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  • Writer's pictureBonnie Smith

Rise above

God calls us over and over to love one another, to help the lost and hurting, to bring good news to the poor and broken hearted and set the freedom the captives free. However, I am not sure where and when we, as a church, decided we are to instead condemn, shame and crucify other sinners. And the key word here is “other sinners”. We all pick our own poison. The poison we use to satisfy a longing only God can satisfy. We each hove our own secret sin we battle. With this in mind, think about your own struggles with sin and ask yourself “What would help me most and encourage me to seek God for freedom from my strongholds (sin)? Being shamed and condemned by other Christians? Or perhaps, would love, patience, understanding and enlightenment to God’s truths help me more?” Bingo!! That’s why God calls us to love with His unconditional love. We are called to shine light in the darkness. To light the way for the captives to find freedom. I only found freedom from my strongholds when I finally discovered the Love of God! I was reminded of His love by some true Christ followers in my church, who lovingly and patiently took me by the hand and sweetly lead me to the hands of Christ. Once my relationship with God grew and my faith increased, He began opening my eyes to my own sin. And once I was aware of that sin I began praying for Him to help me break free from them. Over time He drastically changed my desires! So much so, that now I long far more to please my Heavenly Father than I desire to please myself. So what’s the greater point I’m wanting to make? As Christians, true Christ reflectors, we are to rise above the cares of this world and see other sinners with the eyes of God. We are to climb up onto our watchtower, just as Habakkuk did, to allow God to show us how to respond to the evilness we see. “I will stand at my watch and station myself on the watchtower; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.” Habakkuk 2:1 He calls us to bring good news not condemnation, arguing and pointing fingers. “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.” Isaiah 61:1 The Old Testament reveals Jesus as our Sheppard and we, His people in His pasture, the flock under His care. “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care...” Psalm 95:6-7 However, in the New Testament, after Jesus died and rose from the tomb, just before He was to ascend back to Heaven, He handed over the care of His flock to Peter and those who would follow after Peter in ministry. To feed and care for His flock, those in His pasture. “To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.” 1 Peter 5:1-4 When I am on God’s Watchtower, I am in a spiritual posture that sets me up high enough over the earthly things that distract me. Above the noise, emotions and physical desires where I can be reminded of more eternal matters. Then, I am postured properly to see the hurting and lost. I can see Satans schemes as He is swooping down and plucking those who are blind and unable to see The Light that leads them to peace, comfort and joy. The Light that will reveal that the prison doors and shackles were never really locked. When Christ died, Satan and death lost their power. We are only bound by the lies we believe and the shame we allow others to heap on our heads. Help others See God for who He truly is and not the way is flawed humans try to portray Him. He is a loving and patient God. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 He could snap His fingers and end all this suffering that takes place because of our freedom to sin or not sin. Our sin hurts matter how little or how grievous. However, He is patiently giving everyone the chance to turn to Him. To trust in Him for salvation because He doesn’t want anyone to die apart from Him and perish. So who do you know that needs to know The Love of a Patient God? Let’s Shine light not shame on the sin that entangles them and in doing so, your light will extinguish the darkness. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” John 1:5 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8 We are the light of the world!! And if we want to help not hurt the lost, we must start walking in The Way of light and love! 

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