10 October 2010
Patrick Butler column, "Under The Waterfall"
There seems to be a lot of “honoring” going on just now in various circles of believers these days. "Honoring" is where people say publicly what they have known for years – their lives have been enriched by others, and they are now grateful enough to say something about it.
This is much more than a nice exercise making someone feel good in the congregation or office. The reason honoring is important is that ingratitude - not being thankful - is a spiritual killer. Ingratitude is one of the fastest ways to jump off the spiritual ship headed to healing and wholeness in God. For some reason, God asks us to be grateful. Perhaps he knows this is the open door to deeper understanding many of us would like to walk through.
The idea has taken off in the church-at-large. International gatherings of believers I've seen recently from Oklahoma to Tijuana, Mexico are busy tracing their pasts and giving honor where it was due. What I've seen is not the exaltation of men or women, but the breaking of the footholds of bitterness, past pains and disagreements.
And it is so accepted to suddenly "honor" someone publicly now, that it's much easier to fight attitudes of ingratitude now than it was, say, a year ago. Many people seem to understand telling others they are appreciated for their gifts is a good and right. People are getting in on the spiritual benefits of honoring, which include forgiveness, putting aside of past hurts and wounds, reconciliation and restoration of fellowship - perhaps to the point of lasting friendships. Honoring also seems to revive the vision to work together and move forward, giving extra, added energy to people's lives and the spiritual work at hand.
There is so much benefit, it seems, so much spiritual mileage to get out of "honoring" it's surprising it's taken so long to see it done on a large scale. What seems to have prevented this, as people are talking this concept through, is either a false sense of self-sufficiency (pride), hurt and offense (pride), a doubt others deserve it (probably pride) or a sense that God has never personally really brought anyone around to help us (disbelief).
So a spiritual "weapon" as it were, against pride and disbelif in the personal life is the heart-felt honoring of others. You can't really do it unless the ingratitude attitudes are fought and dismissed. This will also bring healing to people who have been buffetted or "beat up" beyond belief in their spiritual lives, by being over-looked or working nearly alone for years.
I remember when author Joy Dawson challenged a group of Chrisitians to overcome hardness of heart and articulate thanks and gratitude to those who helped them be the people they were that day. We owed them, she said, a great debt of gratitude for enabling us in our ministries and personal lives. It was pride, she added, that kept us from doing this.
Is not God revealing himself to us by the faithful gift of encouragement from others? And Isn’t “honoring” others really honoring God for having put people in my path at the right time, to say the right thing, in the right way, with the right motivation, with the right result, making my life easier?
If this seems too emotionally difficult to do, isn't that precisely the reason it must be done? There are many attitudes needing to be “broken” that have a hold on us, creating a spiritual blindness. Isn't anything that breaks the pride of “separation” from humanity a breakthrough?
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09 September 2010
EDITOR'S NOTE: Cindy Mallette is a former journalist reporting on government. She is currently working in the Texas State Capital of Austin on behalf of a nonprofit organization advocating lower taxes and gun rights
By CINDY MALLETTE
I'm going to ask you to take a minute and consider the state of our world. Consider the poverty, the economy, the wars, the suffering. In times like these, especially in America, we begin to engage in political battles, sure that our answer (of either more -or less - government intervention) is the best answer.
I've been working in the political arena for two years now and in this time, God has given me a fresh perspective about who he is and what he's doing in this world. Times are tough right now, scary in fact. Who knows what the future holds for America?
I am confronted with this question on a daily basis. What I've come to realize is simply this:
God is bigger than government.
In fact, His plan for our nation, our world, and our individual lives carries much more weight than whether or not we live under a representative form of government that is responsive to the people it serves.
Think about this; Jesus came on the scene in the middle of a politically turbulent time for the nation of Israel. They were subjects of the Roman Empire who were refused the right to vote, all the while being taxed at 90 percent of their income (what would our Founding Fathers think?! Tea party, anyone?) But Jesus did not come to be a political savior -- he came to liberate our souls!
God cares about our hearts.
One thing I've been confronted with while working in politics is the terrible, "Us versus Them" attitude that develops. This bitterness drives people apart because of nonsensical differences of opinion. Why should I say about my neighbor that he is a no better than a socialist Nazi, for example, simply because we disagree about the way to take care of the poor?
This kind of attitude kills love, and we lose any hope of reaching a person's heart.
While my job may ask me to take a political stand every day on behalf of tax-paying Americans, I realize that lower taxes and limited government are just the periphery. God 's love for mankind is the focus.
I work each day to ensure America remains free, to protect our God-given rights set forth in the Constitution. But I have come to understand that those rights simply entitle us to the ability to love and worship our Creator in the most personal way.
What our founders escaped in Britain was the oppressive government mandate that dictated the manner and mode in which a person could worship God. Our founders understood that God -- the indescribably holy and magnificent creator of this universe - simply could not be put in a box tied up with doctrinally-appropriate ribbons. No; the God of our founders is one that sets men free, who meets each of us on an intimate level; who reveals to us his various and incredible attributes through the flight of an eagle over the Grand Canyon just as much as He does through the raising of voices in praise.
What is truly under attack in our nation - and the world - is our freedom to worship God in the way He has individually revealed for us to do. And not only to worship, but to freely share the truth of this amazing life of forgiveness and freedom with our fellow man.
God has given each of us a great commission - to go and make disciples. We must follow that mandate no matter what form of government we live under. But let us count our infinite blessings that we still have this wonderful freedom in our nation and do what we can to protect it, as long as God provides this blessing to us.
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