Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Sunday, September 28, 2014

2 bags to carry

I'm not sure where I first heard of the idea of doing so, but it has been suggested we Christians have an imaginary mystery bag where we put things we don't understand about other Christians. People who profess to be followers of Jesus don't always do things we understand, they don't always act in ways we understand, and sometimes they do things that leave us scratching our heads and wondering "how can they be a Christian and......".

  I'll admit a big one for me is Christians who vote for political candidates who are pro-abortion. No matter what you cloak it in or call it, the politician has as part of their political platform "we want to keep it legal to kill babies and further the cause of killing babies." That is a big one for me..... how can anyone vote for someone who defends the right to kill a baby?

  I learned long ago that not all Christians are perfect and do everything they should. I don't. I am sure there are people - especially in my very conservative church - who look at me and think "how can he be a Christian, and do THAT?" Welcome to life. Everyone doesn't believe like me and do everything like me. And thank God they don't.

  If we just cut off everyone who did questionable things, soon we would have no one to have confidence in as a Christian, and we'd have a church of me.

  Granted, there are some things that are just so far out, that we can assume the person doesn't truly know Christ, but I'm talking not talking about that stuff. Everyone knows Christians who do something that they wonder about.

  So we toss it in the mystery bag and try not to focus on it or let it bother us. And very likely, someone is tossing something in their mystery bag about us, if they have one. It isn't our place to judge Christians for everything. If it is out and out sin, that can be a different matter, but a lot of us do things that other Christians might question. So get out the mystery bag and when  you fill it up, get another. You'll need it.

  A conversation I had recently with someone got me to thinking about another bag we should carry. I was talking about a big compliment I had received at work, and questioned why it is so easy to remember the bad and negative things that happen or are said to us, but we so easily forget the positive. I said it is too bad we don't have a bag to put compliments and other positive things in, and then when we are down or something bad happens, we could get the bag out and start pulling out those things to remember. A good memory bag.

  Why is it so easy to remember the negative and bad things in life? We even do it with God. The times when it seemed He didn't answer prayers stick in our minds, yet we so easily forget the times when we saw a definite answer to prayer. We remember the valleys, but not the mountain tops.

  We remember the cruel words, but forget the kind ones. The kind deeds done by others slip our minds, but the bad deeds occupy our minds.

  As I was typing, I googled good memories and found "good memory jars", so maybe the idea isn't that far out. Every time something good happens, we have a prayer answered, someone gives us a compliment...... write it on a piece of paper and drop it in the jar. And then when the boss yells, the hubby complains about the supper, the wife gets after you for your lack of progress on the "honey do list", when you pray and it seems God is not even hearing the prayer, when the valley seems endless, and instead of being on the mountain....... the mountains are in  your way....... then you take out a paper, or two, or more....... and read the good memories. And be thankful.

  So maybe that would be a worthwhile project for all of us to undertake. We don't want to make a physical bag or jar for our mysteries - its best to forget that stuff and not hold onto them. But why not make a good memories jar, box, bag, or even a journal,  and start keeping track.

  The Gaithers wrote a song based on Philippians 4:8. The chorus says:
I'm gonna think on the good things,
Think on what the lord has done for me
I'm gonna think on the good, good things,
What I think is what i'm gonna be! 

 If we only remember the bad things, we are going to dwell on the bad things, and will be discouraged and depressed. However, if we think on the good things - the good memories, the compliments, answered prayers - we will be better off mentally, spiritually, and even physically.

 So go get that jar or journal, and start writing things down. Good things do happen. We just need to remember them.

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