There’s an image of Jesus I can’t get out of my mind. It’s found in Matthew 8.
Jesus has ministered all day long. Evening comes and more crowds press in. Then He and the disciples climb into a boat to sail to the other side of the lake. Jesus is so exhausted that he falls asleep. He remains asleep even as a terrifying storm sweeps in and the boat nearly sinks.
Many minorities in evangelical circles are trying to express that evangelicalism is now dominated by the cultural defaults, political defaults, and social defaults of the majority culture.
My experience and mentorship in predominantly African American church settings had a rich influence on me as a minister of the Gospel. My wife's input from her Jamaican culture helped edify me for ministry. My time spent learning and being mentored in predominantly white spaces has been enriching. Learning about the culture, history, and plight of Native Americans has spiritually impacted me. My time in San Antonio and seeing the communal life of Hispanics reminds of the book of Acts. Having brothers and sisters that love Jesus, but reside in different political camps keeps me aware that no political party in completely congruent with the Gospel. Being raised and mentored by strong women of faith reminds of the value my sister’s bring to the body.
If we could have coffee today, I'd say, "Let's talk about gratitude." "In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you," says 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
There's one little word in that verse I recently realized makes all the difference. We're to give thanks IN all circumstances, but we're never told to give thanks FOR all circumstances. We live in a fallen, broken world. Spouses leave, diseases ravish. Funerals happen. We are not made for any of this. If something is not from God, we don't have to force ourselves to be thankful for it.
I read a quote just yesterday that made me smile and think. It talked about the universal phenomenon that happens on a merry-go-round. A child rides their carousel horse and every time, without fail, they will wave to their parent as they ride by. And every time, without fail, their parent waves back.
There are wonderful "All In" times with God when he and we are waving at each other. We smile and say, "I see you, God! I know you were there for me! You are waiting for me, you are delighted with me."
If I were a silent voice inside your head helping you to build healthy relationships, you might hear me ask the question, "Do you choose healthy relationships over being right?"
Now there’s an intriguing question. Can the two coexist? I would say the answer is yes and no. If you value relationship more than you value being right, then I would say the answer is a quick yes. If you don’t, it’s a fast no.
A father and his daughter had a very close relationship and they spent a great deal of time in each other’s company. Then one day, the father noticed a change in his daughter’s behavior. If he suggested they go for a walk, she excused herself from going. If he offered an ice cream treat at a nearby soda shop, she declined the offer, but encouraged him to go on. If he said he was about to drive through the countryside on errands—an activity she had dearly loved—she gave some reason why she couldn’t go.
When I was little, one of the best times of the year was when the Sears Christmas catalog arrived. I could page through that toy section and dog ear all the possible items for my Christmas list. When I was very young, it was usually some sort of baby doll that I wanted. As time went on what I really wanted was an art it. And the next year after that, I really wanted a guitar. All of these things were in the Sears Catalog. The answers to all I wanted.
Successful companies, churches, sports teams, and marriages have more good than bad happening, but they get better because they are willing to address the issues that are not quite right. Yes, 98% of things may be going well, but that 2% needs to be addressed or it could jeopardize the other 98%.
The percentages I used are hypothetical, but I want to make a point. If you love something – a relationship, a person, your community, your country, or your local church – then you must deal with the areas of tension to find healing and deeper connection.
I'm Holley Gerth, author of You're Already Amazing. If we could have coffee today, I'd say, only God can tell us who we really are.
Tell me who I am. Isn't this request the whisper of our hearts? We look for the answer in friendships, in romance, in jobs. Surely all of these will tell us if we're okay. If we're worthy. If we're enough. Isn't that how it works?
If I were a silent voice inside your head helping you to build healthy relationships, you might hear me whispering in your ear something you’ve heard all your life: it’s "The Golden Rule."
That’s right, it comes straight out of scripture from Matthew 7:12, "Therefore however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." The Golden Rule rolls off the tongue like water off a duck's back. It has long been known as "The Standard" for how to treat others the way God intended, resulting in lasting healthy relationships.