A very happy belated birthday greeting to my friend Sally Clarkson (aka: My Favorite Writer). She tells her birth story in today's post... here. But you can't read it until you read my post. Aren't I selfish? Okay, if you must go on over and read it. I understand what a miracle her being here today is since my first child was a preemie and he lived only a half an hour or so.
I found her post especially interesting as I'd already been pondering how our life is affected by our parents and the way we are raised. A (former) friend of my husband's sister had called to update on what she was doing.
She was telling me all the horrible things my husband's sister said about me, including giving a rundown on how I was so evil to her when she was nine years old and I treated her badly when we went to the fair together and that is why she hates me. I didn't meet her until she was in college so that tells you the state of her mind. :)
My in-laws fueled hatred toward me because they were critical of me and most of the people around them. Their parents were both critical of them. My husband struggles with a critical attitude.
I thought of my sister Bonnie's husband. They could have been quite wealthy today but he was a very vain and arrogant person who ended up losing everything and going to jail in his 40s due to white collar crime. They now live in a tiny apartment surrounded by the few beautiful antiques they did not sell. He was lewd, unfaithful to his wife when younger, and quite unscrupulous... just like his father had been.
He was also a person who criticized me through the years and spread untrue rumors. A year or two ago, he took my hand and with tears falling down his face... asked me to forgive him. Of course, the answer was yes and not at all hard because he had been made a "new creature in Christ". This man astounds everyone by his warmth and love now (although after living a life such as his, he still has rather crude humor... some things don't change quickly). :)
I find it interesting but not at all surprising that the person I find it so easy to love today is the sinner saved by grace and not the woman with the Christian label who never missed church. For the people who have shocked me with vicious talk and gossip were church people.
Perhaps it is just that I expect more from people who wear the banner of the Lord on their shoulders but it still amazes me at the hostility that can come from people of "faith" at times. Some have been downright mean people.
From one who has been a Presbyterian, a Wesleyan, and a Charismatic... I can tell you it came from all sides. I mean, really, given those three as a background I can argue theology with myself! But most of the time the hostility wasn't from a difference of theology but because our choices in life are beyond their understanding so we have to be bad (or even evil) people.
The worst vicious verbal attacks came from people in the church who did not understand our decision to homeschool our son. Or... something so little as not letting our daughter take part in an experimental "anti-drug" class when she was in elementary school because the program was based on Eastern Religions.
All this to say... in this life we will have adversity and some of it will come from the general direction of the Church. What do we do? Well, I was told by a wise person long ago to first see if there is any seed of Truth in their criticism. If there is, take it and throw away what else they say. If there is not, throw away what they say and do your best not to hold it against them.
Some have since asked forgiveness and others I never saw again. That's okay because I must "let it go" regardless. The Book says we are to forgive those who speak against us... to carry their cloak an extra mile if asked. That is not easy to do but we must release hard feelings against others if we are to walk in freedom and not let their words affect us adversely.
I think of the Poet King who spent years and years and years having people not only say dreadful things about him but coming after him to kill him. We have his thoughts and experiences in the Psalms. I haven't had to deal with that so it can't be all that bad. :)
I also must watch my own tongue. Just yesterday I found myself telling my husband how he should talk to someone speaking against the way he was handling this situation with his sister. Then I thought of the Beatitude... blessed are the peacemakers. Umm... I repented. Sigh... no wonder I cannot hold the words of another against them.
Back to pantry ponderings tomorrow... enjoy Sally's blog (link above or on my sidebar).
Picture: Swiped (borrowed?) from my sweet Busy Bee... somewhere close to Corpus Christi, Texas