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Sunday, August 3, 2014

I Owe My Sister An Apology


I owe my sister an apology and I'd like to tell you why.  Proceed with caution.  Last chance to remain ignorantly blissful--for to know to do good and not do it is a sin. (James 4:17)

My previous post was all about using the things of God to self soothe, to find comfort, inner peace and personal balance.  It's as if the Holy Spirit tapped me on the shoulder these past few days, cleared His throat and said, "My remedies aren't designed for you to only use them on yourself, Nyla."

And let me tell you, it does not feel good yet as I am in the midst of submitting to this new found truth.  But, we serve a faithful God and I know I'll probably be back constructing a new post about His wondrous ways because Proverbs 13:13 says that, "....he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded."
Me and my younger sister circa 1980.
My sister and I are like oil and water and where she is typically able to compartmentalize our disagreements, set them aside and move on having forgiven all, I am not.  I have grown a lot and while I am now able to keep on topic, avoid making hurtful, counterproductive statements, while I now proactively strive to avoid pushing her buttons, there is not an ounce of love lost in my delivery.

I can be short, curt, cold, and heartless in spite of never breaking my commitment to not purposely cut my sister with words as I've regularly done in the past.

My dad observed the latest exchange of discord between my sister and me and when it was done he asked me, "Where was the love?"

I've seen a change in my dad during this visit.  He is the tree to my apple and I took notes for years watching at his feet as he eviscerated adversary after adversary because he was right.  Because when you're right about something, it gives you a license of confidence, of superiority, of disdain.  Possessing the truth qualifies you to meet out justice and it legitimizes palpable emotional boundaries, right?

He is different now.  Little incidents have happened here and there during this visit, and I would wait like a spectator in a colosseum of words, eager to be entertained by the carnage.  But, nothing would happen.  We had been like cats pouncing on every errored mouse we encountered.  Now he was letting the mice pass and play.  He lay there quietly, peacefully allowing them to exist in error.

And so he had asked me, "Where was the love?....you were very much in your flesh and not being very godly." I was caught off guard for this was not was we do!  We concern ourselves with truth--not love.

Our gracious heavenly Father began to work on my spirit for it is that same love of truth that makes my spirit long to learn of, to embrace, to put into action and make habit what is right.  My flesh was roaring as it knew that this would result in a remarkable redirection in my relationship with my sister--a redirection that would see an end to the delightfully tasty treats I had been feeding my flesh on her behalf.

A doughnut of pride.  A candy-bar of self righteousness.  A mint of superiority.  A hot-wing of dominance.

Suddenly, I was convicted by my very own words--the words and concepts contained in my previous post:
"It is indeed our human fate to acquire burdens.  But, it is a lack of understanding (scripture that is) which propels us to keep holding on to these burdens."
I had only analyzed this concept in terms of how I could use it to benefit me.  God was beginning to show me that it also applies to turning -everything- into -something- that benefits others.

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the spirit, and the spirit what is contrary to the flesh.  They are in conflict with each other so that you are not to do whatever you want.

I'm realizing that there is this whole area of flesh that through ignorance I've been operating out of and feeling completely justified to do so.  The flesh is a slave of the heart which is wicked and deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9.)  So, it's no wonder that my flesh was masking itself under the guise of normal, reasonable human emotions--irritation, frustration, anger, disappointment, hurt, and instincts of self preservation.
All of these things that are happening to me are causing my whole outlook on right and wrong to change.  Right is right and wrong is wrong but you can forfeit your access to the power of God if you focus only on avoiding the overt no-no's.  There's right and there's wrong and then there's taking captive every lust of the flesh and bringing it into the submission of Christ.

So, maybe you're like me and every time you hear the Biblical phrase, "the lust of the flesh" you think of sex.  I read that phrase again this morning, but this time dug deeper to figure out what it truly means.  The lust of the flesh is any desire for a thing that would satisfy a physical or in my case, psychological need.

I absolutely lust after satisfying my pride, I love to wallow in my own self righteousness, superiority feels so safe, and oh! the power that comes with dominating another person intellectually.

Oh snap.   There were apparently a lot of other things I needed to add to the list underneath sex and it meant my dad was absolutely right!  I was not being godly because in those moments I was clearly not walking in the spirit for Galatians 5:16 says that if you walk in the spirit, you won't fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Then I read, Romans 8:8. "....they that are in the flesh cannot please God."

Mind blown.  Oh the irony--my sister and my disagreement had been regarding a Biblical topic, yet in my state it was impossible for me to please God.

And the final blow came with Romans 8:6 "For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." At first I only focused on the second half of the verse.  Had I been godly and not in my flesh, she may not have "stepped into my rays of enlightenment" but at least we would have left the conversation with life left in our relationship and an overall peace.

But, then! the first half resonated with me in a truly profound way.  
God warns us that to be carnally minded is  death.
When we are not walking in the spirit, when we are unabashedly pursuing the lusts of the flesh, we experience death!  
We see
death in relationships
dead opportunities
marital death
dead leadership impotently going through the motions
dead servants impotently spinning their wheels.

Brothers and sisters! When we do not trade our burdens for our His, we cannot please God.  Our burden is self righteousness and being right and using dominance to create emotional boundaries so that we won't feel uncomfortable.  His burden is humility and grace, embracing each other in love and esteeming others more highly than yourself. 

Pray for me, saints.  He has said that His yoke is easy.  I suppose I've already experienced that.  I have a teachable spirit about this and a heart toward obedience.  I've been able to intellectually accept that I was wrong and I genuinely desire to right this wrong.  

I'm still waiting for confirmation of what I already believe.  I'm waiting for confirmation that His burden is light.  My flesh has never been checked in this area.  My flesh is terrified.  I will be demanding that it give up its security blanket, its strongest defense mechanism.  I will be asking it to tear down decades old walls and love without qualms or hesitation.  

And that is why I owe my sister an apology.  I have only ever loved her in a way intended to make me feel safe.  I have never loved her with the intention of making her feel safe.  I want to be godly no matter what.  I want to give love like He does and never snatch it back in fear.  1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.  He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

I'm sorry for all the time that has gone by wasted.  I'm ready to see you as perfect in love, my dear sister.  No more fear.  My heart is open and my burden has been laid down.

.....and there it is.  That confirmation.  I finally feel it lifting off of me.  He is faithful, brothers and sisters.  He is faithful.         Subscribe to Meds, Coffee and Prayer by Email

Won't you Holla Back!! in the comments that we serve a faithful God.  Thank you for stopping by.
All my crazy crazy love,

~me~