Saturday, August 1, 2009

Change my Attitude - 5&6

Sorry, I got behind. Still reading (trying to stay current with Wed. night church). These two chapters are on Replacing a Critical Attitude with ... An Attitude of Love.

Before I go on, I must say that the the Contentment chapter has really moved me. I'm so excited to live in contentment. God has been so very good to me. If I never receive another blessing, He's already given me so much. Because my Father is so incredibly awesome, I know He has so much more in store for me ... even if it is nothing more on this earth - heaven, eternity is waiting :)

Okay, on with the attitudes...

A continuously critical attitude toard those around me will consume all that is healthy and joy-producing in my life. {This is so true. I've seen it evidenced in my own life and in other critical people. I pray that each morning that I will not be critical. Correcting when necessary but not critical.}

Two people can look at the very same circumstance and experience it entirely differently basd upon the attitude they choose -the patterns of thinking that they have formed over a long period of time.

Criticism is dwelling on the perceived faults of another with no view to their good.

The question: Is it wrong if I talk with someone about someone else. The answer: It's only wrong if my intention is not to help the friend in whom I observe the fault. It's not a critical conversation when the goal is trying to help. {Remember the Word tells us that if we see someone sinning, we are to confront him, then take two or three witnesses... You can't find other witnesses if you don't talk to someone about it. But to talk about it for the sake of talking about it - that's wrong.} If you are not clear about your motives in sharing the situation with a third party, then you're probably practicing gossip and not a genuine, helpful spirit.

Criticism is sin. Criticism ruins our fellowship with God. It doesn't destroy our relationship with God, but criticism changes our capacity to sense His love and presence. God pays attention to the way we treat each other.

Our critical attitude hurts us. If we choose to sin, we choose to suffer. {wow - how simple and how true. I never thought about it in such simplistic terms but this is so very true.}

A critical attitude destroys our fellowship with others. If a person's heart is to criticize - if their heart is to find fault - there is absolutely nothing that can satisfy them. People can become critical of others because they're living in defeat themselves. Oswald Chambers wrote, "Beware of anything that puts you in the place of the superior person." Anything that makes you feel superior is not conducive to your spiritual life. People, including you and me, often utter careless, thoughtless words that strike others like a slap in the face. {I need to stop a minute and apologize to a lot of people. I'm sorry for the times I've made you feel small so I could feel good about myself. I realize that it not only hurts you but it hurts me and more importantly our Father. I'm terribly sorry.}

I challenge you to have a righteous, gracious attitude toward the church of Christ and toward the servants of Christ. The momentary relief you may get from criticizing other Christians is not worth the damage you will pass on to your family. And the critical attitude festering in your heart is not worth the damage you will do to your relationship with God. To restore God's blessing, we need to confess and forsake this wilderness attitude, and replace it with a Promised Land attitude.

Agape means a selfless love, giving love, you-before-me love. It describes love as an act of the will; a choice I make.

1 Cor 13:1 - If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels... There is no evidence in Scripture of an angelic language - they always spoke the language of men. Paul is saying that if we could be the most eloquent speaker or the most eloquent being - if we could be like angelic messengers and speak so clearly and plainly for God that it made a difference in people's lives, but didn't love the people to whom we were talking to, people wouldn't hear the message over the ringing in their ears.

No matter how clearly you understand God's truth or how capable you are of bringing truth to bear upon a person's life, if you don't love the person you're talking to, if you don't have a broken heart for the people that you're trying to share truth with, you are wasting your time. Your words are just like a clanging in their ears. We find that our effort creates destruction in their lives instead of good things. When we present the truth aggressively or with a critical attitude, they are irritated by what we say rather than blessed and uplifted. We're like clanging cymbals.

People care how we say it as much as what we say. Love is a balance between affection and truth. "Love does not act unbecomingly." It's not rude. Love is gracious.

Get your own pain behind you, so that you're really coming only for the good of the person that you're going to.

Love is waits for people to change. Love is looks for ways to express acceptance topeople that we might otherwise choose to be targets for our criticism.

Displace a critical spirit with an attitude of love! Move toward those people who are hurting you and inuring you and, in the power of God's Spirit and in the fullness that only He can give, love those people! {Wow, what a challenge. A totally different way than this world teaches.}

Love finds itself saying on a regular basis, "That's not what she meant." It believes the best about the other person. When Jesus said, "Judge not lest you be judged," He was specifically dealing with motives. Of course, we have to judge actions. What we're not to judge are motives. We don't know why people do what they do.

The love taught in 1 Cor 13 is the kind of love that unbelievers will wake up and watch becuase they have never seen it before. "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John13:35

{what an awesome challenge. more than a challenge - a call to change our lives.}

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