Monday, October 31, 2011

Bitterness - The Scarlet Letter of Silence

Have you ever been labeled "Bitter?" So many of us coming from bad situations fear that we will either sound bitter or wonder if there is any bitterness left in our hearts for those who have either wittingly or unwittingly hurt us.

The idea seems to be this - If you are bitter or sound bitter than you can be easily dismissed, not listened to or your story voided and cast aside. Only the ones who are not "bitter" are allowed to speak. (Sadly, this ends up to be all who are speaking!)

But can you imagine sitting in a court of law. Someone is giving a testimony on the witness stand and the judge looks at them and says, "Strike this man's testimony! He sounds bitter!"

Or can you imagine people in Jesus' day telling him, "Pay no attention to that crazy man yelling at the Pharisees! He sounds bitter!"

How about telling a verbally abused wife or daughter to be silent because they just sound bitter?

The truth is that any time you give an account of a wrong done either to you or to others you can sound bitter.

So many of us have never said anything because we might sound bitter or are afraid that someone might perceive us as bitter. Therefore stories go untold and the perpetrators of the abuse are allowed to continue on with us standing on the sidelines with what amounts to the Christian scarlet letter pasted to our foreheads.

Just being bitter does not change your testimony from valid to non-valid. Being bitter does not change the truth of the matter.

Bitterness is a heart issue. Someone can "sound" bitter and not have a bitter issue at all. Maybe they just sound angry. Bitterness is an internal thing. Truly only the person and God can sort this one out. Let's stop judging each other and let the Holy Spirit do his job.

The bad thing is we don't even have to have an enemy to wear the label. Often the very ones we are trying to help give it to us. Or for my own part I have to battle back the voices in my head that tell my own heart that I just might be bitter somewhere that I don't realize it.

Well today, I'm done. I've asked the Holy Spirit to show me where there is any bitterness. He has said nothing. I am so willing to repent if I need to but I see nothing. Therefore I am going to be free in telling my story as he wants me to share it and to urge others to tell theirs.

When you tell your story you have every right to be angry (you might even SOUND bitter!). When you hear someone else's story you are allowed to be angry! In fact if you are not angry then something in your heart is broken. Christians have for too long been silenced by this "Bitter slinging."

I'm asking that you deal with your own heart before God and then speak. Don't be silent because you must might somewhere, somehow, in some dark place that you can't see be bitter or angry or be perceived as such. It is not worth watching the ruin any longer.

Here is a post from someone who says this much better than I could every say it. The Bitterness Phenomenon

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Losing Your Destiny

The biggest scare tactic that this church will throw at you if you even think of leaving their ranks is that of "losing your destiny." (A quick look at the latest sermon topics will reveal their last one preached in September.

Let's talk about that for a minute.

People who believe that it is possible to lose their destiny tend to agree to a few things. 1) That you were created by God for a purpose in this life. 2) That God has a "primary" plan for your life for which you were created, and 3) it is possible to either throw this plan away or somehow miss it and therefore lose the destiny that God created for you. (Note - I no longer believe this way because it stems from the Old Testament law and stories and ignores the cross - but that is another post)

Now, it sounds very scary to any believer who values loving God to think that they will get to heaven and find out that the very thing that God created them for has been lost, stolen or thrown away. It carries great significance with it. It carries the idea that God will (at least) be mad at you, and for some even hints that you may even lose your salvation.

My biggest question when I left this 'church' was this very question. Will I, or am I, walking away from or losing my destiny.

Well yes. I did. But wait. If, by losing my destiny you are referring to being able to do anything further with this group - then, I certainly lost my "destiny" there at that establishment. No longer would my destiny be to champion their ideals, pay for their ideals or give free labor to support their ideals. And in that sense, and only that sense, did I lose my "destiny" with those who are still there.

BUT if you are referring to my destiny in Jesus - my destiny that has been planned for me from the beginning of time - then NO! I have not!

I was destined to be loved by God. I was destined to love my husband, my children and my family. I was destined to love those who I am in contact day to day. I was destined to do the works of salvation. But even saying that, my destiny is tied up - not in my ability to walk perfectly - but in the very nature of who God is. He holds my destiny - Not some church or some apostle, pastor or prophet or some group of friends - God. And only He gets to decide if I have lost it! No man - Apostle or not- can declare that you have lost it. When a man holds that power and uses it to threaten you, it is Spiritual Abuse in its rawest form.

Let me assure you that mine and all others who have walked away because we finally could no longer stomach the abuse of either ourselves or other people have our destinies fully intact and flourishing. You won't lose yours either.

You might just understand for the first time what it really is though and that is simply too wonderful to "miss."