Category Archives: reaching the lost

Negative Emotions…the New Taboo

no feelingsToday I want to address something I see quite often in Christianity as of late. The subject is our negative emotions. I come across posts almost daily that tell us to ignore how we feel if it seems to be a ‘bad’ feeling such as anger, depression, hurt, etc. I have been trying to wrap my brain around this and I can’t. There are hundreds of instances in the Bible that talk about our emotions. I did a web search about scriptures on emotions, and the first two pages were all about controlling our emotions. I do not disagree that controlling them is a good thing, there are many scriptures that state we should. But I was looking for actual scriptures that showed people in the Bible showing emotion!

Matthew 21:12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER’; but you are making it a ROBBERS’ DEN.” NASB Jesus overturned the tables. He called them robbers and thieves. I think we can all assume He wasn’t smiling when He did it. He didn’t pat them on the head and say “Oh, it’s okay.” He got angry! Anger can be justified.

John 11:35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.  Jesus wept and was deeply moved. His friend had died, and I believe he had also wept over their unbelief. ESV  There is obviously a time and place for negative emotions.

 Luke 22:44 “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” ESV This is an actual medical condition in which someone feels such great agony it causes their blood vessels to burst and their sweat mixes with blood. In Matthew 26:38 it says  Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.”ESV.  Jesus felt such sorrow, it felt like death to Him.

So why, when someone comes to us with their sorrow, their anger, their sadness, do we not validate them? “You shouldn’t feel like that” is one of the most hurtful things you can say to someone. They may have every right to feel that way! Are we trying to produce christian drones who walk around with no feelings? Why? So others will think we have it all together? That is not living an honest life. It is not living in reality. Can our emotions be misdirected? Yes. However negative emotions are our internal warning system that something is wrong. If we want people to come to know Christ, they need to know they can come angry, depressed, hurt, scared, or with any other emotion they might be experiencing at the time. Can God heal them and help them work through it? Absolutely! I will leave you with this…

Ecclesiastes 3: 1There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: 2A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, 6a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 8a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

God gave you your emotions. Never be ashamed of them. No one has the right to tell you how you can or cannot feel.

Advertisements

Sand and Stones

This is a short story I have had in my head for a really long time. I have decided to share it with my readers. I hope you enjoy it.

mfBWcki

Sand and Stones

Part 1

A sand storm came through last evening. It covered everything and I must now spend my time dusting off my things and shaking out my bed linens. My guest would not like to leave me and and have to explain where he acquired the dust from, especially when he should not even be in my home. I do not understand why I allowed myself to get in this situation. I do not understand why a man would want me when betrothed to another or when he already has a wife. I dare say that the things I offer fill some desire he has for the forbidden.

I do not like what I do, I have anguished over this and hold much shame and reproach for myself, but to be without a family and to be unmarried in these lands also comes under much reproach. He provides me with food and a pays for a roof to lay under during the cold nights.  The first time I said I shall only do it once, as I was poor and starving. Two Passovers have passed and I am on the same path.

I keep to myself out of fear of being caught, but when I do leave my home I hear of a man that has come from Nazareth. They call him Jesus. Some say he is the Messiah, that he can heal the sick and restore the infirmed. I have not come across him though. If he is who he says he is, I am fearful of what he will think of someone like me. Will he think of me as filthy and undeserving of love? Will he condemn me to Hades as the teachers and Pharisees often do to those like me? They say he preaches love and forgiveness, but I am not worthy of those things.  I sigh…there is so much sand…

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

My guest has arrived and it is just before dawn. We spend our time chatting with empty words. We both know why he is here, but we dance around the truth lest the guilt become to heavy. He looks at me and smiles and comes toward me. I only look at the floor. He reaches up and removes my veil, then pulls me into his arms. I turn my face towards the door as I hear shouting outside. Suddenly there is banging on the door, and I am worried we have been found out, as is my guest. The shouting continues as many men come crashing into my home. My guest pushes me away and I fall over the chair beside my bed. The men who have invaded my home home are the local teachers and Pharisees. “We have caught you! You shall be punished under our laws!” They say as they stand over me. Forcing me to my feet, I see them motion for my guest to leave. I know my crime, I am guilty, but I cry out “What about him? Is he not just as guilty as I?” A man tells me to be quiet as they drag me from my home.

 They are pulling me through the streets of the city and walking so quickly and I stumble many times. My arms are sore from the strong grip on them. “Why did you not bring the man with us? Why are you only taking me?” I keep asking and they will not answer. I know what will happen to me. My life will soon be over, and I am terrified.

Ahead I see a crowd gathered at the temple courts and I wonder how could they know? There has been no trial for me. Pushing through the people, we come to the entrance and a man sits on the stairs. Throwing me down at his feet, they state “This woman was caught in the very act of adultery. The law says she must be stoned. What do you say?” He says nothing as he bends down and I see him start to write in the sand with his finger. But they keep on questioning him,  so he straightens up and says to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stoops down and writes in the sand.  I did not dare to look up at him.

Holding my breath I wait for the stones to be thrown. I wait for the pain, for death, but the stones don’t come. I slowly raise my head and look around to see each person start to walk away, not understanding what has just happened. After they have all gone, it is him and me alone.  He straightens up and asks, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” I raise my eyes to him. I am afraid to reply, but I do and my voice quivers . “No one, sir.” He then speaks words to me that astound me. “Then neither do I condemn you,” He declares. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” Slowly I get up from the ground. I stare at him for a few moments thinking “Is this him? Is this the Messiah I have heard so much about?” Then I turn and walk back to my home.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Note- I have taken some creative license with this. I tried to convey it as if I were the woman and what would be going through my mind if I were there. Part 2 will be up in a few days.

Comfortable Christianity…Comfortable Church

“I’m not comfortable in that kind of church…”  “I’m comfortable with where God has me right now…”

I cringe when I hear those words. Church and christianity aren’t supposed to be comfortable. It is supposed to be challenging, convicting and causing us to grow. With growth comes growing pains.

2Timothy 3

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, [a]haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of [b]godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who [c]enter into households and captivate [d]weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the [e]knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as [f]Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also.

10 Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, [g]perseverance, 11 persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! 12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13 But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is [h]inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for [i]training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (NASB translation-Bible Gateway)

When it comes to worshiping God, in all of it’s elements, we do a horrible job.  We claim we do, but when was the last time you shouted out to Jesus during the songs, or were literally on your face crying out to Him? We can scream and hoot and holler over sports teams winning a game, but can’t even lift our hands in praise to the One who made us? We’d feel weird or out of place? The Bible tells us that David danced naked before the Lord in praise!!! (I don’t suggest doing that in church though.)

2 Timothy 4:2-4

preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with [a]great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. (NASB-Bible Gateway)

Have you ever been so convicted by a sermon or what happened in church you couldn’t speak?  The conversation after services now centers on what’s for lunch or where people are going shopping.

Are you comfortable in your giving? You shouldn’t be. It should hurt. It should be a sacrifice. If your giving isn’t equivalent to or more than what you spend on your wants, it’s not sacrificial.

The power of the Holy Spirit should set a fire in us. Fire burns. It hurts, and hurt is uncomfortable. I find no scripture in the Bible that tells us that the Holy Spirit wants us to be comfortable. The Spirit will comfort us, yes, but that is in the midst of trial and persecution.  I believe that if the Holy Spirit showed up in some churches today that the people would run screaming for the exits.

I know this post is going to ruffle feathers. I hope it does. But if we really want to see people come to Jesus, we have to stop wanting to be comfortable. I’m sure Jesus wasn’t comfortable hanging on the cross suffering and dying. We have to be willing to do things that make us feel uncomfortable. We have to go outside of ourselves and be willing to do the disgusting parts of ministry. We have to go to the homeless camps, the drug infested areas, the corner where the prostitutes work. The carnivals and mission trips are great, and yes, they reach people. But don’t make the excuse that something costs too much or is inconvenient or uncomfortable, because the true christian walk isn’t supposed to be about our comfort. It’s about helping the hurting and lost out of their discomfort.