August 24, 2010

Conscience vs. Character

It is a good Tuesday morning, and I am awake and enjoying my first cup of coffee. It is 6:10 a.m. local time, and I am feeling pretty good. I took one of my son's prescription Ibuprophen's last evening (I know -- you should not take other people's prescription drugs -- these are simply extra strength Ibuprophen's and not narcotics) and I really slept well. My feet feel OK -- hooray -- and my back is not too sore. I almost purchased those "Thermal Wraps" to put on my back today; but then thought I would survive without one on. I am not really looking forward to working a full 8-hours; but with my new shoes, I am hopeful that I will be fine.

On another front, I had the strangest dream last night. It was a long dream, a very long dream, whereby I woke up several times and then fell back to sleep and continue to dream (the same dream sequence). Weird, huh? In this dream, I was being asked whether or not I could consider marrying a person of less than perfect character. Hmmm....what an interesting dream? I personally don't want to be married to any man right now. Nope, the thought is not even on my radar screen (well, perhaps it is very far off). The Lord has shown me one thing -- I tend to be very concerned about character, and specifically judge people on their lack of it. It is hard for me because I am a judge -- akin to those people in the Old Testament who were called of God to perform judge-like services for Israel. It is something that comes naturally and supernaturally to me, and I judge quite easily. I am not judgemental in the sense of pronouncing judgement on people (like the Word says in Matt. 7:2 KJV: "For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." ) I tend to be asked my advice quite a lot, and often people do seek me for help. I think it is a ministry for me, in a sort, and something I am able to do well.

The issue, though, is that I often preclude relationships with people who I feel possess "less than worthy character." I am superficial in my friendships (always have been), and I do think this is a trait I have developed out of necessity, and through experience. I have learned that by being superficial, I am able to keep from being hurt. If you do not develop deep relationships, then you will not suffer deep sorrow. This is something I do naturally, and I think my "bent" or spiritual proclivity towards judgement has assisted me in being this way. It is a good thing; but at times, can also be a bad thing.

Anyway, in my dream, and then later upon reflection, I have come to understand that what God has given me for the good of His people, could be used to keep sincere friendships from developing within my life. This is not to be. God has created me for fellowship with other people -- both men and women -- and in the scope of His ministry of life -- I must be willing to engage in relationship with all people (regardless of their character.) This is something I will need ponder a while, because I do accept it as being true in my life, and I can see clearly how the Lord desires me to be. I am willing to do as He asks of me, and His Spirit desires me to be open to all people -- regardless of their walk. I must do this for ministry, and I must do this for the good of my life.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for helping me to see that my desire to judge people's character has left me with few real friends. In the spirit of fellowship, I must be open and willing to engage in friendship with all people, regardless of their character. It is a difficult thing for me because I hear the Word in my head and I know that character and good conscience are qualities you highly desire within us. Help me now, Lord, to be the person of character and good conscience that you desire. Help me also to be compassionate and merciful to all people -- and not be so quick to discount a person simply because he or she has a weak character. May I remember that things are not always as they seem with you; and that, with you nothing is impossible. You are a God of redemption, a God who desires to save the lost. May my heart, my mind, and my conscience be of one accord with your Spirit this day. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

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