Niceness

I love people who are driven by compassion, but I am consistently befuddled by their fixation on niceness. They love to look for niceness in their social environments. I have found that many Christians have a compulsion to try and live out the spiritual fruit of kindness by being nice, and I have become resistant to that compulsion over the passed few years.

As far as I understand, kindness has to do with a desire to do good and be helpful to others, and niceness has to do with pleasurable, enjoyable or attractive qualities or experiences. They are not the same thing. Kindness is nice, but niceness does not automatically indicate kindness. (This feels like it could be another flawed syllogism; I think I have a thing for those.)

To be nice is to be polite. It is to behave in a way that everyone agrees is good. To be kind is do what is good and helpful for someone, regardless of whether or not everyone agrees that it is good. I would say that compassion is far more synonymous with kindness than it is with niceness. I think when we begin to tie kindness to politeness, we begin to loose what kindness really is.

Don't just accept what I am saying though, because once again, I am biased. I don't like looking for niceness. I like looking for grit. I like messiness. I look for people to unfold their messiness and grittiness before me, because that is where I find the hidden treasures. I was recently told that God would give me the treasures of darkness (especially in relation to my writing), and that fascinated me because shortly after that was spoken over me the scripture where that phrase is used was read aloud. Isaiah 45:3. Simply titillating!

I am beginning to wonder if this might be one of the things about me that was being referred to. I am fascinated by dark things. I want to know why the human psyche has such darkness, and I want to know what's hidden inside of that darkness. I know many Christians will give me the blanket answer that we have fallen short of the glory of God and live in a fallen world, and while I don't disagree with that, I want to dive deeper. I'm not satisfied with just the all encompassing answer; I want to know all the smaller answers within it.

Well, I guess that's my rant for today. I'm strongly considering changing the description to reflect how much I ramble on. I think I may actually do that.

Anywho! Thanks for reading my blog! God bless you!

Marriage: Mysterious and Profound

Lately I have been thinking a lot about marriage. I am still technically a newly wed (although I don’t really feel like a newly wed), so the topic of marriage has become more profound to me as of late. For this reason, I think about the way that the definition of marriage is changing. In our culture it was once considered a union between a man and a women only, but many people are challenging this. It seems hateful, bigoted, and to some Christian’s it even seems spiritually or scripturally dishonest.

To me, it is more than spiritually and scripturally honest, but divinely beautiful and profound. Marriage is symbolic of the relationship between Christ and the Church.

Ephesians 5:22-33

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.
24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,
30 because we are members of his body.
31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

I believe that God gave us marriage as a beautiful gift, and I believe that gift has a divine purpose, higher than simply to benefit man-kind (although that is certainly an important part of it). It was given to us as a physical and tangible picture of what the relationship between Christ and the Church looks like. Our very bodies were created for the purpose of glorifying the Lord. Wouldn’t something as important as marriage have that same purpose, too?

For this reason, I believe that same-sex marriage is less beautiful, and less profound. A man joined to a man cannot show what the relationship between Christ and the Church looks like with their own lives, and neither can a woman joined to a woman. Heterosexual couples often fail in this as well, for wives often fail to submit to their husbands as the church submits to Christ, and husbands often fail to love their wives as Christ loves the Church. However, the possibility to honour and glorify Christ and his Bride is still there. In marriage a man cannot be the head over another man, and a woman cannot be the head over another woman. There us an imbalance of authority, so it cannot paint the picture if Christ being the head of the Church.

Unfortunately, the concept of authority is becoming loathed by more and more Christian women as this world moves farther into the feminist movement. Even some Christian men have come to loath the concept of authority. For this reason, one of the pillars of marriage has been knocked down. It’s mysterious and profound purpose is becoming irrelevant in society, even to Christians.

For a non believer, glorifying God means little. For a Christian, it should mean everything. The desire to glorify God should seep into every inch of our lives. It should be the aroma that never fades. It is the reason that we were made in God’s image. It is up to each of us to decide what is more important in our lives.

Thank you for reading my blog. 🙂

Have We Damaged Our Eyes?

Hebrews 10:35-36
Therefore don’t throw away your boldness, which has a great reward. For you need endurance so that, having done the will of God, you may receive the promise.

For a time I had thrown away boldness because I was discouraged. I felt defeated. So many disagree with what I believe, and some even believe that people with beliefs like mine aren’t even real Christians. So, I gave up. I let everyone else bicker and argue amongst themselves and just enjoyed my new marriage. There’s nothing wrong with doing that for a time, but I ignored what I believe God has placed on my shoulders for too long now.

Thanks to a lovely lady on the blogosphere, who recently re-blogged one of my posts, I have some boldness again. One of the functions of the church is to encourage each other (Thessalonians 5:11), and Ufuoma did that wonderfully!

Today I want to share something that’s been on my heart for a long time. When I published the blog post, The Principality of Homosexuality, I was terrified. I was so scared that I was wrong. I did not want to think of myself as being wiser that I ought. However, I believed that it was and is the truth, and so I published it.

Afterword I continued to wonder if everyone else was right and I was wrong, and as I pondered that I found myself trying to pick some sleep out of my eye. I was picking at it quite persistently until finally I felt a searing pain in the corner of my eye. I touched my finger to my tear duct and then examined it, and low and behold I saw blood on my finger. In that moment Luke 6:41-42 came to mind:

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

I was so convinced I had something lodged in my eye that I damaged my own eye while trying to remove a speck that wasn’t there.

I think that this is what many members of the church have done. We have dug out pieces of our eyes because others accused us of not seeing clearly. Well, now we REALLY can’t see clearly. Even if we wanted to remove specks from our brothers’ eyes out of genuine concern for their well being (for admonishment is also a function of the church – Colossians 3:16), it is now impossible for many of us to do that. Unless, of course, if Jesus does some healing and restores our eyes.

God placed the foundation for Godly marriage, and we can’t just replace it with a new foundation. It won’t work. We may try, and we may even deceive ourselves into thinking that it works, but I do not believe that God’s foundations can be changed.

Thank you for reading my blog. 🙂

Is “Sorry” Just a Word?

I’ve had a lot of child care jobs in my life. Perhaps not as many as others my age may have had, but I’ve had a fair bit. In that time I have pondered the significance of the word “sorry”, especially when I see a child being forced to say it for the sake of keeping the peace. I feel like this is pointless. It’s as if we are teaching our children to force themselves to emmulate remorse. To me, this sounds like ingenuine repentance. It says in 2 Corinthians 7:10 that “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

I was taught as a child to say sorry when I hurt someone, and to say “I accept your apology” when someone says sorry to me. I wonder though if our attitude as a church might change if we start thinking in terms of repentance and forgiveness instead of just keeping the peace and acting civil. After all, it says in Romans 12:9 that “Love must be sincere.” Trying to act civil doesn’t seem like sincere love to me.

I suppose repentance is putting remorse into action. Saying sorry seems like a step below repentance. Like we stop short of actually changing our behaviour. Not everyone is like this, but I think most people are when it comes to certain behaviours. Those little habits that just don’t seem to change no matter how many times we are told it’s hurtful, or no matter how hard we try. Of course, that’s where grace comes in.

Anywho… Thoughts? Comments?

Throwing Out Pieces of Jesus

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

If Jesus is the word of God, and has been so since the beginning, is every word that has ever come from God Jesus? When we dismiss Old Testament Scriptures when the New Testament Scriptures have not specifically instructed us to do so, are we dismissing pieces of Jesus? When we nitpick the scriptures, are we nitpicking Jesus? When we metaphorically (or literally) throw out Scriptures that we don’t like or assume are irrelevant, are we throwing out pieces of Jesus? Are we, by such actions, attempting to dictate to Jesus (and others) what pieces of His being are significant and what pieces are insignificant? When withhold Scriptures from others when they could be shared, are we withholding Jesus from others? When we force Scripture into people’s lives when it is not welcomed, are we forcing Jesus into people lives?

Is this how we treat our King? Is this how we treat our Savior? Is this how we treat the bridegroom of the Church?

If Jesus is the Word of God, and this is how we treat God’s Word now, will it carry over into the Kingdom of Heaven in how we treat Jesus directly?

Ah, so many questions. I suppose that’s all I have lately.

Thank you for reading my blog. 🙂 What are your thoughts on these questions?

 

God Loves Pedophiles, Too

Hello everyone. Today I’m going to speak on another topic which revolves around sexuality. I have mentioned it before, and God has placed it on my heart (very heavily) to work against the condemnation that is heaped onto these individuals. I want to work with Jesus to break this spirit of condemnation that so many Christians feel is okay and even righteous in this particular situation. I’m talking about pedophilia and child molestation. Yes, I mean it.

If you’ve read my previous posts all the way back to my earliest ones, then you should know that I have experienced sexual abuse in my childhood. So, I am speaking from experience here. As Christians it is not okay for us to condemn pedophiles and child molesters. I know this will probably shock a lot of readers (if not everyone who reads this). For people who have children I acknowledge that your love for your children is very strong and that even the thought of somebody doing something evil to them is likely revolting to you. However, this does not mean that it is okay to condemn anyone who does such things. Here is why I say this:

I believe that it is important for us to be careful not to encourage our children to withhold forgiveness from others because of how they see us treating those who hurt them. That could prevent them from finding peace and cause their suffering to last throughout their entire lives. In my struggle with homosexuality, sexual abuse and lust, I have found that people look at sexual abuse/immorality/impurity as reason to cast judgement and condemnation on others. This is not righteousness. I would like to point out Romans 12:17-21. It is not our job to take vengeance. It is our job to operate under the new covenant of Jesus Christ, under which there is no condemnation. Romans 8:1 Now, probably those who molest children are not in Christ Jesus (Although we cannot be certain. Who among us can say that we who are in Christ Jesus do not commit sins any more?), but we must still be kind to our enemies. “Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21

I have found that there are still many people who allow their emotional reactions to such things to control what they say and do. I once saw a picture on Facebook with a vicious dog in the top cut, and a man in an orange jumpsuit sitting between two lawyers in the bottom cut. The text on this picture read: “When a dog attacks a child and scars them for life the dog is put to sleep. Shouldn’t we do the same to Pedophiles?”, and in the comment section I see message after message of “Yes!” and even “Amen!” I then see message after message of “Torture them first” or “Make them feel what they made the kids feel!” I honestly believe that this is a very selfish standpoint. I believe this is a mindset that places one’s own desire to have immediate satisfaction in terms of justice and revenge as a higher priority than a child’s complete healing so that they may one day gain permanent psychological well-being. If we cannot forgive, we cannot forget. If we cannot forget, we cannot move on. I still remember what happened to me, but thanks be to God I have long forgotten the pain and confusion that was a result of the abuse. God has let me forget my troubles. (We actually got a dog from my uncle who was named Manasseh, which is what Joseph named one of his sons because “God [made him] forget all [his] trouble…” Genesis 41:51. I think that’s pretty cool.)

I have seen a few people quote Matthew 18:6 to support their desire to kill and even torture those who molest children. Well, here’s what I have to say to that. If we cause a child to withhold forgiveness because of how they see us treating those who hurt them, aren’t we causing them to stumble, too? If this is true, then any child caught in such a situation would be caused to stumble twice over the same matter. This is not progress. It’s actually a step backwards. I sometimes wonder if perhaps we stopped condemning pedophiles, but instead taught our children to forgive them, we might see a generation rise up that feels totally clean and pure even if they’ve experienced sexual abuse. For it was when I forgave that the end of my suffering and confusion began. It was when I truly forgave, not only in my heart but through confession of my lips as well, that I was able to begin the deeper healing process with Jesus. Allowing a child to begin deeper healing with Jesus is a higher priority than justice through vengeance in my books. I could be wrong, but if we can teach a child to forgive and walk with Jesus in their pain and suffering, than nothing in this life can hold them down even if they are made to stumble.

James 3:13-18

I was once bitter and unforgiving against the one who abused me. However, God was not pleased with my bitter and unforgiving heart, nor did he approve when my desire to take justice and vengeance into my own hands rose up in my heart. I realized that because Jesus does not bind me to my sin, I have no right to bind anyone to theirs, no matter how it might offend my human sensibilities (which are probably flawed). Not even I have any right to condemn a pedophile or child molester.

Jesus came to save ANYONE who would believe in him, right? Anyone. No matter what they’ve done. What message are we sending to pedophiles in this day and age? Most of us send the message that they cannot be saved, and they cannot be forgiven. What then will Jesus say when we are standing before him? Will he ask us, “Why did you place a stumbling block for those people? Why did you speak in a way that stopped them from being saved? Do you not know that I died for them, too? Does my sacrifice mean so little to you? Do you not know that my blood was shed for them just as much as it was shed for you?” Do we have so little respect for Christ’s suffering that we do not care that his wounds were for pedophiles, too?

As Christians, it is our duty to continue Christ’s ministry, and open a way for the Holy Spirit to impart truth to the world. We have really nailed in the truth that they have sinned, but have we balanced it with the truth that they can be forgiven? Not with pedophiles we haven’t. With pedophiles all we say is that they have sinned. Very few are willing to say that they can be forgiven.  Is that what we wish for? Do we wish for those who have molested children not to be forgiven? I believe that is selfish. I believe that dishonours Christ’s suffering. As much as many of us don’t want to think about it, they were made in the image of God, too. Just like us.

God loves them, too.

So, what message will we send to pedophiles the next time an opportunity to speak on the topic comes? Will we use partial, worldly, and even demonic wisdom to satisfy our own (often perverse) desire for justice? Or will we be quiet in spirit, and wait for the Holy Spirit to prompt us to open a way for them to hear the gospel. They can be forgiven, perhaps we should let them know. The blood of Christ can cleans us, and it can cleanse them, too.

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.” Colossians 1:15-16 All things includes all things, which includes pedophiles. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and it’s not up to us to rank who fell farther. It’s up to us to help each other find our way back, and to do so under the authority of Jesus. Let’s stop robbing Jesus of the people he died for because of our own selfish ambitions and bitterness. How about we speak life to everyone, even when it’s hard to? That’s what Jesus came to do.

And for those that say pedophiles cannot change, perhaps remember Matthew 19:26,

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'” (Again I will say, all things includes all things.)

And Proverbs 3:5-6,

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

How much faith do we put in Jesus, and how much faith do we put in our own understanding?

Well, that’s all I have to say for now. Thank you for reading my blog. 🙂

High School, The Holy Spirit and Homosexuality

I have seen many interpretations of the verses found in Romans Chapter 1 (specifically Romans 1:18-28) in regard to homosexuality. Some I have been able to agree with completely, some I have been able to agree with partially, and others I have not been able to agree with at all. The reason I am saying this is because the scriptures found in Romans 1 are very important to me. They are the very scriptures that God used to first convict me of my homosexual desires. It was not man kind and human philosophies that first convicted me, but God himself.

It was a timely warning that was given in the wise counsel of the Holy Spirit. I first read these scriptures in grade eight when my ex-girlfriend and I were still just friends. There was no question in my mind what the scriptures meant, nor how they were relevant to me. I had never seen those scriptures before and no one had ever quoted them to me. It was the first time those words had ever been presented to me, and it was the Holy Spirit who was pointing them out.

As I was thinking about this I realized what the major difference between convictions of the Holy Spirit and convictions of men are (in my experiences). I remembered how I felt when I first read these scriptures. I did not feel ashamed, defeated or condemned, which is often how I feel when people try to convict me of something. I actually felt quite the opposite. I felt excited and amazed. I think that inside my soul was rejoicing, and I think my spirit was crying out, “God, you care enough about me to tell me this. You have seen my iniquities and you have not left me! You know my heart better than I do, and you still want to be a part of it!” I was rejoicing in my Lord’s loving kindness. I was delighted that He counted me worthy to share in His wisdom.

However, when I shared those verses with my ex-girlfriend, she reacted very differently. I think she was actually taken aback by my enthusiasm, and sometimes I wonder if I might have even made her concerned or nervous about me. If I can recall correctly, it was not long after this that she stopped being a Christian. This confused me. I could not understand how something which excited me so much could upset her so much. Although, we had not come out to each other yet, so I didn’t have the whole picture. Of course, I’m not saying this was the one and only reason that she became an atheist, but it is the reason that I was most aware of.

Time went on and she and I, along with some other friends, hung out with each other a lot. Going into high school we were a pretty tight group, and we all really cared about each other. Then one day while I was in English Class I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to separate myself from my group of friends. I don’t know if this was intended to be permanent or temporary, but I did not question it. Up to this point I was not in the habit of questioning God in how He lead me. It made no sense to me to question the one who knows me better than I know myself.

So, after English Class I approached my friends and told them that I couldn’t hang out with them anymore, and my ex-girlfriend’s reaction was devastating. They asked me why, and my ex-girlfriend declared, “Because we’re not good enough for her!” and then stormed out, and I’m pretty certain that she was crying. The next day she didn’t come to school, and we were all worried about her. I was torn. I knew what God was asking me to do, and I didn’t want to disobey Him, but I didn’t want to hurt my friends either.

On the day that my ex-girlfriend didn’t come in we had a substitute teacher for English Class, and she was a devout Christian. Seriously. She spent the entire class talking about God and how everything we do has a ripple effect. I don’t know if it was in God’s plan to send someone that day who would spend an hour sharing things that made me feel comfortable to open up to her about my spiritual life, but that’s sure what she did. After class I approached her and started talking to her, and although I don’t remember much of what was said, I remember that she smiled kindly and sincerely, I cried for nearly the entire lunch hour, and she told me that “It’s obvious you care about her”. That has stuck with me for a long time, because for a long time I was afraid that I was just heartless.

That day, despite my conversation with this lovely and mature woman of God, I made one of the worst decisions of my life. I chose to deliberately ignore the Holy Spirit and disobey God, and when I went to my next class I apologized to my other friends and made up. I’m not saying that my friends were bad people who didn’t deserve to have me as a friend. No. I loved my friends, and I still do, but my obedience to God should never have taken second place to anything or anyone.

My friends and I went to my ex-girlfriend’s house after school to see how she was doing, and then I made up with her too. If I can recall correctly, it was not long after this that we came out to each other. It was over the phone, and after we both told each other that we were lesbians, I felt a strange mix of pride and comfort. After we were done talking to each other and we hung up, God’s spirit fell heavily on me. I could feel the weight of the Holy Spirit pressing heavily on my heart. Like, HEAVY.

I knew that what I wanted was dishonorable to Him, and He knew that I knew that what I wanted was dishonorable to Him. This is what it feels like was going on in that moment:

God was saying, “You know my truth. I have already revealed it to you.”

Satan was already creeping into the situation and saying, “It’s just who you are. There’s no other choice. It’s just who you are. There’s no other choice. There’s no other choice. There’s no other choice.

My flesh was giving into Satan and saying, “Yeah, you know what? It really is who I am. It’s just who I am. It really does feel like there’s no other choice.”

And then my spirit chimed in saying, “No! You can’t reject God’s truth! Please, don’t reject God’s truth! Please, you need His good counsel! You need His wisdom! You need His truth! You can’t reject God’s truth and expect anything good to come of it!”

The weight of it all was so great that I literally could not stand. I lay on the ground as I tried to process it all, but in my heart I was already allowing Satan to win. I was already allowing my fleshly nature to become dominant. All I could think about in that moment was how much I wanted her, and how much I didn’t want to hurt her, so I rejected it all. All of it. Everything. I gave in to myself. I gave in to my own flesh. I didn’t know how to balance the relationship I had with God and the relationship I wanted to have with her, and the fact of the matter is that I couldn’t. It just wouldn’t work, so I silenced my spirit and told God to leave me alone, and Satan just got quiet without being told. I am now convinced that he was pretending to co-operate so that I would keep my guard down. God backed off and let me make my own choice in the matter, but He never gave up on me. My spirit remained quiet for a long time, but it was still alive so it remained alert.

That was the absolute worst choice of my life. Ever.

If I can recall correctly, it was not long after this that she and I started dating. I cannot recall much about this time, but I must have still talked about God. I don’t know how much I talked about Him or Christianity, or possibly even my parents’ views, but apparently I talked about Him enough for her to say this, “You don’t need God to be complete, you know.”

This is how I know that my spirit was still alert, because when she said this my spirit rose up and spoke. It said, quietly yet assuredly, “Yes, I do. I am His very breath. I need Him. I am His very breath. I need Him. I am His very breath. I need Him.”

This is probably the reason why I cried the first time I sang the song Great Are You Lord in church.

This is all that I will write for now. Thank you for reading my blog. 🙂 God bless you.