Guest writer: Lori Stanley Roeleveld
"We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check."
Life Application Commentary:
"What you say and what you don't say are both important. To use proper speech you must not only say the right words at the right time but also not say what you shouldn't. Examples of an untamed tongue include gossiping, putting others down, bragging, manipulating, false teaching, exaggerating, complaining, flattering, and lying. Before you speak ask, is what I want to say true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?"
The following blog article was shared with me by a dear friend. At first glance the title kind of struck me funny and I was tempted to say "Oh my!" As I read on though I saw that this is exactly what it was intended do; get the reader to think. In lieu of my post from last week regarding "Sandpaper People" and the holiday's, I thought I would share this as I continue to encourage grace and reconciliation within our relationships. This should be a goal, not only at the holiday's, but every day of the year because it will result in bringing glory and honor to Our Heavenly Father; the head of all Christian families. This year lets us take heed to Proverbs 20:3 "It is to a man's honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel." Be blessed dear friends. HAPPY THANKSGIVING.
In Christ by grace,
Posted: 23 Nov 2013 08:56 AM PSTWhat?Think my title’s harsh?It drew you here, didn’t it?So you have one – you know – a jerk who will be at your Thanksgiving table.Maybe an uncle who drones on about your lifestyle or your politicsA brother who can’t get over himselfA sister-in-law with issues, who causes strife at every eventA mother with a martyr complexA father with the sensitivity of a charging rhinoA sister with a critical spiritAn adolescent who has taken to dressing in black and sulking whenever unplugged from social mediaA child whose parents aren’t into disciplineA husband in a mid-life crisisA wife who’ll become a nervous wreck trying to please everyoneA lonely neighbor who has some uncomfortable opinions about people of other racesAh, Thanksgiving. Even now, you’re plotting your escape.You never thought you’d be one to go to the mall on a holiday but now you’re convincing yourself it’s good stewardship to shop the sales and good self-care to escape the family stress.I get it.I’ve been at that family table.I’ve dreaded a holiday gathering.I’ve dined with a jerk.And sometimes I’ve been one.Funny how sometimes the same jerk shows up every year but sometimes we rotate the role. Share a table with the same people long enough and everyone gets a turn.Because we inherited an original jerky nature from our ancestors and the gene for jerkiness is strong.I’m not a big fan of romanticizing the first Thanksgiving, I avoid all articles lamenting the loss of the good old days. Ecclesiastes warns us against such thinking: “Don’t always be asking, “Where are the good old days?” Wise folks don’t ask questions like that.” (The Message) And, mostly I just don’t see the point.What we have is now, not last year or a hundred years ago. Plus, I imagine that just like then, today there is some good and some bad and God placed me in these times.So here I amAt this tableWith this jerk.But I do resist the modern thinking that Thanksgiving is an event to be tolerated and then escaped as soon as possible with a quick trip to Walmart.Jesus didn’t come to deliver us savings on merchandise. He came to savethe very people who share your table.And I think that sometimes we all act like jerks but then some of us get stuck there because in the funky world of group dynamics, somehow that becomes our role around the table and often we don’t even really see one another because we’re so busy looking at our memory of last year.I get why people who don’t know Jesus get stuck in this endless loop, but Christians have no excuse. We can slide through the wormhole of grace and gain a new perspective at any time. We have access to power that changes things - hearts, minds, attitudes.I was thinking about another table. On the night Jesus was betrayed where He shared bread with Judas the prince of jerks. Judas was a poser, a thief, a greedy, lying betrayer. But after a night sharing a table with the other disciples, they couldn’t tell, by the way Jesus treated him, that he was any different from the rest.When Jesus indicated that one of them would betray him they didn’t know which one it would be.Jesus must have been able to enjoy His meal and the companyEven knowing what was aheadEven knowing what was on Judas’ heartEven knowing this was the last meal they would all share.And sometimes it’s important to do that –Just sit and share a meal and let everything else go just for a time. Take a long deep breath of grace. Inhale.And Jesus lives in us so we can share tables, too, with jerks or martyrs or critics or pouters or rebels or troublemakers. And not just say grace but also extend itSo that if we were to say, “One of us sharing the cheesy bread basket at this table is a jerk” our table-mates would look around and say, “Is it I? Am I the jerk?”Because they wouldn’t be able to tell from the way we’d treated anyone at dinner.Sure, sin needs to be confronted,Relationships ironed outJerks need to be told the truth about how they affect others...But sometimes we all just need take a break,Share a meal,Tell a story,Eat a pieAnd thank God that we aren’t alone.I wonder how many nights, after Jesus had ascended and many of the disciples had been scattered or killed, did John sit to eat alone on the Island of Patmos and think back to that meal where they were all together and draw strength from that memory, and the hope of the vision of a table awaiting us on the other sidewhere there will be laughter and warm bread and full glasses. And all the forgiven jerks will sit together and be thankful for one another without reservation.May His kingdom come to our tables even now.Set an empty place for Jesus and remind yourself – If He can share a table with these jerks with joy than so can I.This Thanksgiving, don’t just say grace – extend it as it has been extended, also, to you.Who knows but next year, you may be dining alone on Patmos?