Hurting and Healing
As I write this, on a Saturday afternoon, my heart is feeling extremely heavy.
I don't even know if I titled this blog post correctly, because I have a ton on my heart and my mind.
I am sitting over here in my bedroom, desiring to fight against injustice, and still preach the gospel at all costs.
I am sitting over here in my bedroom as my children hang out with their daddy for the hour, as I sit here trying to make sense of words their father wrote in a card to one of them about trusting and obeying God at all times and to live their lives for Jesus....and just feeling hurt all over again. The rise of hurt and blame bubble up in my throat constantly and I have to fight against it and work through forgiveness. It still hurts.
Our country is divided and expressing intense hate against those sworn to protect us. I am afraid for our nation and I am afraid for my family members and friends who work in Law enforcement.....as they still dress in their uniforms each day to serve a public that hates them.
We are so good at pointing fingers, aren't we? We point outward a lot. It is much easier to do that than to point inward.
On my last blog post, a woman I used to serve in ministry with, and ironically was an administrative assistant to my former husband, felt the need to call me out and criticize me for defending the President for holding a bible up in front of the church. She went on to judge my heart, my intent and that she was tired of us defending a man, in her mind, is evil and not worthy of following. Is not worthy of being near a bible or holding it up. That I should be ashamed.
I will say it is clear she didn't read my post, but I feel it is necessary to share something else to add to the post.
It is not just the President. In fact, I am going to be really honest with you and say that I struggle with my former husband sharing about Jesus. Especially when he shares it with our kids.
I am still healing and will probably be healing for a long time of all the lies, manipulation, gaslighting, and emotional turmoil that took place in our marriage. Every single day I have to constantly remind myself that he is also loved by God. Seen by God. Jesus died for him, too. I do not wish ill for him. I do not even really hate him, even though I am still reeling from heartbreak. This is by far the crappiest thing I have ever been through, and I have seen some hard times. But I have to remind myself of Paul's words where he said while in prison "whether for ill-intent or for good, Christ is proclaimed."
Yes, my heart has been broken by the man who swore he would never break it. That he would be my husband for my life. I am angry and hurt by him and sometimes I can resent how he behaves as though nothing is wrong and that all is fine. And yes, I can question his motives when he talks about Jesus with the kids or shares bible verses with them. But, Christ is proclaimed. That I will work through to be grateful for.
My point regarding my previous post was that we as Christians love to point out who the humans are that are worthy of sharing the gospel. We love examples of good people. We create idols out of them. Then, when they fall short, and they ALL do, we rip them to shreds and anyone who even dares to defend or even befriend them is clearly not a real Christian. The Jesus And principle comes into play. We behave like pharisees and shout loudly what we do and don't do to showcase our goodness and how others are not doing enough good things in order to be a good Christian.
Friends, we are unable to be perfectly good. We are not good. Our heart's natural bent is to rebel against God. We want to do our own thing. Our own way. It is why we become so easily swayed when Culture throws us a few scripture verses in order to draw us into relativism.
We preach in our churches moralistic theology...instead of just the gospel.
Preach the gospel.
Romans 3:23-24 (CSB) states clearly:
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."
It does not say that you are justified by how many social justice causes you align yourself with. It does not state that we are to be anti-racist in order to justify our faith. It does not state that we must vote a certain way or for a specific party or a specific person in order to be justified in our faith.
No. Only the grace that is given to us by God through the redemption found only in Christ Jesus. That is it.
You want to transform a world? You want to transform a culture? You really want to fight injustice and hatred and division and racism and evil?
You better start pointing people to the gospel.
Listen. Fighting for good. Fighting and standing up against the injustices of our world and communities is a good thing. We should do these things. Our faith often compels us to want to speak out against that which is evil. God has given us free will to do so. But remember first this that you are not a victim. There will always be evil. There will always be some new cause or new hurt that culture will try to spin and force us to act upon if we are really Christians. Even Pastors will try to shame you into following Culture and they will even use scripture to do it.
Remember this in 2 Corinthians 4:6 (CSB):
For God who said, "Let light shine out of the darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God's glory in the fact of Jesus Christ.
And this in 2 Corinthians 4:8-10:
We are afflicted in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair, we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed. We always carry the death of Jesus in our body so that the lift of Jesus may also be displayed in our body.
When Paul is reminding us that God spoke about letting light shine out of darkness, it had nothing to do with social justice reform or what culture deems acceptable. I repeat, since I know someone will forget, this doesn't mean that speaking out against injustices is wrong to do.
But it was about those things. It was talking of the gospel. The gospel is the light that will shine out of the darkness. It pierced the darkness in our hearts and reconciled us to Him as only He can do. Culture cannot do that. Culture can only offer check boxes for you to check off and you will never, ever complete them in order to be deemed good enough by them.
God saw that we were caught in the never ending cycle of sin and He had a plan from the very beginning to save us all. So even when we are crushed, and hurt, and perplexed and struck down, we can remember the light of the gospel that lays within us. It is our hope. It is what has transformed us.
It is what will transform the world.
No matter how many times I may find myself in pain or hurting from the harm done to my heart, I have the Gospel. I have the light inside of me that will shine through the darkness. I can forgive my criticizer and my abuser because though I may be struck down, I am not destroyed. Though I may have been victimized, I am no victim and I don't have to live as one.
So in your hurting and healing. You may have been victimized. You may have been stuck down, but you do not have to stay down. If you are in Christ Jesus, you too have the light. The only way we will see true reconciliation and transformation in ourselves and in those we care about is through the gospel.
And nothing else.
Your sister in Christ,