Unnecessary Condemnation Distracts from the Love and Grace of God

I struggled with writing this post because this is hard to write about without coming across offensive. But, my heart is heavy with the way we as Christian’s treat people outside of the safe circle of our religion. The ones that we don’t see as fitting the standards of holy and righteous. The people whose faith develops differently or isn’t as far down the “holy road” as our own. We are so scared of the downfall of sin that we become soldiers against sin instead of being products of grace.

So many people focus on what’s a sin and what’s not that the gospel becomes drowned out in the chaos of the debates. Christians are given a reputation of being judgmental and hypocritical. In all honesty, if you take a step back and look from the outside, the opinions of us are spot on. We shout the sins from a rooftop so of course we look like hypocrites. We are sinners and are just as flawed as the rest of God’s people. So for us to run around pointing out flaws creates a separation between us and them. This growing separation is what makes more and more people turn their backs to the church.

We seem to believe that it is our purpose to declare the sins and show our intolerance of them. We pick sides and celebrate our brave stance of standing up against the worldly desires. We create unnecessary condemnation of sinners because we don’t want to support the sin. If the gospel is our foundation then sin is defeated. Sin has been paid for with the blood of our Savior. The only defeat of the badness and pain on Earth is Jesus and He has already claimed victory.

The accountability of others is something that takes place within a relationship. You are not qualified to understand the needs of your brother if you do not truly know them. When you are standing from the sidelines you are only making assumptions. We need more quality, real time spent with people before we can ever begin to help them. Not a self-righteous, do gooder type invested but a genuine heart for people. Opportunities for healthy conversations about struggles in life will become available in a respectful manner. The majority already know the do’s and dont’s of the Christian faith so there isn’t a need to constantly tell them. It’s not acceptance of the sin, it’s acknowledging a bigger power than our own. God doesn’t need us, we need Him. God will not condemn you for showing love to someone living in sin. After all, if we are to live like Him, then showing love to someone no matter their circumstances is the true calling of Christianity.

The sins exists and always will. When you omit one from your life you discover another. It’s a never ending cycle because it is our nature to sin. Instead of debating what is a sin or not start creating a focus on the love and grace of Jesus so that one will find hope. With Jesus and the hope he brings, hearts are softened and a relationship with Christ forms. The Holy Spirit’s work in our hearts is the only form of battle against sin that is successful. If you truly love your neighbor then get off the finger pointing sin wagon and allow God’s grace to work in God’s timing. You can debate theology all day long but the ultimate change comes from Christ and Him alone. You are actually hindering His work by bringing attention to issues that don’t matter and cannot be resolved through human interpretation. Even if you are right, it’s faith, you can’t prove it. Your tone, actions, and treatment of others is all that is visible of Christ to unbelievers. So make it worthy and glorifying to God. Let compassion, understanding, grace and love be the forefront of your relationships with everyone. Even those who are sinning according to your personal standards. Jesus never attacked those that needed Him most, He actually attacked the ones doing the finger pointing.

The more we force unrealistic, radical change on people the more defeated they become. Change is a process. Faith is forever growing. For us to expect people to turn away from sin because we say so is cray-cray. No one just wakes up different. People are starting to change in a way that excludes religion due to the impossible standards being set by us. Let’s try showing more grace and see people realize they too are worthy of God’s love.

God sees you as righteous through your faith in Him, not your omission of sin. Find strength in that faith to defeat whatever battle you are facing. Ignore the finger pointers, they have there own battle to deal with.

xoxo

April Walker

**side note: If someone’s sin is causing harm or negatively effecting your life you should separate yourself from the repercussions of the situation. There is no need to just sit back and allow someone to be rude, abuse, or destroy your own. But also no need to stick around to constantly remind them either. Just do what you see is necessary and then step back. Not all people are meant to (mesh well) live in community together.**

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A Mother’s Day Gift worth Giving

babybowser

I want to challenge others to support a family that is on a journey to adopt a little boy this June. They have only a couple of weeks to raise the money to get him home. Every penny helps! If we each only do a small amount I believe it will multiply into enough to change this little boy’s life. He has a loving family waiting on him and we have the opportunity to help. If you are not in a place to help financially then help by spreading the word.

Check out there Adoption Video below.

For Mother’s Day how about giving a gift that honors the true meaning of being a mom.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO BABY BOWSER

Stay updated with their adventures by liking their facebook page!

 Do for one which you wish you could do for millions.

You were born to be real, not perfect

Little voices fill our thoughts with the many things we lack. We are a pinteresting, dieting, comparing, self-help book reading society. The constant need to reach the next phase of our perfect self surrounds us.

I appreciate becoming ‘the best version of you’. If we settle for where we are than we could miss out on some of the amazing opportunities God has planned for us. We should seek improvement in our lives to find the highest potential for joy that the world was created for. I love discovering new ways to style my hair or how to be a fun mom. The climb is literally a joy filled adventure for me. I like to look at something and say “Yay, I did it!” Everyone loves to see hard work pay off, right?

but..

Sometimes there isn’t enough time in a day to accomplish all that we want to. Sometimes life places us in circumstances that prevent us from reaching goals. Sometimes God’s plan for us isn’t that thing, that job, that house, that baby, that man, and we don’t get what we want. No matter how cute our hair is, our latest craft project, that yummy cobbler, and our well-mannered kids are we just can’t control everything.

It’s important to face a reality of “imperfection is who we are.” We are beautifully imperfect. The faults in our lives make our successes what they are. Without the failures and the need for joy we can’t appreciate the full meaning of Christ. His perfection is the only perfect thing within our reach.

Don’t feel the need to fake it for the opinions of others. Who cares what they think? Who cares what I think? We are all just trying our best and sometimes we will come up short. If you show people in a humble, honest way who you are, you are showing them what God wanted them to see. When you fake it you are hiding a Van Gogh behind a knock off.

Don’t hide an original “insert your name here” for the sake of posing as “insert who you wish you were’s name here”. It depreciates your value and steals all potential of God working in your life.

Bottom line is, be real. Be the awkward, clumsy, frizzy haired, big butt, horrible cook that God intended you to be.

PS. I don’t like my arms, I can’t sing, I use spell-check more than necessary, and I sometimes talk too much. #BEREAL

xoxo
April Walker

Yep. As far as I'm concerned, MY grass is greenest. Makes for a content life, and I like it that way! No keeping up with the Joneses' allowed in my house!

Are you letting sin win?

Fear often determines peoples choices and direction in life. The Bible tells us that that fear of failure, of death, of embarrassment, of the dark, and all the other big, bad, and scary things in life is not from God. God gives us power and strength.

7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. -2 Timothy 1:7

Sin is one of those big, scary things to a Christian. As a Christian we seek to please God and perfect our ministry so we fear the downfall that sinning brings. (I’m not going to address the sins itself because we all know the Bible is interpreted in many different ways. Therefore debating what’s a sin or not, doesn’t fall into an area I care to participate.)

With this fear of sinning, we avoid anything related to the sin itself. The sin is not the place, the people, or the object we make into a vice, it’s the actual action we are committing. All of the things I just mentioned do not have life and are not capable of sinning. We are the sinners. Our fear is of our on actions. This is great news! We are in complete control of our sins. Why be fearful of what we have power over and have defeated through Jesus? Grace was a gift that cannot be earned or taken away. If you believe in Jesus then you have been given grace. This should give you courage to face your fear of sin.

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, -Romans 3:23

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. -Ephesians 2:8-9

A lot of things tempt different people and we all struggle in different areas. It is extremely important in knowing your temptations in order to prevent them from getting the best of you. But once you discover them you must gather self-discipline and defeat the sin. In Christian lingo, this is repentance. Sometimes it means avoiding the situation all together. Some desires are just too strong to try to face for that individual. For others it’s a practiced discipline of self-control. We must remember my sin is not your sin. The variations of how we struggle mean we will all handle the sinning temptations differently. It’s important not to define someone as sinning because of their association with something that might cause you personally to sin. That is a judgement we are not called to make. No one act of repentance is above another.

Once you have a game plan of self-control then there is no reason to be consumed by the sin. The thoughts of doubt and oppression are not of God. We are not condemned due to what we have done or could do. When we live our life fearing that we could mess up we are never given the opportunity to succeed or help others with similar struggles. What ministry do you miss out on because you fear association with the people or places associated with your personal struggle? You then take the power from God and give it to the sin. If your sin prevents you from reaching out to someone in need or from living life among other sinners then the sin is winning. You cannot possibly display the glory of God and His grace when you are cowering in the safe haven of a Christian atmosphere. Our calling is not to defeat the sin in our life. God did that! Our calling is to show the glory of that defeat by holding our heads high and facing our own dirty, fault-filled human nature. And telling the world about it! Are your choices led by your fear of the opinions of others or your opinion of yourself? Or do you have great faith and trust in God’s grace and ability to be present at all times, in all places? Don’t hinder God’s work through you for appearance sake. You are accountable to God and God alone.

So get some self-control, establish a game plan, and rejoin the world so you can show others sin can be defeated!

8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. -2 Corinthians 12:8-9

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13

On this side of Heaven, you won’t always get it right
Sometimes you rise above, sometimes you gotta fight
You never know the stories that lie beneath the skin
But judgin’ now won’t change the broken places they’ve been

Cause I know that Jesus ain’t worried ‘bout tattoos and cigarettes
Or if you wear a golden cross around your neck
What about loving your neighbor and giving to the poor
I just want to love like that and nothing more

Rhett Walker Band “The Mystery”

xoxo
April Walker

Give Your Marriage Grace

When Rhett and I got married we were forced to learn quickly how to make it work. We had exactly 9 months to get our act together so we could then begin learning how to be parents. This boot camp marriage scenario isn’t ideal but with 10 years under our belt we can testify that it is possible to have a great marriage regardless of your circumstances. There was a lot of trial and error, and more errors… But the fruits from our labor have been well worth it.

I know marriage is hard. I can honestly say that the fighting sucks, learning to live with someone with different opinions sucks, and humbling yourself to admit when you are wrong sucks…..

We had and have our share of “passionate” discussions.

I think that was one of the biggest obstacles for us. Realizing that fights are going to happen and that the fights lead to growth, gave our marriage a chance to breathe.

After the many romance comedy’s I watched I was under the impression that true love doesn’t fight. That if we fought we were doing it wrong.  We had 3 strikes and your out mentality. So each fight built up more tension because we began fighting about the fact we were fighting.

If someone with a marriage I deemed as “true love” and “they are meant for each other” status would have told me they still fight, the pressure of a perfect marriage would have been replaced with grace. I couldn’t give my spouse grace because in my mind I was fighting for our marriage. I was right regardless because I was making our marriage work and become “better”. But the fights were soooooooo stupid. They were created from petty, selfish insecurities and ideas formed from the “how it’s supposed to be” mindset.

Let me take the opportunity to tell you that Rhett and I fight. He drives me insane and I do the same to him. But now that we realize we are allowed to not agree, allowed to be different, and allowed to do things separately, we don’t fight as hard. We accept the differences. And even learn to love them the most.

I love my husband and I know he loves me. I like my husband and being around him as much as possible. But we are different people and we will disagree at times. Once you give your marriage the grace it needs, it is so much easier to give your spouse the same grace.

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xoxo
April Walker

Be Proud and Confident

Good morning.

Before I try to share whatever encouragement I can muster today, I thought I’d tell you a little more about us. I want you to understand the reality and not a false idea. Rhett and I are often misunderstood due to our livelihood. We are seen as way more special than we are. Not that I’m not special *wink, wink* but just not any more special than you.

I was a girl in a small town that married a boy from a small town. He sings pretty good so there birthed Rhett Walker. It’s really that simple. You might draw, cook, care for, create, fix cars, build, heal, teach, etc really great. So see, we are just the same. All special.

Now that we are all on equal ground, here is what I feel called to challenge you with this morning. God promises repeatedly that He is with us, He will carry us, He knows the plans for us, He will fight for us, and so much more. With this knowledge why do we struggle with so much insecurity?

Arrogance is often frowned upon because of the roots it is developed in. Money, status, career, beauty, and accomplishments can breed confidence in a negative way. My pastor is currently in a series discussing the foundations we build our life on and find our identity/role in. It got me thinking about the security in knowing you are building your life on the foundations of Christ. I know without a doubt where my faith is and the security I have in Christ. So therefore there isn’t much that I fear, shy away from, or worry about. It’s very freeing! I am led by the opinions of my Savior. According to him I am pretty awesome. As are you.

I realize this is a practiced faith that develops over time. Since that is the case, I challenge you to start being proud and confident today. He doesn’t make mistakes. He doesn’t give up on you. He is always there. With that how can you possibly find shame in anything? The perfect, flawless Creator created you perfectly.

Take huge leaps, smile with courage, and show the world your beauty. The world will not know what hit it if we all learn to hold our heads a little higher.

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xoxo

April Walker