And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Necessity is the Mother of Invention
Typically, when I post on my personal Facebook page, my posts are either shares from other pages or something related to my family. I’m fairly honest about my family life (without being too negative, I hope), and my posts will often share a struggle in a self-deprecating, humorous way. The post to the left was one of my recent contributions to Facebook. (And, before you become concerned about the nutritional value of the meal… I served a fruit and a vegetable on the side. Not the Pop-Tarts pictured in the background.)
I figured it would give a few people some laughs. I never anticipated the positive feedback I received on this less-than-ideal meal I prepared for my family on 5 minutes’ notice and without much in the way of groceries.
Some people complimented my ingenuity. Others stated they were considering different sauce combinations to try on their own versions of Hot Dog and Cheese Quesadillas. Many reassured me that my kids probably loved it (they did) and that it could have been worse.
Here I was, feeling guilty about the less-than-gourmet meal I served my kids, and I was being revered as an innovator and chef by my Facebook friends. Okay, so that’s an exaggeration. But the response was far more positive than it could have been.
My Own Worst Enemy
Satan works in different ways in different people. He sees your weaknesses, your struggles, your “hot buttons”. He digs at those to either make you feel too inferior to deserve God’s love, or too good to need it. For me, honestly, it’s usually the former. One of my deepest insecurities is failing to care for my family. When I make a low-end decision on dinner, unknowingly send my kids to school sick, or raise my voice at them when they really needed my patience, I am my own worst enemy. I obsess about these failures and beat myself up until the challenging situation becomes a million times larger.
It’s easy to think you’re not good enough. But the truth is… no one is good enough. We all fall short of God’s perfection. Pastor Bill explains, “If you are perfect, if you have your stuff together, you don’t need to bother coming to church let alone communion, because you are all good. However, if you have messed up, if your life is messed up now or has been, if you are hurting, if you are lonely, if your life has been messed up by someone else, if you need forgiveness, you need Jesus.”1
A humbling and comforting thought, huh? We all need Jesus. And the good news is that we’re all God’s children through grace: So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ (Galatians 3:26-27).
All In the Family
If we take this fact into consideration – that we’re all sinners who need God’s grace – how might we treat people differently? That family member who constantly seems to offend you, that neighbor who blasts his music night after night, that co-worker who just can’t seem to avoid an argument… all of these people are children of God. And, like you, they are sinners: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Knowing that your sins are equal to theirs, and that God’s grace is for them and for you might change your frame of mind when considering how to navigate these tricky relationships.
Pastor Bill explains what you can you when you struggle with a relationship, whether it’s with others or yourself: “Confess where you are wrong; forgive without merit, and live in the freedom of Christ. And Jesus says to you and me, go and treat others just as I have treated you. That’s the end of sibling rivalries, at least on your part. You have been rewoven to look, act and love like Jesus. And when you struggle, remember [God] is with you and giving you strength to do what you cannot do on your own.”2 Friends, don’t forget that this includes your relationship with yourself and with Jesus. Forgive yourself, and live in God’s grace.
We Need Each Other
Facebook posts rarely tell the whole story. What my hot dog quesadilla post didn’t tell my friends was that my lack of grocery shopping wasn’t due to laziness; it was because of a crisis. The same week of this post, my mother-in-law was hospitalized and died unexpectedly. When someone so influential in your life is suddenly not there, it rocks your world. Grief is a horrible beast. If it wasn’t for my friends, family, church, and most importantly the promises of God, we never would have made it through the week.
If, like me, you’ve ever wondered about why God places you in situations, locations, and relationships that seem unbearable or unnecessary, remember this: “God has determined in his wisdom and love that this is the best time in the history of the world for you to come to faith… It is not a mistake that you live where you live, work where you work, go to school where you go to school, go to church where you go to church. Because you have a life to share, a message to share, a Savior to share.”3
God uses people, situations, and stupid Facebook posts about hot dog quesadillas to teach us what we need, when we need it. Through the last several weeks, God has taught me about His love, my deep need for grace, and how I can’t do this alone. But, with the help of God and those people and support systems He’s put in my life, I can survive and thrive.
So, who can you support this week? Who can you pray for? And who can you rely on to support and pray for you?
We all need each other.
1 Limmer, B. (14 October 2018). The (im)perfect family. Family Matters sermon series. Retrieved from https://victoryofthelamb.com/sermons/the-imperfect-family/.
2 Limmer, B. (21 October 2018). Sibling rivalry. Family Matters sermon series. Retrieved from https://victoryofthelamb.com/sermons/sibling-rivalry/.
3 Limmer, B. (2 December 2018). Joining Jesus on mission. Imitating God: Living Generously sermon series. Retrieved from https://victoryofthelamb.com/sermons/generosity-in-mission/.