Do people ever really change?

Would you hire a trespasser? A felon?  A murderer?  A serial killer?  Someone who could have prevented a death and chose to deliberately let them die?  Hey, I’d think twice… or more.  But God uses these… these like me.  And we are in good company:

Murder?  Moses.

Serial killer?  Paul.

Negligent homicide?  Jesus.

Trespass?  Me.

You may be wondering about one of those: Jesus.  Jesus deliberately let Lazarus die even though he could have easily saved him (He did this for the greater good of displaying the Love and Power of the Father by raising His friend from the grave.  But as far as appearances, it looked like Jesus was negligent).

So how do you decide who to hire?  Do you believe that the past is the best predictor of the future?  For felons? murderers? the negligent?  How about for you?  Is your past the best predictor of your future?  If I was chained to my past I would be hopeless indeed.

Do for others what you would want them to do for you.

I would want another chance after I had met Jesus, and had a change of heart… because I literally had a new heart.

Would I hire just anyone?  Not a chance.  But if God gave them another chance, could you consider it, too? for the right person?

 

p.s.  Even after having a new heart I continue to sin at times.  And I hope that is not the predictor of my future.  Celebrate Recovery is a proven help for many and thank God, He is slowly changing my future toward living more like Jesus.

p.p.s.  This post was prompted by my concern for felons that I know, that even though they have repented, society doesn’t forgive them.

 

Love and Respect

My wife and I experienced the Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs video series and book by Dr. Emerson and Sarah Eggerich.

The following are some of the scriptures that relate to their message.

Ephesians 5:25, 28, 29, 33 (NASB95)
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,

28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;

29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,

33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Ephesians 5:25, 28, 29, 33). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

(The following is inspired by the “Love and Respect” series.  However, these thoughts are not necessarily endorsed by Dr. Emerson and Sarah Eggerich and should not be construed that they are).

Jesus commands the husband to agape-love his wife.  However, not based on her actions, this is not a reward for good behavior.  He is to love his wife because she needs it.  No woman will tell you that she wants her husband to love her only if she meets his standards of behavior.   That is not stable.  That is frustrating and anxiety producing.  It is demeaning.  That is not love.  She always needs her husband’s love and will wither without it.

Now we move to the less obvious.  Jesus commands the wife to respect her husband.  Not because of his actions, this is not a reward or acknowledgement of good behavior.  She is to unconditionally respect her husband because he needs it.  No man will tell his wife that he only wants his wife to respect him when he meets her standards of behavior.  That is not stable.  It is anxiety producing.  It is defeating.  That is not unconditional respect.  He always needs his wife’s respect and will wither without it.

Now let’s move to what is sometimes difficult to accept and do, for both husband and wife.  The husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the Church.  (See Is Jesus a “Feminist”?  Part 1 and 2  https://i-m-4-u.com/2018/06/01/is-jesus-a-feminist/     https://i-m-4-u.com/2018/06/24/is-jesus-a-feminist-part-2/ ).  As being the head, like Jesus does it, the responsibility of the husband is great – he must give up what he wants for his wife’s best interest.  And that means serving his wife to the point of daily dying to what he wants to do, in order to do what she needs; and being willing to literally die for her, if she so needs.  For a man to best do this he needs collaboration from his wife.  Her thinking, wisdom, and strengths are necessary gifts from God to walk along side of her husband and “help” him serve her.  And the root word in the Greek for “help” is the same root word as for one of the Names of the Holy Spirit, that is, “Helper.”  Her husband is to give up his life for her best, and she is to help him help her.

The word submission is scary.  Men are imperfect.  And to submit to a husband “as to the Lord” does not mean you are to submit to evil.  Women are not asked to submit to abuse: physical, emotional, verbal or sexual.  Women may leave those situations and heal.  They must protect their children, if they too are in danger.  The Lord is the wife’s Helper and He will guide her with His wisdom and strength if she seeks Him.

Given a husband of good will, a man with the responsibility to serve his wife’s best interest must have the authority to do it.  If he seeks to honor God and his wife by seeking her highest good, and does not have the support of his wife, he will be frustrated at best and will reject his responsibility at worst.  He may slide into passivity and say if his wife wants complete control she can have it.

By “support her husband” I don’t mean checking her brains at the door to agree with him.  He needs her best thoughts, wisdom, intuition, constructive challenges, etc., to help him serve her.  But in the end, he is responsible to God.  And there is no responsibility without authority.

The husband does not have license; He must give up what he wants and love his wife and serve the best interests of his wife, trusting God to work out everything for their best.

The wife does not have license; She must respect her husband and help her husband serve her best interest; and give up ultimate control, trusting God to work out everything for their best.

 

 

 

Application for “Don’t Judge me…”

It has been said that the Christian army is the only army that shoots its own wounded. Headlines read: Big Name Pastor ______ allegedly has ongoing sin… And I immediately discount all he has said, (that has helped me greatly) as suspect, and act like I’m not a Big Name Sinner MYSELF! (I’m not Big Name but you get the idea). I struggle with sin, my guess is everyone struggles with sin. If I don’t struggle with sin, then how long have I been in denial? If BNP is guilty, I don’t condemn him behind his back, I read my last post: Don’t Judge me.. please help me. If I condemn BNP I condemn myself, because, contrary to some denominations’ teaching, none of us are perfect and I do the same (types of) things myself. The only difference is I put a spotlight on his sin and close my eyes to mine. This is called hypocrisy. My compassion goes out to the women affected, I know what it is like to be physically assaulted by another system that is supposed to protect me; to not to be believed; and the fear involved in going against that same system.

Don’t Judge me… please help me

Through time with God I continue to try to learn and develop my understanding of Matthew Chapter 7.

I hope this is better than similar previous attempts.

Judging Others verses Healing Others verses Don’t Mess with Perfection (i.e.,Great Need)

1 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.
2 “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.

If I judge you it is because I have done the same thing (or in some way a similar thing) and I have condemned myself for it.  I don’t judge people with problems I don’t have.  I tend to have compassion on those people.

3 “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?

I decide my brother has a fault.  My deciding my brother has a fault is my fault.

4 “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?

How can I remove my brother’s supposed fault, if thinking he has a fault is my fault?

5 “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

If I remove the log from my eye (i.e. I stop identifying my brother’s behavior as a fault), I see that what I thought was a fault is really the outward expression of an internal need.  Now I don’t want to punish his “fault” to correct him, I want to meet his need to heal him.  (And the “speck” is removed).

6 “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

Some people don’t want their “speck” removed, i.e., they don’t want their need met, because they don’t want their sin exposed so it can be healed. They reject the idea that they even have a speck.  They reject the Healer (Jesus), and His messengers: such as me, because they don’t have any problem or need that requires healing and they are already happy and perfect the way they are and they reject anything that implies otherwise…   

Those are the faults.  But Jesus might say:  Their need is great. 

They may have hoped for unconditional love and been rejected at critical times in their life. They may not have been able to find true love when they needed it and were open to it.  Cynicism filled the space where love should have lived and it became critical, and at the same time too dangerous, to hope for unconditional love again.  Unwilling to risk rejection again they become entrenched in what they knew was wrong, blaming others, defying God, hardening their heart and rejecting their only option for true love and peace:  Jesus.  But, until you take your last breath Jesus offers unconditional love and says, Anyone who comes to me, I will not cast out.

(I have experienced my pearls trampled and my self being verbally torn to pieces.  I ignored Jesus’ warning and talked about Jesus to someone Jesus said not to talk to right now.  It was not fun, I recommend heeding Jesus’ warnings).

New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Mt 7). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.  NASB Scripture less than 25% of total.