls

“A sterling reputation is better than striking it rich;
a gracious spirit is better than money in the bank
” 
(Proverbs 22:1 MSG
).

“The King girls.”

That’s the name people give my daughters.  At school, at church, and at ballet, they have their individual personalities, but together they have a group identity, like a famous trio or a girls’ band.

We should make t-shirts.

Over the weekend, we recognized a teacher from their school and introduced ourselves.  “Hi, I’m Heather King,” I said.  “My daughters are Victoria and Lauren King . . . ”

“Oh yes,” she said quickly, “The King girls!  The AR (Accelerated Reader) superstars!”

We said goodbye to her and walked into a lobby area to register for auditions for a children’s theater production of Willy Wonka.  My older girls stepped up to the table and the lady there made the inevitable announcement, “The King girls!”

Yes, that’s us!

Even I call them that, but then I tell them why.  It’s one of my speeches.

I say: Our reputations and our names are never just our own.  We never represent only ourselves.

All of us have taken on the role ambassadors in some capacity, so we must always remember how our choices impact, not just our own reputation, but the reputation of others linked to us.

I tell them they are “King girls” in two ways.  They are daughters of James and Heather King and representatives of our family.  People look at them and make judgments about our family, our parenting, and about our faith.

But they are also Daughters of the King, the Most High God, and it is this connection that matters most.  They are living, breathing, walking-around representatives of God at home, at school, at church, at ballet, and in their community activities.  Yes, even at Wal-Mart.

When people hear my daughters’ names, they think of our family and hopefully of our faith.

What happens when people think of you?  What images pop into their heads in the instant someone pronounces your name?  When they see you step up, with whom do they associate you?

Without knowing God personally, what can they deduce about Him when they look at your life?

We might want to shirk this responsibility, preferring instead a determined independence.

Yet, it’s impossible.  People are people.  We humans make judgments, assumptions, connections.  We peer into each other’s lives and try to understand how it all fits.

It’s the way of life for sojourners.  If we packed our bags and flew around the world, shopkeepers and taxi drivers, cafe owners and villagers would watch us and decide, “That’s what Americans are like.”

So we earthly travelers, always foreigners far from our heavenly home, meet people every day who don’t know Christ.   They watch us and think, “That’s what Christians are like.  This is what it means to know God.”

It’s something David experienced even as a young shepherd boy playing his harp while the sheep grazed in the pasture.  King Saul, tormented by an evil spirit, wanted someone to soothe him with music and commissioned his court to find just the right fellow.

One of the young men answered, ‘Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the Lord is with him‘ (1 Samuel 16:18 ESV).

That was David’s reputation—the essentials of his character and skill, but more importantly God’s presence in his life.  This is what people said about him in town and talked about in the king’s court.  “The Lord is with Him.”

In the same way, after Paul’s conversion from Christian persecutor to defender of the Gospel, word got back to the leaders of the Jerusalem church.

“‘He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.’ And they glorified God because of me” (Galatians 1:23-24).

There’s the point of it all.  David’s talent and his communion with God weren’t for his own personal benefit and gain.  Paul’s astounding testimony and life revolution weren’t to receive accolades and adoration.

People saw their lives and glorified God.

Paul urged the church to keep this responsibility in mind:

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ
(Philippians 1:27a ESV).

and

Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns (Phil. 2:15-16 MSG).

That is what we desire.  As we meander through this life of ours, running errands, working at our jobs, leading our kids through grocery store aisles, meeting with teachers, sitting by hospital beds . . . we pray that others will glorify God because of us.

Don’t you want this?  I so do.  It’s my passionate desire that with one glance at my life people will see Jesus and say, “She’s a Jesus girl.  She loves God.  She’s crazy in love with the Bible and bubbling over with God’s Word.  It’s her favorite thing to talk about–the thing that makes her come alive.”

Let us all be “breaths of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society” so that people can glimpse “the living God” when they watch us.  And they are watching; that’s a given.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King