Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Do You Know The How And Have You ASKED?

Okay. I admit it.

I hate to admit it. But I do.

Those of you who know me personally, know that I'm rather conservative. I've even been called: old-fashioned, straight-laced, ... oh ... and out-of-touch.

I don't watch wild, racy television shows (as a general rule). I don't like movies where it's all about either foul language or sex and nudity.

So what am I admitting to? And why?

Well....

On occasion...

I have been known to catch an episode or two of ...

Desperate Housewives.

There. I said it. And let me tell you why I shared this with you today ...

On a recent episode, Lynnette, who has been through so much with cancer and the tornado and such, started out on a spiritual quest. It was sparked by seeing her neighbors going to church each week and she decided it was time to join them.

She chooses to go to Bree's church and afterwards drills the minister with a series of questions that embarrasses Bree.

Let me cut to why this particular episode merits a place in Little Lessons.

Lynnette chose to go to Bree’s church because she had seen Bree go through some tough times herself. At one point she says to Bree “I thought your faith helped you get through them.”

“It did!” Bree exclaimed brightly.
“How?” Lynnette answered quizzically.
Pause.
“It just did.” Bree smiled wide-eyed… unknowingly.

Later, they chatted some more and Lynette shared with Bree about the struggles she had been going through and Bree asked “Why didn’t you tell me?!?!?!”

And Lynnette replied…
Get this…
To me this is huge…

“Why didn’t you ask?”

Wow. Ouch.

Two powerful lessons jump out at me from this most unlikely source.

One is: We need to be able to put into words “How” our faith and trust in our Loving Lord gets us through the hard times in life. If someone asked you today, why/how your faith in Christ got you through your last trial, would you have a ready answer … or would you say “It just did” and leave them hanging?

The second is: We need to see and reach out to the hurting around us. And guess what? They are all around us. We need to ASK and LISTEN to the response. I get so tired of people who, when they find out about a struggle that a sister or brother is going through, simply respond “Oh, I know what you are going through” or “Oh yeah, we’ve all been there” or "I understand." Don't get me wrong...sometimes we do know what they are going through because we walked a very similar road. But most times, our struggles are just enough different from theirs that we really don't know exactly what they are going through. We need to listen. Listen for clues to their real pain. And offer real hope, support and encouragement.

Will you take time today to ask a friend if everything is okay in their world? When you do, will you really listen to them? And when you’ve listened, will you set aside platitudes and really share their hurting and pain. Our Loving Lord suffered to the death while sharing in your pain. Can’t you suffer just a little with a hurting soul today?

I want to share the verse Christ put on my heart for this lesson. Please stick around to read it twice. Once from the NIV and once from the Message. The NIV is the more familiar and is just the two verses that fit this. The Message is an expanded passage and may even bring a smile to your face.

Well I’m off to confession to confess my poor TV habits … no wait! We don’t have confession in my church. Guess I’ll just have to sit here and have a personal chat with my Loving Lord about this…

1 Peter 3:15-16 (New International Version) But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

1 Peter 3:15-18 (The Message) If with heart and soul you're doing good, do you think you can be stopped? Even if you suffer for it, you're still better off. Don't give the opposition a second thought. Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you're living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They'll end up realizing that they're the ones who need a bath. It's better to suffer for doing good, if that's what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad. That's what
Christ did definitively: suffered because of others' sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all—was put to death and then made alive—to bring us to God.

1 comment:

Technonana said...

Oh Sharon ... you really hit on something here.... we HAVE to be prepared, because we never know when we will be asked the question... it's our testimony!!!
and the other question.... you never know unless you know someone really well, when people are hurting.... I have a friend who always ask... How are you today, and he really means it!!! Better than that he listens!!!