August Challenge: Taming the Tongue!

tongue

This isn’t my favorite, I’m not gonna lie.

All my life I have struggled with my tongue.  Saying the right thing.  Not saying the wrong thing.  Slipping up and saying the wrong thing anyway.  Half the time purposefully.

In my younger years, I was known for being sarcastic.  Didn’t really care if it was hurtful if I could get some laughs from others.  (Never mind if it was really because I felt insecure myself, putting others down to draw attention away from my own flaws.)

Then I became a Christian.  It was far from an overnight transition, but slowly my words became sweeter.  I would think about the impact on others before I spoke.  I realized that my sarcastic jokes actually hurt my friends and I stopped making them.

This change made a huge difference in my relationships.  In the past, thinking I was oh-so-hilarious, I would make the same sarcastic jokes with guys, and then wonder why they didn’t reciprocate my affections.  Wasn’t I hysterical?  Didn’t they get the joke?  Probably they did.  But they didn’t want to spend time around someone from whom every other word was harsh.

When I met my husband, I knew I needed a different strategy.  He is a sweet guy who, like anyone, appreciates kind words and encouragement, not jokes at his expense.  I try to be his biggest cheerleader and affirm him at every opportunity that I can (full disclosure: he still thinks I’m sarcastic, so I guess I have some ways to go).

Score one for relationships, but oh boy, work is a whole other matter.  I get angry and frustrated.  It rises up within me like a tidal wave and I find myself going from zero to sarcastic in less than 60 seconds.   I am right.  They are wrong.  How can they not see it?  Are they stupid?  Do they just want to make my life difficult?

See, taming the tongue is really an issue with its root in the sin of pride.  It is putting our feelings – our sense of justice or our desire to be seen as “funny,” our belief in our own rightness or our belief that our right to free speech matters more than someone else’s right to not be hurt – ahead of everything else.  We are so wrapped up in our emotions that we can’t see beyond them to someone else’s point of view.

To draw a contrast, Jesus did not get sarcastic.  He got angry, but in His anger, He did not let the sin of pride overwhelm Him.  He did not let emotions get the best of Him, or let his anger become a personal attack on others.  He was controlled and measured in His response, always remembering empathy and caring, even when He was persecuted.

I confess that I am not there.  But I want to be.

A Heart of Compassion & Service

Having a heart of compassion and acting upon it to meet the need (service) is a beautiful thing.

I do not know how it normally is for you, but every time when I see a need I am faced with a dilemma of either taking a step out from my comfort zone or to just ignore and bury the uncomfortable feeling of guilt.

One of the most memorable experiences that I’ve ever had was to go on a mission trip to South Africa in year 2012 where our team had the privilege to serve along-side a few Anglican pastors who take care of a few hundred children in different locations specifically at Polokwane, capital of the Limpopo province, South Africa. These children live in poverty and are most of the time left unattended as their parents had to go to work or worst still, high on drugs and incapable of taking care of them. The church responded to the need and organized Soup Kitchen for about 2 or 3 times weekly to feed these children. I spent about 21 days between Polokwane and Johannesburg and the experience changed me significantly. It made me realise how privileged I am to be living in Malaysia and how I have taken for granted the basic things in life such as clean water, food and clothing which are so readily available.

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After the mission trip I was overwhelmed by the immense need (not only in South Africa per se) but for other parts of the world and felt helpless. But as I took time to reflect upon the days spent in South Africa and the activities we did as a team in sharing the gospel, teaching the kids (English, Mathematics) and spent time with them it wasn’t so much of what we had given or imparted to them. But how much they have taught us that even in having the simpler things in life (just basic needs, nothing fancy) and in times of need there is still joy in the Lord. Responding to needs doesn’t necessarily make huge impact or changes, but it certainly changes me (my heart).

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Another lesson leaned is that – I don’t have to take a 20 hours flight to South Africa to meet the needs of those children only, but to look around me and attend to the needs of the people in my sphere (in my office) by the guidance of the Holy Spirit while being ready and available to do so – that is what I think having a heart of compassion is about.

James 4:17 says “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” Now, to just take that one verse on its own may sound legalistic. But if we take the entire gospel in its totality of which the foundation is love (for God and for others) which requires effort and commitment then James 4:17 is in fact a good reminder of the purpose why we are here on earth.

So whether it’s a concern that Trump is building wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, or the protection of the Rohingya refugees in Malaysia or the call to go for mission trips – the heart of the matter is, the matter of the heart. The act of sincere service flows from a heart of compassion. While a heart of compassion comes from a heart that is filled with love and gratitude. And a heart that is filled with love and gratitude comes from the knowledge of being loved and accepted by the God. And God is love.

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timmie-liew Timmie

Hello, my name is Timmie and I’m from Malaysia. I am a lawyer by profession. I am a charismatic, passionate person and enjoy beautiful things in life such as travelling to different cities to appreciate the culture. I love fashion and appreciate ‘coffee time’ with people to talk about life and build meaningful relationships. I’m passionate about the things of God, the Church and authentic leadership. My deepest desire is to embrace all that God has called me to be and be a blessing to whoever that God has placed in my life past, present and future. Our God is a GREAT God, and the best is yet to come !🙂

I am that prostitute

alley

I have nothing in common with a prostitute. 

If you’re like me, I’m sure you’ve had this thought many times in your life.  Or maybe you’ve never even thought about it all.  Which is ok because It’s likely not a common comparison.  But I can tell you with absolute certainty that you, yes you, have many things in common with the ladies of the night.

And I just couldn’t believe that I was so wrong about this.  Because I tend to be right about many things in life.  Which is also a lie.

But let me tell you a story of how I came face to face with my inaccurate thought processes:  

There I was.  With all my holy haughtiness.  Sitting in the back of a van with a few other ladies and one gentleman.  Riding around an area in Atlanta known for its high rate of trafficking and prostitution.  I was excited, scared, anxious, and relaxed all at the same time.  

I was sure that I was going to venture out into the darkness to bring the light.  That I would touch the souls of men and women who felt trapped in lives where their bodies encompassed their worth.

And that’s exactly what was going through my mind as we approached the first lady to give her a rose and extend a hand out of that way of life.  But as soon as I stepped out of the van to dramatically save her soul, I was smacked by a sudden realization.  

Yes, Jesus slaps people.  Right in the face.  And it’s not a gentle nudge.  It involves all five fingers and has the weight of the Holy Spirit behind it.  And also behind that slap was an epiphany that this girl, these women, were all me.  

I am broken.  I am a mother trying to make ends meet to raise my daughter in the best way I know how.  I feel overwhelmed by circumstances.  I struggle with keeping my worth in line with my God-given value.  I believe the lie that one decision won’t change my destiny.  I have allowed tiny decisions to add up until the damage was evident to myself and others.  And that damage led me to surrender in the arms of my Creator.  

But one more decision could have brought me to those same corners where I came offering roses and hope.  One more decision could have landed me on dark stages stripping off pieces of myself to gain hurt in return.  One more decision could have seen me depending on the cheap approval of men to feel loved.

But that’s the funny thing about doing things for the Kingdom.  You walk in all high and mighty ready to change lives, only to realize that you were the one who needed changing.

And trust me, you’d much rather learn humility through service and putting on the suffering of others than have God knock you down to size.  I mean, have you read the Bible?  He’s been known to rain fire, instant death, and turn folks into a pillar of salt.  No thanks.  I don’t want to be the seasoning on anyone’s meal.

So next time you step out to share life, remember to see yourself in every single person that crosses your path and leave your piety at home. Vulnerability is more powerful than holiness.  And service is much more effective when others can see where you’ve been compared to where you are.  That is dealing hope that their lives can be better, can be different, rather than sending them the message that they could never be you.

PS – If after reading this, you are still of the mind that you couldn’t possibly be that person you’re serving, just remember three things.  One, Jesus slaps people.  Two, God can rain fire. FIRE.  And three, you are not that important (Galatians 6:3).

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roz Roz

Hey there!  My name is Roz.  I’m a full time working, single, homeschooling mother to the world’s funniest 5 year old on the planet.  I’m an introvert who is obsessed with bacon.  I like to play music extremely loudly in my car and will keep singing at full voice even when you turn to stare.  I also blog occasionally over at beautyfullyflawed.com where I write words about Jesus, homeschooling, and the beauty of imperfections.  I look forward to sharing my imperfections with you, as well.