Christmas season always makes me reflect on the big things in life.
And I'm always amazed when I go out during this time frame and run into such rude and ugly behavior.
And the commercials???? How about the one where the mom buys everything and tells Santa maybe there's room for something in the dogs stocking. Just, wow. I'm not a big Santa fan but that commercial is just so incredibly materialistic it makes me sick. Guess that's what they think Christ's birth is all about.
Each Christmas when I see all this ugliness.....by the self proclaimed Christians no less, I end up revisiting the difference between Legalism and License.
You see, we spent many years in Legalistic churches. And you know what? As a whole, it was not a pleasant experience. Not that it was all bad. Some of my most cherished friendships were made in that time frame.
Sadly, the biggest part of what kept us in those churches, were the people we knew that were just the opposite. The Christians in our life that preached at us but had license to do whatever because its all covered by the blood.
How we ever managed to stay Christians with such extremes as our examples I will NEVER know. Because over and over again I could have walked away and never looked back.
But Jesus had a hold on my heart and would not let go.
And over the space of the last few years He has taught me many things. And brought into my life a group of women that have been the biggest and best examples of Christian love and friendship.
And I still have alot of baggage left over from the legalistic days. I get really uptight when someone starts sounding legalistic to me. I have to force myself to shut my mouth and hear their heart over their words. And if it turns out that you are the type of Christian that is expending most of your energy preaching or complaining about what you are against......I will walk away. I'm much more interested about what you are FOR. Are you for Loving your fellow man? Because that is what Jesus told us to do. Love. First and foremost. So if you are only willing to show that love if the woman is wearing a skirt or only to people that go to a certain type of church or tithe a certain way (and if you know what another person is tithing that's a whole other offense) - well, you've already stepped out of line with what Jesus said. Not interested.
On the other hand, there are several people we know that cover everything in love and "the blood". I find this type of person more common that the other. And much more confusing. At least with legalistic Christians you know exactly what they believe (or don't believe anyways). The License crew is all over the place. What and who are acceptable changes like a gossip chain (and usually as the result of one).
So I think we have ended up somewhere in the middle of these two groups. And we have friends and loved ones in both camps....and that's fine. I think they are used to test and temper me. Because what I hear loudest is Jesus said Love. That includes both extremes.
Because I'm not fit to know whats right or not anyways. My job is to love. And you can do that without participating or condemning what other people believe. Because you can love even when you don't agree. And its not my job to save anyone. That's God's job.
And I sure don't know if I'm doing anything right. I just want to be available to Him where He wants me. He will handle the rest. I just need to make sure I am paying attention and have my eyes on Him.
What I do know is that He does not want me to build my life on all the things I'm against.
And He doesn't want me to live my life like I can do whatever I want and claim its covered by the blood.
He wants me to love.
And He wants me to keep my eyes on Him.
And even though it sounds so simple...its not an easy place to walk. At least not when I take my eyes of of Him. Which is far too often.
So each Christmas I like to reflect on where I am in that walk.
It's just sad that its the bad behavior of Christmas shoppers that always brings it back to light!