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(To my readers: Today’s post is in response to the recent accusations of abuse by Minnesota Vikings running back, Adrian Peterson. But in a more general sense, the situation has reminded me of how easy it is to become judgmental. For the believer, hard as it is, grace comes first. )

When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7

Maybe it’s because I made a horrific mistake that cost me a career I loved and left me with a criminal record that I’ll carry for the rest of my life.

Maybe it’s because I remember the shame and embarrassment I felt realizing that I’d hurt someone very dear to me, someone I loved and would have protected with my life, but ended up hurting.

Maybe it’s because I remember the looks, the loneliness and the rejection from friends I once thought would be loyal (many professing Christians).

Maybe it’s because I still harbor the wounds of those who still consider me an abuser, and still hear their accusing words.

Maybe it’s because I remember the few that stood by me even though they knew I wasn’t completely innocent.

Maybe it’s because I learned the ground is level under the cross and we are all equally guilty before God.

Maybe it’s because I learned the hard way that the common belief that one is ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is a fallacy and that even though our justice system may still be the best in the world, it’s seriously flawed.

Maybe it’s because I don’t think social media is the place to determine innocence, guilt or character.

Maybe it’s because I learned through my own failings what grace was.

Maybe it’s because, as a parent, there were far too many times I failed.

For whatever the reason, I’ll stand with AP. I don’t agree with what he did, but Jesus died for him too. I expect the secular media to crucify him, not believers. We are to be the last to cast stones, not the first.


Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19 (NLT)

How do you respond to someone who attacks you? Or maybe the question should be “Do you respond or react?”

Reaction is immediate, swift and impulsive. Response involves thought and time and deciding if the best action is non-action. Sometimes, of course, the situation itself dictates the answer to that question. For example, when physical harm is imminent there is no time to waste. Action must be swift.

There are other times when our best action may not be reaction but taking time to step back and consider our response. The human reaction when we are attacked is either fight or flight. The decision is often determined by our ability, or perceived ability to win. That’s what it’s really all about isn’t it? Isn’t that why the guy cut you off yesterday? You were in HIS lane? Isn’t that why you felt so good (for awhile anyway) when you didn’t give a tip to that incompetent, rude server at the restaurant during lunch? Isn’t that why you got into the face of your teenager when they were disrespectful to you ‘for the last time’? It was all about control, all about who will come out on top.

From the very beginning of time, every conflict has been about who will control what or whom. That was the motivation behind Satan as he entered the garden, it’s the basis of every national and family conflict ever since. We want to win and sometimes we want to win at all costs.

Psalm 37:11 teaches us, “But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.”

That’s just the opposite of how we normally think. It’s not the meek that get anything except to be treated as doormats. But meekness isn’t weakness; meekness is having power that is under control. As believers in Jesus Christ we are not called to be doormats, we are children of the king. We are, however called to be meek. We have all the power of the Triune God on our side, but we are to consider how we can be meek when it comes to our own way.

Meekness is hard because meekness means that even though we have all power and even though we may be right, we release the situation in which we feel attacked or mistreated to God so that he can handle it.

Meekness means we wait for God’s timing, not our own. God has promised to protect us. He’s promised to be with us, to walk with us during the dark valleys of life. Sometimes his promises seem slow, but they are not slow. He’s just much more patient than we are.

Meekness means we trust God’s methods. When we are mistreated or attacked we have a pretty good idea of how it should be handled. Usually, if we are honest, it will be handled in a way that gives us glory. However, God’s intention is never to give us glory; God’s intention is to bring glory to Himself; it’s never about revenge but always about restoration.

Meekness goes against every human part of us. It can only come as we learn to give control of our lives to Jesus through the power of His Holy Spirit.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus. I confess that many of the conflicts I’m involved in are a result of my demands for my own way and not for your glory or the restoration of others. Empower me with your Spirit to give you the control in the conflicts in my relationships. Amen.

Pray that our Lord will make us strong and give us peace. Psalm 29:11 (CEV)

Psalm 29 speaks to us, to remind us that storms will come into our lives. Sometimes those storms are the result of our own sin and rebellion. Sometimes the winds of the hurricanes that block our paths are the evil actions of abusive people. Whatever their cause we are assured that it’s not a question of ‘if’ storms come, but ‘when’ and how often.

Storms can be physical such as illness, financial ruin, and destruction of our homes, careers or relationships. Perhaps the toughest, scariest storms are the storms within. Those flashes of lightning that remind us of our failures. Those life-shaking claps of thunder that make us question our ability to go on; that make us question our faith. These are the storms that can make us suffer in silence, or force us away from those who love us most.

Read back through Psalm 29 once more. Take time to reflect on the words of power seen in the words of the Psalmist. Your heavenly Father is pictured as being the most powerful storm ‘nature’ can muster. He shakes the foundation of the world; no one can escape or deny his mighty works.

Then, remember his great love for you today. There will be storms. Ask him to give you strength and courage to weather them. There will be times when life seems to jostle you about like a small boat on a great and windy see. Pray that in the very midst of the storm he will give you peace.

The great preacher/author Charles Spurgeon writes: Dear reader, is not this a noble Psalm to be sung in stormy weather? Can you sing amid the thunder? Will you be able to sing when the last thunders are let loose, and Jesus judges quick and dead? If you are a believer, the last verse is your heritage, and surely that will set you singing.

You oftentimes have no choice as to the storms that will enter your life, but because of Jesus you can choose how they will affect who you are and how you come out on the other side. Jesus Christ came, not only to give you forgiveness and eternal life; he came so that when the storms come you can rely on him to see you through.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I thank you for your grace. I praise you for your forgiveness. But most of all, right now I pray for us as your children. I ask that during this present stormy time of our lives you would grant us the strength and peace we need to endure. In your name, Amen.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4 (NCV)

I like the way the KJV words this verse, “Charity [love] suffereth long”.

We don’t like to think of love and suffering in the same sentence. We’re taught when we are young that love is signified by a smile and a hug; a kind soft voice; warm chocolate cookies and milk.

Reality can set in far too early about love though. More and more of our children learn that love can end and sometimes, harshly. Mommy and Daddy used to say “I love you all the time…before the divorce.”

“My mommy says she loves me but she is never there when I call her and her boyfriend hits me all the time.”

“Friday he said he loved me, but it’s Monday and he says he doesn’t want me around anymore.”

Reality is, from a human perspective anyway, love isn’t the warm, fuzzy, eternally blissful thing we always dream of. Fairy tales end at the gates of Disney World and real live sets in harshly and quickly.

Too often we confuse love with passion rather than suffering; with comfort rather than conflict; with happiness rather than hardship. But love doesn’t have to be that way. True love, Godly love isn’t measured by fireworks and party hats.

Godly love determines, before you leave the house that the guy that cuts you off on the interstate isn’t invading your spot, you were saving it for him. Godly loves means that before you lash out at your child for forgetting an assignment AGAIN, you listen to their own pain and help them learn to make good choices. Godly love means that when the food comes to your table cold and late you notice the red eyes of the server and ask how her day is going.

Godly love isn’t easy love. Godly love gets taken advantage of; is unappreciated; suffers…long. Godly love endures constant disappointment, patiently works through rebellion and always puts the needs of the other person before your own.

People have had enough of the love the world offers. That person in the pew behind you at church, you know the one who never keeps her kids quiet, just may be at the end of her rope and needs understanding rather than judgment. That teenager with long hair and scruffy clothes may be making a statement that says ‘All I really want is to be noticed.’

How can you show Godly love today? Who will irritate you for the umpteenth time that may just need a smile rather than a rebuke? Before you act, measure your love for others according to God’s love for you. His love for you ‘suffers long’ and he asks the same from you.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for the way you love me. Thank you for the patience you’ve shown when I rebel, struggle or get impatient. Empower me with your Spirit to show others the great love you have shown me. In the loving name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

How long must I be confused and miserable all day? How long will my enemies keep beating me down? Psalm 13:2 (CEV)

It’s a question we all ask. It comes in a variety of ways, for a variety of reasons. But its meaning and source are the same.

How long will my loved one have to suffer from this cancer? How long will I have to endure a marriage that isn’t fulfilling for me or the kids? How long will this job hunt last? How long will I have to wait for that doctor’s report? How long will this addiction keep me enslaved? How long…?

We can try to find things to take our focus off the question. Some of our activities to try to take our focus off the question are noble. We volunteer. We go to church. We enter some ministry to help others. But when we go home at night, in the silence of our own minds the question lurks.

Sometimes we try other things that aren’t quite so noble. We have an affair. We turn to drugs or alcohol. We blame God. We worry. Wait, worry? Is it fair to list worry in the same paragraph as affairs, drugs or blaming God? Sadly, yes. For worry is just another way we say (unintentionally perhaps) that God can’t or won’t take care of you for whatever the reason.

The question hounds us relentlessly. Day and night it lurks in the shadows waiting for an opportune time to attack. A time when our minds, weary from trying to avoid the question lets its guard down. That’s when the enemy attacks.

The enemy, of course, is Satan and we must never lose sight of the fact that celebrates those times when he can keep us subdued. He and is wicked cohorts give each other high fives when we focus so much on the question that we lose sight of the only one who can give the answer.

He’s ruthless too. He not only uses his own mind-bending tactics to attack your soul and mind, he uses people. Sometimes he coerces good church-going people who kick you when you are down in the name of Jesus. Other times he uses evil people intent on causing you harm. Physical harm is bad enough, but those bruises will heal. Emotional bruises on the other hand are hidden from view and take years to heal, if ever.

How long? The answer is two-fold. First of all, our deliverance will come in a time that is best for us. Secondly, the answer will only come from a vibrant faith in God that says, regardless of how long I suffer, I put my trust in thee.

PRAYER: Father, in the midst of my despair, confusion and frustration I confess I’ve lost my focus. I’m focusing so much on the question that I’m crippled from finding you, or the answer for that matter. I thank you that you see my very soul and that you are with me even when I can’t find you. Amen.

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