Our Reactions to Evil Matter (Pursuing Authentic Christianity)

Today I want to tackle reactions to evil in the world. When Jesus walked the earth there was evil, injustice, mistreatment of people groups, and he faced hatred/mockery/mistreatment.

We see Jesus responding in sternness to the self righteous (Pharisees) and the disciples. We see compassion for those who were lost and not claiming to be right with God.

Jesus also has a one up on us. He was sinless. Jesus was willing to die for the same people He rebuked sternly. He was willing to be mocked, beaten, and even killed for the UNGODLY! Jesus died for His enemies. If Jesus rebukes someone sternly, He is perfect in His assessment and without any sin.

We can sin in our attempts to deal with people and be puffed up in ourselves while doing so. “Oh, I think sister Susie is wrong, let me grab my bible and go point it out to her.” Is it wrong to try to help someone? No. Yet the bible tells us to make sure we don’t have a big mega plank in our eye before we go trying to pull a splinter out of someone’s eye. We are also told to be gentle. We can be gentle, direct, and not nasty. Is it wrong as a leader to address people? No. Yet if we do not love them, our words can be correct and in the wrong spirit.

It is a trap of the evil one to convince us that we are the Holy Spirit or Jesus. We point to God. We do not become God.

It is a trap of the evil one to respond in the same spirit as the evil of this age. We overcome evil with good. If someone comes at us crazy, it does not mean God gives us permission to act crazy.

God has tested this in my life over and over. It appears as weakness to some people. Yet I do not need to yell or act crazy because someone approaches me with ignorance, hatred, evil, or nonsense. We can rebuke and address in great love understanding that the spirits of this age blind people to the truth of who God is.

They do not believe, because their minds have been kept in the dark by the evil god of this world. He keeps them from seeing the light shining on them, the light that comes from the Good News about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God,~2 Corinthians 4:4 (GNT).

Imagine going into a house and the lights are off and everyone is blind. Your method to help is to scream at them, “You are blind. You are in the dark!!!” Guess what, your screaming will not make them see. You can scream all day and it adds no value.

Imagine going to a graveyard and everyone is dead. You walk around screaming the Gospel at them. They can’t hear you! Dead people do not hear or see. The only reason a believer in Jesus can see or hear is because God opened blind eyes, deaf ears, and revealed Himself.

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins,~Colossians 2:13 (NLT).

One of the ways we can help the world is by actually living a life that is a living testimony of the goodness, love, and power of God. I had several coworkers who were atheists, agnostic, or other faiths inquire about Jesus because of the way I acted at work. I did not bully them with the bible, point out everything they did that violated scripture, nor look down on them. I looked for ways to serve them, love them, and the topic of Jesus would just come up. One went to church because he said he could not figure out why I had so much joy. My Muslim neighbor said I was the only Christian he had encountered that did not mistreat him. One of my atheist coworkers hurt her back and because I did not mistreat her, she let me pray. God took all her pain away.

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children,~Ephesians 5:1 (NLT).

The world has heard our sermons. Have they seen Jesus through us?

Do we respond to evil with the Spirit of Jesus? Do we see people God loves and desires to redeem? Or are we like the Pharisees, our hands are full of heavy stones and we are crying out to God to punish them? I will tell you sin alone is great punishment. Without Jesus, people will have ledgers marked with every sin. Do we care about their souls or just the way they treat us?

We also don’t need to beat people up with the bible. I saw this old movie years ago called Saved. It basically mocked Christians for hypocrisy and improper methods of evangelism. I have included a very short clip of the groups attempt to lead Mary back to Jesus. This involves beating her with an actual bible. The Gospel is Not A Weapon . It’s worth watching! It is about 5 minutes long.

I am not stating we condone sin.

I am not stating we condone immorality.

I am stating the way we deal with people can be part of the determining factors on whether they turn to Jesus or run from Him.

I am stating if we don’t live what we claim to believe it impacts the world. All of creation is groaning for sons and daughters of God to rise up and shine bright (Romans 8:19-23)!

We do have a small role to play. If we are hypocrites, hateful, only love people who are a certain way, then we demonstrate to the world that our God is that way. It misrepresents Jesus to the world.

Let’s look at what Jesus said (Luke 6:32-36 (AMP)

If you [only] love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend [money] to those from whom you expect to receive [it back], what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners expecting to receive back the same amount. But love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; for your reward will be great (rich, abundant), and you will be sons of the Most High; because He Himself is kind and gracious and good to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful (responsive, compassionate, tender) just as your[heavenly] Father is merciful.

Expecting people who don’t know Jesus to act like Jesus, is like asking a person who cannot swim to compete in Olympic swimming. They can not. We cannot. Unless we have the Spirit of God we will not manifest the likeness of His character.

Honestly, I have met numerous people in my lifetime in churches who claim Jesus and look and act nothing like Jesus. I have had some of them yell at me, leave my fellowships, act hateful and nasty because I actually taught them what Jesus said. I could write a mega book on mistreatment from professing believers. Shouting “Praise the Lord,” on Sunday and gossiping about you on Monday. I will not even unpack the prejudice, jealousy, competing, pettiness, sexism, sabotage, and racism that I have encountered with professing Christians.

My point is as follows, to expect the world or people who do not know Jesus to flow in tune with God is unreasonable. It is also unfair if we (Christians) are not willing to submit to God to act in ways that actually look like God and then tell others they need God. It confuses the world when the Gospel we teach is not the Gospel we live.

How we react to evil is important. We do not condone it. We do not agree with it. We also do not stoop to low levels of conduct and act in ways unbecoming of Jesus to deal with it. If we were committing evil or out of line, how would we want to be treated? Would we want to be cussed out and condemned? Or would we want someone to say, “I love you and there is a better way?”

I love that even the rebukes of Jesus come because He longs for us to be right with God. Sometimes I think in culture its about us being right and not about the person being right with God.

Love is who God is and how He operates. I appreciate every rebuke and correction of God. Mainly because when God corrects it is to restore. When people do it, sometimes (not always), it is simply a critical spirit or pride. It lacks love, lacks compassion, and lacks tact. A critical spirit can seem like discernment, yet it’s not. God reveals to heal and so we can intercede or help. A critical spirit is rooted in pride and loves pointing out the flaws of others while rarely seeing it’s own flaws.

I am praying I walk in authentic Christianity. Rather than pointing the finger at others, I am asking God to help me walk out authentic faith. When people encounter me, I hope they walk away saying, “I want to know the God you worship,” not “Oh my gosh, get this person away from me. Whoever they worship must be a flake or a freak.”

I actually had a conversation with God Sunday about the way the church represents Him. I put myself in the shoes of someone completely unchurched. Would I desire Jesus just based on my encounters with believers over the years? Other than my parents and a handful of people, well, probably not. Yes, I have met some amazing people, yet as a whole (the summary of my life in Christiandom) have seen a culture that loves those who are already on the path better than the sinner. I would not feel comfortable as a way out there sinner coming into a community of faith. I would not feel comfortable as someone who was labeled liberal or alternative. I would not feel safe. How can I say this? Because I have spent my life in churches and seen the way “outsiders” are treated by a good chunk of people. The person can be a “get them saved project” or “be nice to them only at worship gatherings-ignore otherwise.” Gosh, I have encountered people who withhold love from other Christians because they go to another church or align with another political party. I have seen some pretty amazing believers too, yet as a summary-just my thoughts, we can do better.

I think we (I) can do better by abiding in Jesus (John 15:4-5). We can pray for revival all day, yet if we are not revived internally and begin to actually manifest Jesus, I do not think we will positively impact the world. I hear people chant, “They just need to get saved and come to the church.” Yet, how are we going to treat them when they get there? Is anyone going to mentor or disciple them? Is anyone going to genuinely love, invest, and treat them like Jesus would? We want these millions of souls to come to know Jesus and join our churches, yet have we learned to love the people already right in front of us?

Love is the highest standard. God speaks truth in love. The devil will tell the truth in the wrong spirit to hurt people or inappropriate times to create issues. If you don’t believe demons and the devil can speak truth, read the passages where demons cried out Jesus was the Son of God and He silenced them because it was not His time (Luke 4:41), or the slave girl who followed Paul around speaking truth from the wrong source (Acts 16).

Bottom line-we overcome evil with good.

Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good,~Romans 12:21 (CSB).

Love,

Erin Lamb

Godly Pursuit vs. Selfish Pursuit

Every Pursuit is Not Rooted in God Love

I have encountered numerous women in my lifetime who felt so special for being pursued. Yet the man pursued them as a game, out of loneliness, selfishness, lust, greed, to check a box, to cause harm. Women can pursue too…women are sometimes taught in culture that having a man increases their value or not being married or having children is a sign of life failure. It’s untrue, yet culture contains many things that simply aren’t true. Stalkers are pursuers too…they simply don’t possess the right motivations.

God tells us to pursue wisdom. God tells us to investigate fruit (Matthew 7:15-20). I have been pursued by people, not just men, for their selfish gain. They were not interested in what God was speaking to me or calling me to do. They saw something they thought they wanted and saught to convince me to go along with the agenda. God tells us not to pursue selfish agendas.

Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself,~Phil 2:3.

God is not selfish. When God pursues us, our best interests are taken into consideration. When God presents a plan or His agenda, our best interests and the best interests of others are taken into consideration. I am going to throw out a radical statement. God does not need our worship or devotion. Angels surround the throne of God and worship God continually (Revelation 7:11, Isaiah 6). God invites us into worship not just because He alone is worthy of it, but because worship impacts us in a powerful way. We become like the gods we worship. God alone is good. Even prayer benefits us more than it does God. God is not ego driven; love is God’s persistent motivation.

It can be affirming to be pursued. Yet ask the question, why is this person pursuing me? What is the fruit of their life? Or why am I pursuing this person? God what are my true intentions? Help me to pursue to love as you love.

This is not just for dating. Think about business relationships, ministry relationships, friendships. Is the person coming to the table to add value or with containers to take away? We love tupperware people, we do not allow them to be consistent consumers in our lives. There needs to be balance. Ministering to people is pouring out expecting nothing in return. Godly love involves some reciprocation. God does expect us to love Him in return. It is a lie God desires nothing from us. You may read this in the following verses: Matthew 22:37, 1 Corinthians 6:19, Luke 6:46, John 14:15.

I am inclined to tell you the story of an old hoarder colleague. She loved to go to buffets. The main purpose was to load up her purse. I kid you not she would have a purse full of egg rolls, and chicken wings. She did not frequent buffets because she liked the restaurant per say. She went to load up her purse, what she considered free food. She was not poor in reality. She suffered from scarcity mentality, hoarding, and greed. The restaurant may think, “Oh she loves this place.” Nope, she loves benefiting from this place. If she truly loved the restaurant and the owners, she would abide by their guidelines of not carry out from the buffet. She would not fill her purse full of items. She would think about what is best for the owners not just herself.

God encourages us and invites us into a lifestyle of love. Love thinks of what is best for everyone, not just one person. Love is not selfish, greedy, one sided, nor pursues under false pretenses. God also commits to who He pursues. There is loyalty there. God is not simply pursuing to ditch you later.

Love in Christ,

Erin Lamb

The Reason for the Season

Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

My heart has been pondering the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus came into the world to seek and save the lost. He had His eyes fixed on people that others called outcasts or the unloveable. Jesus took on the role of a servant and loved sinful humanity. While yet sinners, Jesus died for us. What love, what a sacrifice.

I believe we can pay it forward by loving others this season. We can sacrifice something for someone else.

In my area, it is cold. It is winter time.

Though I am on ministry break, it does not stop the part of me that cares deeply for humanity. Ministry is not a job, it is a lifestyle of loving God and loving people. One does not simply turn love off.

While out looking for wrapping paper, getting a few things this week, I saw a man along side the road begging for food. Do you drive past and pretend you do not see, or stop for the one? I believe Jesus would stop for the one. I believe God would feed the one hungry and cold. Not just because it’s the season to love, but because God is love.

I saw a shivering, skinny, and lonely man begging for food. His face was downcast, maybe shame or despair have crept in on his heart. I saw someone Jesus loves.

I had no blessing bags in the car this time. I cleaned out my car it was starting to look like Costco!! For reals. I did have the chance to stop at Burger King to grab a hot meal for this man. What is one meal? It’s better than nothing. If he has not eaten in days, one meal is better than no meals. What is a short interaction on side of the road with a stranger? I think it’s a way to demonstrate to someone in a practical way that God sees them. God loves them.

Love does not just go away on vacation. It springs forward to do something, not everything-something.

This frosty season, maybe God will place an angel on your path who could just use a meal or hot chocolate. Maybe that person needs to see and hear that “God sees you. God loves you! I will pray for you.” Maybe that person needs to see and hear the Gospel (good news).

I don’t tell you these things so you think highly of me. I tell you because maybe it will place some of the invisible people on someone’s radar. Not everyone has a home this Christmas. Not everyone has a family. Some are hurting deeply and wondering where this good God is. If we are in Christ, God lives in us. The greatest gift abides in us and we can partner with God to pay it forward.

I cannot do everything. You cannot do everything! We cannot stop for everyone. We can do something!

We say Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, though He was born in Autumn. If it is truly the celebration of His birth, may we look for some way to bless Jesus. I believe He would be looking for someone else to bless on His birthday. His heart is unselfish and overflowing with love.

Matthew 25:40-42 The Passion Translation (TPT)

“And the King will answer them, ‘Don’t you know? When you cared for one of the least important of these my little ones, my true brothers and sisters, you demonstrated love for me.’

“Then to those on his left the King will say, ‘Leave me! For you are under the curse of eternal fire that has been destined for the devil and all his demons. For when you saw me hungry, you refused to give me food, and when you saw me thirsty, you refused to give me something to drink,~Jesus.

Merry Christmas!

Love in Christ,

Erin Lamb

Photos: Pinterest

Hidden in Jesus

Enjoy being hidden. Find home in God’s heart. ❤️

I love my cave. I actually prefer being in hidden seasons with Jesus. I never prayed to be seen nor to have a platform. My prayer was to be one of God’s very best friends. I think He is the greatest gift to humanity.

In hidden seasons you can simply enjoy God. No one is looking at you nor looking for you. You have an intimacy no one asks about and often they don’t even see you. Yet God sees you.

His eyes are the only ones that matter and He is the best thing.

Oh my, I could go on for days about God. Don’t forget to ENJOY God. Don’t forget to find yourself lost in His gaze. There is more pleasure in God than anything He created. There is more joy in God than any human.

He is worth knowing and pursuing…to say, “I want you God. I desire you. Here I am, laying all I am before your feet, to be swept up in love and intimacy. You are who my heart longs for…more of you.”

May we pursue Him. If no one on earth is looking at you, God is. Look back into those eyes of fire and let the intensity of that love wreck you!!!

Love,

Erin Lamb

We Become Like The Gods We Worship

Morning Devotion: Knowing God is the Key to Thriving. We Can Be Stuck Worshipping The God Made in Our Own Image. We Become Like the gods We Worship. Let’s Know The God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob for Who He truly Is.

I strongly desire for every person to know God intimately for themselves, and not the “God” they think they know. There are things over the years I thought I knew about God yet the more time I spent with Him the greater the revelation. I am still learning.

My first book is entitled I Thought I Knew What Love Was. It is so easy to gather thoughts about God from other people, from skimming the Bible, and not dive into personal intimacy. It is also possible to allow the things we have been taught about God to keep us from learning more. I want to know God for myself, not second hand knowledge.

This journey to intimacy with God moves us being being poly parrots to living out of the very heartbeat of God. Our understanding of God will determine who we become. We become like the gods we worship, they write their names on our faces.

If I do not believe God is good, I will be less inclined to be good to people. If I believe God is harsh, hyper critical, unmerciful or cruel, then I would be more prone to be that way. The grid or lenses by which we view God determine what we become.

Some worship a god of religion, some traditions of men, some a god of their denomination, some a racist god, some a sexist god, some a greedy god, some an unloving god, some an indifferent god, some a god that only lives to serve them.

Over the years I have met hundreds of people who claim to speak for God or know God with some quite backwards ideas, unloving speech, and questionable behavior.

God is not rude. Rudeness is a weak person’s attempt at strength and power. God is all powerful and all knowing. Knowing all our faults, God chooses to move in love and compassion. He could blast all of us to dust with one word, yet instead chooses to send His Son to wash feet and serve humanity.

God is not racist or sexist. I get the most feedback when I talk about equality. Humans desire a hierarchy system due to insecurity, pride, misunderstanding how God works, religious spirits, and misunderstanding the bible. Jesus is supposed to be the standard and we do not see racism or sexism in Jesus. Some misunderstand Paul’s letters and refuse to change their mind about his true meaning.

God is after relationship, not religion. The goal was never to just fill buildings with people who do not engage with God outside of those meetings. The goal was and is to cultivate family with humanity. He said, “I have grafted you into my family through my Son. You have been adopted.” He did not say, “I have signed you up for a program or network.” Family functions differently than an organization. A body functions differently than an organization. The place God longs to gather is in our hearts. God longs for daily communing and a habitation-not visitation. God cultivates family, interdependent community.

God does not live in the land of speaking death and limitations of our abilities. When Moses told God he did not speak well, God replied to Moses, “Who made the mouth?” God did not say to Moses, “Well you suck, I can’t do anything with you…what on earth am I to do. Let me replace you with someone better.” God sees our weakness or perceived limitations as an opportunity to showcase His strength. God has no weakness. I have had loads of people try to word curse me with their death words. God does not speak death over me nor limitations. God speaks life and endless possibilities to His children. Those who ultimately suffer are those not in union with Jesus.

God is not into celebrity status and political agendas. God thinks highly of every human being and demonstrated this on the cross. In heaven there are no elections, no Christian celebrity sections, roped off areas for the VIP, etc…God looks at the heart. God examines fruit. A person can gain all the applause on earth and miss the applause of heaven. God pursues all of humanity for good, not just popular people or those on a certain side of a political fence. I have seen people grossly mistreat those who are not platform ministers or popular and think it’s okay. It’s not okay. It’s sin and ungodly. Jesus stated, “What you have done to the least of them, you have done to me.”

God actually cares how we treat people and talk about them or to them. “I’m just telling it like it is,” that damages people is not the heart of God. Jesus spoke truth in love. If we don’t want it said to us, or about us, it may be a good thing to refrain from doing or saying. When God reveals someone in my sphere is struggling, I pray. I do not use the information to beat them to death with it. Discernment is a key to intercession not a springboard for embarrassing people or humiliating them.

God does not seek to humiliate people or publicly embarrass them. I have seen ministers do this and say God led them to, well no! God tells us to go privately to a brother or sister if we have an issue with them. Only if necessary do we need to involve other people.

God is not double minded, confused, nor crazy. “God told me to go left,” then “God changed His mind and told me turn around He did not mean what He said the first time.” Well, often when people are wishy washy and claim “God said,” they have yet to distinguish the voice of God from a demon, or their flesh or soul. God is accurate and not double minded. Sometimes when people want something they will say, “God told me.” And if they no longer want something, “God told me.” The voice that guides is not Holy Spirit. Yet God’s name gets attached to their desires or feelings.

God is not mean, cruel, or hateful. If we are, we either don’t know God or have stepped out of abiding in God.

God is not selfish nor lustful. Lust is seeking pleasure outside God’s design or boundaries for our selfish means. God loves. Love seeks to give and operate inside of the boundaries of God. Heaven does not have a “you are not accountable” pass for “boys will be boys,” or “raging hormones.” Heaven has the same standard, holiness and purity. Grace empowers righteousness not lawlessness. The bible also states where you have jealousy and selfish ambition you find every evil work. Selfishness is sin. It is using people just to meet our needs. Only caring about ourselves. We are told to not just look out for our own best interests, but the interests of others.

God is good. Every good and perfect gift comes from above from the Father of lights. God continually pursues our good. There is no evil in God. God dod not create evil. God created angelic and human beings with an ability to choose. Some choose to operate outside of God’s will. Evil is the abuse of free will.

God is not insecure. God is bold, confident, courageous, and full of hope. God is aware that He is God.

God is a Spirit and those who worship God must worship Him in Spirit and truth. God is not like a human male. God made both male and female in His image. Females are not some sub creature that has nothing in common with God. Some of the attributes we call feminine exist in God; compassion, deep love, nurturing, mothering, cultivating, wiping tears, teaching, move mountains to help their kids, etc…when God is only viewed through a human male lens, so much is missed about God’s heart and nature.

My encouragement is we daily pursue God. God is worth knowing. It is a journey worth pursuing.

You may pick up your copy of I Thought I Knew What Love Was; The Journey to Intimacy with God and Confident & Free (30 Day Devotional; Grow in Godly Confidence Through Intimacy with God) at Empowered & Free Store (USA & Canada). Or stop by Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble to grab copies.

God invites is to know Him. Join the journey with me into His heart.

Warmly,

Erin Lamb

When Prayer is An Excuse Not to Love

Morning Short Devotion: When Prayer is An Excuse Not to Love.

I am pro action. I believe our actions tell a greater story than our words. If I speak with the tongues of men and angels, yet have not God love, I am only making noise. I love that Jesus did not just talk about loving people, the love of Jesus was demonstrated through His actions, even to death on a cross.

Love came down and pierced through the darkness, not by ego or eloquent sermons. Love extended a hand, washed feet, mentored, discipled, and met with people outside the Temple walls. Love engaged on a personal level with the least, last, and the lost.

He stated:

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed,~Isaiah 61:1.

Love is verb and moves us beyond talking about the goodness of God to manifesting the goodness of God. The love of God, as Mama Heidi says, looks like something. I say, the love of God looks like someone, Jesus. All of His life centered around this one pivotal thing, “The Father’s love.”

I can see a person eating from a garbage can and offer them prayer. Or I can run to the store, if possible, and get them a sandwich.

There have been people around me who suffered great loss and I could have just offered prayer, or offered groceries, a listening ear, a connection with someone else who could help them, help them with their resume or send them job alerts, check in, go sit in hospitals/hospice with them, send gift cards, offer to hang out to take their mind off their troubles. Why? Love is demonstrative.

We cannot do everything, we can do something. There are some people I have said no to before. They sought to take advantage of kindness or I simply could not offer any assistance. I try to point people to someone who may be able to assist them. I did not have the capability to offer anything and it was not helpful. Codependency is not what I am advocating, where we think it’s our job to save people. I am advocating thinking of what is the most loving thing to do? What would we want done for us? Most importantly what would God want done for the person?

I love the story of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) because he refused to leave someone in a painful and vulnerable state. When others walked on by, the good Samaritan saw an opportunity to love.

Recent studies have shown people are more prone to take photos or video of someone suffering or a bad accident than help. Please call 911. Don’t just watch someone drown hoping your video goes viral. Seriously.

We do not have unlimited resources. God does. I do not have the time nor energy to help everyone. I do have the ability many times to do more than pray. There are blessing bags in my car. I have helped people look for jobs. I have helped distract kids at the checkout so their mom has a break. I have baby sat for free so parents could get a break. I have offered odd jobs to people out of work. I have helped people clean houses when they were sick. I have given people free business start up advice. I have mentored for free. I have been a friend to the lonely. I have gone to hospitals and nursing homes and just sat with the hurting or taken my guitar. I have listened to people download their issues for hours when I needed someone to be there for me. Love is so very costly. It costs us something to love well. Yet love moves us beyond just sticking bandaids on broken bones.

God love will transform the world, not sermons, politics, religious programs, nor meetings. The world needs genuine love and concern. God so loved the world He gave His Son. The Son so loved the world He gave His life. If we so love the world, what evidence of love is present? If prayer is removed, what evidence is there of love?

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Love,

Erin Lamb

Get Wisdom!

Morning Devotion: Gaining wisdom is vital to thriving. Let’s talk about relationships-great ones set you up to go further, draining ones sabotage efforts. God desires we have mutual and life giving relationships.

I had a very bad habit of giving people too much; too much access to me, too much availability, too much sacrificing for their benefit. They say you can never give too much-this is a lie.

Giving without wisdom is just as bad as not giving at all.

Giving in the wrong places, sowing into the wrong soil is just as bad as not sowing.

Let me break it down with examples. If I had a million dollars and gave it to someone who flushed it down the toilet, was that a good investment? No! They put the million dollars in the toilet and flushed it. They had no value for what was given to them. So they wasted it. Say they come back a few weeks later and asked for another million. It would be utter foolishness to give them another million. Yet let’s say you did and they flushed it down the toilet. They come back another time and ask for a million dollars. If you keep giving it to them, it’s pure foolishness.

How many times in Christian relationships is there a push to just give, give, and give with no wisdom? There is this push to give money, volunteer everywhere, give people-even toxic ones full access to your life, and just keep enduring abuse and mistreatment.

Jesus was not foolish. God is not foolish. God is a wise investor. Yes God allows His goodness to flow over the just and the unjust. God also invests wisely. God knows before He pursues us who we will become. God knew though Peter denied Jesus who he would become. God is purposeful, not aimless. There is a divine purpose behind everything God does and everything God allows. Even God has a boundary on who has full access to Him. Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father unless they come through the Son.” God also has an expectation on His love. God tells us He expects to be loved in return. He freely gives us love. Love given relationship with God IS expected to be returned.

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”

Jesus answered him, “‘Love the Lord your God with every passion of your heart, with all the energy of your being, and with every thought that is within you.’ This is the great and supreme commandment. And the second is like it in importance: ‘You must love your friend in the same way you love yourself.’ Contained within these commandments to love you will find all the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.”~Matthew 22:36-40.

We are actually told the greatest commandment is to love God. God anticipates mutual love. I know this is not always taught, yet it’s biblical. God loves without our love. He does not cease loving if we do. God still expects mutual love in relationship. I truly believe one of the reasons humans struggle with loving other people is due to a lack of understanding of how to love God. God is their Mr. Fix it, or trunk monkey. He is not someone they engage with just because they love Him. Therefore they do not know how to just love other people.

We are invited to be good to people, even our enemies. This does not mean we become unwise and foolish. Get wisdom the bible says.

A prudent person with insight foresees danger coming and prepares himself for it.

But the senseless rush blindly forward

and suffer the consequences,~Proverbs 22:3.

Say goodbye to a troublemaker and you’ll say goodbye to quarrels, strife, tension, and arguments, for a troublemaker traffics in shame,~Proverbs 22:10.

Walk away from an angry man or you’ll embrace a snare in your soul by becoming bad-tempered just like him,~Proverbs 22:24-25.

So stop fooling yourselves! Evil companions will corrupt good morals and character.[c]~1 Corinthians 15:32.

[c] 1 Corinthians 15:33 This is likely a quotation from the Athenian poet Menander (Thras. 218). Paul is using this quote to encourage the believers to stay away from those who deny the resurrection.

Some Examples:

If Suzie only calls you to download her issues and problems, when she is bored, and sucks up hours of your time needed elsewhere, why are you answering the phone? Suzie is responsible for her own life and you yours. Yes we pray for people. Yes we love people. We also set boundaries.

I have sent people to ministries that have 24/7 prayer support, told then to pursue a counselor or life coach or soul healing or told them I could no longer be their stand in crisis person. Why? I am not God. I don’t want to be Jehovah Jr. I have limited time, tons of obligations, my own issues, and limited emotional capacity. God has no limits. I can not do all things. I can do all things God purposes me to do. Everything and everyone is not my assignment, nor yours.

If we are not careful, people will put us into the God spot. We do not belong there. Only God can be God. We have some limitations.

If Lucy has a bad temper and goes off on you regularly, and you have addressed this behavior with her and she never apologies and continues to verbally abuse you, why are you hanging out with Lucy? Why? Lucy has demonstrated with her actions that she does not care about you. Continuing to pursue closeness with Lucy is not helping Lucy become a better person. Lucy knows no matter how poorly she treats you, you will be back for her to verbally beat up again.

I am going to say something that may be shocking. Love sets boundaries! I repeat, “Love sets boundaries.”

What are boundaries? This is where someone else’s freedom ends where ours begins. It is self care, not selfishness. It is saying, “I value myself and I value you.” It is also wise stewardship. God expects us to love ourselves. We are told to love our neighbor AS we love ourselves. Boundaries examine what God has placed inside us and around us that needs guarded from just anyone and everyone having access.

I love the phrase, “Build a fence, not a wall around your heart. People can see its beauty, yet not everyone has access.”

If we do not gain wisdom in relationships, we can end up in toxic, abusive, one sided, life sucking relationships. How can I say this? I have walked it out. I just wanted to love people and love lavishly gives without expectation of return (in my mind). Like Oprah’s giveaways, I was going around to any and everyone, “You get love, you get love, you get love.” I would befriend anyone and drop my priorities to help other people. I would take vacation to help other people. I learned the following:

1. Without boundaries people treat you like a doormat or worse; you are something to wipe their muddy feet on and they do not respect you. Lack of boundaries leads to mistreatment, being used, and sometimes even abuse.

2. God did not ask me or you to be the sacrificial lamb for everyone. We are to follow the leading and prompting of the Holy Spirit. Yes give, yes love people, and also LISTEN to the Holy Spirit. I had an instance with street ministry where the Holy Spirit told me not to stop for this man begging. I did anyway thinking, “This could not be God. This man is in need.” That man was super nasty squared! God was trying to save me from wasting time, I refused to listen.

3. Some people and things are a distraction! Hear me again. They are a distraction. They come and suck up time and resources when God has other things for us to do or other assignments. Put some prayer on it. God do you want me connected to this? Everything that sounds good or looks good is not God. Learning to set limits and say no is vital.

“Thank you for your offer, I am unable to do that at this time.”

“Thank you so much for thinking of me. I am not able to participate.”

We can lovingly say no.

4. Lack of boundaries is a lack of love for self. I have always hated the love God, love your neighbor, then love yourself last. It is wrong. The true order is receive love from God, love ourselves and God, then love our neighbor AS we love ourselves. God expects us to love ourselves. How do we want to be treated? Why are we tolerating less than that?

5. Lack of boundaries fuels entitlement. Entitlement says, “This is owed to me.” Believe it or not, I have had people demand I be in relationship with them. Or they were quite toxic in choices, behavior and expected close friendship or tried to manipulate me into friendship. Ummmm no. Friendship and relationships are gifts, not obligations. We give thanks for relationships and try to steward them with love. They do not owe us relationship. If we are a poor steward, we may lose relationships.

There are people I love and pray for that do not have full access to me; their access is limited. They have shown repeadily that they are mean spirited, unrepentant, some hostile, and grossly selfish. If they were hungry, I would feed them. Naked, try to get them an outfit. I pray for them. I do not invite them to hang out and talk about my deep inner world. Why? They are going to trample it under foot or go flush it down the toilet. I do not drop my schedule anymore to help others unless God tells me too. I have priorities, obligations, and assignments from God.

This does not mean if someone needs 911 I ignore it. It does mean if I have project work to do and someone needs a ride they can call Uber. It does mean some calls can go to voicemail. It does mean I give people tools to see their own personal breakthrough. It does mean I don’t drop what I am doing for everyone. If I did, I would be driven by people not the Holt Spirit. It does mean I now take a year or so to assess people before I share my inner world-call them a friend.

I have offered way too many people friendship who came into the garden of my heart, poured gasoline, and lit it on fire. They were destructive. I am not wounded nor jaded. I learned something.

I stopped initiating with people who never ever initiated with me or only contacted me if I first contacted them or gave them something or they need something. I learned. Oh baby did I learn.

When people show us who they are, I believe them. I believe what people show me. I am not criticizing nor putting them down. I am assessing a situation based on the evidence. I then set boundaries based on who they are, not what they say. People can chant, “I love you all day,” yet their actions scream indifferent, just here for what I can get, or hostile. Yes we look for the gold, we also gain wisdom! We also function with discernment. We learn to hear and follow the Holy Spirit.

Finally, God wants us connected to people who will steward our hearts, time, and resources like He would. God takes NO delight in toxic relationship. Would we want our children mistreated? Hopefully no. God’s heart is far bigger than ours. God loves His children FAR more than we do.

Activation:

1. If you have children or had a child, what kind of friends would you want them to have? Write it out. Do your friends match that list? Are you that type of friend?

2. Assess who gets most of your time or resources? How are they stewarding what is given? You can waste time with those who have no value for what you offer. How can you better steward the time and resources?

-I have pulled back from super investing as a mentor in people who do absolutely nothing with what is given to them. Why? There are other people who will steward it well.

Bless you! Have an amazing Saturday!

Love,

Erin Lamb

P.S Be sure to check out my latest book Confident & Free Paperback and Confident & Free ebook. If you wish for a signed copy and love in the USA or Canada, please stop by my business website Lamb Enterprises LLC (Live Empowered & Free).