Monday, October 23, 2006

Miss Manners

Okay, Okay, I know this forum is usually reserved for ideas of a religious nature, but I would like to bring up something that affects us all- manners.

Now, I am not refering to the kinds of "manners" we often use to hide the truth or to say things that we don't really mean, I am referring to the day to day way we treat each other in this world.

I sometimes hear adults saying,"children these days have really lost their manners, they are so rude." Now perhaps we have all felt that way at times (and many of us have, considering that this topic has been mentioned even in the Old Testament!) and sometimes young people can be rude, but let's look up the river a bit and see where these children learn their manners, their way of treating others. Children learn from adults. They learn from us. And adults don't often give the best examples.

The Bible speaks so much about humility, in other words, simply living in the truth. When we are humble, we know ourselves and don't have to prove anything to people. We don't have to boast or belittle others or justify ourselves or try to use our power and wealth to push others around. When we are humble, we can accept correction or even ridicule from others and not have to retaliate or defend ourselves or hold a grudge. The sad thing is that for us adults, it is rare to know a truly humble person.

We tell our children to treat others with kindness and yet we gossip about other adults behind their backs. When we feel threatened or inferior, we lash out and try to cut others down before they can get us first. Sometimes we have to be the know-it-all at the office or play a role of putting others down and not giving them a chance to give the gift of their lives to us. We judge people quickly and put them in a box. It seems like we are all trying to grasp on to something, our good name or our perceived image of ourselves or whatever else makes us feel "valuable."
And yet we tell our kids to play nice!

I think a lot of this "rudeness" if you will, comes from the fact that most of us adults are still little kids in many ways-and not the best ways. We are afraid to open our hearts to God and let Him heal us of all our wounds of the past. We are apprehensive to go to God, our true Father, in all of our littleness and nakedness and tell Him the truth. He already knows the truth but somehow we are reserved in admitting the obvious. When we are closed to that healing, we will forever remain in our past. Stuck.

When we go to God, He reveals Himself to us and He reveals us to ourselves. We see that we are just creatures, prone to make mistakes and incapable of even understanding ourselves all the time, much less making judgements upon others. How limited is our vision. Yet, God penetrates that. We begin to see the goodness within and our true origin, children of God. We aren't our gifts or talents or possesions. Neither are we our faults, failings and losses. We are children of God.

If we truly live this, then we can let go. When someone is unkind to us, we can really begin to live the Gospel and return a blessing instead. When someone wrongs us or has damaged our past, we can allow Jesus us to truly teach us how to forgive, as He forgives us. And we grow. And we become like the children God wants us to be.

In case you haven't noticed, children observe everything. And although we'll never be perfect, if we allow God to begin the healing in our lives, our children will learn a much bigger lesson than our words could ever teach them. They will learn an eternal truth.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Our website

Hello,
Just a little news about our website, it's being reconstructed! So please be patient while all the, er,
kinks are worked out. I will try to post a brand-new and improved site as soon as I can. Until then, our blog is still up and running.

God bless you,
thank you for your prayers

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Suffering

I have been wanting to write this for quite some time but I have been, er, suffering from a lack of time to sort out these thoughts and type them (however labored) here.

Seriously, though, I don't know about you but it seems to me that so many people I know are really suffering right now. The types of suffering are vast; from a typhoon that greatly affected our community in the Philippines, to health problems, to family strife and on and on.

A couple weeks ago it really struck me that a lot of people are suffering. Whenever I see a news headline, it just reminds me all the more that people are truly suffering all over the world.

Now, granted that suffering is nothing new (and some of you are thinking, "Sister, I have been suffering for 20 years, tell me something new!") but, somehow it seems that we are all being prepared for something.

There isn't a grace that comes from God that is detached from suffering. I am convinced of this truth more and more. Why is that? It's not because God doesn't want us to have a "free ride" or "get something for nothing." It's not like that at all.

Suffering releases a rain of grace from God. It does that because that's the path that Jesus chose. Through His suffering, Jesus beat death and redeemed us. He didn't just cover our sin and make us look nice. Through His suffering He truly won us the grace to be completely transformed, to be brought back to our original integrity. That's the path of grace.

So, God must really be raining down some serious grace right now. He knows we all need it. So we continue to run the race so as to win. If you find that you have trouble accepting suffering in relation to yourself, trying offering it up for someone else. Say, "Jesus, I offer this suffering up for so-and-so, or for whomever You desire." You may be amazed at your capacity to suffer with joy when you realize that Jesus allows you to enter into His work. You don't have to wait for a big suffering, all of us encounter small things everyday. We all get tired or thirsty. We all have to wait in line or try to get along with others around us. We can offer anything.

Let the rain of grace pour out upon us all.