True Christianity (Following Jesus) Cares About the Poor, Hurting, & Life Once Born.
My life changed sitting with children where their parents sold them into sex slavery, one girl they chained in the yard like a dog, another sold for 5 dollars a sexual experience so they would have food to eat. I have seen children homeless on the streets of my city, living in cars or tents with their parents. I once saw a 4 year old in the freezing cold with her grandma with no coat (they were homeless). I cried myself to sleep that night. I had layers of clothes on, they had little to nothing.
I have talked to people of color terrified to have brown children due to racism in America and police brutality. So when people say they are pro life and they care nothing about the poor, nothing about human trafficking, nothing about child abuse, nothing about racism, it’s a lie. You are pro fetus.
In my years of service to the poor and people on the streets, I have heard countless “Christians” tell me they are not called by God to do anything for the poor, though Jesus specifically calls it out over and over and over. There are numerous bible verses about caring for the poor. God takes it seriously.
Sometimes in my view, American “Christianity” is about controlling others/forcing beliefs onto others that may not even be lived by the people trying to force it onto others. That’s what settlers did to natives and Africans. It’s what has continued in this culture. “I will say I am a ‘Christian’, force my beliefs on you by law, treat you quite poorly, not love you or care about you as God commanded. I will look down on you because obviously I am superior. I will live opposite of what Jesus lived. I will become angry if you do not wish to be like me.”
Cultural “Christianity” is a LIE! It’s not rooted in Jesus. It is not about loving thy neighbor, laying our lives down, dying to self, caring about the least/last/lost. It’s about appearing holy without living holy. Hence, I strongly dislike cultural “Christianity.” It is a false doctrine. It does not match what Jesus taught or lived.
“I was hungry, you did not feed me. Naked you did not clothe me. In prison, you did not visit me. What you have done to the least of them, you have done unto me.”~Jesus.
This year has brought out the gold in some people and exceptional cruelty/the worst in others. I call it an unveiling year. We always had issues in my nation; now they are more visible.
I understand there has been stress, uncertainty, life changes, and for some they are living on the edge. We all need grace, kindness, the benefit of the doubt, and mercy is greater than judgement. Then there is a time to stand up, speak out, and set boundaries with people who are way out of line.
I do not know about you, yet I have witnessed things in cultural “Christianity” that do not align with God love (unselfish, sacrificial love).
Face Mask Mania:
I have witnessed grown adults having 2 year old tantrums over face masks. Some have cursed out store employees, destroyed property, and given others COVID. Wearing a mask to demonstrate to your neighbor you care about them is not being weak. It’s actually loving to consider other people.
I have heard people say, “Well, I am not afraid, and this is violating my rights.” Yet the same people wear clothes and shoes into the stores. Those are mandatory. The same people wear seat belts. Those are mandatory. The same people yield to traffic signs.
Sometimes loving our neighbors costs us something. I know of people who have died from COVID. My parents are much older (I came later in life). If someone could have prevented them from getting COVID and chose not to attesting their rights, and my parents died, I would be furious! Yes, God heals. Yes, God protects. God also considers people who are afraid, hurting, not healed, have no health insurance, etc.
I want to make a t-shirt for my merch site that says, “It’s not just about you. I looked at the center of the Universe and found God, not your photo.”
Jesus stated, “Love your neighbor AS you love yourself.” I know this is challenging and can only be done by abiding in Jesus. I have to ask God to help me love some people and to walk in love. I am not perfect. I am still being refined. I try to let Him love through me.
Jesus could have been the biggest ego maniac as the Son of God. Meaning His status was and is King of kings. He chose humility. Humility involves lowering ourselves and considering others.
Degrading and Mocking:
I have been talked down to, mocked, and treated poorly by “Christians” because of my stance against racist things and posting about racism this year. I am accustomed to churchy people attacking me because I do not just go along with the crowd.
There are people degrading and mocking other human beings while claiming to be pro-life. I have seen “Christians” stand up and support a murderer aligned with their political party, yet claim to be pro-life. Some have celebrated the death of someone who was pro-choice. I have seen people using another person’s tragedy to promote their political agenda (using a miscarriage to drag a pro-choice person through the mud). I have heard racist comments from professing “Christians”, leaders, pastors, people claiming to represent Jesus. I have seen levels of dishonor from professing believers that was and is absolutely demonic. It’s not how Jesus behaves nor how He behaved. It is from the pit.
I want to say this clearly. The world watches the way Christians behave. They often see the hypocrisy of the church better than anyone in the church. I have spoken to quite a few people about their gross disappointment with the church especially in the areas of justice, addressing racism, politics (turning a blind eye to gross sin in their chosen political party or political leader while screaming “You’re evil,” at them, for not caring about those terrified about COVID, and noticing extreme arrogance in people claiming to be a Christian especially those who are in a leadership or government role.
I may lose followers for posts like these, yet my loyalty is to Jesus. Despite behaviors of pastors, leaders, other Christians, politicians, and even the President-we answer to God for ourselves! If we claim to be a Christian, Jesus is the standard. God looks at how we live, notes everything we say, and we will give an account for how we represented Him on earth.
I hear people say they would die for Jesus. No you wouldn’t if you won’t even put on a face mask to help those around you. I hear people say they want to lead millions into knowing Jesus. Well, that involves sacrifice and dying to self. Would anyone want to know Jesus by the lifestyle we live in front of them? I see people running away from God due to political and rude professing Christians.
This whole notion that we are the center of the Universe and not God, is not only unbiblical, it’s dangerous. It is dangerous because we can think we are following Jesus when we are actually not following Jesus at all.
I am reading through the entire bible and right now I am in Matthew. The things Jesus said were radical. “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out,” meaning we are responsible for our actions. He did not say, “Blame the other person and scream about your rights.”
Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” I could hear Jesus preaching this today and people screaming, “No Jesus! Blessed are ALL people. All people are blessed!!” There is something wrong when we make everything about us.
Something is wrong in a culture where there is zero consideration for others. Something is wrong when Christians are linked to cruelty rather than compassion. Something is wrong when the behavior of the church looks more like the world than Jesus.
I have ceased looking at my personal Facebook until I can clean it out due to the conflict “Christians” have caused on my page. No person should feel hostage or bullied on their own page. Why is this happening? People think my page is their territory to say whatever they like and quite a few love to make posts about them, especially the posts addressing racism. It’s funny the most vocal have not been recipients of racism. However, they show up to debate me or offer opinions regarding things they do not understand. They are harmful!!! I had to start a private, unseen group to discuss racism safely with people of color.
Who have been the ones causing strife on my page? Professing Christians. I ask this question, “Is this who we are?” Do we truly want to be lumped in the category of cruel, selfish, lacking compassion, mean spirited, narcissistic, uncaring, apathetic, mockers? I know Jesus is none of those things.
My encouragement to the world is “Let’s do better!” My encouragement to Christians is, “Please consider Jesus as the standard, not leaders of our time. Choose Jesus. Follow Jesus.” The same Jesus who flipped over tables and rebuked people to their faces was willing to die on a cross for them. I meet people who will not even endure 10 minutes of being uncomfortable to show love to someone else.
My hopes are people are pointed at the real Jesus! The Jesus who washed feet even though He was king. The Jesus who denied Himself and chose death to give us life. He put Himself in harms way to save our lives. Jesus who went out of His way to demonstrate unselfish, sacrificial love. Are we? Do people seen any hint of Jesus in us? Because we are walking billboards for Him. He wants the world to know Him. Jesus came to point the world to the Father. We have an incredible opportunity to do the same.
God gave the church copious opportunities in 2020 to demonstrate His love, compassion, selflessness, helping hand, and work for justice. Are we adding value anywhere other than our comfy Christian bubbles? The world around us is hurting.
Church buildings may have closed. Street corners did not. I have gone out on the streets almost every month this year; feeding people, clothing people, praying for people, sharing the Gospel, going to protest sites to love people, etc…Operation God is love paid for groceries for families laid off by COVID. One month we had a line of hungry people because no one was coming to feed them. Jesus does not stop being Jesus in a crisis. Jesus shows up with solutions. He invites His followers to do the same.
May we sink into Jesus, follow Jesus, and represent Him well.
The Parable of the 4 Sons (What we see depends on where we are standing)
There were 4 sons who lived on a farm with their dad. They each loved to play and could get quite rowdy at times. They loved adventure, climbing trees, and throwing rocks down by the creek. Sometimes they would get dirty and their clothing would demonstrate how elaborate their adventure was for the day.
They would come home at days with dirt filled grins. Their father was a firm believer in cleanliness. He would stop them at the door and demand they take off their mud marked shoes before entering the house.
The one son he would brush the dirt off his face, give him at atta boy for being his son, offer him extra soap and towels and send to the shower.
The second son he send to the shower with no praise, no affection, and no extra soap.
The third son he completely ignored. That son was accustombed to simply following his brothers and showering after them.
The fourth son he took out back and beat him, called him names, and then sent him to shower.
Over the years the boys noticed that their joy in play diminished. Two of the brothers (the ones mistreated) did not enjoy their adventures as much any more. The fourth son seemed stressed, depressed, and had been slipping at school. He eventually skipped out on play all together to go be alone. He knew his punishment for play would be severe. He would slip into the house unnoticed. He simply wanted to survive his childhood.
As time moved on the boys grew up and left home. The fourth son was eager to leave. His body and his heart still had scars from the abuse he suffered as a child. He found there were safe places out in the world, yet there was still trauma in his soul.
He met a young lady who was a writer at university. She explained to him that writing was therapeutic. She encouraged writing his story. The fourth son knew his story would paint his father in a bad light. He pondered for months what to do. He decided telling the truth was the way to go. He wrote his book A Fractured Lens and it became a national best seller.
His family became enraged! How could he do such a thing. His father worked so hard to provide for them!! His father was an upstanding Christian man!!! His other brothers had no complaints. He had to be making it up and just venegful and ungrateful. If his father did whip him, he must have deserved it. The town turned on the fourth son and told him to never return. The first and second son came to their father’s defense. They said their father was the kindest man they knew. They tried to find stories to discredit their brother. The third son remained quiet. While he did not know the benevolent father the other two sons knew, he also did not know the extreme abuse the fourth son knew. So, he slid into his corner to bypass any confrontation.
Fortunately for the fourth son one neighbor saw his brutal whippings. She would sneak out of her home to tend to him with first aid. She saw the rage, the anger, the pain the fourth son suffered. She stood as an ally for him. The fourth son still had marks on his body from the abuse.
Teachers in the town after reading the book felt great sorrow because they failed to see the writing on the wall. The fourth son lost interest in play, constantly looked down, came to school sometimes bruised/looking defeated, and never liked going home. They could not fathom just one of four being abused and the father was so charming with everyone else. They did nothing to help.
The father read the book, knew what he had done, yet wanted to have the story removed from every bookstore. He should be forgiven and not have his dirty laundry out there. He wanted stories told of how he treated his other sons, the ones he loved. He wanted his church attendance on record. He wanted to be painted as a hero.
The fourth son refused to remove his book from shelves. He received countless letters from people with similar experiences finding healing in the book. They were too afraid to tell their stories, yet the fourth son told his. He began to fight against abuse of children.
When asked if he regretted telling his story, he replied, “No. I suffered greatly as a child and bearing my untold story has caused greater suffering. I am healing. Others are healing too because they recognize they are not alone.”
My take/why I wrote this:
The moral of the story is people can live in the same house or the same country and have different experiences. It is challenging to see a different perspective. I meet people who cannot see nor refuse to listen to someone else’s experiences. Especially if those experiences paint their beloved ideals or a person/place they love in a bad light.
Our vantage point and experiences matter. The neighbor who helped the fourth son saw the violence, she had a different response/perspective. The first and second brothers did not see the violence and because they were treated far better they were upset for any complaints. The father knew he was abusive, yet wanted to hide his sins instead of confess them and address them. The fourth son carried the story, scars, and the trauma. The third son did not see the abuse, yet knew his father treated the first and second son better than him. He remained silent.
I meet with clients who have been severely abused by people others put on a pedestal. They go to church and abuse their family. They have great jobs and abuse their family. You cannot tell an abuser just by looking at them and looking at how often they go to church.
There are people in America who are treated differently based on whether they are poor or rich, black or white, belong to certain groups or not. When I meet with the homeless, they are treated FAR worse than other people.
Pointing out issues in an area also does not mean that all is bad. It means there can be improvement. The neighbor could have reported the abuse, the father got help, and the family healed. The father could have read the book, confessed his sins, and reconciled with his son. He refused due to pride. The third son could have stepped up to say, “I am not an eye witness for abuse, yet my dad did not treat me well either.”
It’s hard to walk in another person’s shoes. It’s an honor if God gives us the opportunity to do so.
2020 has pushed me even further away from cultural Chrisianity, yet deeper into Jesus. I do not fit in the religious/political crowd that cares little to nothing about the poor, and more about things than people. I do not fit into the grid that ignores suffering, while judging experiences that they do not have to live. I do not fit there. I do not belong there. While I love people, we are not on the same page.
I see Jesus out in the world meeting with people some church people have said, “I do not agree with that, so I want no part of ‘those’ people.” Well, Jesus came to the world that was totally out of alignment with God. They thought they were righteous. They were clueless and on their way to hell. Jesus called the religious/political crowd white washed tombs. They looked good on the outside; they were mess on the inside. What if He said, “I do not agree with ‘those’ people, I refuse to go hang on a cross for them.”
Jesus speaks to the Pharisees (Matthew 23: 23-28)
“Great sorrow awaits you religious scholars and Pharisees—frauds and pretenders! For you are obsessed with peripheral issues, like insisting on paying meticulous tithes on the smallest herbs that grow in your gardens. These matters are fine, yet you ignore the most important duty of all: to walk in the love of God, to display mercy to others, and to live with integrity. Readjust your values and place first things first. What blind guides! Nitpickers! You will spoon out a gnat from your drink, yet at the same time you’ve gulped down a camel without realizing it!
“Great sorrow awaits you religious scholars and Pharisees—frauds and imposters! You are like one who will only wipe clean the outside of a cup or bowl, leaving the inside filthy. You are foolish to ignore the greed and self-indulgence that live like germs within you. You are blind and deaf to your evil. Shouldn’t the one who cleans the outside also be concerned with cleaning the inside? You need to have more than clean dishes; you need clean hearts!
“Great sorrow awaits you religious scholars and Pharisees—frauds and imposters! You are nothing more than tombs painted with fresh coats of white paint—tombs that look shining and beautiful on the outside, but within are found decaying corpses full of nothing but corruption. Outwardly you masquerade as righteous people, but inside your hearts you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
I do not know where I fit in the grand scheme of what people call Christianity. I do know I love Jesus and want to follow Him, not the crowd. Maybe I will tap into my Jewish roots (it’s part of my ethnic identity) and choose to identify as a Messianic Jew. All I know for sure at this moment is I love Jesus, Jesus is Lord, Jesus cares about the poor/hurting/marginalized/outcasts of society/justice, and I want to follow Him.
I could not sleep last night so I started writing. Writing is often therapeutic. I hope this post encourages, inspires, and helps someone.
We rise as light bearers…
Pain and evil surround us. If we are not careful to guard our hearts, we can become reactionary rather than instruments of radical change. There are opportunities in adversity to rise to the occassion as a leader of positive change or to sink into an abyss of evil or an eye for eye. Oh, the eye for an eye; it eventually makes the whole world blind.
In the moment, pain can seem louder than reason. It can scream above the voice of God. It can pursue means that yield destruction. It can temporarily place band aids on broken bones. It can move swiftly to deal with fruit without examing the roots. Trusting God can slip by the wayside, drowned out by disappointment, hopelessness, or even despair. Self effort and self reliance can seek to overshadow God reliance. The heart can exclaim in fatigued cries-God can you hear me? Can you hear us? Crying out again and again. When will your justice reign supreme in our land?
I firmly believe He sees. God hears. God cares.
God is not screaming over the chaos. He is extending a hand, a whisper, an invitation to draw near. He understands more than anyone the pains humanity bears. His own Son was murdered without just cause, persecuted, betrayed, and abandoned. Jesus was an innocent man brutalized and hung on a cross. God does not look onward in pity. God enters into the deepest depths of human suffering. He weeps. God comes overflowing with compassion. God comes to heal the deep places inside that continue to bleed. He bottles the tears no one else sees.
It requires courage and dignity not to stoop to the level of those who have violently opposed you. It requires humility to yield to God and forgive even when people are not repentant nor remorseful. Forgiveness is not condoning evil. It is preventing evil from consuming our own soul. It is not forgiving an innocent person; it is forgiving a guilty person. It is releasing a guilty person to God. Faith in God involves a strong belief that the greatest justice is led from heaven’s throne.
We are the beloved of God…
To be the beloved of God is to hold one’s head high in dignity knowing you (we) are created in the image of God. It is choosing to yield to a Kingdom that is higher, a King far greater, and to abide in the one who is pure agape love. It is choosing to grieve with God, rather than run from God. It is choosing the high road, even though the low road seems far easier.
Let no man bring you so low as to hate him, or to return evil for his evil. For darkness is never extinguished by darkness, it can only be expelled by light.
May we abide in the light of God and shine.
As children of God, we fight with different weapons. We choose a higher way. We choose light over darkness, good over evil, and godly justice over ungodly paths of revenge. We abide in God and we rise. We rise again and again!! We shine like stars amidst the darkest night. We cannot be extinguished by adversity…We RISE!
Addition to this post this morning:
I truly believe this can be the church’s finest hour. We can rise in love, dignity, and defeat injustice God’s way. We can demonstrate to the world who God is.
It’s easy to turn a blind eye to things not personally impacting us or our community. Yet I do not believe that is the way of Christ. I told a friend yesterday that if we want to see better relationships with people of various ethnic backgrounds in the world, it must start in the church.
Sunday morning is still one of the most segregated times of the week. Conferences are still somewhat segregated. Jesus is still depicted as European when we know He was not. Racism, prejudice, and mistreatment of people not like us in ethnicity or another variable is still not addressed enough as sin. When the global church arises as diverse, united across manmade racial lines, then I believe we will see radical revival in the world. 🙂
You are so deeply loved! If you are hurting, please know I am praying and Jesus is praying for you.
The news reports bad news. People believe it, come into agreement, things seem to get worse. Why? There is power in agreement. The serpent had no power until Eve/Adam agreed with him over God. What we believe and profess is oh so powerful. It is possible to have faith in the wrong things.
I have met people who constantly think and believe the worst. Guess what? Their lives are full of hellish experiences. They believe the worst, profess the worst, and see the worst. Flip it and come into agreement with God. Speak LIFE! Choose the word of God over the media.
We need more people prophesying life over valley’s of dry bones over the “sky is falling” type people. It takes no power to see a problem-speak about problems. It requires the eyes of God and spiritual insight to hear what God is saying and to speak His words. What am I hearing from God (I encourage everyone to seek God for themselves):
The world will know Me, from the least to the greatest that I am God and there is no other God like Jehovah.
Millions will come to know My Son, My love, My goodness, and supernatural provision.
My glory will be seen all over the earth.
I am releasing a company of yielded sons and daughters who harken to the words of My Son to partner with Me to bless the world.
I am exposing hidden things; things done in the darkness will be brought to light.
I am working powerfully in the Nations, though the media shows the world what is negative.
I am continually setting the stage for the fulfillments of prophecy. I accomplish/finish what I start. I am faithful to My word.
I am exposing idols and inviting people to know Me for themselves, to place their faith in My Son, and to deepen their understanding of who I am.
I am pursuing relationship not mankind’s religious duty.
I am tapping people on the shoulder to wake up and recognize the season and times.
I am inviting My children to move past old movements and ways of thinking about what I will do. I do not fit into the boxes created by mankind for Me.
I am revealing that mankind is not God, nor Sovereign.
God wants us to know His voice and choose to agree with Him over the bad reports. As an added bonus I penned some scripture based decrees regarding the pandemic. You may find them on facebook.com/erinlambauthor. Blessing you!
It is quite easy to be critical and judge. It is so easy to throw stones at other people and not see the plank in our own eyes. Why? We see in part and know in part. We can think we know and know nothing. God does not simply see the behaviors of humanity; God sees why people do what they do.
How many of you have been harmed greatly by someone who seemed to not get what the problem is? How many of you have been harmed by a professing Christian? Ah, it stings a bit more when they claim to love Jesus and do not love others right? Yet there is a part of the puzzle God sees that we may not. God sees how much of His love they have actually received. We can only give away what we possess.
We tell people to love God and others. “Love God, love others, love yourself last.” This mantra has led to loads of dysfunctional and sometimes codependent relationships. “I will love myself last and God will be so proud.” Well, it sounds noble. The problem is that is it is not biblical.
The Bible says we love because God first loves us (1 John 4:19). The starting point is God. God is love (1 John 4:8).
God is the source of agape (unselfish, sacrificial, unwavering love). This love is the highest of all loves. It trumps eros (romantic/sexual), philia (brotherly love), and storage (family love). Jesus stated His disciples would be known by their agape love (John 13:34-35). This love is the 1 Corinthians 13 type of love.
The next step is receiving God’s love, then giving that love back to God and loving our neighbor AS we love ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39). We will not be able to love God or our neighbor if we do not FIRST RECEIVE agape from God. “God here I am in need of your love, help me to receive the fullness of your love for me,” is a great starting prayer.
It is so vital that we learn how to receive love from God and believe God loves us.
Our thoughts matter! We will not out behave our thought life. Those who think they are the scum of the earth tend to treat others poorly. Those who have not fully accepted they are profoundly loved and accepted by God tend to struggle with loving God, themselves, and others. Your greatest adversary lacks God love. The person who mistreated or abused you lacked God love. The people who dishonored you, they lacked God love.
We cannot give away what we do not possess.
When we move beyond judging behavior to recognizing the root, compassion fills our heart. We move from being critical to praying the other person knows intimately the height, depth, width, and vast expanse of God’s love. We can only reveal to others the God we know. We can only honor others when we have experienced His honor and approval.
When people ask “How could you sit with the homeless, they are so dirty and gross?” I think, “How could I not? I see someone God created with great love. Under all the dirt, is a treasure.” I can honor what society calls, “The least of them,” because I know how much God loves me. If I were dirty and on the streets, I would anticipate God sending someone to love me. I am greatly loved, so are they, and so are you.
Jesus was able to move in high levels of compassion because He was one with the Father. He was not led by His flesh. Jesus knew how greatly He was loved, therefore He could take the lowest place. He could honor the least, last, lost, sinners, and lepers of society because He knew His worth. Those who do not know their own worth or value will not be able to see yours or anyone else’s.
One of the greatest revelations I had from God regarding people was during a season I was being grossly mistreated by Christians. God spoke to my heart, “People will not treat you any better than they treat me. People can not give you what they do not possess.” I recognized in that moment people say they love God, yet if you observe them, some do not honor, cherish, respect, obey, listen to God, etc… For some people, God is their sugar daddy or fire insurance. Loving God to gain something from Him is not loving God.
You can tell quite a bit about how a person feels about themselves by how they treat other people.
You can also gain insight into how people will treat you if you look at how they treat God. If God is only pursued to gain something, that is how they will treat you.
I am learning not to take things personally. How people behave, myself included, is a reflection of the inner condition. Those who know they are loved, love well. Those who try to “fake it til they make it,” tend to hurt tons of people because their love is shallow or deficient.
Before we throw stones, get offended, or hurt by people, pause. Press pause and ask God for His view point of the person, situation, and what is not as visibly seen.
I had a friend chat with me about missing friend gatherings. More than my introversion, there is normally a reason aligned with everything I say no to. Instead of taking on offense, he asked me about it and we talked. His heart grew with compassion.
The evil one will tell you to judge, jump to conclusions, criticize people, be nasty, look for all the things the other person is doing that could be wrong. Love moves us deeper into compassion. Maybe, most likely, there is something more going on than meets the eye.
May you and I sink deeper into compassion. It is a fruit of God’s love.
“…when he (Jesus) saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them, because they were distressed and scattered, as sheep not having a shepherd,”-Matthew 9:36.
I hope to release book 4, Killing Insecurity, either later this year or 2021! I hope it leads many into freedom. God longs to see us live bold, confident, and FREE!!
P.S You can support our mission to love the homeless, poor, and victims of human trafficking by supporting our new merch store. Go to empoweredandfreemerch.com.
Jesus had deep friendships with women. A note to Christian men-it is normal & godly to love someone of the opposite gender without romantic intentions & to be loved in return with agape love.
Chatting with women and my own experiences with Christian men we all have had some bad experiences with men who either act weird, or do not love well. Love is focused only on the woman they want to marry or their biological family.
There is the guy who constantly has to say, “sister in Christ.” I confronted a guy in love once who was excessive saying that to me. I asked him, “Do you keep saying that because you think I want to date you? If so, you can stop. I have no such desire.”
I spoke to a lady where men would not even look her in the eye. She was avoided. This caused deep hurt. Why? Because in Christian community it is supposed to be more like a family than an organization. Imagine going to a family gathering and people avoided you, would not talk to you, ghosted you, refused to have any godly contact, they reminded you often they only talked to you because you are related.
I had a guy tell everyone but me I was trying to date him simply because I periodically encouraged him in the Lord because that is what the Bible said to do. It was not fun when I found out. I stopped trying to have Christian men as friends for a long time. God blessed me later with a few men who could give and receive agape love without being weird, suspicious, or immature. It healed so much and taught me so much about the love of God through a man.
Yes, have some boundaries. Also note Jesus did this well, so it can be done. My suggestions.
1. You can make eye contact and say hello.
2. Don’t assume every person of the opposite gender is interested romantically. Our culture is kind when they want something or to date. It is not that way in God’s Kingdom.
3. Before you leap to conclusions pray. “God how do I need to relate to this person?”
4. Ditch fear. More people have been wounded by fear than anything else. There is no fear in God love.
5. Understand no one can make you sin. It is possible to love with God’s love and not fall into sin if you choose to let God deal with the heart.
6. If you have an issue with lust, get deliverance. Lust is an internal issue.
7. If you think a woman is interested in you, pray (do this first) and ask God for His counsel-not everyone in the church. Treat that person how you would want to be treated. It may warrant an adult conversation or better boundaries. Please refrain from gossip, ghosting (just ignoring the person). It is not loving.
I have talked to several men in my lifetime. “Hey, what’s on your mind or heart about this connection?” Asking questions is better than assuming. Some people are just loving, kind, generous or friendly. If a guy states he is looking for a wife, we talk like adults. Intentions are shared and hearts are spared from mistreatment. Some we are still friends. I simply let them know my heart and intentions. Communication is vital.
If you are not romantically interested, it is still possible to love. Jesus loved women well! Gosh, He elevated women. I also believe for those who want to be married, learning to love women in a non eros (romantic) way will help you greatly in life.
I confess I have made associations with non Christian men because they related to me better, treated me better, did not act weird, and treated me like a person not a virus. We can, I think, do better in this area. 🙂
The dying AIDS patient who deepened my awareness of God’s love…
I have this thing with Jesus where if He asks me to do something, my heart melts under the weight of His love. I find Him mostly irresistible. Often He calls me to do things my base personality probably would not run towards. Like the day I met John (not his real name). John was covered in sores (scabbed over), dying, and sad. I stopped for John and tears filled his eyes as he told me there was no hope for him. The way he lived, the diagnosis, no hope. I felt led to pull John into my arms and hug him. Tears flowed freely from his eyes.
Could I be contaminated by John, sores covering his body, tears and saliva flowing? It did not matter in that moment. What mattered was John feeling the deep embrace of God. “John God sees you and loves you. Your life matters greatly to God. John there is always hope with Jesus.”
That day with John wrecked me. Who wanted to touch John? Most people avoided eye contact with Him. God wanted to touch John. There is no fear in love. I have attempted to love many people in my lifetime who could not see God’s love or responded poorly to love. Yet love (God) keeps calling me to love.
So my encouragement is abide in the one who is love, Jesus. When you do, love will FLOW out of you in abounding ways. No striving, abide in Him (cultivate intimacy with God). It won’t matter if you are highly introverted, or not into loving strangers. He will love through YOU! God is simply looking to love the world and it starts with me and you!
My prayer is our hearts receive more of God’s love and we give it away! The world needs love, love, love!!!
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You above Your companions with the oil of joy,~Hebrews 1:9.
God is not stuffy, stoic, nor boring. God knows how to celebrate and have a good time. Pleasure was God’s idea; sin perverted pleasure and a religious/Pharisee spirit tries to dampen any fun with God. God is fun. There is more pleasure and enjoyment in God than anything He created.
I used to examine people who got so excited about God in wonder…until I got to know God for myself. Knowing God elevated my joy quotient significantly. Knowing God has been the greatest joy of my life. Words do not adequately express the beauty, majesty, and mystery of God.
What if I don’t feel joy?
Joy is not a feeling based on what is happening. It is an overflow of abiding in the One who is joy. Jesus stated plainly that abiding in Him brings forth abounding fruit. That is why we can go through a challenging season and still have joy. Paul wrote many celebratory letters from prison. God is good even when life is not going the way we desire. Focusing on who God is, takes the focus off our momentary sorrows.
Paradise is not just a place. It is a person. God is pure JOY. In His presence as the Psalmist proclaimed is the fullness of joy.
You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand,~Psalm 16:11.
Including part of my devotion this morning. My hopes are that joy bubbles up out of your spirit! God loves you and being with God bring joy.
“Go back as far as you can in prerecorded history, back to the dawn of the universe, and there you’ll find joy. The Creation is characterized by celebration (Job 38:6-7; Proverbs 8:22-31). Turning to the time of the New Testament, Christ is characterized by joy (John 8:29; 15:11). In the parable of the lost son, heaven in the present is characterized by joy, feasting, music, and dancing (Luke 15:11-32). Finally, looking forward to the future, John shows us a picture of heaven (Revelation 19:6-9). It will be a feast, where the people shout, “Let us celebrate, let us rejoice, let us give him the glory!” (verse 7).
The story of faith begins and ends in joy. And in between, there is joy. Joy permeated Paul’s life, even in the place you would have least expected it—in prison (see the book of Philippians). For more than twenty centuries, Christians have been exhibiting joy. There have been sad, even morose, Christians, to be sure. But the ones who have inspired us have been marked by joy…
Anyone who gets in touch with God gets in touch with joy. All true joy is derivative. It doesn’t originate from the world. It doesn’t originate from us. It originates from him. And when we get close to him, it rubs off,”~from the Marked by Joy devotion on YouVersion