who answers for you?

Posted: August 27th, 2010 | Filed under: life | Tags: , | 5 Comments »

A friend of mine, Leonard Sweet, posted a facebook update yesterday. The question in it sharpened me. He was talking about a moment in his own life when someone asked him this and it was a ‘game changer’ for him.

What is it in your life it takes Jesus to explain?

You can answer this directly if you want, but that leaves too much room open to not think about it. If you don’t think about it, then you get answers like ‘everything.’ But, that’s not true. It sounds religious, but it’s void of depth. It makes my mind wander and I think about all the other things religion has copied and wonder if religion has copied emotion, too. But, that’s just a side note. Answers like ‘everything’ could very well be true, but if it really were the case, you would have specifics to choose from. ‘Everything’ or other equally ‘nothing’ responses are so distant and detached, it’s hard for me to believe that there’s anything there. Mainly because when there is something there, you aren’t blase about it.

I spend a lot of time listening to people tell me how they can’t forgive themselves for their mistakes. Most people are able to believe in forgiveness for others, but not themselves. What I have learned along the way is that the biggest obstacle in the way of forgiving yourself is the people around you. People are waiting for ‘permission’ from others before they can forgive themselves, accept God’s grace and move on into freedom.

There is a fear if they accept God’s grace and start to let go of their past, that there will be people who are not ready for their freedom or joy. They’re right. There are people who, no matter how much time has gone by or how much God has done in your life, will only see your mistakes when they look at you.

I have heard about someone in my own community who has a hard time seeing me ‘happy’. She says it’s not because she doesn’t want me to be happy, but it just makes her angry to think that I am. She can only see my sin and it’s been years since I’ve been free and happy. I won’t reserve my freedom until she or anyone else is on board. I won’t get self-righteous and indignant toward her either. There will always be those people and you can’t let them determine who you are.

You can’t limit your relationship with Jesus due to fear of what people will think. This sounds like a middle school youth group message where the ‘people’ referred to are the ‘cool kids’ or school bullies. However, I am talking about ‘big brother’ Christians who forgot that they’re not the Father and are bossing you around when they think He can’t hear.

If it really was your father and your brother really was bullying you and trying to get an edge on your dad’s acceptance, then you’d probably go talk to him to see how much of the nonsense was true. Do that with God.

“What is it in your life it takes Jesus to explain?”

You don’t have to worry about what people think of you. You don’t have to be held back by someone else’s unbelief. You don’t have to convince them, either. Does it help to know that God’s grace, forgiveness and acceptance come a lot sooner than anybody is ready for? It takes Jesus to explain that one.

And He will.

Just because Jesus is with you doesn’t mean He’s not with them, too. I’m talking to you, the one who fell. Spend your time answering to Jesus. Tap into the faith He’s given you so that you can experience the freedom that He died for. The freedom from yourself and your failures and the offer of another chance. Focus on that and believe that He’s with them, too. If He can change your selfish heart, He can change their hard heart. You have no right to be bitter toward  people who can’t offer you grace. You’re doing the very thing to them that they’re doing to you.

We have to give one another the room to be wrong and to learn from it. Be for them, what they can’t currently be for you. Forgive the blindness. Show mercy to the deceived. Prepare your heart to be open to them when they turn from their own confusion and need your forgiveness. Do it before they ask. Isn’t that what God does for us?

When you hear that question,

  • what does it do for you?
  • what is your answer?
  • does it set you free knowing you don’t have to answer for yourself?



5 Comments on “who answers for you?”

  1. 1 Shannon said at 11:11 am on August 27th, 2010:

    What happenings in me, or my life, does it take Jesus to explain… that struck me too when I read it first, was it in your guest posting you put that? (Those were amazing, btw, SO real)

    Anywho… I hear that and it gives me peace about the hardest things I've gone through in life… it makes me stop searching for that unattainable answer to "Why?" Cuz only he knows. Seems to me the things that only Jesus can explain are the ones that leave no room for my pride, or maybe my people pleasing.

    Can you expand on your mention about religion stealing emotion?

  2. 2 Serena Woods said at 11:37 am on August 27th, 2010:

    Hey, Shannon. 🙂

    Religion stealing emotion: I was talking about when people will say things just to sound more religious. They'll say they feel peace and joy and act it out for you, but they're really confused and angry, but that's not very 'Christian like' so they act out the 'Christian way.' —> stealing emotions. Borrowing from something real so you can emulate and escape detection.

    Does that make sense?

  3. 3 Shannon said at 1:38 pm on August 27th, 2010:

    yes, in a tip-of-the-iceberg kinda way… may need a whole post or 12 on it in Serena fashion 🙂

  4. 4 anonymous said at 4:23 am on August 28th, 2010:

    What is it in my life that takes Jesus to explain?

    That I am able to forgive the man who abused me as a child. I have moved past that. We have the kind of relationship that only Jesus could ever explain…

  5. 5 Joyce said at 5:34 am on August 30th, 2010:

    Being willing to let go of anything that builds self-confidence. The more SELF-assured I am, the less I am living the life of Christ. I have died and my life is hid with Christ in God. Jesus is the explanation and my only confidence.

Leave a Reply