Why can’t I find Corrie ten Boom books in my library? This Dutch girl was part of a family that hid Jews in their Haarlem home during WW2. Betrayed by her countrymen, they ended up in camps and she wrote amazing stories of hope and God’s Hand through the darkness (eg. “The Hiding Place“/”De Schuilplaats”).
When touring the home (free and I highly recommend) the guide pointed out a framed embroidery of Mess. Hundreds of tangled threads hung midair and I longed to shift and organize them to make sense of a pattern. If I remember correctly, the guide asked:
Remember Claude Frollo? That gypsy (foreigner)-hating, child-manipulating and emotionally-abusing, lust-possessed, uber-religious Judge from Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame? That man prayed. A Lot. Remember him pouring out his heart in the dark song “hell fire–desire”? (Yes, not all kids movies are for kids).
How many Frollo’s, to varying degrees, do you know? How many have we caught glimpse of since the US election?
If this election has done anything for us, it’s certainly put a magnifying glass on the blinding hate that can reside in hearts of those who wear crosses or call themselves Christian.
Maybe that’s why Jesus Himself is getting a new name (Revelation 3:12), and why he was the angriest in a Church, NOT some city square (Matthew 21:12).
Before the US election, I heard many Christian-identifying Americans say: “this is a difficult decision…”
The world puts people in boxes: you’re female so you feel like this, you’re Christian so you think like this, you’re American so you act like that…
God likes to mix things up to help break the social/tradition walls we build between people. Just consider the movie Hidden Figures(based on a true story) where we see brilliant, computer-like brains placed in– not just black, but black, female bodies– in 1960s America. LOL, God is such a rebel…
You know the story of the guest pastor who visited a church in shabby attire, unshaven and maybe even unshowered? Churchgoers sidestepped him and certainly didn’t seat him at the front, so imagine their surprise/shame when he got up to give the sermon.
It’s a good example of the authenticity of our Love, and while Love shouldn’t be swayed by sight, any flesh and blood wrapped in labels like “Refugee” -“Homeless” -“Foreigner” -“Moocher” -“Homosexual” -“Annoying Friend,” will test our hearts.
You’re probably not expecting any love letters from Democrats, but this will come darn close. Sir, you didn’t have my vote but you do have my heart, and I kindly ask to share 3 things with you.
Firstly, you’re a Winner–not because of any item you own or title you possess, but because you Exist. That’s a 10 to the 2,685,000th power odd, and for reference the number of atoms in the visible universe is just ~10 to the 80th power.
Secondly, I’ve seen you say and do things that shame and hurt others, and from my heart I wonder: Who hurt you? What bullies did you face, or who dared lay hands on you? Only you know your story of survival and truly none of us is a stranger to pain, rejection, or simply being misunderstood. But resilience is in our DNA and we find ways to cope–anything from food or drugs, to money or sex, shopping, TV-watching, any thing. And every thing, from our own self-doubts to our possessions or fixes, seeks to enslave us.
The garden of Eden taught some hard and sad lessons, including that we wouldn’t trust God without testing Him first. Parents warn their kids not to touch a hot pan, but don’t they/we ultimately want to know for ourselves?
Bieber had it right:
“I got to learn things, learn them the hard way.
Gotta see what it feels like, no matter what they say..”
(“Ill show you” Justin Bieber, Purpose album)
This post is part of the #GodsOneLines series–breaking hate and/or shame caused by people wielding bible verses. Instead I want to use single bible verses or events to encourage and reveal God’s Heart if possible.
This story starts with Tears– mine as I write, and Heaven’s one fateful day.
It starts with the return of Jews from Babylonian exile. Their repeated offenses, including refusing to set servants free, caught up with them despite divine warnings. Sure, they listened for a time, but soon after changed their minds, re-taking men, women and children into captivity (sounds like the Moses story with Pharaoh, right?)
A picture with caption “true friendship” and heart dog emojis came on my twitter feed. Many replies read “awwww,” but my heart broke when I saw it…
Did people chose to overlook the life status of this pair? Maybe it wasn’t popular to burst the love bubble with, “But they’re homeless!” Whatever it was, only one of the many replies said: ‘I wish I knew where he was so I could help.’
It’s possible to get so wrapped up in God, the Bible, your ‘quiet time,’ that you miss His Heart and religion creeps in. God becomes a mere idol and the effects can be devastating, especially if you’re in a family.
I have heard too many stories of people who got, or are currently planning divorce because their partner is getting in the way of their “ministry” (aka service to/for God). #SayWhat?! If you or someone you know ever thought, “I could do so much more for God, go further, faster.. if they didn’t hold me back…” , or if you were willing to serve God at any and all costs, look out, this post is for you.
You may be a fellow parent at school, or faithful church goer. Maybe a pastor, doctor, teacher, neighbor, police officer, business mogul, bus driver, politician, janitor… You may be friend or family, male or female, greying or young, any race, (anti)religion, sexual orientation, political party affiliation,..
I’m not here to curse or condemn you. This is an honest letter from the heart.
Visit any church and listen to people sing about God’s Love–but do they know how deep it goes? Can they understand it or would they recognize it?
Love is easy when given to one who spills milk, but how about someone who spills blood? And not accidentally but purposefully?
The hard truth is God’s Love goes that deep… for the mass murderer, the child rapist, the filmer of any kind of torture….
We may think we’re decent people, innocent of such crimes, but don’t forget: your thought life is also part of the equation. Jesus said being angry with someone was like murder, and looking lustfully at someone was like having an affair (Matthew 5:21-30).
Truly no one gets into heaven on merit, but we’re all invited:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16, bible)
I use ‘He’ and ‘His’ as pronouns for God, but fully recognize God with both Male and Female ‘identity’–for lack of a better word–, as evidenced by the human race and through the Bible…” Post coming soon!
This is that post, and the topic is dear to my heart. It may disturb, but can also encourage, and my desire has been, as best as I can, to put God’s Heart ‘out there,’ crazy as It may be.