“YOU SHOULDN’T DO THAT!!!!” When we were growing up, you probably heard that a few times, as did I. Now that I’m an adult, I still hear those words in my mind sometimes. “You shouldn’t be driving so fast! You shouldn’t be sarcastic, you shouldn’t be so casual, you shouldn’t . . . . . ”
In religion, there’s lots of “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” – we wishfully think that the right behavior will fix everything. From my perspective, this kind of thinking is like putting peacock feathers on a cow: accessorizing the external in an attempt to deny or compensate for the internal.
More than we realize our beliefs shape our behavior, so perhaps we would be better to consider what we believe as the first step. Yucky beliefs and thinking always result in yucky words and actions 🙂
Here’s a quickie thought about our relationships – be gentle. I’m reminded to be gentle on many occasions – most frequently when someone says something to me that is sharp or insensitive. When this happens, I find that it’s most helpful to give others the benefit of the doubt & not automatically assume that they’re trying to hurt me or have malicious intents. I honestly think that if others understood some of our sensitivities, they probably wouldn’t say some of the things that we find to be hurtful. So with this in mind, I want to be a gentle person & tread lightly. I figure that if I’ll be gentle, others won’t find the need to forgive me as frequently and perhaps this is a practical way to express Jesus’ love.
I’m also reminded that Jesus wants me to be gentle with myself – to intentionally lose the lists of failures, shame & shortcomings, since these items have already received His forgiveness. I can also be gentle with myself by being less impatient with my maturation.
We can give life in lots of different ways. Here are some thoughts & practical ideas to integrate into our daily living.
First, in a few weeks, I get to travel to India with @savingmoses. I have it in my heart to create a facility where we can provide night care to the infants & toddlers of prostitutes of the sex workers. Presently, infants & toddlers of the these workers many times are chained to the same bed during the time when their mother is working. My goal is help these infants & toddlers develop a world view that doesn’t so overtly include prostitution as a means of earning a living. I believe this is a very SIGNIFICANT way to give life to someone at the beginning of their life. Of course I will be blogging about our trip everyday & keeping you posted on our progress on facebook, twitter, etc.
Second, we can give life to the people in our lives by our words. Positive, uplifting, encouraging, vision casting words are absolutely vital not only in our lives, but also in the lives of the people around us. The closer the relationship, the more opportunity that we can speak life into the person we love. When you notice positive things about a person, tell them!! When someone is having a rough day, remember something good about them & tell them!! If a person tends to have a negative outlook, counter-act the negativity with some constructive optimism. I seriously appreciate that we need to NOT live in denial, but on the way to positive results in our lives, we need positive inputs. Maybe its even a good day to post a nice & sincere comment about someone on their FB wall 🙂
A final idea about how to give life is with our time and activity. If we’re not careful, we can easily get caught in the selfish trap & fritter away our time & energy on selfish & even meaningless activities. Let’s look for opportunities to improve someone else’s life by volunteering, getting involved in a local charity, church or relief agency.
Let’s give life, since we are made in the image of the original Life Giver 🙂