“You Are U.G.L.Y.”

1Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you? Don’t you know that you have the Holy Spirit from God, and you don’t belong to yourselves? 20 You have been bought and paid for, so honor God with your body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Common English Bible).

In my last post, I told you about my friend Tom (this is not his real name. Because I do not have permission to use his name, I am using an alias). The first Sunday I met Tom was my first Sunday as the pastor of his Church. He walked up to me, and out of the blue said, “You are U.G.L.Y.”

While I wouldn’t have argued with Tom’s assessment, I was taken aback by his words. Regardless of the feelings, one may have, those are not words we generally hear someone say at church. I had never experienced such a thing.

When I looked at him and heard him speak, it was quickly evident that Tom was a man with special needs. I likely would have let it go anyway, right before worship is not the time to get into a debate with someone, regardless of the topic. I was not going to get into that with someone who had special needs.

I don’t remember what I said to him, probably something like, “OK.” Then I turned and headed to the chancel. Tom grabbed my arm and said, “Wait!”

I wasn’t thrilled about stopping. I had a couple of last-minute things to do before worship began.

I did stop. Tom put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Unconditionally, God Loves You.”


Tom loves acronyms. Every Sunday, if Tom was there, I heard at least one or two acronyms from him. Many of them he wrote. I would know when he was working on one. He would come up to everyone and say, “I need a word that starts with “H.” I don’t ever remember him giving me a subject to meet his “H” need.

“You are U.G.L.Y, Unconditionally God Loves You.” After Tom said those words to me, he finished but saying, “And you know what? I’m U.G.L.Y. too, and I want everybody to know I’m U.G.L.Y. They need to be U.G.L.Y. too.” With that, he let me go on to the chancel and begin worship.

Time has passed by quickly since that Sunday morning. I doubt I will ever forget Tom and his love for acronyms. It has been a while since I last saw Tom. I miss him.

During the time I was Tom’s pastor, Tom reminded me again and again about the strong relationship he has with God. He understood better than many of us that the outward doesn’t matter to God. What matters is that you love God, and that love is what is in your heart.

And Tom was absolutely right. He is U.G.L.Y. I am U.G.L.Y. Are you?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With a heart of joy (When you know Tom, he is going to make sure you feel joy),

Keith

Copyright 2019, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

P.S. My next post will be another of Tom’s acronyms, “You are B.A.D.”

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THINK

33 Pilate went back into the palace. He summoned Jesus and asked, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own or have others spoken to you about me?”

35 Pilate responded, “I’m not a Jew, am I? Your nation and its chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?”

36 Jesus replied, “My kingdom doesn’t originate from this world. If it did, my guards would fight so that I wouldn’t have been arrested by the Jewish leaders. My kingdom isn’t from here.”

37 “So you are a king?” Pilate said.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. I was born and came into the world for this reason: to testify to the truth. Whoever accepts the truth listens to my voice.”

38 “What is truth?” Pilate asked (John 18:33-38, Common English Bible).

An acquaintance and I had a disagreement one night. He had posted something online I knew to be untrue. I had researched the issue in question. I had clear evidence what they posted was wrong.

When I presented the acquaintance with my evidence his reaction was “So, I like what it says. I am posting it anyway.” The post was a disparaging, untrue story about a person of note in society. Obviously my acquaintance did not care for this person (who it was doesn’t matter).

I tried in vain to convince this person that when any of us post things that are false, even about someone we don’t like or don’t agree with, it hurts all of us. For people of faith, when we post things that are not true, it hurts our witness. It hurts all our witnesses as people often judge all Christians on the behavior of a relative few.

If I were to have called my acquaintance “Pilate,” because of the careless playing with truth, I would have highly offended him. But in my opinion, when we ignore the truth in favor of a preferred yet untruthful message, we are dangerously close to placing ourselves firmly in Pilate’s shoes. “What is Truth?”

I love the meme above. The truth is the truth. I happened to agree with my acquaintance about the person in question. The ends do not, however, justify the means.

We live in a time where, it seems to me, we are seeing more and more people messing with the truth in irresponsible ways. It becomes more and more difficult to know the truth at first sight. It becomes a responsibility to each of us to check and should we be proven wrong, take down our misspoken words.

I know a challenged gentleman I will call Tom (not his real name). Tom loves acronyms. I think I may use some of his acronyms in my posts the next few days. They are a bit different but I digress. I thought about Tom several times while writing this post. Tom may be the most truthful person I know. I also believe Tom lives out this acronym without even knowing it.

The acronym is “THINK.” You can see on the meme below that it says, “Before you speak.” What holds true in our speech should be equally true of what we say online.

Before you speak, Think:
Is it True?
Is it Helpful?
Is it Inspiring?
Is it Necessary?
Is it Kind?

In today’s polarized climate, perhaps we would all do well to THINK before we post and maybe we not only will keep Pilate on the pages of Scripture, where he belongs, but we might be living out love of neighbor too. And in that, I believe we would please Jesus. And that, I do know to be true.

Living in the Joy of Christ,
Keith



Copyright 2019, J. Keith Broyles, Spirit’s Breath Ministries, All Rights Reserved

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A Cup of Cold Water

40 “Those who receive you are also receiving me, and those who receive me are receiving the one who sent me. 41 Those who receive a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward. Those who receive a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 I assure you that everybody who gives even a cup of cold water to these little ones because they are my disciples will certainly be rewarded (Matthew 10:40-41, Common English Bible).”

          Children never cease to amaze me. Amid last Saturday’s tragedy in El Paso, an eleven-year-old boy, was feeling anxious for what was happening in his hometown. Who could blame him? The senseless taking of human life occurred in a store he likely had been in many times. Even had he not been in that particular Wal-Mart, I would sincerely doubt he had never been in a Wal-Mart. Few people, in today’s society, could say they have never been in one of the mega-chain’s stores. After all, even those who might refuse to shop there today, likely have spent time there in the past. For a child to feel anxious because this happened in his town at a store he was familiar with, could be frightening. Many adults could well have similar feelings.

The CBS story, featured Ruben Martinez and his mother, Rose Gandarilla. Rose told the television audience that she suggested to Ruben that he think of a way to make himself feel better and maybe to help someone else in the process.

Ruben came up with the El Paso Challenge (#elpasochallenge). He dared (challenged) people around the world to honor the 22 victims by performing 22 random acts of kindness. He went on to say these acts could be mowing a lawn or donating to charity. Those were the only two CBS mentioned, but I feel pretty confident Ruben could think of several more.

Our scripture today finds Jesus telling the disciples the blessings for those who show kindness to the twelve as they go about their mission. Even something that seems as insignificant as a cup of cold water will find a reward.

I doubt Ruben is seeking an eternal reward with his challenge. I do believe this young man is gaining a clear understanding of the joy that can come from serving others. Oh, and he is practicing what he is preaching. We went out and took food to those still working at the scene.

We all can take a lesson from Ruben Martinez.

          And may another child never need to feel anxious because of the heart-breaking actions of people they don’t even know.

Finding Joy in Tragedy,
Keith



Copyright 2019, J. Keith Broyles, Spirit’s Breath Ministries, All Rights Reserved

Be sure and click on the follow button email updates when I write a new post.