Posted: July 31st, 2012 |
Filed under: life | Tags: aftermath, healing, hope |
4 Comments »
“…we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” -Galatians 2:16 ESV
One of the biggest sources for pain in someone who has messed up is the fear that they have separated themselves from God. They believe that they are no longer able to receive forgiveness or grace. They believe this because they are fully aware that they did something they knew was wrong. They knew it and they still did it and, to them, that’s the end. The only problem is, they’re still alive.
They find themselves in need of the thing they took for granted. They realize that they didn’t really understand grace before. They didn’t understand why Jesus had to do what He did because they didn’t really feel like they needed it. They didn’t know that this sin was inside them all along. Now that they can see it, now that they’ve witnessed it for themselves, they can do nothing about it. It’s done and they believe they’re ruined. The better they thought they were before their fall, the worse the reality of lack is for them.
People will give them a set of criteria in order to prove their way back in. People will give them the task of cleaning themselves up before they can be forgiven. This is not only an impossible task, it’s complete disregard for why Jesus came. These “others” don’t really understand grace. They don’t see their own lack.
I’m not trying to share a message about works vs. faith. There is enough of that out there. Without the reminder of the truth, humans tend to gravitate to a gospel of behavior. They lean more toward Buddha’s karma than in Jesus’s gift. A superstitious faith believes that manna falls from the sky because they did something correctly. They forget that manna falls from the sky because God said it would.
I don’t think it’s hard for people to believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died for our sins. It’s not personal at that point. I think it’s harder to believe that what He did is for them. Then it’s personal. We know our own unworthiness too well and it feels like Jesus is way off in the distance. It feels like He’s out of reach.
I’m going to tell you the truth and I’ll do it with faith that when you hear it, you can believe it. Being justified is “a formal and legal acquittal from guilt by God as Judge, the pronouncement of the sinner as righteous, who believe on the Lord Jesus (Vine’s Concise Dictionary).”
Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. -Acts 13: 38-40 ESV
You are not free from guilt because you dug yourself out and rebuilt the house you burnt down. Your former house was one that had faulty wires hidden in the walls. You don’t live there anymore and when God rebuilds you, He’ll rebuild with the truth. No more faulty wires, no more of the sin that hid itself from you. You still have things you’ll have to deal with in the future, but for now, at least you’re better than you were before.
4 Comments »
Posted: July 30th, 2012 |
Filed under: life | Tags: faith, forgive, grace |
5 Comments »
One day as I was observing how wisdom fares on this earth, I saw something that made me sit up and take notice. There was a small town with only a few people in it. A strong king came and mounted an attack, building trenches and attack posts around it. There was a poor but wise man in that town whose wisdom saved the town, but he was promptly forgotten. (He was only a poor man, after all.)
All the same, I still say that wisdom is better than muscle, even though the wise poor man was treated with contempt and soon forgotten.
The quiet words of the wise are more effective than the ranting of a king of fools.
Wisdom is better than warheads, but one hothead can ruin the good earth. -Ecclesiastes 9:13-18 MSG
I watched “Karate Kid II” with my family the other night. I’ve seen the movie so many times that, even though it had been years since my last view, I can recite certain parts without effort. Toward the end, Sato sent his peons to destroy the gardens of some of the villagers. It was a personal attack on their livelihood and was meant to provoke Mr. Miyagi into the long awaited duel with Sato. These attacks came a couple more times because Mr. Miyagi refused to fight his friend. Finally, Sato brought a bull dozer to the village and told Mr. Miyagi that if he didn’t fight, he would destroy the whole village.
Mr. Miyagi agreed to a midnight showdown, but only to save the village. While the bull dozer did some damage, the village farmers were heart broken. Women were crying and everyone was afraid. As I watched, I remembered what happened the night of the scheduled fight. There was a huge hurricane that destroyed the village anyway.
There is a parallel to real life that I found interesting. God continually tells us to not worry about our circumstances. He tells us that He’s in control, so much so, that we can offer our good cheek when the other has been pummeled. Entire religious groups are united under the “no contest” rule of engagement. You don’t fight evil with evil, you don’t return violence with violence. Mr. Miyagi could have escorted Sato to a garden that he forgot. Why? Because what God did that night would have made Sato’s attack useless.
Philosophers, Solomon included, have reasoned themselves into stoicism. Not because what happens doesn’t matter, but because our emotional outbursts do nothing but add to the damage. Wisdom comes from understanding that God is sovereign. If the villagers would have fought back and even killed some of the people who were destroying their farms, they would have won nothing. The storm, entirely in God’s control, would have impugned their efforts and made them no better than the instigated evil. That’s why calm patience and faith based assurance is better than freaking out and striking back.
I believe in a supernatural entity that wants to get you to focus on the shortcomings of another for the soul-killing purpose of removing your focus from Jesus. There is plenty to distract you from the truth of the Gospel. Self-righteous vengeance is only one of them. It’s especially sweet for the enemy of Jesus when you can do his bidding in the name of God.
Evil isn’t just after the one who does it. It’s after the one it’s committed against. It tries to draw you into a fight that you have no part being in.
The best way to fight the wrong done to you is to forgive it and refuse to let it determine your steps.
Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me. Redeem me from man’s oppression, that I may keep your precepts.-Psalm 119:133-134 ESV
Do you have a story about when you freaked out, or could have freaked out, only to learn that the situation was already taken care of and freaking out was unessesary??
5 Comments »
Posted: July 17th, 2012 |
Filed under: life | Tags: aftermath, grace, hope, spiritual abuse |
19 Comments »
When a person messes up and does something selfish and stupid, it’s hard for them to accept grace. Most people live as though grace is stored in the petty-cash box and needing it means you are being impulsive or you made some bad choices that put you in a tight spot. It’s not a good thing to have to get into that box. It’s embarrassing.
People divvy it up like a budget and reserve the option to stipend. If you look at grace like it’s inherited money, then you can see a point when someone needs to be cut off or they’ll ruin. You block a trust fund based on the best interest of the money.
Benefactor, who has set themselves up as your trustee? Your inner circle? A distant leader? What does your church say about what you’ve done? Can petty-cash-grace cover it, or has a line been drawn in a meeting with your name at the center? What happens behind closed doors and whose best interest is the focus? Why do they want to keep it so quiet if they’re not doing something that people won’t agree with?
The sinner is forced to disappear and the rest of the people have nothing but questions and gossip to figure out why. No wonder nobody reaches out to the broken, married man isolated in a bachelor’s condo trying to figure out what he has to live for. If his church family knew what had happened and what he was going through, he wouldn’t be alone. I bet he’d have an army escorting him back to his spot of worship. But, the board room secrets and the stone-hearted grace-fund trustee hide the truth by keeping them distracted and hyped enough to not realize they’ve been part of an old-fashioned shunning. Ask them if they want that. The good one’s don’t.
There is a woman who just landed on her knees because she was told that her church felt sorry for her children because she was their sinful mother. The stress of having unconditional love taken from her threatens to kill the child she carries in her womb. The medicine that stops the stress-abortion also sedates her. She’ll make it, but for what purpose? Does her church know that their name is on her sentence?
There is a man who wasn’t allowed to see his daughter after he left because “divorce is too confusing for children”. He sinks inside himself in June and retells the story of her birth every September. Landmarks are full of questions, like heirlooms with missing jewels. It’s been so long, that now it would be confusing for her. Is someone going to help him make sure his daughter knows she’s wanted and loved?
The man sits in his apartment surrounded by guns and whiskey. He had one avenue to God that his damage couldn’t block and it was through his music. His church unplugged his guitar and put the microphone in front of someone else when he came to them for help. They set the rules and changed them so many times that it was clear they never had any intention of getting out of the way between him and God. I guarantee that his church didn’t know that’s why he left. That’s why the entire worship team left.
The heroes are the nobodies, but the nobodies need to know they’re heroes or they’ll never try to scale the walls.
The ocean of guilt and condemnation has a storm twisting above it and it threatens to claim the dry land as ocean floor. You have nowhere to go and not enough fight to save yourself.
Then, finally, comes the voice:
“Even then, as bad as it will be”—God’s Decree!—”it will not be the end of the world for you.” -Jeremiah 5:18 MSG
How is it possible to recover from your own sin when you can’t go back? How is it that good people can say one thing, but God says another? They tell you you’re beyond restoration and God calls you His beloved. They won’t talk to you, but He says He died for you.
“Yes, me, who made the shorelines to contain the ocean waters. I drew a line in the sand that cannot be crossed. Waves roll in but cannot get through; breakers crash but that’s the end of them.” -Jeremiah 5:22 MSG
You’re standing in the sand and the ocean breathes salty. The only line that was drawn in the scripture was drawn with you and Him on one side and the rest of the rock throwing world on the other. And that line cannot be crossed.
It will be bad, but it won’t be the end.
Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt.-John 8:6 MSG
19 Comments »
Posted: July 16th, 2012 |
Filed under: life | Tags: aftermath, change, divisions, faith, forgive, grace, hope, love wins, sin |
6 Comments »
So many have been hurt by people who call themselves Christians. Whatever the reason, or circumstance, wrong was done to repay wrong done and the cycle goes on and on and on. Slander follows slander. Lies fuel bitter retribution. Don’t you want the cycle to stop?
They used to go in and out of the holy place and were praised in the city where they had done such things. This also is vanity. -Ecclesiastes 8:10
How is it that the prideful and self-righteous can sit through a time of worship and not hear the call to love and forgive and restore? How can they preach the Gospel to some and withhold it from others? You see them unbothered by losing you. You hear of them using you and your failure in messages while not including your salvation. You are always lost to them and that fuels their pride. They get pats on the back for their message at your expense. Where is God, to them, while He is holding you? How can God be with them and you at the same time? That is the type of question that can fuel your pride, too.
It’s a trap.
The slow hand of God to right the wrongs can send you in one of two directions. You know who your God is by where this injustice sends you. Are you patient, putting your trust in God? Do you believe that you’re forgiven and loved in spite of their opinions? Or do you fight to show them their wrongs and refuse to move forward on your own? Are you stuck in the filth they refuse to wash off? When someone gets honor for bearing your sin and you get slandered for being a sinner, does it set your pride on fire?
You have to watch out.
Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil. -Ecclesiastes 8:11
God was patient with you while you were making your terrible choices. He didn’t give up on you while you turned your back to Him. Jesus didn’t come back while you were in the wrong bed.
Don’t wish that, which you were spared, to be poured over another.
God gave you time to come around. And here you are. God is giving them time to do the same. Have the same patience with them that He had with you. It may take a long time. Much longer than you took, in some cases. Hope for their day like you had yours. Hope and don’t give up. Move forward with your new life and let them go at their own pace. Nothing they say can put a price on your head. You are not the hunted. Your “WANTED” posters are out of date and faded. You have been pardoned. Sentence served by Jesus.
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. -2 Peter 3:8-9
Look at your own failure and what it taught you: A lesson in grace you could have learned no other way. Give them the time to learn the same lesson. Pride is a hidden sin that is hard to nail down on their own. They may not see it for a long time. Your sin was easier to see. It was messy and blatant.
It’s easy to see where you are and where others are not, but it wasn’t that long ago that you were where they are. You learned your lesson and learned it hard. Don’t be so quick to forget what it was like to not know how wrong you were.
“Someone will say what is lost can never be saved. Despite all my rage…” -Smashing Pumpkins, “Rat in a Cage”
Let the cycle stop with you. Until then, you’re just a rat in their cage.
6 Comments »