This week’s podcast episodes of The Gina Duke Show were packed full of good tips for mindset. Attitude and the proper perspective on things can take you further than you can imagine, sister. We are bombarded all day long by stressful situations and unexpected events. Sometimes it is the words of another that bogs us down. But you can be proactive against these unpleasantries, boss-sister! Leaders of the home, in church and at work are pro-active thinkers. We don’t let others put us in a box (or barge). In episode 24, I am setting you free with my words; something I learned from a woman who loves Halloween (interesting and comical story, but with a great lesson and new life maxim!). And in episode 25, I give you a heads up for Christmas-giving (no show notes available for that one so listen in!).
Episode #24: Do You Want Live Free of Other’s Opinions? How to Not Let Other People’s Convictions Become Your Condemnation \\ FAITH Episode – Listen HERE.
You may not realize this, but other people’s personal convictions whether they are spiritual or other are not always meant for you. Do you copy??? No pun intended – Ha! Let me tell you something Boss-sister, if you take on everyone else’s personal convictions about matters, it will load you down. Each person of faith is supposed to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling according to Phil 2:12. Today’s FAITH episode is going to lead the way on this topic and I’ve got a timely example to go with it. Plus, I will be sharing a new Life Maxim today. Welcome to Episode #24
Here’s my example: You may be wondering if Halloween is for the Christians, or not. Maybe you are not even wondering about this. You may have settled this matter already. Perhaps you have never questioned this holiday and are wondering what the fuss is about. Since Halloween is coming, I am not as interested in discussing it, as much as I want to use it as an example to teach you a new maxim which is probably more about life than leadership.
Let me ask you a question Phyllis – Have you ever allowed another person’s personal convictions become your condemnation? If so, never let it happen again! Okay? Every person has their own personal philosophy, interpretation of scripture, viewpoint – all of which is influenced by their personality, their upbringing, their ethnic background, their denomination, their life experiences – a multitude of things. But it is theirs and not always meant for you.
God did not send Jesus to condemn the world, so shake off any feelings of condemnation sister! God did give us the Holy Spirit Who convicts us of sin. It’s very personal. The Holy Spirit deals with each of our own personal junk. He’s cool like that. The Holy Spirit may convict me of something that He does not convict you about, and yet never disregard or violate scripture. If you wonder how this is possible, it has a lot to do with the essentials. There are biblical doctrines that are essential; they are the non-negotiables. You can find them in the Apostle’s Creed-google it if you don’t know what I am talking about. Anything beyond that is subject to interpretation of the scriptures by the personal conviction of the Holy Spirit.
So this today’s life maxim: Don’t let another person’s convictions become your condemnation. This maxim will set you free sister. I’ll repeat it.
Celebrating or not celebrating Halloween is a good topic for this type of discussion today. Growing up, my parent’s took me trick or treating and no one thought a thing about it. I took my elder daughter trick or treating when she was 6 mo old and at 18 mo old, but after that, I never took either of my children trick or treating again. Instead I took them to church – sponsored events like Hallelujah parties where they did fun little fall games and enjoyed snacks. Why the change? I had a pastor share some things about the origin of Halloween that made me feel differently about the holiday. He recommended that we go to the library and check out books about the subject and see for ourselves. And I did. I won’t detail all of my findings but after reading through everything, my personal conviction was to not observe Halloween; therefore, I did not. Sometimes when we have a personal conviction, which is a firmly held belief, we have the tendency of thinking everyone else should feel the same way we do. I know that I felt very strongly that no self-respecting Christian would celebrate Halloween. I mean, how could they??? It was such an evil holiday. Fast forward several years…
I’ll never forget meeting Julie years ago at a women’s conference. She was one of the speakers and we were hanging out in the hospitality room chatting. If memory serves me right, it was just around this time of the year because Halloween was approaching, and I made a comment about not celebrating it. Likewise, I expected her to agree with me, but instead she surprised me. She said that that was not a bandwagon she had jumped on because actually Halloween was her favorite holiday. I wish I could have seen my face. I could not believe what I was hearing.
Julie was a professional organizer and all the breakout topics of this event revolved around homemaking. You would have thought that she was going to share organizing tips in her session, which I am sure she did to some degree, but what I really remember her sharing was how to free up people with our words who were not bent on being organized. This was another surprise. Instead of focusing all of her talk about the expected rigidity necessary to keep everything buttoned up at home, she instead shared stories of how to free up others who were not as on point. I specifically remember her sharing how the homes in her neighborhood are very well manicured. One day while in the front yard working in her landscaping, a new neighbor walked over and was apologetic that his yard was not as nice as everyone else’s. She made it a point to respond to him in such a kind way that he would not feel bad about his yard any longer. She freed him up, and I remember thinking how great it was that she had done that for him, and in this conversation with her she was going to free me up from my own haughty thoughts. My conviction to not celebrate Halloween was perfectly fine, but I was looking down on others who did celebrate it, and it was not a good look. It was not Christlike.
Here was Julie’s story: She grew up not only poor, but poor and dirty – these were her words. She lived with her single mom who did not care about cleanliness. She recalled that how after Easter and Christmas – 2 of the most Christian holidays – she never felt connected to them, because all of classmates returned to school with great stories of beautiful Easter dresses and spectacular Christmas gifts. Julie was fortunate if she got new clean underwear. But on Halloween, that was different. On that holiday she did not have to rely on her mother or money. She could just put together her own costume from items around the house. Once she was incognito, she believed no one recognized her as the poor dirty little girl, and she felt free to knock on her neighbors doors, confidently hold out her bag and receive all the goodies just like any other child.
Her story broke me. It broke me from my self-righteous attitude. It broke me from religiocity. All because I could clearly see myself in her story. I had once also been a poor dirty girl as a sinner. And once the blood of Jesus was applied to my life, it covered my sin and shame better than a Halloween costume. And as such, I now could confidently knock on the door to the throne room of grace, hold out my goodie bag believing that God would fill it with every spiritual blessing just like any other believer. I just want to weep every time I think about this story.
And just like that, I backed down my judgmental spirit and humbly viewed this young woman as the treasure she was. We can view the non-essential doctrines of our faith differently than others without a condemning, judgy spirit.
I am still not a big celebrator of Halloween; I do now hand out candy with love, and if you listen to my podcast you know that I had mine purchased by the 2nd day of the month. It’s already in bowl, ready to go.
But here is a funny story of how God continued to deal with my haughty attitude. I have this farm house in a subdivision, which is very busy on Halloween. My house is on the corner as you enter our subdivision and is it a very well-lit home. All my porch and flood lights are turned on. My well lit home truly makes a difference to my neighborhood. Without my lighting, you can barely see the road that turns into my subdivision.
I know this because I used to turn out all my lights on Halloween, so every person would know that we do not celebrate Halloween at this house. You know, because we are more spiritual than that.
Remember the scripture that pride goes before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18) well that’s what happened to me. One night I heard the news giving out Halloween safety tips. The anchor said that those who are registered sex offenders were not supposed to participate in Halloween and therefore must keep their lights turned off. I was suddenly mortified. Here I am living in this well-lit home every night of the year except on Halloween with my haughty spirit trying to make a statement about the evils of Halloween, I am unintentionally sending out a much worse and incorrect message about myself.
So now, my lights stay on, the door is open to all the little trick-or-treaters. I look at them no differently than I would any other child and equally fill their goody bags with candy.
When my children were young, I held a personal conviction to not participate in Halloween. But now, I feel released from that and now actually participate in this small traditional way. I am not quite sure why, but I am not worried about it because it is not an essential doctrine. Perhaps it was all a part of a bigger lesson. Halloween has actually taught me alot. It’s taught me how to have personal convictions without condemning others. It has been so effective that I use it to my benefit as well. I never let other people’s convictions become my condemnation either.
We may disagree about certain things, including the interpretation of scripture, but I depend solely on the Holy Spirit to work that out with me. And this is how you can live free from other’s opinions Never let another person’s convictions become your condemnation.
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