Before and After


We have all seen them. Before and After photos on television. There are before and after “The Lifestyle Lift”, before and after “Weight Watchers”, before and after “Extreme Makeover” as on the Today Show with Hoda Kotbe and Kathie Lee Gifford. How about Before and After where they tear down or gut someone’s home and remake it into House Beautiful? Then there are the movies – like romantic comedies where the boy who is a buffoon entirely incapable of commitment in any relationship, meets the girl of his dreams, and, still, it takes him the entire movie and many mishaps before he comes to the solid and satisfying realization that he simply cannot live without her and runs, flies, races, after her taxi, airplane, bicycle or whatever mode of transportation she is using to leave his sorry self behind, finally to stand before her and declare his undying love and earnest desire to be with her forever! Yeah. I’ve seen it too, and we appropriately, smile, or quietly weep, or at least let tears brim our eyelids politely as it warms the cockles of our little hearts.

Before and After….nothing compares to the ULTIMATE Before and After, performed by the God of The Universe. Think about it. Look in the mirror. Once we were “dead in trespasses and sins”.

(Ephesians 2:4-10) (But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.)

Did we choose Christ? No. He chose us! Can a “dead man” make a choice? We were dead and He  “made us alive” together with Christ, and then He gave us the Gift of Faith to believe in Him. Before he “made us alive” we had a “heart of stone”. He gave us a heart of flesh! Can a “heart of stone” love God? Can a “heart of stone” have faith? Can a “heart of stone” believe The Gospel? NO.

(1Corinthians 1:18)  “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 

That has to be the Ultimate “Before and After”. “Before” we were dead. “Before” we had a heart of stone. “Before” we were incapable of loving God as dead men.  “After” we have been given a heart of flesh. “After” we have been given the “Gift of faith”. “After” we have been made alive together with Christ, and adopted into the family of God. I submit to you, there is no greater “Before and After” on the planet.

Prisoner of Love


Can there ever be too much love in your life? I declare that it is impossible to have too much love in your life. But wait, one might say, “Haven’t you every been smothered by a helicopter mother who hovers over you, second guessing your every decision, and willingly dispensing (unsolicited) life advice?” Or, haven’t you ever been plagued with a boss at work who is a micro-manager, serving for all practical purposes as a helicopter mother when she can’t look over your shoulder on the job?

IMHO neither of those particular instances are examples of love; rather they are examples of people who are working out their own inadequacies by projecting their insecurities upon you.

Well, then you might ask,”What then, are you calling “Love” that one can never get enough of?” Try checking out the Biblical definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13:

“4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends.”

After reading the scripture quoted above, the difference when compared to “smothering, micro-managing engagement” in another persons life, is painfully obvious, right? Scripture gives us numerous examples pertaining to maintaining proper relationships with our family and with our neighbor. If only we would pay attention, eh? It is hard for the average human to engage another in conversation without exhibiting our own painfully ingrained shortcomings. Our own inadequacies, fears, idiosyncrasies go on display. Have you ever tried to carry on a conversation with someone who won’t look you in the eyes? They may look at you when you are talking, but when their mouth opens in reply their eyes immediately start roaming everywhere but on your own eyes. I often wondered if this is exhibiting someone’s own inadequacies (they don’t want to look at you for fear of seeing disapproval or judgmental-ism, or disbelief) or whether it is a sign of untruthfulness as a lifestyle, and they are afraid if they look into your eyes while speaking, you will “see right through them” so to speak. Or are they simply shy and find it difficult to engage a person directly for unknown reasons.

In any case, the correct attitude or response on our part might well be found in  1 Corinthians 13.

A quick re-read of these verses before responding in the “comments” section of a blog might help moderate the language at the very least.

‘Til next time I am a Prisoner of Christ.