by Drenda Keesee
A few years back as the news of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation spread across America, I watched as one story rose above all of the others.
“Joel Osteen Shuts Megachurch Amid Flooding Crisis.”
As soon as it was posted online, people began to share it in a frenzy—Facebook feeds were alight with different angles on the topic, and accusations spread from the East coast to the West. I was in shock. Why, in the wake of one of the most damaging natural disasters in U.S. history, was the nation obsessed with a story about a church shutting its doors?
Is this what’s really important right now? I thought. This is a time for support, not criticism!
Satan wants to distract us from our mission as believers, and He will use whatever tool he can to accomplish it. His goal is to get the body of Christ in disunity—to get us to turn our weapons against one another, instead of working together to face the real problem.
In war, it’s called friendly fire, and we have all been guilty of it.
The story about Joel Osteen was soon exposed as…
…false information and people turned their attention back to the real mandate at hand—thousands of people who were affected by the hurricane in need of love and support.
We have to stop and ask ourselves, “Am I quick to give people the benefit of the doubt, or do I assume the worst? Do I engage in friendly fire?”
I’ve had many moments when I felt overwhelmed, stressed, or tired, and I misdirected my frustrations at someone I loved instead of at the problem.
It’s easy to look for the faults in others to justify the faults in us. The fact is, no one is perfect. When we sit around pointing out each other’s flaws, it hurts everybody—including ourselves.
Operating in judgment causes us to miss opportunities and shortcut God’s instruction in our lives.
As Jesus told a group of men who wanted to stone a woman committing adultery, “If any of you is without sin, let him cast the first stone.” We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s standard of righteousness. Jesus said if we can’t forgive others, then we can’t be forgiven ourselves.
When we remember everything Christ has forgiven us for, how can we judge anyone else?
Philippians 2:3 encourages us to “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”
Love isn’t just how we TREAT people, it’s how we choose to SEE people!
Love looks for the best in others. If we value and love the people around us, we should give them the benefit of the doubt and trust God to judge their actions and motives. It’s easy for us to draw wrong conclusions based on our limited information. God is the only one who knows the full story, so we should leave the role of judgment in His trustworthy hands.
There will be times when we hear stories about people that aren’t true, and there will be times when we hear disheartening stories about people that are true. Either way, we have to keep our perspective on our real assignment, and that’s to love people.
When we feel vulnerable, overwhelmed, or guilty, it’s easy to go into attack mode. We have to remember our battle isn’t against flesh and blood. We have to keep our eyes on our mission!
Ephesians 4:29 urges us, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
No matter what “bait” Satan puts in front of you, don’t let him trick you into friendly fire.
ps…Are you looking for a good church? Be sure and listen on Saturday evening or catch the 3 services on Sunday for Faith Life Church!
Drenda Keesee’s contagious zeal and humorous personal experiences help make her ministry of spiritual, emotional, and relational wholeness one that will bless your life and spark a new fire in your spirit.
A wife of over 30 years and a mother of five children, Drenda has ministered at churches, seminars, and conferences, and through the mediums of television and radio, for more than 20 years.
Her books, The New Vintage Family, Better Than You Think, and She Gets It are available wherever books are sold. In these heartfelt books, Drenda shares her personal journey and the life lessons that have brought her to where she is today, as well as practical answers that all people need to live a joyful life.
Drenda and her husband Gary founded Faith Life Now, a ministry designed to spread the message of freedom in the areas of finances, faith, marriage, and family. Tune in for their weekly messages here. Faith Life Now hosts conferences worldwide and sponsors both Fixing the Money Thing, which Drenda co-hosts with her husband Gary and Drenda.
Through their own life experiences, the Keesee’s have found the principles from God’s Word to be powerful and effective. At one point, Drenda was a young, suicidal feminist with no hope of ever being “good enough” for her own standards of perfection. She never wanted the “inconvenience” of a husband or children, and she was on her own path to success. But the stress of trying to achieve perfection and perform for love left her broken and used. She had success, but it was nothing compared to the pain and loneliness it had also brought.
That’s when God got a hold of her heart. It was there—at her lowest point—that she found the One who accepted and loved her, faults and all. Since that transformation, Drenda has had a passion to reach women who find themselves where she once was.
She married Gary after attending college, and there she found herself in a personal boot camp of sorts. She says, “I cried and told God, ‘I can do anything but be a wife and mother.’” She committed to learning how to do it God’s way. Through the many years of raising their children and struggling to make ends meet, Drenda learned from their mistakes. “I didn’t know how to be a wife and mother, but God saved our marriage, taught us how to parent our children for success, showed us how to have financial success, and then the irony of all ironies, He called us to ministry.” It’s truly because of these life experiences that Drenda can now share so many insightful principles for people who are now going through the same struggles.