God is Good…People are Not!

Are you fed up with your so called Christian friends, family and coworkers who are never there for you?

Well, guess what? They are fed up with you not being there for them too.

You might be thinking to yourself that idea makes no sense. You’re the sweetest person ever, right? You’ll do anything for your friends, family and coworkers…etc. You’ve been there for them in times of need. You’re the department superstar. You’re wondering how you could be such a good friend, be so great to your family, go over and beyond at work – yet your amazingly great intentions are consistently overlooked, right?

You’re in the Way!

Years ago I had a very bad habit of making assumptions or I should say, making stories up in my mind about people; even about people I considered my friends. In my mind, my intentions were always the best. I was the sweetest kindest person I knew. I would never do anything to hurt anyone, however, I did not work well with people in some settings and I did not keep friends for very long. I can say with all honesty most of these issues stemmed from the ideas and stories I would make up in my head when I was confused and unsure of other people’s actions. And almost always the stories I made up in my head were wrong.

The good thing is, I know for a fact I am not the only person with this issue. In a book by Brene’ Brown, Rising Strong, she explains through her research why so many people begin to make up stories in their mind…

“In the absence of data, we will always make up stories. It’s how we are wired. In fact, the need to make up a story, especially when we are hurt, is part of our most primitive survival wiring. Meaning making is in our biology, and our default is often to come up with a story that makes sense, feels familiar, and offers us insight into how to best self-protect.”

BRENE’ Brown

“Absence of data” is key…but it’s a small issue that can easily be resolved if we recognize it and begin to make intentional adjustments in our thinking patten.

Ten years ago our family was attending a small church while living in California. I had invited several women to attend a gathering I was having. Three women, who I considered close friends, did not RSVP, nor did they attend, nor did they mention anything about it when I saw them at church. I didn’t mention anything about it to them either.

I was so upset at these women for not attending. The situation made me so mad I convinced my husband that we were in the wrong church.

We were two steps away from leaving this church when wisdom hit me in the face waking me up to my immature behavior.

What? You… Saleama?

2 Timothy 3: 1-5 “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”

A woman I know actually said to me one day, that with me having a degree from seminary, she could not believe I could be upset with her about something.

Sorry but seminary graduates are not exempted from being selfish with no self-control and ungrateful.

The Apostle Paul was one of the greatest men of God. The book of 2 Timothy is Paul’s final words. As he prepared to die, being terminally ill in a cold dark Roman prison when he wrote these words, he encouraged Timothy, who would succeed him in leadership to be mindful of what it means to live for Christ. Live a life of honor he says, be prepared for false teachings by followers of Christ and prepare to suffer for Christ. In the last days Paul says; people will be lovers of themselves, arrogant and ungrateful.

This was true then and it’s true now…seminary or not.

I am convinced we often use our Christian status to give ourselves free rein to behave anyway we want. We think we can say whatever we want, behave anyway we want, treat people anyway we want all in the name of Jesus Christ. We think way too highly of ourselves as Paul reminds us. We do not consider other people’s circumstances before we inject our thoughts and emotions into a situation, and we honestly believe God is okay with the way we behave.

Although as humans our brains will make up stories that seem to make sense to us, we have to work at not allowing those stories to destroy relationships, hurt others, cause harm to ourselves and to our families, or make poor unwise decisions.

Proverbs 12:15 “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.”

The Backdoor…

Our family was about to leave a church we had attended for over a year. We we growing spiritually at that church. My husband had developed an amazing friendship with the associate pastor, who he is still very good friends with today. Our children were developing friends, yet because three women whom I had invited to my gathering did not RSVP, or attend, or mention anything about it, I was about to pack our family up and leave.

This sounds foolish right? But that’s what happens when we make up stories in our head. We live a foolish and ridiculous life. And then we make up the story in our minds that God is on our side with this type of irresponsible behavior.

We were halfway out the door of that church when the pastor’s wife stopped me. She told me my conduct was out of line. She instantly recognized that I was filtering the situation through past experiences with other women. She asked if I taken the time to talk with the women who did not attend the gathering to get their perspectives.

Talk?

In person?

What a novel idea!

James 1:19 “Know this, my beloved brothers, let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.

I spoke with all three women at different times separately. They each had the same story. They did not receive the “email” invitation to my gathering. They each suggested it likely went into their SPAM folder. They each wondered why I didn’t just ask them if they had received the invitation. If they had known about the gathering they said they likely would have attended.

I apologized to the women for behaving so silly.

What would cause me to come up with a story that these women did not want to attend my gathering? I considered them friends. Why didn’t I just go and talk with them or call and ask if they received the invitation?

That’s an easy answer.

I was so used to being rejected (or at least that’s the story I made in my mind for years in other situations) I just assumed this situation was no different.

His Refresh…

It is mind-blowing when I think about how often we destroy relationships, friendships, work relationships, family relationships because of the stories we produce in our brains then refuse to simply talk in person to clear up any misunderstanding, and yet we are okay with broken situations. We seriously think God is okay with it too. We seriously believe God is on our side and He is fine with us going from situation to situation behaving badly in His name.

God is not okay with our broken situations, but people are…

…because God is good…people are not.

Our hearts are deceitful above all. The Bible tells us how corrupt we are and Satan knows this.

Jeremiah 17: 9 “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

Like Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy verse 3:2 “People will be lovers of themselves.”

Satan knows we love ourselves. He knows we like to feel superior, be right about everything, and feel like we have power. He does a wonderful job in disguise to our detriment.

We are so self-centered. We care only about how we feel. We are not willing to be vulnerable for the sake of Jesus Christ. We are barely willing to admit we were wrong. Do we even dare utter I am sorry – ever – anymore!?

We are perfectly okay with a false story in our mind about others because it protects us, yet it hurts God.

And Satan wins!

From that moment ten years ago when we were about to leave the church, I have worked hard at not coming up with stories when data is missing. (I still have to work at this all the time!) If data is missing, I try hard to talk with people either over the phone or in person. I have to purposely tell myself that God is good. I am not – without His help.

If I am not focused on God, then my focus will go into another direction which is not good. It takes hard work to live a life for Christ and to be sensitive for His sake. Do you need to hit the refresh (His refresh button) for a good story?

Jeremiah 1:9 “Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.”

Clear the Air

Who in your life right now has hurt you? Who are you no longer speaking to and if you’re honest, you could care less, because they hurt you, right?

Here’s a question…who have you hurt today; your spouse, your children? How did you speak to them before you all left the house? Do their feelings matter to you?

But…what anger and bitterness are you holding onto against someone else walking around in a pity-party while ignoring the pain you’ve already inflicted onto someone else?

Someone has hurt you…and you have hurt people too. But God wants us to bring peace into our lives and situations, not hold onto bitterness. No one is perfect, because we are not good on our own. We will all make mistakes. We will all have bad days…And we will get an email and innocently forget to reply…or it will end up in our SPAM folder.

Don’t get me wrong, every relationship cannot be physically mended, but your heart, the bitterness and anger you’re holding onto will stay with you in every situation and you will always have broken relationships, make poor decisions, you will suffer and your family will suffer until you begin to realize God is good, people are not, (you are not – without Christ) but when you live your life for God, you let Him in completely. He will help you create better stories in your mind about your friends, family and coworkers. He will help you see situations from a different perspective. He will give you the strength to talk in person to clear up any misunderstanding and confusions.

Give yourself time.

You might need to walk away from some situations for a while to pray and seek God’s guidance.

There will be times you try to mend relationships only to be rejected for a time. It’s okay. Just know deep down God is never okay with a broken relationship and you did your best for Him to fix it.

Don’t rest in bitterness. Let Him heal you. He heals brokenness. He gives us strength. He guides our steps. He makes everything complete. And don’t forget to say you’re sorry today to a few people you have hurt. Make this story complete.

HIS STORY in YOUR life will ALWAYS be a GOOD story!

Our nature is not to be good. It is a fight to be good, but it can be done with Jesus Christ.

Make an effort today, right now, to create beautiful GOOD stories in your mind about the people in your life. Make an effort to treat others with love and respect.

God is good. He wants your life to be good – and it can be done with Jesus Christ at the center.

~Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS

If you do not Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, He offers the free gift of Salvation.

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Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS is wife to Omar, and mother of five. Saleama and Omar own two homeschool nonprofits, Gifted Athletes Homeschool PE, and P226 Innovative Homeschoolers. Saleama is a published author, having served as a writer for Christianity Today, and self-published several books. Saleama has a BS in Church Ministries and MA in Theological Studies.

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