Breaking the Power of Silence

Silence is powerful. It commands our attention, and can be more deafening than crashing cymbals or blaring horns. It also changes us, causes physical harm and can actually destroy us! ( Psalm 32)

This is especially true when we keep silent about sexual abuse. Not speaking out in the wake of sexual abuse gives power to shame, silences our voice, and steals our God given identity. (Jeremiah 1:5)

God create us with an unique identity He planned in advance for each one of us. This identity is a banner over us, and tells us, and the world who we are. (Exodus 17: 8- 16) Abuse replaces that identity with one that defines us as less than. It says we do not matter, are not important, and have to voice.

God alone can restore our true identity, and that process begins by speaking out. Victim or not, we must use our collective voices to break the silent prison created by sexual abuse. It is time to expose this evil perpetrated against our souls. (Ephesians 5:11-12)

Fearless Faith

How can we respond when our calling requires courage? Is it possible to trust God when fear rises up to demand our attention?
We were created by God to fulfill the purpose He created for us. (Ephesians 2:10) And fear of failing is one of the primary reasons Christians never experience their God given potential. Doubt can be debilitating. It captures our attention and confines us to an imaginary place we’re convinced keeps us safe.
Faith demands us to let go of our ability to control the outcome. Doubt gives the appearance of safety. We want to be courageous, but we’re not always sure it’s worth the potential risk. However our reasoning is often faculty and based on past experience or perceived danger. We see the giant not God’s promise of victory. (Numbers 13:1- 31)
As Christians, we know the answer to fear and doubt is faith – but sometimes it’s not as easy as it sounds. Faith is believing in the intangible as if it were solid enough to hold in your hand. It means trusting that God is true to what He says. (James 1:17)
Fearlessness requires us to set aside preconceived beliefs and expectations and to proceed boldly into the deep. Like Peter we must step out of the safety of the boat – eyes firmly planted on the one who guides our steps. (Matthew 14:22-33) Like Peter, we must base our journey on faith in God’s promise, not on what our fear tells us.

Hurting Stinks

Have you ever been hurt by someone? We all have. If you are around people, you are guaranteed pain. So why does it seem so much worse when hurt is inflicted by Christians?

I think we are shocked because we expect our brothers and sisters in faith to act differently. The truth is our shared belief does not change the fact that – Christian or not – humans are flawed.

Here’s the thing, having a relationship with Jesus changes us (hopefully) for the better. But, because perfection is never fully reached in this world Christian or not, we remain imperfect and capable of inflicting pain on each other.

So what is the solution? Jesus. It’s that simple. When our thoughts are fixed on him, it changes our perspective. Filtering hurt through Jesus changes the way we interpret it.

Hebrews 3:1 says, “Fix your thoughts on Jesus. Hebrews 12:2 says to fix our eyes. On him. What we focus on is what drives us – it becomes us. Focus on hurts, and we become bitter, angry, and frustrated. But, focus on Jesus and we find peace and comfort.

This is God’s promise to us. Philippians 4:7 says the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds of we choose to stay grounded in Jesus.

So, when I am hurt, I have a choice to focus on the offense, or on the one who brings peace. It’s challenging, not always easy, and rarely instant. Sometimes I need to refocus over and over.

There’s no distinction in this process whether the offence comes from strangers, friends, family, or Christian brothers or sister’s. The only hope we have comes from choosing to look past the hurt to the ONLY one who can change the ash of pain into something beautiful. Isiah 61:3

Are we a friend of sinners?

I love this line from “Jesus Friend of Sinners” by Casting Crowns.

“No one knows what we’re for only against when we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You did”

It happens, though, doesn’t it? No matter how much we say we don’t, the truth is we do judge non-Christians with Christian values. And that’s wrong, my friends.

When people who dont know Jesus come into church we can’t expect them to measure up to some perceived level of “goodness!” We’re called to love messy, people, arent we?

Nothing breaks my heart more than watching someone who messes up run as far as possible from the church. Why do you think that happens?

I believe in our attempt to help, we often times come at them from our our Christian understanding of repentance. And sadly, that only causes them to turn away in shame. I believe this is a big reason non-Christians don’t buy a word we say.

We can’t say we love people, welcome them into the church, and then look down on them when make wrong decisions.

I came to the church messy and dirty. I was loved with no expectation to clean up my act – and for that, I am so appreciative. Bit i just watched someone have a totally different experience. For that I’m deeply saddened.

So this post is for all my Christian brothers and sisters. Please, remember the mercy you received. Tred lightly when you’re tempted to judge that person sitting next to you.