What Love Looks Like..

Currently, my husband and I are counseling a few folks regarding relationships. In the course of conversations, we hear similar themes play out time and again. The theme of “If he/she really loved me, they would not act this way, do this or that” .. To which, the other responds, “If you would stop doing this or that, I would stop too”… and around and around we go.. The blame game. The ole, if you do x, then I will do y song. The deal maker, the bargaining, negotiating etc.. You name it, we’ve really kind of heard it all. blame game

When I hear couples speak in such a way, I have to inwardly cringe, then, smile recalling that before I became grounded in the Lord, and put through some serious situations in my own relationship, my husband and I could and would act the same way!

Then I take a deep breath, pray and say what God has put on my heart to say to the individual, couple etc.. 

I am so very thankful that Jesus Christ did not play the blame game. I am grateful that He sacrificed Himself and gave up dimensions of His being that we may never know about! All because He extended to us LOVE in place of blame and took away our sin and shame! THAT is what LOVE looks like my friends. THAT is LOVE. To put aside pride, personal feelings and just forgive. To extend grace and mercy to those who don’t deserve it.

THAT is LOVE. Christ-like LOVE. 

Christ_CarryingCross

This photo is the closest I could find and doesn’t even come close to accurately depicting the suffering of Jesus according to scripture.

When I challenge folks with that kind of love.. I often hear.. “They did this and that to me! Could YOU forgive THAT?” To which, I respond, “Yes! Because, I have been forgiven, I too forgive those who trespass against me!” “I have and will continue to forgive because Jesus Christ, was taken to be scourged, beaten to the point that His face no longer bore any resemblance of a man, then the Roman soldiers wove a crown of thorns (not just rosebush kind of thorns) Jerusalem thorns which are very long, thick and sharp! Felt the need to smash it down on His already beaten and bloody head and brow…

THEN

made to carry a heavy wooden cross to the point of collapse so that Simon of Sirene had to take it up and carry it for Him! Then to be laid on said cross and NAILED to IT! Hanging there, scourged, beaten, practically disemboweled, lungs crushing under the weight of hanging there… He suffered in AGONY!

Let’s pause a minute.. I can’t see through my tears.. My heart is aching and burning, Forget the clean, peaceful looking crucifixes of Jesus on the cross.. They are not reality. In my very humble opinion, too much artistic license has been taken to “clean up the cross” so to speak. It gives a sanitary and far too watered down image. It does no one’s soul any good to look upon a peaceful Jesus hanging on a cross…  OK now back to the article…

And died for me. Me! Jesus Christ died BECAUSE OF ME and FOR ME! An undeserving, sinning, wretch! My sins helped hang Him on that cross” So YES!!! I CAN AND DO FORGIVE!! Anything less is unthinkable. Ilovedyouatyourdarkest

When we do not forgive others, we are telling God what He did, by sacrificing His son for us, wasn’t enough. Nope.. sorry God, not good enough… WHAT?! I would hate to be you when you stand in front of Him at the end of your days. (Just sayin’)

So now that I have painted that picture.. What do you think? You think you are still in a position to point a finger? Not forgive? Not live in peace with your loved ones? Friends? Even strangers? I will leave it there and let your own conscience and convictions take it from here…..

Selah (Think Upon These Things)

Until the spirit moves me again, Love one another in His name..

Patti (Yeshuazgirl) <><

 

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Weeds

Weeds; as a new gardener these plants are one of my worst enemies. Oh sure, some of them look pretty, we make wishes on the fluffy white ones, and children give the colorful ones to their parents for a nice present of “flowers”.

But as every gardener knows, these sometimes pretty looking plants are pretty nasty. Their roots go down deep and choke the roots of real flowers. So, instead of getting what you planted, you get a disorganized mess of things that don’t exactly look like the picture on your seed packets.

Sin works the same way. As believers in God we do our best to plant the seeds in ourselves by reading God’s Word and practicing it. However, every garden needs to weeded on a regular basis; especially spiritual gardens. In each of our lives there is at least one thing that we allow into our lifestyle that doesn’t match up with God’s Word. Something we’re addicted to, little “white lies” to soften the truth, looking at things we shouldn’t or gossiping. These things seem harmless on a small scale.

What can they really hurt? The answer is, a lot. 

Two things recently happened in my life that fit this description.

We are making various small improvements at the barn little by little as we are able. One such project was to excavate weeds from the front of the barn. The root of one weed was the size of a small tree stump!

It grew so thick because it was allowed to grow completely out of control. It was like a small tree by the time we tried to take it down. We chopped off the branches without too much trouble, but then we were left with this stump that would make it easier for the weed to come back. The clippers weren’t working on it, so I picked up the shovel and started using it to chop it down.

Long story short, it was quite a while before it finally came down. The vibration of hitting the weed repeatedly and the jarring impact the shovel handle made with each shovel swing, left my hand numb, shaking, and in pain. Though I went through a great deal of pain and effort, the result was satisfying, we’ve yet to see the return of the giant weed after spraying the root with RoundUp. But I digress.

The second thing that happened was something sinful. I’m a writer by nature, and appreciate a good story (especially if I’m the one writing it). I do a bit of written roleplaying with a friend to keep my writing skills and character development sharp. It proved to be so much fun that I decided to try my hand at an actual online roleplaying game. I played it rather often and thought of little else. I forgot to appreciate each day and to renew my mind daily with God’s Word, to keep planting those good seeds and letting God grow me. I felt convicted of it but I enjoyed the game too much to give it up; that’s when I started making the excuses.
“It’s just a game, it can’t hurt anything.” “I’m supposed to get enjoyment out of life as well as work, right?”

Well it did hurt something, and I made it an object of obsession rather than just enjoyment, I also wasn’t living anymore.

I stopped letting God weed my spiritual garden and I began to feel the distance I had put between me and Him.

My attitude towards my family got worse than just the occasional disagreement. I was pushing them away too. That game had turned into a giant weed in my heart and was choking all the good things God was planting in me. That’s when my loving parents came and talked to me. They helped me to realize what I already knew deep down; I had to give it up. The separation was painful to an extent, but gaining back what I was losing was so much more rewarding. God is once more the gardener doing all the planting and weeding in my life.
So I encourage you, if you have these spiritual weeds in your life, get rid of them!

Sometimes we’re not strong enough to give it up without help, that’s why God gave us friends, family, and prayer.

I hope you enjoyed my first blog for my family’s ministry. Please feel free to leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Until Next Time, God Bless!

Aubrey-Shea Cianflone