Sunday, February 27, 2011

What to Do When Your Noes Knows No-Noes

So my life happens. and, yeah. the strangest things remind me of God and the different lessons He’s taught me. I thought I’d share kind of an odd one.
I work at a preschool. My office is the same room that also stores giant paper rolls, the copy machine, and the laminator.
The laminator is used at least once a week, and every time it is turned on, a hot, metallic, smokey smell fills my office. you know, the “laminator” smell. But I “live” in it, and after a few minutes I barely notice it anymore. Well, one step out into the hall lands me in the center of baby-land. the one-year-olds and their abominably tragic diaper scent competes with the sweet potpourri smell of the front office. most of the time i just crinkle my nose and pass on through, but sometimes it’s so awful I step back into my office for a few minutes, until the scent dissipates. 
Here’s what cracked me up last week: A teacher from the one-year old class came out of her (what I thought) awful smelling classroom and into my office. You know what she said? “Phew! That laminator stinks!” I had to chuckle. I couldn’t even smell it, and here was the teacher who dealt with stink-bombs fourteen times per day, commenting on how bad MY laminator smelled.
And that’s when my mind jumped into “practical application” mode.
A lot of times we walk into other people’s lives and say, “phew! your life reeks!”. But, if they were given the chance to walk into ours, they very well might say the same thing.  WE ALL HAVE STUFF IN OUR LIVES THAT STINKS. YES. EVEN YOU. So here’s the pre-point: Living in it, we often become immune to our own sin-stench, and only recognize the bad in others. So when you walk into something of someone else’s that stinks, don’t forget, they’re not the only one with problems. Do a me-check too.
I DON’T WANT TO STOP THERE, THOUGH. You see, i think that all too often in today’s Christian culture we stop at the “we ALL have stuff” part, and make the main point, “don’t judge” “be understanding,” etc, because we don’t want to offend anyone. Or even worse, we don’t want to deal with our own stuff either. We use the line “judge not, lest ye be judged” (Matthew 7) and at the same time forget the encouragement of Galatians 6:1 “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” 
Paul doesn’t suggest “Only If your closest friend is in the greatest of imaginable evils,” he says, “if ANYONE is caught in ANY transgression” restore Him in a spirit of gentleness.

This can go two ways. One, I believe is wrong. One I believe is what Christians are supposed to do ALL the time.

The wrong thing would be to go up to every believer you meet and tell them what’s wrong in their life. That’s not edifying. That’s not what God has called us to do.

The RIGHT thing is to encourage one another to do right always. (1 Thess 5:11) In wisdom, encourage the people God has placed in your life. You don’t have to go looking for people to correct, there’s plenty to do right where God has led you.
If we were on a trip together and you saw me about to walk into a deep, deep pit, would you wait for me to fall in, then come help, saying, “I saw that coming, but I didn’t want to upset you. Can I help you try and fix this mess you’re in now?” Oh, I hope you wouldn’t! 
And in the same way, I hope I will always have the courage to confront you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, in an effort to help, out of the great love I have for you in Him. 
God wants us to encourage each other to live lives of godliness. To grow closer to him, to become "Holy as I am Holy". (1 Peter 1:16)
Left to my own devices, I’ll get comfortable where I’m at, and become a lukewarm follower, my sanctification process stalled. WE NEED each other to spur one another on to good works, (Hebrews 10:24) which at some times will involve dealing with sin-issues. 
My prayer and encouragement is this: that you would pray with me. 
1. For God to open up our eyes and hearts to receive admonishment with humility.
2. For God to open up our mouths and arms, to gently admonish our brothers and sisters in love.
May we do these things in the hope of glorifying God all the more- becoming a brighter testimony to the world, and a more free community of believers. (Phil 2:15-16;)
When your nose knows, don’t just walk back into your own stuff! 
walking (and sometimes stumbling) toward holiness,

Extra Verses:
Col 3:16
Rom 14:19
Rom 15:5
James 5:16

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