Sunday, June 30, 2013

Growing Grace

Job 4:8
My experience shows that those who plant trouble and cultivate evil will harvest the same.
Have you ever been taken advantage of?  So much of our culture is about taking care of number one, that people will do whatever it takes to achieve success, even if that means leaving a little damage along the way.  It’s not uncommon for someone to advance themselves at the cost of others by saying things to make others look bad, just so they look better.  It can be hard to live in the midst of that without being changed by it. Some people are in our life but for a season, but they each have a reason. Friends that cause drama might be one of our challenges.  We need to cultivate our thoughts so that we can grow grace.
We have all heard the saying “You reap what you sow”.  In this verse, Eliphaz is reiterating what it says throughout the Bible that sin has consequences.  I’m sure most of us can say that we’ve had conversations that made us think “I talked too much, said too much.”, or we’ve been part of a group and a conversation starts that makes us think “ I really wish I weren’t here right now.”, because the words being spoken are creating thoughts that we don’t want to cultivate.  So, how can we be an ambassador for Christ when confronted with this type of drama?
·         Don’t speak quickly.  Just listen.  Sometimes people need to vent.  Maybe by just listening and then questioning why they feel that way, we could play an important role by helping them to see how this may be hurtful.  Be gracious in responses, not condemning.
·         With God’s help, we can go about our daily lives co-existing with people whose values are different than ours.  But, remember that ambassadors do not abandon their country of origin; instead they are representatives of their country.  So, when we encounter people who “plant trouble and cultivate evil”, we want to remain the people we are and be true to our values without being changed by those people.  Don’t fuel the fire. 
·         Stay true to yourself and to your relationship with Christ. Be a light that gives comfort and encouragement.
·         Point out the positive side of a situation and encourage people to focus on that part.
What if you’re the person who has been wronged? It hurts and it’s hard but I Peter 3:9 tells us Don’t repay evil for evil.  Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you.  Instead, pay them back with a blessing.  That is what God has called you to do.  We would love to hear from you!  Our goal is to build a community of encouragement.  Would you share an idea of how to pay someone back with a blessing instead of insult? Let’s help each other grow in grace by commenting below.
Passages to ponder this week:
·         Hosea 10:12- I said, “Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love.  Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that He may come and shower righteousness upon you.
·         Galatians 6:7- Don’t be misled- you cannot mock the justice of God.  You will always harvest what you plant.

Contributors: Karen Bromby, Monica Brown, Jamie Leary, Kim McClure, Marla McDonald and Shawna Nelson

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