Friday, September 23, 2011

Taking It to the Streets

If you could epitomize one attribute of Christ, here on this earth, which one would you choose?  Would you live out your life in love, in peace, in joy, in faith?  How would you convey to the world who Christ is?  Do you think about how your life mirrors His when you are in line at the bank, or trying to pass someone who is driving too slow, or when that co-worker is irritating you to death?

I find it's easy for me to reflect God when I am surrounded by people I love and when I'm not feeling threatened or angry.  A couple of weeks ago, as I sat in my car, while I was fueling up, a woman approached me and sent a barrage of profanity at me that caught me completely off guard.  She thought I was just sitting in my car taking up space at an unused gas pump.  She did not realize that I was putting gas in my car.  As my brain wrapped itself around the fact that I was being verbally attacked out of no where, for no reason, I searched for some response that would stop her in her tracks and make her ashamed of the way she was acting.

I literally felt a conflict raging inside me.  I wanted to lash out...I wanted to represent Christ.  I couldn't do both.  And so confusion won.  All I could say in response to the woman was, "Really?  Really?"  It sounds comical now.  It didn't make any sense, what I said!  I didn't attack the woman back but I also didn't choose Christ!  I drove away with my heart pounding in my chest so hard that I could hear it in my ears.

Thankfully, we don't have to pick just one attribute of Christ to emulate.  He gives us the strength and the power and the equipping to take His message to a hurt and dying world. I want to be in the place where, instinctively, I know how to respond in situations in a manner that reflects Christ. I don't want to be in a war against my flesh to the point that confusion wins.  The Lord came across bad people, hurting people, tormented people and He had a response for each one of them that made them "go and sin no more", or at peace or their broken heart mended.  He met them where they were.  He meets me where I am!! I can follow His example.  I can choose to take Him into every situation, prepared to engrave His mark there and leave in peace.

How do you handle these situations?  How do you leave Christ's stamp on a person's heart? How have you strengthened yourself so that you are not at war with your flesh when a situation arises that takes you by surprise?  Are you already prepared?  Share with us here how you have learned to reflect Christ in a hurt and dying world.




From His lap,



22 comments:

  1. As far as tough people - I "TRY" to as quickly as possible, put myself in their shoes. What must the world look like from their lost and broken POV. If I can see these people through His eyes as opposed to mine that are oh-so imperfect, then I can see them like HE does. And that makes all the difference in my response. Dianne

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  2. I think your blog is very valuable. I am a quiet person, do not react impulsively, but feel very angry when someone criticizes me. That's not really Christian ... My mother always told me: when you're angry, count your buttons. That helped me as a child. Now as an adult I try to pray if I may show a little bit from Jesus in my attitude. ( sorry for my poos englisch)

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  3. Dianne,
    That's a great thing to remember to put ourselves in others shoes! I love how faithful you are to read my posts.
    I love you, friend!
    ~Erin

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  4. Jedidja,
    Thank you so much for visitng my blog! I bet that you do show the love of Jesus. Your mom gave you great advice as a child. Stop by any time and bless us with your comments!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  5. Ooooh, that's a tough topic. I remember when I was climbing the corporate ladder in my working days, my female supervisor gave me this advice. "If you want the corner office, you have to be willing to step on toes and push your way there." I went home that evening and fell into tears. Even when I hadn't completely given my life to God, The Holy Spirit was stirring me up. I wanted to go back to her the next day and tell her why I thought her advice was horrible, but I knew it fall on deaf ears because in that organization, she was right. The only way I would have been promoted was to push my way to the top even if it meant hurting others along the way. I will never forget that conversation and I pray that if I were faced with a similar scenario now, I'd respond with a heart for Christ and trust Him to open the other person to hear His message.

    Blessings,
    Rosann

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  6. Rosann,
    It seems like we always think of how we should have reacted afterwards. I'm going to work on being prepared ahead of time, to show the love of Christ, without being walked on!! ;^D
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  7. Hi Erin - I can so relate - my first reaction is to prove them wrong. At least your conscious fights to react as Christ does. I usually think after the fact, I should have done this or that... Well, a year back I was worse, in a years time, God willing, I'll react better than now. I will say though, I do start to think, why is she so cross? What has happened to her? Instead of just, "who does she think she is blah blah" Progress, glory to glory. Great post Erin and great reminder to think - and show Jesus. God bless
    Tracy

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  8. Tracy,
    See...you are improving over time, like fine wine!! ;) We are all a work in progress, sister!
    Love you!
    ~Erin

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  9. Ughh I would have probably said the same exact thing. People amaze me sometimes. almost always their anger is coming from deep within and they chose to lash out on others. It is always the toughest when it comes at you when you least expect it. You wish you had more time to react the way you wanted to. You are so kind, erin!
    Xo

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  10. Maria,
    Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad that you had such a wonderful birthday! I'm learning how to respond as Christ would have me respond and I know we just have to realize that we're human and we won't know what to do sometimes. That's when we rely on grace!!!
    XO,
    ~Erin

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  11. You have amazing patience. I think it would have shocked me to the point all I would be able to do would be to point to the nozzle filling up my car up with petrol. I've never been attacked like that so I'm not really positive that is what I would do.

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  12. Thanks for stopping by, Terri. It is a hard thing when it's unexpected like that. That's why I want to be so full of Him, that my natural reaction will be how He would have me react!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  13. Thanks for your transparency! =)

    I'm not the type of person to actually lash out at someone else; it's my peacemaker personality. But that doesn't stop me from thinking about what someone else deserves. =)

    I'm getting better at changing my mindset, though. I consciously think that I don't always get what I deserve, thanks to God's mercy...and that reminds me that I am just like the other person, and we're both people who need Jesus. When I get to that thought, compassion comes much easier.

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  14. I think anyone would have been taken aback if they got blindsided like you did. All I can say is at least you didn't tear her head off like maybe I would have done. You showed great restraint. I'm visiting from the VB friends to remember. Have a great week!

    Dayna

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  15. Wow, I had the same thing happen driving the other day! I was so angry when accused of being on my phone an cursed at by a random stranger that I yelled back to him how rude he was! I took his liscence plate number down so I could call the police on him. I thankfully calmed down and was flooded with thoughts from the Holy Spirit of turning the other cheek. Or maybe he had a loved one killed that way and is hurting. I prayed for him instead of calling the police and asked for forgiveness for my rage as well. Thanks for sharing!

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  16. Erin, we've all been through situations like that! I typically tell myself that that person is unhappy or going through a rough spot, and I pity them for acting in such an inappropriate way. My reaction would be to smile or wave, or tell them to have a nice day. I think that takes them off guard...perhaps they are looking for a fight, but I try not to give into that. I'm visiting from vB! Stop by, blog hop going on now!

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  17. TJ,
    So glad you stopped by! I think it's wonderful that you are a peacemaker! That is my goal. Thank you so much for your insight here. I hope that I always remember to lead with compassion!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  18. Great Beauty,
    I really was taken by surprise. But the next time that happens, I want to be prepared to react in a Godly way! Hopefully I will. I'm so glad that you visited!
    Hugs,
    ~Erin

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  19. Thomasina,
    That is awesome that you thought to pray instead of react. I hope that the next time I am caught unaware, that it is already in my heart to pray! Thank you so much for your input!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  20. Tracy,
    Thanks so much for visiting from VB. Don't you just love it there. I hope that I can be more like you and try to think about where people are coming from before I react!!!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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  21. I remember one time when I was living in NYC and going to work on the subway. I was sitting and somehow I must have moved to where I anoyed the person sitting next to me, I'm not sure why but instead of getting anoyed I just said I'm so sorry let me move so you can study in peace. The woman completly changed her tune, smiled and said thank you, but no, it's fine. I remember that time often when I'm ready to verbally unleash on someone. It took so little to change the dynamic of that encounter. I'm sorry to say that I don't always handle things like that but I'm working on it. Thanks for a great post!

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  22. Kathy,
    See...that's what I'm talking about!!! Your response was perfect. I want to have that knowing inside of me, what reaction each situation warrants! Thank you so much for sharing that. I love that you remember it often too!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

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Thank you for giving us a little nugget of truth from your heart!

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