Category Archives: Opinion

Brokenness in our Borders

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Not too long ago I was with friends when conversation came up that made me uncomfortable. We were in a neighborhood that they did not often (ever) frequent, but that I had grown up in. It surprised them that the prosperous and well adjusted people we were visiting would live there voluntarily.  Then some other comment was made, and I felt my temperature rising. I chose to remain silent. I did not trust myself in that moment to speak up without offense coloring my tone and delivery. I think I’m ready to share now.

In this world we have a pretty clear idea of who is broken, messed up, really needs help or whatever you want to call it. Often times that image does not look like us. And if we are in such dire straights that we can acknowledge we need help, we can think of at least five others who really need help because they’re worse off than we are and really, you see, we’re not that bad off in the end.

If we are going to be effective carriers of the gospel, we have got to be able to recognize the brokenness in our borders. Jesus calls us to cover ourselves in the sweet smelling perfume of serving in humility and authenticity, but so often we Pharisaically parade around like white washed tombs, unaware of just how bad we actually smell. The unacknowledged gunk accumulated in us then never gets a washed out, and we keep skunking on.

I choose today to examine myself, and ask Holy Spirit to reveal to me that which needs to be taken care of. Then, I’ll let God lead me in taking care of it. I choose to recognize the brokenness in people who look like me and share a similar story, so that I can bring my story of victory in some of the same places they may still struggle, and vice versa.

I choose to recognize the brokenness in those who do not look like me or share a story similar to mine, so that we can build and encourage each other up in the same way as those who I more readily connect with. See, there is no ‘easy button’ with living out the Gospel. That call for loving on people is for everyone. Even the ones you wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole.

Spend some time this week with God and let Him show you how to love better. Let Him make you more like Him.

Do you really want to surrender?!?!?

The Old Ball and Chain!!!!

“The old ball and chain” is an idiom of many colors. Webster describes it as “something that severely restricts one’s activity usually oppressively (marriage, intended  to enslave a woman), and also the fleeting idiom replaces the word wife.  Steven D. Price describes it as prison.  In his writing “Endangered Phrases” he writes, “Marriage was prison (albeit with privileges), wives were wardens, and husbands wore a metaphorical ball and chain, the sort that prisoners wore to prevent escaping.

Now let me ask you this question. If you would or would be proposed to, would you say that your answer would be a choice or would it be forced? Typically the answer is hardly the latter. So why would we use this phrase? How has it lasted so long? Why add such a grim perception on something that is supposed to be beautiful, exciting, and certain?

I truly believe it goes with notion of surrenderance. Do I really want to surrender? Do I really know what that means?!?! Am I willing to understand? These are common questions that are often unnoticeably asked in many Christian communities.

Let me also ask this, what is the first step or process that is incurred when you are arrested?  It is typically when the suspect is asked to surrender before being apprehended!

So the crux of the situation would be why use such repugnant words regarding such an advantageous experience?  I believe it may be the imprisonment of fear. If we were “arrested” in marriage, we fear the loss of choice and freedom we believe we have in being single.

To be arrested, for most, represents the loss of liberty and even an audacity of freedom. It would be the ultimate horror for me, however I realize that being arrested is not only limited to what we perceive. When you are in this life you are arrested to so many things. Things that you can’t change. You are detained genetically by your parents, no matter who you call mom or dad. You are confined, while on earth, to your body, no matter what you do to it. You are even imprisoned by the perception of others, even if you could care less. All these restrictions, and limits. Yet I feel that even after this life, the same rules will apply.  The gift that God gives us is the gift of choice.

I’ve often been told that I’m so “black and white” in my perception of things. Well does the police say that an assailant is half way free to go? Does a doctor pronounce you half dead and allows you to leave the hospital? No. So with that being said, we should rid our hearts and minds of that idiom as it pertains to marriage.

In Christianity, one of the foundational analogies of our faith is that we are the bride of Christ and Jesus Christ is our groom.

What is exchanged in weddings? Vows! What is a vow? A solemn promise, pledge, or personal commitment. An example of what those vows would sound like would be, “I, Bae, take you, Bae, to be my husband. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor (traditionally obey) you all the days of my life.”

Now don’t get it twisted. The obedience part does not allow your spouse to abuse, detain, and arrest you.  No, the honor/obedience is cultivated through pure love. Love that is warranted with truth. Because I love you, I will obey my vow to only share my existence to you. Because of my love for you, I will willingly sacrifice the things that I used to have as one and share it with the knowledge that I’m forever committed to the unity in our union. Because I love you, I will not intentionally hurt you or cause you shame by cheating on you with another. I promise not to share myself to anyone else but you. Because I love you, I make a vow to be with you, in love with you, forever.

Romans 6:16 (NLT) states, “Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can obey God, which leads to righteous living.”

So you see if we believe fully in the, “ball and chain” as believers then we are really faced with this reality. In both lives, we will be arrested. One arrest represents death & destruction, and yet the other represents freedom and life.

If we are to be married to Christ, let’s choose to bewed Him. To make a vow and honor Him. When our engagement (salvation) was made, He bought the ring (the cross) that has been placed for us to bear.  Exonerating us from the chains of slavery, fear, and failure. Seeing us for the true bride and beautiful one. Immersing us intensely with intimacy and adorning us with His love. Remember that there is always a choice. Surrender to Christ and be arrested by God’s love! ❤️

 

“Where is my Justice?”

Where is my justice?!

This is not simply a question I have asked for myself when encountering injustice (though trust me, I have asked). When I look at this question I see the faces of loved ones I’ve known, ones I have not known yet, and some I’ll never have the pleasure of meeting. Chained, overworked, forced into unthinkable acts using even more unthinkable methods, we are facing a slave epidemic of proportions far more epic than the trans-Atlantic slave trade ever imagined it could be. Human flesh is now worth its weight in gold, human souls deemed a fair loss considering the gain. When I think of these lost ones I imagine I hear them crying out.

Where is my justice?!

Can you hear them?

All too often we don’t. I don’t. But as we enter the new year, with this first month being Human Trafficking Awareness Month, I resolve not only to lose a few pounds and gain a few good habits; I resolve to be love, and embody freedom.

Where is my justice?

All too often the answer to this most poignant question goes unanswered because the answer is us, and we are not moved. I decide this year to be moved. I decide to allow the brokenness of this world to move me. I decide to let Holy Spirit speak to me, and lead me in an answer to this question. If justice is a Man (and He’s coming!), and I am His hands and feet until His return, why is He not being seen?

It’s time to make Jesus famous on stages with an audience of One.

 

Community and The Place of Pleasure

 

I’ve been wondering lately about community and joy.

More specifically, the communities in which I most find my joy. How appropriate, then, that I found this little excerpt of John Piper while doing a google search for sermons to listen to during some down time.

I have often been that Christian who, when looking at the Body around her, finds it…lacking. Lately, as I have talked about on the Good Word Radio Show, I have been burning for revival, burning to see the Body of Christ rise up to rightly value the relationship we have with Jesus, and the responsibility we have to keep our faith fires going.

When I don’t see that happening as quickly as I would like, or even in the ways that I would like, I get upset. I start complaining, I start saying things like the person depicted in the video above. “I don’t like the Christians I know.”

Already there should be a prick in the heart or the conscience of the Christian who reads such a line or thinks such a thought. Since when are we to entertain such thoughts?

I recognize fully that we are in a fallen world, and as we are not yet perfected in faith, we all make mistakes. However, I also recognize that Jesus modeled a life that calls us to look past mistakes. We are to forgive even 7 times 70 times (Matthew 18:22). We are to go the extra mile (Matthew 5:41). We are to love our God above all, and our neighbors as we love ourselves (Mark 12:30-31).

So, when I find myself judging, I can first deal with the plank in my eye before going for the speck in someone else’s. I can answer the higher call to love and to pray for the people around me. Trust me, it is very hard to entertain negative feelings for someone you are genuinely and honestly praying for.

May we all be more prayerful and ultimately more loving in the times to come, and may our communities flourish because of it. After all, the world will know us by the love we have for one another.