Showing posts with label society. Show all posts
Showing posts with label society. Show all posts

Friday, September 9, 2016

Why are God's People Afraid to be Real?

In the past I thought being a good Christian meant wearing a mask. Projecting an image of happiness and wholeness to all those around me. I thought the mask would help others to see Jesus through me. It would keep my brokenness from becoming a distraction to others. I would wear this mask that I created and when the mask would slip, I would become overcome with guilt for failing as a Christian.

Through the last several years, I have found that sometimes people can see God most shining through the cracks of my brokenness. I was doing God no favors by being artificial. God wanted to use my brokenness. He wanted to heal my brokenness. He wanted to love me in my brokenness.

As a society we have things that are stigmatized. Things that go unspoken for fear of rejection and judgement. Sadly, this is not much more different in our Christian walk.There are some subjects that are uncomfortable and can make us feel vulnerable.

Top Three Things Christians Hide: (Some of these overlap)

1. Mental Illness- Depression, Anxiety, Postpartum, Bipolar, PTSD, Schizophrenia, ect.

As I struggle with depression I find times when I feel the need to fake a smile, even when I am feeling shattered. Sometimes it is to hide my struggle. Sometimes it is to not make someone else uncomfortable. Also, sometimes it is because it makes me feel like I can just make it through. I am one of those personalities where if I am on the verge of crying and a friend tries to comfort me through kind words or through even just a touch, I fall apart and have a hard time gaining composure again.

In our society, mental illnesses are seen as weakness. They are often misunderstood. As Christians we are one body. So why can't we be vulnerable with our brothers and sisters in Christ? How is our pride getting in the way of allowing us to seek support and prayer? Are our expectations of others and attitudes keeping others from reaching out to us?

2. Addictions- Drugs, Alcohol, Food, Pornography, ect.

As I struggle with overeating I feel a deep sense of shame and guilt. I will have a nagging thought that seems to get louder and louder as I entertain it. I seek it for comfort. It makes me feel better, but the feeling is so short lived and I end up feeling defeated and worse than before. It is an idol that I have given myself to and that I felt could take away the pain. Food is not the only addiction I have had in my life, but at this time it is the one that I struggle with day by day, hour by hour, sometimes moment by moment.

If so many with addictions find help with support groups, how many more Christians could if we could be open about our struggles? If we could listen, support, and pray for them? Unfortunately, judgmental attitudes get in the way of showing love to each other. Imagine a brother or sister in Christ came to you and said, "Please pray for me. I am addicted to pain pills." How easy would it be to judge that person? It can be so easy to compare ourselves to others, when really we should be comparing ourselves to Jesus.

3. Sexual Immorality- Lust, Adultery, Pornography, ect.

A little over ten years ago, I had an emotional affair that turned into physical affair. It had started as a friendship. Someone who I felt understood me and who made me feel better about myself, when at the time I felt I was in a loveless marriage. I quickly became emotionally attached to the person. My heart would start racing when I saw their number on the caller id. I would find reasons to go and talk. After having a fight with my husband, I went to my friend for comfort. The emotional affair became physical and I had committed adultery. I was so attached to this person that I was willing to break apart my family. My life quickly fell apart. It was soon after that I allowed Jesus to be the Lord of my life.Thankfully, God has worked so many miracles in my life and has brought healing and restoration into my marriage.

In the church sex and sexual immorality is often a topic that is brushed aside. We feel uncomfortable talking about it and it has become faux pas. So many families are or have been impacted by sexual sins. It seems almost like we believe if we ignore it, it will go away. Sexual sins are embarrassing, but they wont just go away. Jesus was a great example with the Samaritan woman at the well. 

John 4:15-19 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.
John 4:39-41 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”  So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days.  And because of his words many more became believers.

Why should we get real?

*Not only are mental illnesses, addictions, and sexual immorality similar in the way they are stigmatized, they are all very isolating struggles. They lead to others withdrawing and trying to handle it on their own. If we as a body can start communicating about them, it will remove some of the power of them. We can then lift each other up and encourage each other. 

Ecclesiastes 4:12 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

*We are a light, even in our brokenness. The world is filled with fallen broken people. If we can be real with others, they can see that God loves us in our brokenness. We are unable to do good on our own, but God still uses us to bring Him glory. How cool to have a God that can use the very things that we struggle with, to help others. 

1 Timothy 1:15-17 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Brothers and Sisters, 
If you are struggling and you feel all alone, you are not! It may feel like the world is caving in on you and like you are just trying to survive. Even then, God is still there. He loves you so much and you are precious to Him. Please reach out to a friend, family member, a doctor, or a pastor. We are stronger with others at our side. Please let me know if there is any way I can pray for you! 
God Bless, 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Political Correctness

We have reached a sad time in our society. We live in a place that prefers political correctness over truth. We are taught that we each have personal rights and truths, and that we should not disrespect or push our truths onto others... recently is has gone even further than that... It has gotten to a point where if your truth is not the world's truth you should hide it, in order to hide it and keep the peace. Last week, as I was listening to Bott Radio Network, I heard a news story that grabbed my attention. LSU had photoshopped out the crosses, on some students shoulders, as to not offend non-Christians. What was even more shocking is the fact that LSU used to be a seminary.... So how does a college, previously a seminary, become so fearful of the reactions of some people that they go against freedom of religion and freedom of speech?
This is the before and after
I know that LSU has issued an apology and that this is old news, but I am more focused on the implications of our society. 

It seems like personal rights have changed and became biased in ways that benefits the non-believer. It is acceptable for a non-believer to say that there is no god and that someone who believes in one is wrong or stupid... but it is not acceptable for a believer to openly say that there is a god, the one true God. As a wise woman I know said, "Spirituality today has nothing to do with God, but has to do with self service and oneness with the world." This would explain why so many people in our world consider themselves spiritual. Sadly, those people see it as having a great insight into the world, when in actuality they are believing in a lie. 

Ephesians 6:13 "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

We are living in a day of evil and we need to be prepared. Ephesians 6:14a states that we are to, "stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.." Notice that it did not say the belt of political correctness. There is truth and there are lies. While we are to love each other and non-believers, we are not to compromise our beliefs in order to "not offend" someone. Many people view political correctness as a way of being polite, but if I hold my tongue and do not tell someone about the gospel, would it really be more polite to let them have an eternal death than to tell them about the gift of eternal life? 
1 Peter 2:11-12 "Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us."

We are not going to fit into this world and we are to be set apart for God. If we choose to not be politically correct, but rather be God correct, then the world will accuse us of doing wrong.

John 15:18-19 "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you."

We can not and should not expect our society or world to love and accept us. We also should not sensor the Holy Spirit when we are moved to speak to someone. We need to be prepared with the armor of God on. We also can not live in fear of what others might think and feel, but we need to seek God for wisdom and peace. 

Psalm 34:4 "I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears."

There were a couple question asked of us at tonights lecture that really struck me. 

Do you radically portray God's word? (Radically meaning being counter cultural. 
I can't think of anyone who radically portrays God's word as much as Jesus did. I am so thankful that God sent his son to not only die for us, as a sacrifice, but also live for us, to be an example. He had such an amazing way of standing out while loving others, even scoffers. 

Are you living your faith? 
For me, to be honest, it depends on the day. Living one's faith is a daily, monthly, and sometimes even a choice that we need to choose moment by moment.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

If... Then Statements

Our current state of society is based on "If...Then"s. For example, if my boss gives me a raise, then I will work harder. If my landlord fixes the leak, then I will pay my rent. If my I lose weight, then I will feel better about myself. 

As Christians, we are supposed to be Christ-ones. The facts are if God had chosen to give us the the punishment we deserve, then I would end up in Hell. If Jesus only loved the "religious" people, then I would have never known God's grace and provision. BUT He didn't. God sent us a sacrifice to cover our sins. God loves the unloveable. Jesus died for those who hated Him. The fact is as a Christ-one we should do all things to glorify, including the way we treat and react to others. We are to honor our commitments.  We should seek God for our fulfillment. 

Matthew 5:37 "All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one."

1 Corinthians 10:31 "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

Sadly, a lot of marriages fall victim to the If...Thens. I was once victim to this frame of mind and still occasionally slip back into it. If he loves me, then I will honor and submit to him. If he apologizes to me first, then I will apologize to him. I think the reason is because we see our vows as a promise to our spouse, but they aren't. Marital vows are a promise and a vow to God. 

1 Peter 3:1-4 "Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. "

Self-sacrificing is a difficult thing to do, especially in a society that is focused on self. It seems easier to die for someone than to live for someone, because at least if you were to die for them it would be a one time thing. Living for them means a daily sacrificing and constant humility that I am not sure if I could do. I pray that God gives me a serving heart. Maybe, as Christians, we should put away our "If...Then"s and bring out our "Yes, Lord"s.