Blackfoot Valley Dispatch - The Blackfoot Valley's News Source Since 1980

Mountaintop Musings: Looking back to move ahead

 

January 2, 2019



Today many people are out returning gifts or shopping for bargains. The day after Christmas can be great for saving money, but the trade-off is that you must once again and go out and deal with the crowds and traffic. It is a choice that one must make. As 2018 winds down each of us should look back and honestly evaluate how well we did in making decisions this year. Some were simple, should I cut the grass or go for a hike? Others may have been do I take another three rounds of chemotherapy or go some other route in dealing with my cancer?

The point is, each decision we made this year set us up for another, and another, and another. The decisions, or choices we make today provide the foundation for what tomorrow may bring. Sometimes my words and actions this year brought happiness and joy to others and myself. Other times the result was not so good. I can honestly say there are many choices I have made this past year that I wish I could revisit. But like you, I cannot go back. None of us have a DeLorean Time Machine like Michael Fox had in the “Back to the Future” movies. We cannot just flip a switch and dial in a date and somehow magically move backwards or forwards in time to manipulate things to our liking.

We must be honest with ourselves and realize we have often used our words to make ourselves look better than we are. We have also used our words to make others look worse than they are. It is a fine balance we navigate in life between truths, half-truths and downright lies and distortions. I hope that I am honest with everyone I deal with, but sometimes the pressure is on. Telling the truth in love to folks can be daunting, but it should not be so! Especially for a missionary-pastor of the Lord Jesus Christ. But you know what, I am a human; I have a sin-nature that still lurks in my heart; I often feel the pressure of the demonic forces attacking me and I can weaken and yes, sin! I can withhold truth, use it to my advance and maybe even misrepresent my Lord. When I do any of these things I am trying to justify myself, or maybe trying to hurt someone’s feelings.

When I protect your feelings by not telling the truth, I am hurting those of my Lord Jesus Christ. If I were honst I would admit that I can be more concerned about your feelings than the Lord’s…wow that is not good! So what is a pastor to do in such situations? Yes, repent. Confess my sin to God and to the one I have lied to or against. The old saying “honesty is the best policy” is a biblical truth. Do not lie, bear false witness, and always tell the truth is a good place to be in life. Even if you are not a Christian, telling the truth is a good thing yes? I mean if someone is known for lying, and misrepresenting things their trust level in the work place or community is pretty low. But do not confuse your opinion with the truth is a situation, because they are not synonymous.

I often tell the congregation I pastor, “Don’t believe the lies you tell yourself.” I could add don’t believe the lies you tell others or expect them to believe them! Making decisions that reflect truth and reality is the best place to be. We often gloss over our sin and love to point out the error in others, but that is not good. Self-confrontation can be a good antidote to the problems of life that trail after us. Self-deception will feed the disease and poison us and others.

I would challenge you to read the Bible this coming year, from front to back. It will help you with all kinds of problems, financial, personal, relational, etc. As I have said before, the Bible is the best source of instruction that a person could hope for. It shows us who we are, and what we really need; it shows us the person and love of Jesus.

Until next time, thanks for reading this column and feel free to call me any time.

(Dave & Lisa Carroll are area missionaries with InFaith, America’s oldest Christian home mission agency. You can contact Dave at 406.459.8935 or [email protected])

 

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