No matter how hopeless a situation may seem, God can turn things around in the blink of an eye. Just hold on, better days are coming. Though sorrow may last through the night, joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5
Going to church always recharges my level of faith. I tend to be apprehensive about staying for reflection groups after the sermon, because I don’t know very many people. Today I stayed, despite not having the comfort of a friend to default to. I ended up meeting five new Christians in my reflection group and we shared thoughts, reflections, and laughs. I always receive a surge of motivation for my faith from these positive church experiences and they really help me remember why I started attending to church to begin with.
The sermon today (based on Genesis 34:1-31) focused on the sins in Spiritual and Moral Passivity, Sin in times of Anger, and God’s Justice. These were the key points that resonated with me:
1) Keep and follow your vows to God (i.e. “God if you do this for me, I promise to do this”) - Be quick to do what you’re told to do
2) “In your anger, do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” - Ephesians 4:26-27 - I want to start a habit of reflecting on my day every night before I go to sleep and cleansing the angers from my heart with forgiveness.
3) We are not called to make judgment on others - Don’t fool yourself into believing you are better than everyone else.
4) Don’t justify your vengeful actions as “God’s will” - Vengeance will be served by God. “Do not take revenge, but leave room for God’s wrath.” - Romans 12:17
5) What should you do when you feel a severe wrong has been committed against you? Throw coals on their head of course! “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” - Romans 12:20
6) Remember that Christ showed love to his enemies and died for all sinners even though they wronged him, betrayed him, condemned him, tortured him, and spit on his face. It is our calling to imitate Christ and live a holy life. ”Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” - Romans 12:21
7) Christ paid for our sins by dying on the cross. It is by his death that we are saved, not our own actions. We cannot believe that we are more righteous - that we are the instruments of God’s wrath - when we deserve the same punishment as any other sinner.
8) Check yourself before judging others (aka “Check yo’ self before you wreck yo’ self).
9) Do not fall into spiritual or moral passivity, where you temporarily disregard God for your own pleasures. In everything you do, ask “Is God with you?”
I say things. I see how people react. This is how I find out what kind of people they are. Some things I mean. Some things are serious. But most things are not meant to be taken seriously. The absolute biggest obstacle that gets in the way of my friendships is when people take things I say too seriously. When all of a sudden, expectations manifest. Assumptions replace communication. And when that happens, waves of emotions and misconceptions are buried… until the levy breaks.
I believe that one of the worst mindsets is to believe you know all there is to know in this world - to shut yourself off completely and to revel in your own beliefs and opinions, neglecting to even consider or discuss opposing or alternate ideas. That mental isolation is the guarantor of ignorance and the ultimate impediment to social and psychological growth.
I am constantly learning everyday. Sometimes I have to remind myself to continue to be curious. To remind myself that I do not know even a fraction of what constitutes a knowledgeable human or a wholesome life. To remind myself that life is only sustained by curiosity. To remind myself to consistently ask questions. To remind myself to not merely exist, but to live. To remind myself that love is only sustained by an undying curiosity in another.