How Do You Handle the Ugly

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p1070103As I look out my office window, I see the changing of the season.  No longer do the hummingbirds buzz and flit about on the deck, nor do the butterflies sway subtly in the breeze.  Instead, there is a crisp wind blowing through the front door here at the farm.

The beauty outside us is undeniable.  How can anyone think for a moment that there is no creator when there is so much intricate life in our world.  I say this as I watch a daddy long-legs scurry across the back patio, smell the freshly mowed grass that Farmer Dean is so diligently cutting, and look out at the bright orange pumpkin sitting on the step.  The one that made its way home with me from my quick trip into town.

But alongside good there is evil.  Alongside relief there is pressure.  Alongside peace there is violence.  Alongside God there is an enemy.

I recently encountered harsh words at an event where I spoke.  The words stung me.

I recently faced an unkind smirking woman who wanted to embarrass me.  Her attitude wounded me.

I recently listened to someone attacking a congregation.  His opinion alarmed me.

I recently waited for a response from a friend who no longer returns my calls or emails.  Her rejection crushed me.

Herein lies the ugly, the things that are not of God.  I face them every day and if truth were told, at times I am filled with that same ugliness.

In Matthew 23:16-17, Jesus deals with the ugly flat out.  He just calls it out plain and simple … this is ugly.  “You are in for trouble! You are supposed to lead others, but you are blind. You teach that it doesn’t matter if a person swears by the temple. But you say that it does matter if someone swears by the gold in the temple. 17 You blind fools! “

In Matthew 10:14, Jesus once again faces the ugly, and gives wise counsel to all of us.  “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.”

And finally, when Jesus approaches the woman caught in adultery, a sinner whose ugliness was known all over town, He states this in John 8:10-11, “Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Christ faces the ugliness and advises to leave it.

Three different ways of dealing with the ugly.

  1. Call it out. Hold that person accountable.
  2. Walk away. Just let it go.
  3. Forgive them and advise them to stop living with the ugly.

Where are you at today?  Has someone blasted you, criticized what you believe, or ignored you?

Look at the example of Jesus and seek Him for your next steps.

Let’s not embrace or enable the ugly … let’s live in the lovely.

Phil. 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”