Category Archives: Matthew 5

Shhhhh

My former neighbor used to joke that she had her youngest daughter on tape asking questions for at least five minutes straight.  She literally could not stop talking.  They would repeatedly tell her to hush, and she just couldn’t.

 

I am related to someone with the same problem.  No off button.  No one-time expressing of an opinion.  No letting go.  Just talking on – and on and on and on ….

Shhhhh

The on switch was flipped Saturday when I pulled into the parking lot of a local bakery.  I got to hear the same opinion at least ten times in less than ten minutes – with the corresponding commentary also on repeat.

 

I can normally tune it out and enjoy life.  But that day, it ruined the experience.  I stood looking at the delicious desserts but could not disengage from the chatter to savor the moment.  I left empty-handed with the diatribe still running strong.

 

And the whole time all I wanted to do was scream “HUSH!” to interrupt the unnecessary noise.

 

And as I sit here and remember, I start to laugh.  Because how often is it that God is trying to get me to stop?  How often is God nudging me to stop talking, stop rationalizing, and stop verbalizing?  How often is God trying to persuade me to just be?

 

But we think we need words.

Lots of words.

Fancy words.

Important sounding words.

 

Yes, God wants our words.

But more than anything, God wants us.

God wants our unshielded heart.

God wants our undivided attention.

God wants our unyielding devotion.

 

God wants us to stop trying to fix it ourselves.

God wants us to stop talking ourselves into doing things our ways.

God wants us to stop thinking we know everything.

God wants us to stop imagining every bad scenario and possibility.

 

The religious leaders didn’t get it.  They loved to use words and talk incessantly.  Because they had to prove just how smart they were.  And Jesus warned us to not be like them – “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words” (Matthew 5:7).

 

God is looking for simple.

God is looking for sincere.

God is looking for honest.

 

Not brash.

Not loud.

Not long.

 

God doesn’t advise to be in His presence and keep talking.  He says “Be still, and know that I am God …” (Psalm 46:10a).

Shhhhh 2

Be still.

Be quiet.

Be with Him.

Just be.

 

So today can you hush long enough to enjoy God?

 

Marie Fremin, 3/6/17

Be Nice to Me

I have a coworker whose favorite thing to say to the office is “you should go home and think about how you can be nicer to me.”

be-nice-to-me

Do you see what this statement says about me and to me?

The problem is on my side.

The issues are all caused by me.

The tension all starts with me.

The responsibility for all wrongs is tilted all to one side – mine.

 

His viewpoint is centered around himself and his comfort.  When you ask for clarity because his notes are detailed, you aren’t being nice to him.  When you tell him he isn’t following company procedure and explain what you need him to do, you aren’t being nice to him.  When you don’t fawn and gush and tell him he’s great, you aren’t being nice to him.

 

And what’s the common thread?  You.

When you don’t ___.

When you don’t act like he wants you to act.

When you don’t respond like he expects you to.

When you don’t praise like he hopes you will.

When you critique him.

When you challenge him.

When you combat his sense of right and wrong.

 

When you.  Because it’s always you.

There are no problems or attitudes on the other side – on I.

 

The same way the world works.  With a “do unto me” mentality.  Do for me.  Whether I do unto you.  Whether I appreciate you.  Whether I treat you well in return.  Because my value is great.  So you first, and then maybe I will too.  But always do to me and for me.  Without exception.

 

Oh how different from God’s ways.

 

God never says “if you love Me first, then I will love you back.”  He says “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love …” (Jeremiah 31:3) that started “… in Him before the foundation of the world …” (Ephesians 1:4).

 

God never says “if you will get your act together and put your life in order, then I will love you.”  He says “I am the Potter (Jeremiah 18:4-6).  Bring all your broken, chipped, and shattered pieces to Me so I can love you back to wholeness.”

 

God never says “if you follow all these rules exactly every day, then I will love you.”  He says “rules never trump relationships, and how you treat people matters a lot to Me.  The second most important commandment is ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:39).

 

God says no matter what you’ve done, He loves you.

God says no matter what you’ve said, He loves you.

God says no matter where you’ve been, He loves you.

 

And He moved toward you first to prove it.  The Cross is the ultimate symbol of His love for you.  He allowed abuse and torture to His mortal body (Isaiah 53:5) to prove His love and show you what His love is for you.

 

God’s love is impenetrable (Romans 8:38-39).

God’s love is undefinable (Ephesians 3:17-18).

God’s love is magnificent (1 Corinthians 13:7).

 

And God’s love should be my light.  It should point me in the right direction, to help me love people and treat them right no matter what (Matthew 5:46-47).

 

So light, please shine brightly.  Because common sense says we will probably keep having the conversation about being nice at work.  We each have our own perspective and may have a battle royale trying to prove the other one wrong.  I think I have come up with a new reply to possibly shut down the tension before it starts – “it works both ways.”  This doesn’t mean that I think he needs to do all the work or there are no problems on my side.  But this also doesn’t mean I’ll let him run over me and put all the blame on me.  I’ll see where I need to change, and I’ll work on being better.  I’ll try to keep the tone out of my voice.  I’ll try to keep the assumptions out of my thoughts.  I’ll try to ignore the jabs and taunts meant to provoke.  And I can only hope and pray that eventually he will see the same light and want to be nice.

 

Loving Father, help me remember the open arms of the Cross, meant to be a welcoming and intimate invitation to all.  Please touch my heart so I can welcome all people into my space and treat them with compassion.  Thank You for Your never-ending grace to help me toward these goals daily.  In Jesus’ almighty name, AMEN!

 

Marie Fremin.  2/11, 2/12, 2/14/17