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Do You Have a ‘Lopsided’ God?

8 Sep

It was interesting to see some celebrities highlighted online who have lopsided smiles”—smiles that pull naturally to one side or the other. These asymmetrical smiles sometimes resemble a grin, like the smiling person is perpetually ready to crack a joke. Or maybe they know something we don’t.

It’s a matter of opinion, but I think Mona Lisa’s smile is a tad lopsided, which makes me wonder what she was thinking about.

Lopsided smiles are interesting, adorable and captivating. But lopsided things aren’t always so positive. 

Lopsided can also be false and hurtful . . .

especially in the case of the “Lopsided” God.

Lopsided God? Yes, unfortunately.

Perhaps it’s more like our lopsided view of Him.

The lopsided view of God does not resemble the true God of the Bible, but many who claim to be Christians believe in and act based on their falsely-created god.

We have a lopsided view of God when we emphasize only one aspect of God’s character.

Think about how a person might respond to the circumstances of life with these lopsided views.

We also have a lopsided view of God when we practice religious pluralism—when we think we can serve other gods and say there are many valid ways to God (idolatry)—when He clearly says He is the only God and there is only one way to live with Him in eternity (Deuteronomy 6:5; John 14:6; Matthew 7:13-14; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5; Joshua 23:16).

We wouldn’t want people to see only one part of our character, and neither does God.

Charles Stanley wrote, “In every temptation, there is a deception about the character and motive of God, plus an attractive promise of a better way.” *

If we truly want to know the God of the Bible, we must seek Him in the Word. It is how He reveals Himself to us.

“We need to be reading the Bible so that His words will be woven into the fabric of our being,” Stormie O’Martian wrote in The Power of Praying Through the Bible (page 331). “We must know it so well that it becomes our guide, a source of renewal and knowledge of God’s will. We must let it increase our understanding of who God is and who we are in Him.”

The Bible says there is one true God, the sovereign Creator (Isaiah 42:5; Ephesians 1:11) and we need to get to know Him for who He is: eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful, unchanging, holy, just, loving, truthful, holy, compassionate and merciful, the righteous judge, forgiving … and so much more.

All of God’s divine attributes combine to form one consistent whole.

We must adjust to who God is, and not try to adjust Him to our “lopsided” views.

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That’s Not Your Neighborhood!

19 Aug

Interactions with neighbors can be good and bad.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Love thy neighbor—but don’t pull down your hedge.” 

I laughed when I read that, but there might be some truth in Franklin’s warning. Boundaries can be a good thing, as poet Robert Frost also reminds us: “Good fences make good neighbours.” 

Yet even though hedges and fences are healthy, they’re never meant to prevent us from showing love and kindness. They’re never supposed to allow us to fence in our grievances and let them fester into self-focused ugliness toward our neighbors.

Hate is never to be our “neighborhood.”

After the Charlottesville rioting, I read and thought a lot about neighbors and neighborhoods. 

English comedian Eric Morecambe said, “It is easier to love humanity as a whole than to love one’s neighbor.”

English theologian G.K. Chesterton had a lot to say about neighbors. Two favorite thoughts:

“We make our friends; we make our enemies; but God makes our next door neighbor.

“The Bible tells us to love our neighbours, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people.

I think we have a lot to learn about neighbors and neighborhoods, and the Bible is a good place to start.

Some neighborhoods are to be avoided entirely! The writer of Proverbs warned his sons not to even stroll through the neighborhood of the adultress.

And I’ve read plenty of scriptures that remind me the “territory” of gluttony is not my neighborhood either! In fact, the works of the flesh are never the Christian’s neighborhood.

But after Charlottesville, I studied what God has to say about actual people as neighbors, and I’ve determined not to live in the “neighborhood” of HATE!

Here’s what God says:

“For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5:14).

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”(Romans 13:10).

“… having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor ….” (Ephesians 4:25)

“Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” (Romans 15:2).

There are a host of scriptures that—while they don’t use the words “neighbor” or “neighborhood”—back these verses up and help us understand what being a good and godly neighbor should look like.

NOTE: We might quibble over some scriptures below, arguing that they only concern members of the body of Christ. But I contend we can still practice the characteristics of neighborliness with anyone.

Perhaps the Lord will use our attitudes, words and actions to win over those who don’t know Him.

Martin Luther King, Jr., once shared concerning a learned man who asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29).

King noted the Lord’s response.

“‘I do not know his name,” says Jesus in essence. “He is anyone toward whom you are neighborly. He is anyone who lies in need at life’s roadside’… So Jesus defines a neighbor, not in a theological definition, but in a life situation.”

I agree. Our neighbors are anyone the Lord puts in our path, especially for His purposes.

Here are just a few characteristics we should develop to become good neighbors.

Can’t you just imagine how different our world would be if we lived according to God’s Word?

The story of The Good Samaritan in Luke 10 might just as well be called “The Good Neighbor.”

As King said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others. In dangerous valleys and hazardous pathways, he will lift some bruised and beaten brother to a higher and more noble life.”

Does your idea of “neighborliness” match God’s truth?

Get practical here: What can you do to avoid the neighborhood of hate and create a neighborhood of love wherever you go?

All neighbor/neighborhood quotes in this post from WorkingHumor.com.

What in the World is a ‘Faithful Wound’?

28 Jul

I feel like I need a paraphrase of Proverbs 17:17 today.

“A friend loves at all times, and a sister is born for the days when you are craving every unhealthy food in history!”

I joke that I don’t need a personal trainer (OK, maybe I do), but I just need someone who loves me who will shadow me and slap every unhealthy food out of my hand.*

My husband jokes, “I’M not going to be that friend. I know better!”

I laugh, but that would be love, right?

Actually, that kind of friend really does love you. (And my husband has challenged my choices from time to time.)

Good, loving friends really do speak the truth and challenge you to confront the lies you’re believing, or the rabbit trails you’re chasing, or the foolishness you’re letting reign in your heart and life.

God-honoring friends encourage you to be wise and not indulge in anything that will harm you or prevent you from becoming the person God created you to be. They are wise counselors and we can trust their advice.

“The righteous is a guide to his neighbor.”

A good friend might “wound”* us with their advice, but they don’t wound us to hurt us.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend [who corrects out of love and concern]….” (Prov. 27:6a AMP)

Faithful wounds.

The kind of wounds that come because a friend simply wants what is best for us and wants God to heal us of any sinful and harmful behaviors and addictions. 

It’s like the pain of setting a bone that’s out of joint. Sometimes there has to be some pain before we can heal.

There are times a friend will wisely overlook something in our lives, and that is grace in action.

But there are other times friends will lovingly confront us. And that is also grace in action. 

A true friendship is never threatened by disagreement or even misunderstanding that might come in times of loving confrontation. That kind of friend knows there is some accountability involved in a true, loving friendship.

Do you have a friend who is willing to love you enough to challenge you when you wander off the path of righteousness or are about to make a foolish choice?

If so, praise God for that friend. You desperately need her!

– Dawn

* Note: I’m not talking about any kind of abuse here. Just the “love-tap” of friendship’s wounds … much like the way we tap a baby’s hand and shout “NO” when the baby reaches for something that will cause harm.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of silviarita-Pixabay

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