The older I become, the more I am realizing how I spend time and the conversations I am having with those whom I spend time. It is an interesting awareness which I am finding, more and more, makes me conscious of my part in dialogues. Let’s face it: We, each of us, have a responsibility when communicating—as the listener and the talker.
Yeah, yeah, yeah….I know you’ve heard this before. I had too, but recently I had an experience which reminded me that people will use you as their audience to justify their point of view and how easy it is to be that audience for them when you lose your conversational focus.
A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.” He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” —John 9:24-25
People will see Truth in you. They understand the value of your concurrence. You better understand your worth—spiritually. It has physical manifestations…and you better believe an audience that tunes in nonstop.
Here, I saw a perfect example of the application of conversational focus. In short, he was not persuaded by the excitement surrounding the discussion. He was not influenced by the person speaking to him nor his entourage. Fear was secondary.
Instead, this man did two things. He listened and when he spoke, he spoke only Truth. When you speak, do you only speak Truth? Were you blind and now can see?
This morning, I was reflecting on a number of things when this thought came to my consciousness, “When the light comes on, the crickets stop chirping.”
Then I read these timely verses:
“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” —John 3:19-21
Good versus evil? Light versus darkness? Truth versus lies? Have you ever taken a moment to really consider these forces—to give proper respect to what they are and how they are? I have been thinking…
about how effective and powerful Christian fellowship would be if all who profess their love for Christ fought to love each other. Sure, it sounds easy…to love your Sister, to love your Brother. Love, however, is an action word. In my Wendy Williams’ voice, “How you actin’?”
There is so much devastation living in dark places, perpetrating as solid Rock for building beautiful structures upon. No one shouts about the heap of dead fruit being produced, yet armies boldly plot to destroy healthy blooms. Is that where the confusion resides? Do people get a pass because they profess the same faith? Do we not know the tree from the fruit? No one remembers the biblical lessons about Jesus’ anger regarding making His house a den of thieves? (You know that’s real, right?)
Oh but the presence of light…. Its illumination changes the atmosphere. Its very power is undeniable. UNDENIABLE and formidably respected by the doers of deeds in the dark. UNDENIABLE and contagiously inspiring to those doing deeds through God. So, shelve your fear and radiate. Your presence has Light affects.
Truth will silence a crowd, won’t it!
They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent. —Luke 20:26
Have you ever been in the midst of gossip and corrected a story? Did everyone just kind of stare at you like you had spoiled the party? Isn’t it funny how fast truth can change the topic of conversation?
Truth can be a funny fact. People are quick to say they want it, but many are made uneasy when faced with it. Why? Should Truth not bring comfort? Should it not bring clarity and knowledge? Of course! Truth is the objective Light to lie’s darkness. Sadly, however, so many have grown accustomed to working in darkness that when Light shines they become apathetic.
Have you asked yourself, “What is my truth? What do I really believe and why?” Are you open to the possibility that your truth may not be the Truth? Are you committed to the process for discovering the Truth then having it live within you? Do you want to give more than lip service to your beliefs? Do you want your words and actions to unify? Is this reflection of yourself important to you?
This is what I know: Truth is Truth not matter if the majority believes in it or not. People will try to trap Truth. They will try to diminish, devalue, discredit, and destroy it. If Truth is what you seek, then be prepared to grow strong. YES, you will be tested. Your journey will not always be easy, but if Truth is what you seek it will be worth it. The respect it demands by its very presence will unnerve foundations not secure. It walks in Light and Love, capturing both wanted and unwanted attention. So YES, Truth will silence a crowd, but note: Silence is needed so more people can hear.
One day, after a staff meeting a much older attorney said to me, “You are different.” I looked at her, not knowing what to say. She continued, “I noticed that if someone says something that is not funny to you, you don’t laugh. Others will laugh and say later it was not funny, but you won’t laugh.” She went on to say, “I wish I could be like that.”
As I walked to my office, I thought about her observation. It is interesting how on the surface, people will appear to be on the side of the majority yet have internal conflict. It is also interesting how someone can long to be like you yet target you as their enemy. Don’t take it personally. Don’t take it lightly either.
When Jesus left there, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, waiting to catch him in something he might say. —Luke 11:53-54
Why is it that some people will love and hate you for walking in your truth? Why is there a “campaign” to find a flaw in those who may be perceived as perfect, but who do not profess to be? What is gained by opposing someone who does a good work to better a people, when doing a good work to better a people is the proclaimed goal?
Jealousy, envy, and insecurity will destroy relationships. These things will cause one to miss (or have delayed) the very blessing sent to them. In a world where everyone is in need of something, who wants to miss a blessing? I don’t!
There was a time when I thought people were how they appeared. Now, I know that people are who they are. Some will laugh when they find no humor. Others will not. Some will wish you well as you leave their presence, and mean it. Others will not mean it. Some are consistent with walking and growing in their truth. Others wrestle with the stagnancy of their lie. To each, his or her own. People are who they are.
As for me, the testament to first know, then to accept, and now to embrace the truth of which I am and to which I am of have come with an understanding that Truth is greater than the lie. Its existence does not have to be defended. Truth will propel me forward unto new experiences, abundant blessings, and restful sleep. Truth increases discernment, wisdom, and inner peace. It establishes trust.
No, it is not always easy to walk in Truth. Some get nervous when you show up and odd things happen after you leave, but others are comforted. Be clear about your journey. Are you on a road less traveled? Walk in Truth.
Whether we are talking about “race”, gender, politics, or religion — you name the “category” and you can easily find examples of how people will passionately expound what they “see”. I do it. You do it. We all do it, but know this, “Truth cares not about our opinions.”
For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.”‘ But wisdom is proved right by all her children.” Luke 7:33-35
A few years ago I campaigned for public office. Time and time again, I heard challenges to my “qualifications”. This, I found interesting because I regularly saw other candidates with similar “qualifications” — college-educated, some were attorneys also, community-involved, etc. —, yet these shared “qualifications” somehow were accepted without question. Was it because those candidates were white and male? Note, I am/was neither. Note also, I say, “and male”, because I have often seen white, female candidates’ “qualifications” publically challenged.
I remember an interview where Oprah was told that she would never make it (because she was deemed “unfit for television”). Wait, similar sentiments were said about: Rick Springfield, George Foreman, President Obama, Jack Canfield, Albert Einstein, Selma Hayek, Dr. Seuss, Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan, Walt Disney, Lucille Ball, Fred Astaire, Sidney Poitier, Steven Spielberg, Kerry Washington, Socrates, Abraham Lincoln, Marilyn Monroe, Vincent van Gogh, Emily Dickinson, Claude Monet, and many, many more. Unfortunately, similar declarations are also made daily regarding the nation’s poorest children. With every graduation, with every life lived productively, from this population a stereotype is defied. They are considered failures because of their circumstance.
Who amongst us has never failed?
Who amongst us has tried and failed because their “qualifications” were not “packaged” in a particular body, or come at a particular time, or in a particular way in which the judges would approve?
John the Baptist came and was rejected. The Son of Man came and He was rejected. Some were rejected, to never be heard from again. Others’ rejection propelled them to a stage of mass audience — an audience awaiting inspiration, and onto a stage where wisdom abounds.
Do not be discouraged by people’s opinion. People see what they want. Truth is Truth. It produces wisdom. It assembles Family.
Does anyone besides me go through seasons when attending church services on a regular basis seem difficult, to say it nicely? If you have not guessed, I am constantly surrounded by numerous faith-believing people, mostly Christian but not all. We have conversations about numerous topics, but I have yet to have a serious discussion about my struggles regarding attending church services on a regular basis. Let’s face it. The faith community can, at times, present their views in ways that come across as extremely judgmental. To someone who studies the Word, these sessions can easily turn into back and forth scripture quoting showdowns. In doing so, we illustrate that we can recite biblical verses but this does not always leave a person motivated to face and deal with a very real issue.
Maybe you can relate to me? I love spending time reading, studying, mediating on, talking about, being bathe in God’s Word. Still, I have learned that I cannot talk about His Word with every faith-based person. (I may blog more about that at a later time.) Because I enjoy this and because I understand the importance of developing a personal relationship with God, I can very easily find a solitary place for this purpose. Because I have a great deal of faith-based friends who are concerned about my spiritual well-being, as I am about theirs, I fellowship regularly (if not daily). I donate (time, talents, and/or financially) to causes that promote His Kingdom, either directly or indirectly. I listen to faith-based music and teachings via multiple vehicles. Still, at this time I find myself believing that God wants me to attend church regularly.
“But why,” I have been asking.
At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea. —Luke 4:42-44
Do you know why you were created? Really, do you know your purpose? I needed to get unapologetically serious about mine. Why? Because people watch. (They want to hear and see good news.)
Contrary to the multi-billion dollar industry that continues to become richer by instilling fear, people really want Love. Via Love, there lives Truth. Via Truth, there lives trust. People want to trust, but many do not think they can trust so they watch. They watch for the lie.
Isn’t it interesting how babies—toddlers—trust you until you show them that you lie? How disturbing to one’s soul that must be? And THIS is why, during this season, I must push through my struggles and attend church services regularly.
It is now, at this time, that I understand the importance of finding a balance between finding solitude and going out amongst the people, even in faith-based places. There is work to be done both in and outside of the sanctuary. May my life preach the good news. After all, this is Kingdom Business.
Isn’t it strange when people appreciate you more when you are no longer around? Really, what is that about?
The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw he had died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” —Mark 15:38-39
Sometime last year I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine. In that conversation she said, “But, they see you now.” They see me now? Nah! Really? Although generally speaking I am not always convinced, I have not forgotten those words. People see what they want to see and that is not always Truth, in fact. Because of this, I have learned to find satisfaction in God’s provided peace.
After some heartbreak, disappointment, and frustration, I eventually surrendered to a Will much greater than mine in a way much deeper than before. Initially, I was so exhausted that I just rested there, in that place of peace…for weeks. I was healing, being rejuvenated, growing stronger; gaining clarity, increased discernment and wisdom. During this time, I began to do more things that makes me smile, with people who makes me laugh. I began dreaming again, meeting more people, and trying new things. I began having fun again. Even in the midst of storms, I have been at peace. It felt similar to the feeling of getting a massage after running for miles. At some point, I knew I had to get up from “the table”. People were reminding me. Then, His Spirit inspired me.
Through it all, I have learned that it is at that place of surrender (which is a constant occurrence) where more people can see me as a Child of God. His Light shines bright. Some will appreciate that. Some will not. Some will want me to leave. (LOL!) Others will find value in my stay. I understand this better now. I understand it without being influenced by an emotional attachment.
It is not important for me to be seen, but instead He who lives in me. So, when people tell me, “You are different,” I understand what they may not. I am resembling my Father. Sometimes His image is seen when I am present. At times, it is seen once I have left. As long as He is seen, that is what is important. I have grown.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
….O you of little faith? So do not worry saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” —Matthew 6:25-34
It took decades, but I finally understand the above-cited scriptures. For me, it boils down to three words, “Fix it Jesus”. Recently, I was faced with two major stressors. In both situations, I noticed that my response was to say aloud, “Fix it Jesus.” I did so believing that I would be alright no matter how things turned out. In times past, I would have prayed and requested—no, nicely instructed—God to handle the situations a particular way. How arrogant of me right?
Because I am growing more cognizant of identifying God’s operation in my life, I worry significantly less. I have watched God provide for me in miraculous ways. Doors have opened for me because God said so…parking spaces too. (I notice and say, “Thank You”, for things both seemingly big and small.) In addition, I am learning to better discern how to handle being a supporting role in another person’s life without allowing their worries to become my stress.
God wants His best for my life. He wants His best for your life too. He sees the BIG picture. By remembering the blessings He has provided to me in times past, I am reassured that He will do it again. I expect Him to do it again. He cares for His children.
By the way, those two stressors that met me were resolved once I did the things that were pressed upon my spirit to do. One circumstance required me to speak about my inability honestly. The other required me to highlight my ability honestly. There was a time when I would have been uncomfortable doing both. Living in Truth, however, has resulted in me confidently stating what it is and that is that. Always in awe, God has blessed me in both incidences. You see, Jesus fixed it.
The day came when I understood that there will be some who will hate me for sincerely attempting to live in Truth. It is a strange viewpoint, I must admit.
you hate the one who reproves the court
and despise him who tells the truth. —Amos 5:10
The day also came when I learned that not everyone professing to be Christian will support my divine assignment. Shocking, right? (Only at first.) Oh well……Everything is spiritual. Suit up. I have gotten use to being misunderstood. Jesus provides a great example. Truth is, I will attempt to live in Truth anyway. What about you?