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Thicker Skin: The Benefit of the Doubt

I’m currently in a season where I believe the Lord is molding me into having thicker skin. This is simply a part of growing up and maturing, not only as a Christian, but even just as an adult. I’ve learned that overly sensitive people have a pride issue that they are usually unaware of and they require so much validation and affirmation to the point where it pushes people away. For me personally, one way of developing thicker skin is simply giving people the benefit of the doubt. I am learning to choose to believe the best about people, despite their actions or inactions because this is the only way to remain at peace with others and not allow offense come into your heart. Because in actuality, I’ve found myself getting offended with people for a variety of reasons, but I realize that it’s solely based upon my perception of what they did or didn’t do. I’ll give you a couple of examples…

I was part of a men’s small group at my church for about a year and overall it proved to be somewhat of a hurtful experience. However, the good news is that I also learned from it. God will sometimes allow us to experience situations in order to grow us up and to remind of us of our need to keep our focus on Him. During my time with the group, I would often get left off of the email list when it came to group activities and overall, I just seemed to remain on the outside looking in… I would think I was making a connection with some of the fellas through conversations before, during and after group but would soon realize that the connection was only in that setting… However, some of their relationships amongst each other clearly extended outside of the group. Yes, rejection sucks (especially within the body of Christ), but I now realize that it is not always intentional and sometimes it can be more perceived versus being reality. Yes, it would have been nice to have connected with some of the guys on a deeper level, but friendships can’t be forced. Being in the same small group with someone doesn’t guarantee friendship, no matter how much you might try to show yourself friendly, like the Bible says. Hard lesson learned, but it has made me stronger. As a result, thicker skin is forming in my personhood. Now in retrospect, I don’t believe the rejection I experienced was necessarily intentional or malicious. The other men are genuine followers of Christ and just have different interests and have had different life experiences than I.

Develop-Thicker-Skin

As I said earlier, I’m in a difficult season of growth and maturity. Unfortunately, I lost my grandfather and father within months of each other. What shocked me during this whole experience was the number of people whom I’ve known for a long time who didn’t seem to show a whole lot of compassion or empathy. Some folks still to this day haven’t reached out to me or even asked me if I needed anything. As a result, I began questioning my relationships and was very hurt by my perception of their lack of compassion. However, Holy Spirit reminded me that there were those that prayed for me and my family, even though I was unaware. Also, through conversations with others, I also had to consider that people respond to situations differently simply because of the fact that they’re human. What’s best for me is to release the offense and move on. I can’t expect everyone to respond to situations the way that I would. I now realize that’s unfair. People are different and process life events in their own way, and so another layer of thicker skin is being added to me, as I choose to believe the best about folks, even in this situation. I must have peace because offense only keeps me internally conflicted and suspicious of others. Thick skin is a must in order to get promotion from God. Thick skin is a must in order to walk with Him even when you’re disliked and/or ignored. I must have thick skin if I’m ever going to truly be Christ-like. I must have thick skin if I’m going to love God’s people in a way that truly honors Him.

Colossians 3:12-14 12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. (NKJV)

Jesus Christ’s willingness to the cross as a sinless man was evidence of His thick skin. He had to rise far above human emotions as He was beat, marred, mocked and ultimately killed. But I also notice that he evangelizes one of the thieves on the cross, despite the horrific brutality that He had already suffered. That’s the ultimate example of having thick skin!

Lord help me to continue growing layers of thick skin that will help serve as armor on the battlefield so that I’m not unhealthily dependent on others. I will be the clay as you shape and mold me into who You desire me to be. Help me to love people even when that love isn’t returned and help me to keep my eyes fixed on You. Affirm me with Your love and hide me in the shadow of Your wing so that I am free from the opinions of others. Amen.

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The Hypocrisy of Politics

What’s the point of being against gay marriage and abortion if you’re a racist and a bigot?

How can you tout “Christianity” when your elitism and lack of compassion show that you really don’t live it?

But on the flipside

How can you cry out for social justice if you believe it’s ok for babies to be killed in the womb?

And when your ways of achieving “equality” will only bring us all closer to the tomb?

You can talk about family and God and how they’ve taken prayer out of schools

But I can see your hypocrisy in how you regard different people and how you worship money

You don’t have me fooled

You’re like a wolf in sheep’s clothing

Having only a form of godliness

Full of haughtiness

While the moral compass of those referred to as “liberals” appears to be broken

Pointing us in directions that will only lead to destruction

What good is it to have social justice but no righteousness?

What good is it to have righteousness but no social justice?

A friend of mine said it best…

There is no such thing as a godly politician

And so while millions of dollars get spent on campaigns for who can tell the most lies

There’s a million more mouths of children full of hunger and unanswered cries

Progressiveness is just a fancy way of saying the Bible is no longer relevant

So it’s no surprise that the church has become a big room full of elephants

The tea party wants to take America back

Wants people to stay in their place

While those who fit the mold of what they define as a true American make up the upper echelon of society

But then organizations like the Rainbow Push Coalition and the NAACP are desperate to stay relevant and gain notoriety

I think we all know they need to sit down somewhere…

And so sadly now when I hear the term “Evangelical Christian,” I just cringe

Because most of them believe that Jesus Christ would have been a Republican

Democrats want rights but without responsibility

They operate with a mentality that says “Whatever feels good to me”

Jesus Christ has no political party

Only the ways of the Father

Prophecy will be fulfilled no matter who is elected President every four years

Politics has done nothing but sow discord and the Heavenly Father is shedding tears

While Satan and his minions are now sitting back laughing

Because this country is divided past the point of no return

She will fall, fail, crash and burn

Because it seems as though we will never learn

That “politics” have no place in the Kingdom of God

Nathan Allen Copyright© 2012

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Spirituality

 

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