Friday, September 19, 2014

Hi-dilly-ho, neighborinos! -Ned

I wasn’t always one of them Jesus follower types.  In fact I rather enjoyed making fun of the Ned Flanders of the world and don’t even get me started on street evangelists! 

I remember when I worked at a call center I made fun of a particular co-worker reading his bible.  There were usually 3 or 4 of us who worked the overnight shift so it was slow.  While some of us liked to chat, there was one guy, Mike who used this time to read.  What a dork… he read a bible and double dorkness… at work!  Another co-worker and I were really mean to him.  We talked back and forth using the Lord’s name in vain in jest.  We talked about that g** d*mned caller and J***us it was cold in there, all the while laughing.  We thought we were funny.  I don’t remember Mike’s reaction to be honest, but I know he didn’t confront us.  After all, we were being light-hearted and it was all in good fun of course.  *rolls eyes in retrospect*
me. 15ish years ago
Fast forward a few years when I came to faith in Jesus myself.  Ned Flanders {cheery, upbeat, happy, kind, dorky} is the perception, but most believers would fully admit that we are FAR from perfect.  We are not worthy of God’s love… whether it’s because of things we’ve done or how we’ve treated others… like me being so utterly disrespectful and short-sighted about the way I treated Mike for reading a bible. 
photo from morgueFile
I understand now.  The bible is key for us believers.  It’s where we learn about God’s character, history of the faith, and how we should live.  It’s poetic and inspiring. It is so powerful and has totally changed me.  So once I understood this, I felt I had to apologize to Mike. 

photo from morgueFile
I looked up his name in the white pages online.  There were only six or so in the town I used to live in so I started dialing.  I don’t remember how many I called til I got him, but I reached him! 
He remembered me.
He remembered my taunting.
I apologized and he accepted my apology without hesitation.
Slate clean.  
Guilt lifted.

And that’s just how this Christian thing works.  I mess up.  I admit it.  I apologize.  I move on. Forgiveness is a powerful thing.

photo from morgueFile
I mess up all the time and am grateful for God’s continued love and for those amazing people in my life who put up with me even with my flaws.  Love and forgiveness are the key messages from Jesus.  Tis rather simple when you get past all the human rituals and religion that turns so many off.

If you know me, you know I like to talk.  {Ahem… hence this blog!  Gets me thoughts out of me head!}
And sometimes I put my foot in my mouth.  Or I say too much when I should be quiet.
Some say I’m confrontational but I like to clear the air and get that dang elephant out of the room.  
I’m often misunderstood.

WORK IN PROGRESS But I’m a work in progress and this week I was reminded about that in my bible study. {Because I am now that "dorky" person who reads her bible every day. Ha!}  
We read through 1 and 2 Peter and here’s a goodie in the New Living Translation {NLT}:

…make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~ 2 Peter 1:5-8

photo from morgueFile
Did you catch that or was it all goobily guck because you were speed reading?  {I have NO idea how I know people skim… *wink*}  But knowledge comes from reading God’s word.  And while I learn, there is growth in moral character, self-control {I’m working on it!}, patient endurance {another work in progress}, brotherly affection with love for everyone {I’d like to think I love people better now in my old age} and do you see that word in red?  The more productive and useful I’ll be in my knowledge of Jesus?  I saw that and got so excited because of my blog name! 

So when you see people reading the bible, it’s probably because they are building that knowledge so they can grow spiritually and be more productive and loving human beings.  That’s exactly why I’ve been doing an online bible study called Good Morning Girls for the past three years!  
It's easy for me to look back and remember the girl I once was, because she is so very different from the person I am today.  Grateful for God's word and how He's changed me to be a more loving person, and how He continues to work in my life.

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Cat @ MaryMarthaMama said...

I have to say, that's awesome that you tracked Mike down to apologize! Many of us wrong others and realize it later, but just move on instead of making it right like you did.

Shanon said...

Thanks for sharing! I too went through a period of time where I found myself apologizing to people for things done wrong. It was very humbling. I love your style by the way :)

Steph said...

Thanks for drawing attn to this passage. It is one of the toughies. A huge challenge for us in various situations. Certainly something to strive for each and every day.