Tag Archives: to do lists

Things to Do In 2019: More Mercy, Compassion, and Grace

I Broke the Law

Oh, I know what you’re probably thinking. Being that I am a Christian, a preacher, and “the recovering legalist,” by breaking the law you think I’m referring to something of a spiritual or biblical nature, like eating pork, or smoking a cigar.

No, I literally broke the law! Like as in a statute recorded in a City Hall – the kind for which a police officer can arrest someone.

What did I do?

Well, this morning I drove my daughter Katie to where she is student teaching in Dayton, Tennessee. She directed me off the main highway and through a part of the town where I rarely visited.

As I came to a 4-way intersection, I looked all over for a stop sign, then up for a traffic light, but I saw nothing (which I thought was odd), so I proceeded cautiously, looking to my left, then right.

That’s when I saw the bright red light. I had just run a red light! I’m a professional driver – I don’t do that kind of thing!

And when you’re in a little 2-horse town, that’s NOT a good thing to do, especially when there’s a budget crunch!

So, why didn’t I see the light? It wasn’t where I expected it to be – nowhere close. It was on the other side of the intersection, about 6-ft off the ground. I just didn’t see it until I crossed the intersection and there it was on my right, shining at me through the passenger-side window.

Breaking Our Laws

Thankfully, there was not a police car anywhere close. I can only hope there were no traffic cameras, or else I’m going to have to pay a fine, for I did, in fact, break a law, and ignorance is no excuse.

But how often do people break OUR laws? And by that I mean the kind of regulations and legalistic standards we all have; the kind that lead us to judge others’ spirituality based on how they dress, the tattoos on their face, or what’s in their glass at the restaurant.

Even when our standards of conduct and demeanor are biblically justified, what if the other person just missed the light at the intersection? What if they never read that verse?

When you have the time, I would encourage you to read or re-read the whole chapter of Romans 14.

If the truth be known, much of the time we find ourselves judging others based on OUR laws and regulations, not the ones the Lawgiver has written. So, in reality, who are we to hold them accountable? It’s not our job.

Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. – Romans 14:4 ESV

This year I want to criticize less, be less judgmental, and show a little more mercy, compassion, and grace.

I know that’s what I would have wanted when I ran that red light.

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Filed under Christian Maturity, Christianity, Do not judge, grace, legalism

Things to Do In 2019: Avoid Anger

Start With Scripture

I know, you’re probably going to be tempted to skip over the verses below, but do yourself and me a favor by taking a few seconds to read them…

  • He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that rules his spirit than he that takes a city. – Proverbs 16:32
  • Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger rests in the bosom of fools. – Ecclesiastes 7:9
  • Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice. – Ephesians 4:31 CSB
  • Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: – Ephesians 4:26 KJV
  • If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. – Romans 12:18 CSB

Notice that the Bible addresses getting angry. And from what I read in the above verses, it’s generally not a good thing.

But let’s be fair, anger is not a sin; it’s selfish and unrighteous anger that’s a problem. That’s the type of anger I want to avoid.

Why Be Angry?

Look, I make no claim to be an anger management expert, so I’m not going to pretend to know every reason people have for getting mad. However, if I look at my own experience, it’s pretty easy to determine that I get angry over things I either can’t control or hurt my entitled feelings.

Think about it, how often is it that we are legitimately wronged by others? Are not many of the times nothing more than inconveniences? Delays? Obstructions to our plans? But if our plans have been given to the Lord, and He is the One who “directs our paths,” are we not then being angry while God is at work?

Now, being honest, there are some things which deserve a righteous anger, such as dirty politics, sex trafficking, divorce, abortion, etc. Heck, I might even have a right to get angry when people at Hardee’s never give me jelly when I order a “jelly biscuit,” even though “jelly biscuit” is clearly an item on their menu. But even a righteous anger can do us damage if we hold on to it and become bitter.

Avoiding Anger

The key for me this year will be to give everything to God and let Him handle it. I mean, even when I’m done wrong, is He not the one who is being sinned against? He’s the One who wrote the Law, not me.

And, sure, anger may come looking for me and leave me no other options, but it will be up to me as to whether I hold on to it and play God, or just be like Elsa and “let it go.”

But I must admit, I don’t know why they always ask if I want jelly with a sausage biscuit and never give me jelly for a jelly biscuit!

Calm down, Anthony. Let it go*.

 

*Go ahead and start singing the song…I know you want to.

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Filed under Christian Living, Christian Maturity, Life Lessons, the future