Wednesday, July 13, 2011

So What?

What a thin, nearly invisible line exists between self-serving and others-serving initiatives.  It's a line often in the company of people-pleasing, though the flipside can be equally true - people-offending.  I know:  I've walked that tightrope on many occasions.

Thoroughly baby-boomerish, I was raised with Beaver Clever in the 50s, and also with the myriad flower-children of the 60s.  I never quite lived up to the aspirations of either, though I favored the flower children.  You can be sure I wrestled with the restraints of the age. 

However, even in my selfish bent, I simultaneously cared about what people thought of me, and didn't care what they thought of me.  What an insidious form of schizophrenia!  But when at last the Lord got ahold of me, my rebellious bent took a sharp nosedive.  It rears it's ugly head still, but it no longer harbors the enchantment or power it once did. 

Along the course of my journey as a believer, I have often encountered that same thin line between self-serving and others-serving.  It blurs in places; and I find that I can justify just about anything - - and this in the name of God; and with scripture to back me up.  Is there any mystery to why the world-at-large has a field-day with Christian notions?  Is it any wonder that I can, at times, survey the lump on my skull as administered by a thoroughly confounded other, and consider it persecution when, in fact, I had it coming?

Why is it so vitally important what people make of us?  Are we people-pleasing to even seek it?  What is the linkage between what we say or do with our character?  The answer (from Titus 2) lies in the so ...

... teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine
... Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
... teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.
... urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands

so that no one will malign the word of God.

... encourage the young men to be self-controlled.
... set them an example by doing what is good.
... show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned

so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us

...Teach slaves (indentured servants/employees) to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted

so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.

So, it's why we do what we do.  Never has there been a day in history when it - so - matters so very much!

It takes courage to grow up and
become who you really are. 
~e.e. cummings


skoots1mom said...

walking thru this life and taking on His ways is our goal...some days i meet it, lots of days i don't.
inclusion IS important to us all and acceptance for inclusion tends to sway in and out of hurtful.
may we all stay Christ-centered and reduce the swaying

Rebecca said...

Making our teaching about our Savior "attractive"...what a privilege & responsibility! Keeping that goal in front of me will help me keep balanced in doing what I do for the right reasons....

Good & challenging thoughts here, Kathleen!

Cindy said...

This is such a good post for me today. I do try to not care so much what others think and try to instead see myself as God sees me. Not easy though.

Just a little something from Judy said...

I do agree with you, that there never was a time where this is needed more. Who are we, where do we stand, and more importantly, how do we stand. I read this post twice and if I understand it correctly, I think this quote I read recently fits in perfectly with your profoundly stated message; "You have not been sprinkled with forgiveness. You have not been spattered with grace. You have not been dusted with kindness. You have been immersed in it. You are submerged in mercy. You are a minnow in the ocean of God's mercy. Let it change you." ~Max Lucado

Debbie said...

I LOVED this! Just soo very true. You do have such a way of writing what I am thinking but can never quite get down. Wonderful post! HUGS

Debbie said...

I grew up being a people pleaser. However, as an adult it got very tiring. I had my times of rebellion, insisting that I didn't care what anyone thought. But inside, I really did care.

I finally came to the place that the One I needed to please is ...the Lord. There will always be someone who is disappointed but that is my choice.

Love you,

NanaNor's said...

Hi there, I so related to this post because I felt like June Cleaver hung over my head during my early days of marriage...but alas the Lord got ahold of me and began a new work. We will always struggle with our flesh but if we keep our eyes on Him, the author and finisher of our faith, we will become more like Him.
Hugs to you today,Noreen

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Keep doing it, Sassy. Your witness and words are needed in this generation!


Maryann said...

It is a constant stuggle, the flesh doesn't give up easily. It's a process, and my prayer is as time goes by there will be more of Him and less of me reflected in my life. And you are right, there has never been a time when it mattered so much

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

i always, ALWAYS get a word here my friend. thank you@

Rosezilla said...

We have to know and teach and live God's Word, the Bible. That's the only authority we have to stand on.

I've seen Rabbit Proof Fence, and it is a wonderful, heartbreaking movie! If you like the two you mentioned, you might also like "I Am David," which is sort of a cross between the two. A very good movie!

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Amen, and many time I have pondered on the end of the scripture..."so no one will malign the word of God."

What a word to remember in our daily walk.

Patrina's Pencil said...

SO right on!