Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Choose Love over Hate by Diana Flegal

Monday we celebrated Martin Luther King Day. As I feel strongly we should. I’ve often wondered how we called ourselves a Christian nation and allowed such mistreatment of other human beings to go on unchallenged for as long as it did.

Martin Luther King left us with not only a courageous life example, but as an eloquent speaker, many quotable lines.

This is one that strongly resonates with me.

What would that look like in this day we live in? It might look like this.

A Face Book friend recently posted a video segment of the Ellen DeGeneres show that made me ROTFL. (roll on the floor laughing). As often is on the internet- it was new to me but footage from April 15, 2011. It is the taped phone conversation between 88 year old caller Gladys and Ellen. During the course of the phone call Gladys said, “…I love Jesus, but I drink a little.” Ellen’s response was to laugh her head off, as was mine and then I observed a beautiful thing- a bond of friendship was born between Ellen and Gladys.   Ellen is a practicing lesbian who believes the gay lifestyle is a viable alternative. Gladys is a professing Christian who ‘loves Jesus’ by her own admission. What caused these two women to become fast friends even though they probably stand in different worldview camps on some issues?  The open and honest transparency of Gladys, and the fact that Gladys has lived long enough to know no human is perfect. She has chosen to be refreshingly honest and look for what is good and right in others.

I like Gladys.

When a nonfiction author desires to write for God, I believe the book with the greatest impact is going to be the one that takes a transparent tact. Honest struggle comes along side of the reader who is looking for help.

Jena Morrow in her book, "Hollow: An Unpolished Tale", tracks her battle with anorexia. In it she does not claim to have received the victory she longs for but what she offers the fellow struggler is a transparent look into her dependency on a God she believes walks with her. It is a powerful testimony of hope and God’s keeping Grace.

Brennan Manning is another author who kept it real but showed us a mighty God. His words held my hand down many a rough road. Yet by his own admission, he became an alcoholic after he came to Christ. He openly struggled with the unrealistic expectations laid on him by the organized church.

As a fiction author, realistic characters that struggle through tough times yet lean and rely upon on a God they believe will see them through, can have a powerful impact. They are the books that leave a lasting impression on me. And most likely are the books I recommend to others.

Nancy Rue and Steve Arterburn’s books, Healing Stones, Healing Waters, and Healing Sands are great examples I use often to showcase this. Christa Parrish is another favorite author of mine that writes fiction that illustrates seeking individuals in the midst of their struggles. I’m always on the lookout for her next book to hit the shelves and tell others about them as well.

John 8: 7 challenges us:
But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." (NAS)

I am not condoning sin here. Please do not misunderstand me. What I am advocating is choosing to be honest, and loving. I am dropping my stones, and allowing God to examine my heart.

When you keep it real, you succeed in touching others lives and provoking them to seek God out. And that is a beautiful mission and a terrific legacy.


jill said...

Love it. (And love Jena's book.) This is the message I hear whenever I go speak. People need to have their hands taken and be told they can walk down this road of discipleship, and they need us to admit that it's hard, not pretend we know exactly what we're doing. Yes, holiness is the goal, but Jesus chose love to get us there.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Thanks for posting the video and sharing such honest joy. What healing there is in it. Last Sunday a godly man in our Bible study said he battles with profanity. I was surprised to hear him say it, but I was humbled by his honesty. He struggles. We all struggle with something, but the fellowship encourages us.

Beth K. Fortune said...

Thanks Diana for the reminder. When we write from a distance, not sharing our struggles, we merely walk on the path with the reader. But, I feel when we're transparent, we can walk hand in hand with the reader and encourage them along the way. Transparency, humility, and love -- a language that touches the heart.

Cindy Sproles said...

We all know the adage, "hate the sin, love the sinner." God tells us to love our brothers as we love ourselves. . . there is no, but's added to that. The strength comes in being a Christian with the faith to truly step out and say that. It's not something I condone, but I try my best to be an example and to take the seed God places in my hands, and spread it to those - regardless of who they are - that are in need. Good job Diana. A reminder we all need. Be the hands and feet, the face. . . of Christ.

Diana said...

well said ladies. Thanks for dropping by. And for writing such like minded material.

Annette Burick said...

Thanks for your observations and insight, Diana! Made me think awhile!

Contrast and conflict are always present in our lives---an opportunity for God to shape us. And as best as I can tell, Jesus most always encountered such confrontation. But what an awesome approach he had, and what an amazing example! He took all the guff, yet his response, while direct and authentic, was never critical, condescending or condemning...and scripture never mentions him carrying around a fistful of stones. He simply spoke truth and offered the solution--himself. And today, though he is frank and direct as he deals with us, he does so in love, even as he disciplines. Jesus says, "Come to me." My own struggles, laid at his feet in authenticity, position me on equal ground, shoulder to shoulder, with all men. I am no better; I am no worse. What I am, however, is positioned to love my imperfect self, and so love all others in their imperfection---and unconditionally, as modeled by Jesus himself. This is the reality of God through the actuality of men--through you and through me, through each of us, who have all missed the mark. And this, achieved through the living Christ alone, is true grace realized, forgiveness brought to fruition, the new life lived--
relationships generated in love.