I asked NorEaster if he would be a guest writer for me over the holidays, and he was very happy to help me out. I was not near ready for what he wrote. In the way that only he could write, I know that God reached through him to heal a piece of my heart, and encourage me to keep pressing on..Thank you NorEaster, love you brother!
So where does an idea come from? Many places. But since today I am a guest writer on Darla’s blog, I thought I might talk about the origin of just one idea that I had. This idea eventually became an Essay entitled The Lord of The Harvest.
You see, a while ago, someone–nevermind who–published a certain post. Shortly afterwards, a few people–nevermind who–said a few things in the comments of that same post which had offended Darla, and that very quickly became obvious to me. Of course, her husband was probably pretty upset about the whole thing as well; I know I certainly would have been if such things were said to my wife (if I had a wife, that is).
But what was said–or who said what–is of little significance for several reasons. First and foremost, love keeps no record of wrongs. Second, the matter has long since been resolved; I know this because I do a lot of lurking. And finally, I have no wish to re-open old wounds. So I’ll let the matter rest. And for those of you wondering, not even Darla knows what I’m talking about; she only found out about the origin of this idea when she received this Essay in an e-mail.
So don’t ask. Because I’m not telling.
But when I saw what had happened, that my beloved sister in Christ had been offended by her own spiritual siblings, I quite naturally got upset. And all of this happened on a blog that anyone could view at any time. After a while, I realized that there was more at stake than just Darla’s honor. As Keith Green has said:
“This generation of believers…that you and me are a part of…we’re responsible for this generation of souls. All over the world. We’re responsible for ’em!”
That’s a pretty big responsibility. One not to be taken lightly. So to address the grand scope of the matter–which, as Annie has so eloquently said, “Human souls lie on the other side of our bickering”–I went back to my Bible and read, intensely, the parables of The Four Soils and The Sheep & The Goats (Matthew 13:3-9 and Matthew 25:31-46). But then, Matthew 13:12 suddenly jumped out at me: “To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understand they have will be taken away from them” (New Living Translation).
Suffice it to say, I wanted to listen. I wanted the seed planted in my soul so long ago–now quite possibly a plant–to be rooted in fertile soil. And I wanted others to see the importance of such nourishment as well. Bickering among The Body is a cancer that destroys the significance of The Gospel. Like a precious, life-giving seed scattered carelessly along a footpath, in shallow soil with underlying rock, or among thorns, The Good News can easily get lost in this fallen world. And Jesus has made quite clear the consequences of spiritual complacency–and Paul himself addressed bickering among the parts of The Body.
So what started as a quest for me to defend Darla’s honor became a calling for me to remind my spiritual brothers and sisters that God is watching every word we write, and we will answer for every careless act of speech. And if just we see one beautiful human being–created in The Image of God–offended by something we write on a blog, think about what God sees.
He sees the woman who still can’t sleep months after having an abortion, lurking in the shadows of our blogs, seeking the forgiveness of our loving God.
He sees the man who still suffers from depression a year after his divorce, lurking in the shadows of our blogs, seeking the healing of our gracious God.
He sees the teenage girl in high school struggling with suicidal thoughts, lurking in the shadows of our blogs, seeking the infinite love of our merciful God.
He sees the little boy shuffled from foster home to foster home, lurking in the shadows of our blogs, seeking a Father who will never leave him nor forsake him.
And what do such lost souls see when they come across our blogs? Forgiveness? Compassion? Mercy? Grace? Love? Or just a bitter battle over who is right about certain Scripture passage? Maybe a cruel joke? Or do they see your malicious intolerance of the very sins for which they seek God’s forgiveness?
Whatever it is, we will know soon enough. Because each of us must answer for what we have done, what we have said. We can be The Sheep on His right or we will be The Goats on His left.
I’m hoping to be a Sheep myself. And I’m pretty sure Darla already is.
I have to admit, when Darla commented on The Lord of The Harvest, I did have a certain satisfaction simply because I knew that the whole idea had started as an attempt to defend her dignity. Fortunately, as I have said, that matter has since been resolved. And the idea evolved into something more–that we must always be mindful of our words, our deeds, and our blogs. It might sound like a pretty big burden, but, really, it isn’t if we simply choose our words carefully.
As I write this now, I realize that even though Darla did not know where the idea came from, it seems God has graciously returned the favor. You see, she’s a pretty stubborn woman. When I wanted to be left alone, she wouldn’t have it. She reached out. And she kept reaching. She also shared her own testimony. From that, I have remembered that all things really are possible with God. You see, like Darla, I have had many losses in this crazy life. She has been where I am. And she is where I want to be. Several times, I have told God, “I don’t know what to do! I want to move forward, but I don’t know how! HELP!”
The answer was right in front of me.
In The Overcomer.