A Private Message for Married Christians on Social Media

Woe to those who…do their work in darkness and think,

“Who sees us? Who will know?”

Isaiah 29:15

Some call them PMs (private messages). Others call them DMs (direct messages). I often refer to them as BMs (I’ll let you come up with your own interpretation) because, truthfully, they can place people knee-deep (or higher) in excrement when they aren’t flushed out immediately. Worse yet, sniffing out excess methane with an old flame could result in a hazardous explosion!

Yes, sometimes private messaging is appropriate – and even a necessity. My husband and I exchange a great deal of information in a non-public messaging forum, including flirting that the rest of the world doesn’t need (and likely wouldn’t want) to see. Sometimes, others have difficult personal matters – where a loving friend’s words of encouragement or instruction are needed – that would not be suitable for others’ eyes.

However, a great number of times, these BMs (PMs, DMs) are nothing more than social media fishing attempts. A person is casting out a supposedly innocent line to see if (s)he can hook another person of interest on the other end. To be fair, I truly believe that people aren’t always even consciously aware of this veiled intent. But somewhere, deep down in the recesses of a bruised ego, (s)he is searching for someone or something to quench a parched soul. And, just as truthfully, there are many forlorn souls who are tricked into believing if they accompany a desiccated drifter to a dried-up well, both parties can get refreshed there. The mirage effect. By the time the two have finished lapping up the muddied remains together, only then do they realize the tainting in the water. (This was sort of Jesus’ point to the woman at the well in John 4, when he offered her his living water instead.)

Above all else, guard your heart,

for everything you do flows from it.

Proverbs 4:23

Private messaging is one of those realms in which we, as Christians, should diligently search our hearts to be certain of our intent – as well as the intent of those with whom we are interacting in that space. Just like Hezekiah in II Kings 18-25, if we allow the enemy entry into our storehouses – through his ambassadors who may or may not even recognize his intent (II Kings 20:12-13) – we are allowing the enemy the ability to devour our territory and potentially lead us into bondage, to a place we never planned to go.

Search me, O GOD, and know my heart;

Try me and know my anxious thoughts.

Psalm 139:23

But wait, you say. I was just being friendly. Private messaging that person, even if there could have been a little flirting, meant nothing to me. I’m married; (s)he is married. I wasn’t intending on things going anywhere between us. As a matter of fact, it just made me feel good to know someone remembered me so fondly and still thinks so highly of me. (S)He is absolutely no temptation to me.

Maybe so. But…Just because you believe you didn’t get burnt by this flame doesn’t mean you weren’t pouring gas on the fire, where someone else might get burnt.

Have you considered how you’ve set either yourself or that other person up for potential dissatisfaction with his/her (or your) mate? Because we live in a fallen world, we need to be on guard for any potential temptations – to ourselves or others.

Be alert and of sober mind.

Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion

looking for someone to devour.

I Peter 5:8

I could mention I Corinthians 10:13: “No temptation has overtaken you except such is common to man….” Our enemy knows there are common denominators that tempt humans. The fact that social media is so often cited as a realm for affairs and sexual immorality is proof enough of that. Even if you truly have not fallen victim to your ego’s great need for stroking, you can’t control the dissatisfaction that may have set up in the other individual – of which you hold a certain level of responsibility if you encouraged that person to continue private messaging you.

Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks!

For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come;

But woe to that (wo)man through whom the stumbling block comes!

Matthew 18:7

I’m not suggesting you can’t (and shouldn’t) have friends of the opposite gender. I am suggesting that you should invite your spouse into those friendships – and certainly into any personal conversations with those individuals. If you and your spouse don’t already openly share your social media account(s) with one another, then at the very least, immediately include your spouse into the message thread. That way, polite and friendly (and long-lasting) understandings can instantly be established. From there, I would strongly suggest that you encourage public interactions with that person as the social norm (in lieu of private messages). In such a way, you are ensuring that both you, that person, and any involved spouses are being honored, as is the LORD, in both your relationship and in your communication efforts.

Whatever…you do,

You must do all for the glory of GOD.

I Corinthians 10:31

By honoring the LORD, and then the One to whom He has placed in your care, and then others with whom you interact, your relational crops can’t help but reap a healthy harvest of solid growth!

Do not be deceived; God is not mocked:

For whatsoever a (wo)man sows, that shall (s)he also reap.

Galatians 6:7

Selfie Susceptibility for Saints

“She opens her mouth with [GOD’s] wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”
Proverbs 31:26

 

Please don’t miss that part about kindness. If you’re accustomed to only listening to that which sounds sweet to the ears, I may be about to speak some truth in love that may not, at first, seem so very kind. I winced a few times, myself, while writing it.

GOD has been pouring down His blessings on me, as of late, particularly within the spiritual realm to see and hear His Word in action. So when the LORD recently revealed that my heart would be filled with passion through the perfection of His brokenness, I excitedly looked forward to what was to come next. Little did I understand that His brokenness would flow through my heart to spark great compassion – meaning that I, too, would receive a large personal portion of that brokenness (for others).

You see, the man who now holds me near & dear to his heart and refers sweetly to me as “His Love” – and treats me with the utmost respect in every single aspect of my life – had been living his life as single for the past several years before “we” became an “us.” In that time meaningless expanse of void without me, he was also fairly indiscriminate in accepting the largest majority of all Facebook requests that came his way – without taking much apparently any time to go to each requester’s site to review that person’s character before doing so. Hey, he knew most of these folks from his past, didn’t he? Or at least they knew friends of his FB friends (who he may or may not have known). With such highly unquestionable credentials, he assumed the friends list he was accruing was made up of legitimate connections  – or he was just oblivious, as he carefreely inattentively went about playing online games with his sister and nephew while sporadically accepting and liking humorous, compelling (or attractive women’s) posts that popped up here and there. NO biggie, right?

“Above all else, guard your heart.
For everything you do flows from it.”
Proverbs 4:23

I have several male friends who view/engage in social media outlets in this same way – as in, “Don’t make such a big deal out this. It isn’t real. Why do I need to pay that much attention to something that doesn’t get that much of my attention?” I, on the other hand, scrutinize every Facebook friend request as if it’s a job application for the Secret Service. Generally, if I don’t know you in “real life” and you don’t pass my character test, or you don’t come with a stellar recommendation by my friend who is your friend, you’re not making the list. Or, if you make it and you turn out to be a character, you’ll get black-listed fast! I have some guy friends who make fun of me for such intense scrutiny; but I have no desire to test the reason for my carry permit on some unknown stalker in the middle of the night.

So without getting too deep into this Mars-Venus issue, or my carry permit…

I’ve been awakened recently to how very often my Christian brothers get barraged with sensualized (and certainly sexually visualized) messages throughout social media and other Internet outlets. Of course, I perceptibly understand that many “offers” arrive through all sorts of outlets (from spam advances in email inboxes to interest requests in Messenger). I, too, receive my share of unscrupulous messages from (real, alias, imaginary) men seeking (my or anyone else’s) company. The difference is, men don’t worry so much about “stranger danger” as the recipients; and they generally don’t indulge so much in the practice of “visual advertisements” as senders. Perhaps the greatest danger isn’t from strangers. In case you don’t get what I mean…

latest_delete

An acquaintance my fella’ knew years ago in “real life” – but never noticed these photos were on the profile page of the year’s life in which he accepted her FB friend request. Granted, Facebook won’t classify these creatively angled shots as pornography, by any means – which is one of the reasons they abound, particularly on women’s social media pages – because they appear “innocent enough.”

About the only rare non-existent times you’ll see men taking photos like this are for movie-created fundraising calendars – and they still probably had to lose a bet! Men disdain the thought of themselves displayed like that. More interesting, the men with whom I’ve spoken (whether professed Christ followers or not) view women who pose sensually in selfies with some level of disdain – and most admit they wouldn’t look favorably on their own wife, girlfriend, daughter, etc. engaging in this type of behavior. Ironically, that doesn’t necessarily keep many of them from looking at other women as long as these women are posing & posting (without regard for how wives, girlfriends, daughters, etc. might perceive their actions).

In my quest on this subject, the more I heard and saw, my primary question became: How many women are actually putting similar types of photos on their sites?!

In my most personal investigation on this matter, I honestly wasn’t prepared for the number of women who had seemingly legitimate social networking relationships with my man (e.g., work, past school or community acquaintances) – along with a plethora of other men – whose histrionic personalities had driven them to engage in (repeated) not-so-innocent selfie narcissistic behaviors (usually with as many other men as possible) such as:
-making active pursuits through seductive words & images (either publicly or privately);
-stalking through social media outlets (or even work connections, such as the Social Security office) to (sometimes illegally) locate men in “real” life (yep, it really happened) to send pictures of themselves;
and/or
-incessantly posting overly-sensualized (and sometimes more times than not photo-shopped) selfies on social media to accrue as many (often rather crude) comments on these posts as possible.

“Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
is a beautiful woman without discretion.”
Proverbs 11:22

My next question became…beyond setting oneself up to be on the receiving end of unceasingly monotonous “you’re so hot” comments, could these women be after anything more?

histrionic

The selfie-made FB “model” who spent so much time photo-shopping other parts of herself that she forgot to photo-shop out the potentially drug-induced arm scratch marks (until somewhere between her 2nd & 10th posting of the same pic). Likely, most men never noticed anyway – except maybe the guy she took to the cleaners in real life.

Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” More concerning than what these women might want should be what the spiritual realms want – with the souls of both these men (whether accommodating or unsuspecting) and these vixen-like women.

In essence, knowingly or not, each of these women has essentially made herself the “foreigner with seductive words” of Proverbs 7. As a mother of three handsome sons, I feel the need to resound an associated warning. If I wanted to modernize Proverbs 7:24-27, I might modernize these verses to sound like this:
“Now, listen, Sons! Pay attention to what I’m saying here.
Don’t give that woman your heart, your eyes, your ears, or your attention.
If you do and follow after her, your heart will end up as blackened (dirty) and photo-shop-covered as hers.
Don’t you think she’s carrying on with other men this same way? As in, MANY other men – and trying to bring them down with her too?!
You see her Facebook page with all those sensual selfies? All those men who click that bait with their likes and their crass remarks attest insertion into her Internet portal –
you know, the one that leads a man straight to his death by drawing his wandering eyes to lustful thoughts (and eventually resultant comments and actions). Turn your eyes and your feet the other way!”

Yep. That would be my mom’s advice to her sons.
And it should be a woman’s advice to her man in a godly relationship.
And it was.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
[while] fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Proverbs 1:7

After our discussion on this topic, my Facebook-exonerated fella’ and I began culling both of our pages together (after deciding the nuclear option of removing Facebook wouldn’t allow us access to our bible study page of friends or to keep tabs on our younguns’). Did I mention that my handsome man and I give each other open access to one another’s social media sites at all times? If you’re in a healthy relationship, you should have that same privilege. (Just remember that you have to be the other part of that healthy equation. It’s not always pleasant to read what others might have said to the one you adore – even before he or she adored you.) In removing these so-called “friends,” we went so far as to even remove some past likes where lack of self-control was obvious in others’ related comments, in an attempt to assure all lack of association. In some cases, we went so far as to remove some likes or comments from the past in seemingly respectable friendships – just to assure there were no prospective or even retrospective misunderstandings.

To answer what may be your next curious question…Yes. I’ve read all those past sometimes unflattering, desperate attempts by other women for my man’s attention. And for those who aren’t astute enough to understand that our current picture together on both of our Facebook profiles is meant to denote a “not otherwise interested” relational status (or who apparently don’t care), we’ve read all of those more current messages together too – in case you were wondering why you’d been defriended. To be clear – mild-mannered flirting from the past was of no threat  – those folks are still welcomed in our friend zone. Beyond those criteria, some of you simply had to (and may still have to) go because we acknowledge that:

“Bad company corrupts good character
[especially when associated with foul or suggestive language on social media].”
[Author’s paraphrase of] I Corinthians 15:33.

Primarily, it was the selfies – you know…THOSE selfies – that became the measuring stick for mass deletion. Honestly, seeing such audacious attempts being made by outwardly beautiful women who should never feel the need to work so hard at gaining attention – along with the remarks they were willing to accept by multiple men (and make in return) in what appeared to be series after series of orgy-type posts on their pages – truly did place a crack in my heart. But that’s not what shattered it.

gross

The dime-a-dozen histrionic cleavage selfie shot

“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
Proverbs 31:30

As I perused the pages of lovely women whose cover pages might cause others to suppose they were Christian sisters (based on things such as bible verses or Godly-sounding phrases posted there), I was taken aback. Why, these faux femme fatale books couldn’t have been known by their covers at all! I was left to question whether such a level of deceit was meant for unsuspecting victims (such as the warning given about the Proverbs 7 woman), or if Satan had bound these women’s own eyes that tightly about themselves. (I had to come to the conclusion that, had it been the latter, they likely couldn’t have spent all that time in the mirror and the camera and the photo-shop program to accomplish those thousands of self-edifying selfies).

phony

Displaying that biblical-sounding sentiment is probably meant to draw men’s eyes upward from this woman’s upwardly-drawn cleavage. Do you suppose she was really trying to say, “Hey, my sorta’-bible-verse-thingy is up HERE?!”

Sadly, in assisting my sweetheart with the purge review, I’ve been forced to see more skin than an on-call taxidermist. Much sadder still, the mom in me quickly came to a worse realization. In every case in which a daughter was depicted on each woman-in-question’s FB page, that younger generation female was already emulating the older “mother figure” adult/mentor in her Facebook affairs. And many of these young women were working just as hard to gain that same male following.

Here’s a good place to insert a word to you upcoming gentlemen: If they were left without a depraved audience of male admirers, women of all ages would lack the motivation to continue in this practice.

daughters

Whether with Mom (as on the upper left) or alone, these girls’ selfie posing tactics seek to emulate older female FB mentors’ alarming histrionic personalities.

“But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.

[Men, you] are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled,
sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.

[Ladies, you] likewise are to be reverent in behavior,
not slanderers or slaves to [intoxication –
including the high of selfie-derangement].
[Ladies, you are] to teach what is good, and so train the young women
to love their husbands and children [even before they have them], to be self-controlled,
pure, working at [or dedicated foremost to] home, kind, and [surrounding their own selfishness for the betterment of] their own [future or present] husbands,

that the word of God may not be reviled.”
Titus 2:1-5 [with Author’s paraphrase]

Take this lesson from its context. For instance, I’ve always been a career mom; but I understand that my primary responsibility is to my family (my home) – working for their good. I also understand that it becomes much easier for me to surrender my selfish, fleshly preferences for someone else’s needs (the meaning of “submit”) to a man who is being an Ephesians 5:25 follower of GOD: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”

With this in mind, I appeal to those of you posting or those of you looking at these types of posted images to STOP. STOP immediately! STOP damaging yourselves, your families, others’ lives, your present and future potential relationships with a godly person who would desire to walk with you and the LORD.  Accountability will come. It will come without apology and possibly without additional warning to us all.

“But I say, walk by the Spirit,
and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
Galatians 5:16

Lest you mistake any of my remarks as equating to jealousy or pettiness, or even self-righteousness, let me assure you – I have taken no pleasure in looking at or sharing photos that make women of any age appear less than self-confident with a Christ-filled measure of self-control. All examples were posted images on genuine Facebook accounts from women who either were friends or tried to friend my sweetheart – all publicly shared (most over and over again) by these same Facebook page owners. (And these were, by comparison, mild examples.) This paltry blog page’s audience can’t begin to measure to the public paramour personas these ladies are seeking to create for themselves through social media. By their standards, I’ve likely helped their cause.

My primary goal is to STOP other women who may be in danger of doing themselves (and others) this same harm before they get started! That’s what a Proverbs 31 type of woman does. That’s who my heart desires for me to be – for a very special man but, most importantly, for My LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ. It would be selfish if I didn’t have that same desire for each of my (present or future) spiritual sisters.

Go ahead. Test your own response to this instruction.

Not surprisingly, I’ve noticed that the Proverbs 7 type of woman tends to spit out antagonistic messages to anyone who dares offer correction for her own sake. Remember:

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
[while] fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Proverbs 1:7

Memes and messages abound that tell concerned people requesting the removal of these images to mind their own business. These ladies insist that their behavior is Private (even when their images are more often made Public for all to view). Not surprisingly, other memes they post most often denote sexual and/or rebellious connotations. Because these women don’t know how to search out true love, it’s no wonder they believe that any measure of correction equals hatred. Especially if it tells them they shouldn’t display the idol they worship most of all – themselves. After all, shouldn’t others be given equal opportunity to adore them?

Haters

I’m assuming this philosophical woman was referring to all of the perverse commentary she was receiving from men for her zillionth selfie post of the day. My other guess is she’s probably too exhausted from admiring herself to have a truly physical relationship with any of them.

And, lest you still believe my words have some jealousy component to them, let me show you that there are many types of booty-displaying, pride-abiding shapes on Facebook pages beyond those you’ve already had the unfortunate opportunity to now witness (in case your rear has also been exposed, like mine, because your social media head was buried so deeply in the sand).

the_mighties

Sometimes, you’d like to protect people who won’t protect themselves or those they love. (I’m referring to the wall photo of the child I covered on the left.)

Woe to the men who are gullible enough to hope for or seek out relationship with any of these women. It will be difficult for her to give herself to someone else when she’s been giving pieces of herself away daily on Facebook for the price of a few raunchy comments. I’m guessing these women would gasp at my measure of “a few.” Why, some have reached over 200 likes and 37 or more comments in a single post! Surely that is a world-changing event!

Here’s some assurance. The TRUE world-changing event is the Resurrecting Power of Jesus Christ in our lives. And will continue to be. Both men and women who have been involved in the aforementioned – or even worse – practices can still turn their eyes and their hearts away from these wrongful behaviors. The LORD wants to help you hand your thoughts over to Him. He desires to love you with His never-ending abundance of mercy and grace. And yes, the Holy Spirit wishes to convict our hearts toward repentance of our wrongful ways; but not condemn us through them. Such Love covers over a multitude of sins.

“The Lord will rescue his servants;
no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.”
Psalm 34:22

To become Christ’s servant will require a heart-changing event. I don’t expect that anything I write here will change the behavior of these women, or women like them, or the lonely and longing men they both manipulate and serve. That has to be between each individual and the LORD – though I’ll continue to hope and pray so.

What I do expect to accomplish is to challenge my Christian sisters to carefully consider what you post, as well as your intent for posting it – particularly when it can lure our brothers’ eyes and thoughts (or even younger women’s behaviors) in a wrongful direction. And I challenge my Christian brothers to be more protective of all women in your thoughts and deeds, particularly in this regard. Be diligent to assure that you don’t even accidentally become engaged in this behavior.

Colossians 3:1-2  instructs us, as believers: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on [spiritual] things above, not on [fleshly] things of the earth.” 

In other words, practice GODLY thoughts (and resultant actions) – NOT fleshly ones. And help your brothers and sisters in Christ do likewise.

Colossians 3:3-5 goes on to remind us of WHY we do so – and HOW to do so through the Power of the Holy Spirit within us: “For [your fleshly self] died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death your [fleshly] members [desires, thoughts, words, actions] which are of the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”

If we are to put to death our fleshly self, I recognize that means we shouldn’t be flashing all that flesh around. I would encourage you to read all of Colossians 3, and by the time you get to verses 18 & 19, you should have a better understanding of how and why we reserve such things of our flesh for one – and only one – special one, through sacred acts of love. By first giving the very essence of yourself (your spirit) to GOD, you will be made more spiritual through His Spirit in you. Then, when you give yourself in the flesh to that special someone who has also spiritually given himself to the LORD – and he is the only one who looks upon you intensely with his passionate, longing, loving desire – then no one else’s eyes, thoughts, or opinions of you will ever matter again.

Do you know what drew my sweetheart to me? It surely wasn’t my [in]aptitude for selfie-taking. And it wasn’t uncovered cleavage. Nor did I send illicitly coded messages his way. My secret? He claims that it was my integrity that stood out above all else and that drew him near to me. He apparently thought the LORD had covered and adorned me well with it. Huh. Go figure. GOD’s liberal measure of Integrity was the main attraction.

“Do NOT let your adorning be external—
the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear-”
I Peter 3:3

As for selfies…no one said you can’t enjoy them. Go…take lots of them with all those people who GOD has given you to genuinely love. Find a godly mate and be proud to show him or her off! Make the rest of the world jealous of seeing all those joyful selfies of the two of you together – so jealous, in fact, that they want that same grace-filled JOY for themselves. So jealous that they’ll be willing to pay the incomparable price of regarding someone else (and themselves) with our Heavenly Father’s priceless, loving, unrivaled esteem within a Christ-centered relationship to get it!!

Us

Me? Jealous? I’ll let you be the judge.

“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you,
then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve….
But as for me and my household,
we will serve the Lord.”
Joshua 24:15

The JOY of the LORD is my Strength!

The Hospitality of a Hallowed Eve

Hi, my name is Jody. I’m a Christian. And, here’s my hellacious holiday confession. Well, hey, I happen to like Halloween.

I don’t see it as a holiday to be demonized. And I really don’t think all those little kids are dressing up so they can come onto my front porch to practice their evil incantations. Basically, they’re in it for the candy. And I’m in it for the hospitality.

How many other days of the year can I expect that, if I sit on my front porch, a large percentage of my neighbors and even complete strangers will come by and visit? I walk my neighborhood each day – and though I stop and chat a time or two with someone each week for a couple of moments – how many other days of the year are our sidewalks filled with people joyfully greeting one another and socializing along the way? How many other days do I have the opportunity to chase down people I don’t know and ask to take their pictures? (Okay, well, maybe I’ve done that a few other times too…but you get the point.)

I wish I could tell you the excitement I felt at rushing to get home last night, after traveling on the road all day, then bringing my dinner out with me onto the porch, so I wouldn’t miss the busy group of excited children and teens gathering as it all began.

I wish I could tell you the joy I felt in my heart when I extended a handful of candy to a young visitor and was met with large eyes attached to a small, amazed voice that gasped, “I can have ALL of these?” “Only if you want them all,” I answered with a giggle.

I wish I could express the satisfaction I received from offering extra candy along with a bandaid to the overzealous trick-or-treater who tripped on my sidewalk because he was so excited to get there, as we both picked up his spilled trail of candy together.

I wish I could explain my frustration that I hadn’t thought to take pictures of all my visitors until after many of them had already gone on their way – and then my delight at rushing inside to grab my camera so I could share a tiny bit of my joy with you.

With that being said, I hope you, too, get some enjoyment from the precious few photos I did gather. More than anything, I hope that you were able to personally get great enjoyment from the hospitality opportunity that this Hallowed Eve offered once again to us all. I would hate to think that any of us might miss an opportunity to extend or receive the warmth of hospitality to one another.

Desiring to be Dopey

I was once interviewed for our college newspaper by a student staff member.  Now this young lady, Dena, is going to make a great reporter one day because she really knows how to ask the kind of questions that get to the heart of WHO a person really is.  In my interview, she surprised me with a very thought-provoking question about myself.  She wanted to know…

If I was one of Snow White’s seven dwarfs, which one would I be?

That question definitely made me stop and think!  My first response was, “You mean I can’t be Snow White?”  Nope.  As a mother of three boys (reminder: boys don’t care much for fairytales), I had to admit that it had been too many years since I’d seen Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs for me to remember all of their names.  So to be fair, she let me do a quick Google search on them while we were sitting in my office. My informal study revealed some interesting facts about these characters along with their names – Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sneezy, Bashful, Sleepy and Dopey.  Their group picture revealed that Dopey was the only dwarf without a beard, so I figured he might be a reasonable choice on that basis alone; but the caption also reminded me that he was the only dwarf who didn’t speak. (I get that some might suggest I discount Dopey from my list of choices for that reason alone.) I understand that most people don’t want to own up to being Grumpy, but I also figure most people don’t purposely want to be represented as Dopey either – especially when worldly intelligence is so in vogue. Nevertheless…

My choice was made.

Something about this quiet, clumsy little dwarf’s disposition struck me as powerful. He made it easy to look deeply into his heart to define him, rather than thinking about his name or his looks or his eloquence (or lack thereof).

We do the same thing all the time with people that we try to do to Dopey.

We look at the outside appearance, making them out to be someone different than God created them to be. We don’t take time to know their hearts, to recognize their callings. We think it’s bad to be Dopey, when, in fact, Jesus wants his followers to be able to become just that.

 As I read about the duties of each of these short-statured gem-miners, I discovered that

Dopey may have been given the most important calling of all.

He was the dwarf who had been assigned the task of cleaning up all of the ‘unusable’ jewels! 

Now I ask you – as a Christian in the world, could there be any more admirable calling on my life than this? Is this not what the namesake, Christ, himself, came into the world to do for me – for others? Did He not enter humanity’s story as a tiny, helpless, clumsy baby, seemingly unlikely for such an enormously daunting task? Yet His story reveals to us how powerfully He can mine unusable jewels as He bursts forth from the bowels of the earth to take control over the wages of sin.

 I’ve already revealed some great things to you so far about Snow White’s dwarf friend, Dopey.  

Yet there’s one other thing that I left out that makes him stand out from the group.  Dopey could become quite scared at times, possibly even paralyzed with fear. But in the one moment that truly mattered the most (when Snow White desperately needed help), he was the one who became quite brave and who urged the others to move in the direction that would free Snow White from her captivity and defeat death. You think of the Prince doing all the work; but the truth is, without Dopey’s role in it, the story wouldn’t have had its happy ending. 

 Jesus never asked his disciples to become brave and rescue him from the cross. (Remember, Peter tried to do just that in the garden, and Jesus stopped him – then Peter became fearful again and ran and lied).  Obviously, we aren’t expected to be perfect; we aren’t even expected to be warriors doing battle. What Jesus wants is for us to be brave to tell our own testimonies – to encourage others through their trials. To urge others to His saving grace.

That’s the calling on our lives that matters most.

  

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.                                                                               

– Philippians 4:8-9

 

The Perfect Present – Merry Christmas!

Christmas

takes the historical,

the theological,

the magical

and the whimsical

and wraps them all together 

in a most delightful present.

whimsical_nativity

Year after year,

the beauty of this same familiar package

never wears down,

it never fades.

The surprise never lessens,

the Christmas spirit never dies –

not as long as we determine we’re going to prepare our hearts to continue to open

-and cherish-

this eternal, priceless gift.

Merry Christmas 2012! – jody

nativity