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?

 

Who or What Is Our Master?

(If there are any children reading this please stop and let your parent(s) or guardian(s) read it first.)

There is one thing that annoys me above all other things in the controversy over homosexuality. There is one thing that makes me want to continue sharing what I have learned, even if some may not like it. I’m actually a little afraid to share this, but I think it needs to be said.

I’ve read a few articles concerning advice given to people trying to figure out how to deal with homosexuality (whether in themselves or with someone else). The one that I will specifically share was posted throughout the internet in November of 2013. It is an Ask Amy article called Parent pressures gay son to change. This article makes me angry for a couple reasons.

I will begin by saying that the parent’s entire letter irritated me. However, Amy’s response, though having some wise points, had a statement that irks me just as much as the parent’s whole letter. After suggesting that this parent undergoes sexual orientation change to teach her son how easy it is (obviously sarcasm), she says this: “I assume that my suggestion will evoke a reaction that your sexuality is at the core of who you are.” This fills me with anger. Any time I see or hear someone saying of another’s sexual orientation, “It’s who you are” or “Don’t suppress your true self”, I become literally hot with rage. I have chosen not to speak on this specifically until now because I try not to let my emotions run me or dictate my values. However, I think the time to speak of it has come.

The reason I hate such statements is because they are oppression disguised as liberation. If you say to someone that their sexuality is who they are, or that it’s their true self, you are basically saying to them that on some level, sex is their master. You are telling them that they are a slave to their sexuality. I believe that this is the worst form of oppression. This teaches people that they cannot master their own thoughts, they cannot master their own feelings, and that they cannot even master what they do with their thoughts and feelings. That is not empowerment. I believe that it teaches people to oppress themselves.

If I cannot master my own body, then I am truly a pathetic creature. If I cannot even say to myself, “I will keep control of my body. I will not be enslaved by my own desires,” then I am no better than a dog who chooses not to discern between its food and its feces. Such a creature requires a better master than its own self. I require a better master than my own self; one who can teach me to master my own body. That master is Jesus, and he has already done this for me in great measure.

I know that homosexuality is a heated topic right now, and I am not writing about it so that I can get in on the controversy. I don’t want to single it out, but it’s something I have personal knowledge about, so that’s why I talk about it. I’m not sharing my experiences and understandings of it because I believe that I’m morally superior and better than everyone else, and I don’t write in complete oblivion to the fact that there are actual human beings who might read it. I don’t share these things because I believe that I should be able to dictate what other people do with their bodies; I have no intention of making anyone a slave to any form of sexuality. I actually want the opposite to happen.

Whether you struggle with adultery, bestiality, fornication, homosexuality, lust, masturbation, necrophilia, pedophilia or pornography (notice that these terms are in alphabetical order, to make it clear that I am not ranking them), if you have been saved by Jesus Christ then sex is no longer your master. You are no longer a slave to sexuality, and you do not have to behave as if you are.

This doesn’t just apply to sexuality. I speak the most on this topic because it is what I have struggled with the most, and Jesus has brought me through and given me victory over it. Because of this I believe that I have more authority to speak on this specific part of life than I have to speak on anything else. Part of the reason I’m afraid to talk about this is because so many Christians have tried to have strong opinions about this matter when they had little or no authority to, and have thus made Christianity look like an obsession with the morality or immorality of sexual behavior, which it’s not. I don’t want to add to that, but the fact of the matter is that I cannot share my testimony without talking a lot about the morality or immorality of sexual behavior. So, I would like to be so bold as to speak briefly on other topics which I have some authority in as well, in the regard of oppression and liberation.

If you have been saved by Jesus Christ, than you have the power to change and be completely transformed through Him. Therefore, you are not a slave to depression. You are not a slave to laziness. You are not a slave to loneliness. You are not a slave to food. You are not a slave to your appearance. You are not a slave to human expectations. You are not a slave to the media. You are not a slave to gossip. You are not a slave to anger. You are a not a slave to envy. You are not a slave to bad dreams or nightmares. You are not a slave to sleepless nights. You are not a slave to fear. You are not a slave to pride. You are not a slave to shame. You are not a slave to hopelessness. You are not a slave to regret.

This is what my major turning point was. I named my perceived master – that which my flesh was content in being a slave to – and then I rebuked my flesh. I claimed Jesus as my master. I am not a slave to sin but to righteousness. Please do not let your flesh say, “This is stupid.” Instead let your spirit rise up and proclaim that you are NOT a slave to ANY of the ways of this world.

Thank you for reading my blog. 🙂

Romans 12:2

Romans 6

Galatians 4:1-9

Matthew 6:24

2 Corinthians 10:4-5

♪ Greg Sczebel – Good Fight ♪