Saturday, April 20, 2013

Love In Training

See, I’m so free from me that I’m free from you. Cause you don’t determine my day. No matter how you treat me, doesn’t matter. Cause I will hurt for you and not be hurt by you. ~Todd White

There is something not quite right between God and me. I have been feeling it in waves over the years, but recently it has been ever present like a nagging ache. I did not know what it was or perhaps I did not want to know what it was even though I did, I am just not sure. However, now it has become so obvious to me that denial is not an option. My Lord has lead me to the point that I not only recognize it, but I know without a doubt I need to address it full on and so I am in a fast, praying to seek His heart on this matter and surrender more...completely.

I have forgiven my father for the abuse my siblings and I suffered from him. I have forgiven my mother for not protecting us, being neglectful of us and ignorant of our emotional needs. I have forgiven other family members and friends for their ignorance and inaction and even for when they tried to help the wrong way. I have forgiven those who still resent me for their families helping me. I have come to terms with the evil done to me and how God had allowed it, because Satan is loose on this earth at this time.

I have forgiven just about everyone I can think to forgive except one group of numerous, mostly unknown-to-me, people who identify themselves as Christians. More than that, I realize that while I have plenty of compassion for the individual, collectively I see people as not being worth it. I got sucked into the idea of looking and acting Christian. I wanted to fit into a pristine model, so I could make others believe I belonged...perhaps make myself believe it as well. However, I became rigid and legalistic and just plain churchy. I felt sorry for people and looked down on them at the same time, the way many people looked at me probably when they found out about my past. This is not the way of my Lord.

My Lord knows how to get my attention; He led us to a small Calvinist church where we went for nearly two years. There was good purpose in this. The pastor had a local radio show and was a very in depth Bible teacher, breaking down the ancient words and their translations, which was so needed for my husband, because he did not have a strong background in the Bible. They still could not convince me to give up the translation of my choice, New American Standard Bible, in favor of the King James, so I was never considered to be the purist that they thought I should be. It was during this time that I began noticing hypocrisies, the main one there was how he preached against legalism, yet it was the most legalistic church I had ever been in or have been in since.

I just want to say that the best way for me to learn about my own faults is to either be touched by someone who is so right in the way I am so wrong or be touched by someone who is extreme in my own wrong. The latter was the case with the Calvinist church so many years ago. Their denial of their extreme legalistic theology made me notice how much the same had taken root in my own heart and I began to soften. In fact, it was this time that I had surrendered to the Holy Spirit.

Recently, I have been touched by someone who is so right in the way I am so wrong and the timing is no coincidence. I posted a few videos of Todd White previously. Since then I have watched other videos on YouTube of him teaching and his street ministry. I so lack what he has, a genuine love for people and no fear because he believes without a doubt that God is the Ultimate Power. He is courageous and even outrageous in his approach to people. It does not always work out, but even then he does not give in to feeling defeated. He just loves the people that Jesus loves...all people. The one doing bad things is not his enemy, but that one lost sheep that the Shepherd loves and searches for. Todd believes that Christians are to be the Kingdom, to be Jesus, to all people.

I am not excusing myself, because that love for people is in me for the Holy Spirit is in me, but my life experiences tainted my feelings for people, even people I have known for a long time. Not feeling safe with and not trusting my own parents plays into this. In the back of my mind, not even in conscious thought, is this fear that people are all potential abusers and I feel so vulnerable. One on one I do better, but somehow I am convinced there is evil lurking in a group that can overpower me. This is not just a reserved nature, it is something that has kept me from a ministry that I believe my Lord wishes for me to move into now. If it is not from my Lord or keeping me from full obedience to my Lord, then it is not something I want.

There is one group I need to forgive yet: the church. Not a church, not any one particular church, but the church in general. On one hand, I am angry with the church because it does not recognize God's workings within it and many even hamper the Holy Spirit so much that people are uncomfortable when they do witness miracles. On the other hand, I am very sad because people within the church, including myself, do not know how to be Jesus and just love people. Because of these things, the church only perpetuated my problems within it and with it.

The church has become a place where people can shelter themselves from the world, socialize and have ministries for those who are members and for the purpose of increasing its membership, while outreach became institutionalized and a lost art in our daily lives. (Watch this Todd White video and you will see what I mean.)

This is not how Jesus did it. He did not go out to get more people in His synagogue, but into His church. His church was not a building or in any particular place, but in the heart and soul of the individual. He sent out his disciples...sent them out! They were the church.

There have been times in our life together that my husband and I did not have a church home and a few times when we just gave up looking. This time is very different! We are not looking for a church for the Lord has not yet revealed to us where we are to be. We are simply enjoying the differing forms of worship with other Christians in the churches near us. We would not have had this opportunity if we had stayed in the same church as we had. We have learned much, experienced the Holy Spirit in differing settings, and met people with which we have an eternal life. Sometimes I miss the familiarity of a church home, but the more time I have without it, the more my Lord has been showing me how to be His church.

I missed two really great opportunities last Thursday when I was out on errands to let these two people know that God loved them. As I walked away, I heard my Lord's thoughts on what I could have said. Usually, I would feel I failed Him and be down on myself, but at this time I have this attitude that I am in training and I am going to get it wrong sometimes, yet my Lord, who loves me so much, is going to be persistent in teaching me to be like Him more each day. Later that same day, I was given the opportunity to pray for healing of two others when I was highly uncomfortable about it, because I knew neither was Christian and seemed to be influenced by New Age philosophies. Both felt the healing and through that I helped them to feel God's love for them.

And, I will get better at this. I am surrendering to my Lord and I am forgiving the church as I continue in my fast.

~ My Lord, I wish to surrender myself to You and be as You are with people. ~

2 comments:

  1. You know as I read through this 2 things came to me really strongly.

    The first was this is to train you to enable you to step back into your old church to do the Lord's work.

    The 2nd was, Ouch ☺~ because, surprise, surprise, you have accurately pinpointed a huge struggle of mine. I am ok with individuals but struggle to love people. They drive me balmy. The *Church* drives me nuts ~ & outreach of any sort is incredibly difficult for me. Not helped by the fact I actually got to know God by unconventional means rather than through people outreaching to me. Ho~hum. Round & round we go!

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    Replies
    1. I am still not getting any confirmation on the first thing, but some on an outreaching healing ministry.

      As to the second, my friend, sometimes it seems we are learning the same thing at the same time. It was not written just for myself, but you already got that, didn't you? (Todd White is very inspirational and the Jesus we love was more so.)

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Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.