Friday, March 14, 2014

The "Me" Gospel

I initially wanted to entitle this blogpost, “My, My, My;” but the more I thought about it, it’s better to just call it The “Me” Gospel. So, what am I talking about? This is where the gospel is twisted to focus it on you (giving you the right to be self-centered).

I dedicate this post to a few people that know me to type things like this – considering they would actually agree with me on this. I also dedicate this to those who have been abused (hope you can find refuge in one section of this post).

When you typically think about people who go to church, you would think they go to hear the word of God (regardless of whether the passage will cause a shout of praise or cause a season of repentance). But sadly, many go to hear a “feel-good” message that is self-centered. Some sayings come as: you can be blessed; you can receive health and wealth; you don’t have to tolerate people who don’t think like you; and the list goes on. Somewhere along the way, we lost the message of: “love your neighbor; if your brother is stumbling, help him; suffer with those who are suffering.”

There was a comment I made in my novel Deaf, Dumb, Blind & Stupid that went like this: “Why are we only sympathetic if OUR child has a mental disorder? On the contrary, if you know someone else whose child has a mental disorder, they need a beating. This is unfair, and reflects the worse part of human nature. If you know someone who is being abused, you need to let them know who to contact if they are being abused, especially when a parent sweeps it under the rug, and they don’t want to deal with it. If no one intervenes, the child could very well go on with their life through the abuse and then end up on drugs trying to cure whatever disorder he or she may have.”

The reason why we act the way we do is because we don’t want a gospel of serving others, we want a gospel that’s self-centered and that tickles our ears. If someone is hurting, it doesn’t affect ME so I’m not getting involved or I’ll step on you.
  1. I want the Bible where I can claim parts and receive things for ME and not for others (granted, many still feel their talents are just for them and not for others)
  2. I can make myself a god and speak my own reality (now that’s nothing short of new age mysticism) – adding to this: you can’t speak nothing if you’re not willing to put in the work (just my little side note)
  3. I want a gospel where from the pulpit, my ears can be pleased.

When we want a Me gospel, we fall into the trap of Jeremiah 5 (give us smooth things). And frankly, this is nothing short of idolatry when we want a gospel that caters to our ears and we treat believers and non-believers with contempt.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Relationship 101 (Unedited)

Between February 25 - March 9, 2014, I posted on Facebook what a brother in Christ imparted in my life. I tell you, it was heavy. So, here's the note that I compiled yesterday on Facebook.

On February 25th, 2014, I talked to a brother who imparted something serious in me. Now some of you FB watchers won't understand this - lol, but I believe it's not just for me; it's for us brothers (and some of you sisters). I posted this on my wall in 14 parts, so here it is unedited.

Part 1
Brothers: When a woman is just coming out of something that's traumatic, such as divorce, loss of a parent or child, a domestic abusive relationship, etc., she's in a vulnerable state. If you love her, your prayers have to be all about her: that entails her healing, her being whole in areas she may know need healing or areas that she doesn't know need healing, knowing that God is the Ultimate Healer. We as men need to stop rushing women into a relationship especially if they have suffered in the present or in the past (now I'm flowing from this point as He leads). Remember we as men are dealing with a woman that God made (and if He created her, that means she's important to Him).

In summary: if she's going through or has gone through, we men must not push her, and implement what the Bible says: let patience have her perfect work!

Part 2
Brothers, when you meet a woman who's been through (past or present), she's vulnerable. If you're a man, you have to ensure that you erase any doubts she may have when it comes to relationships (especially if she wants to love again). Establish a boundary to ensure she has time to heal, that you don't cause her to stumble because she is your sister in Christ ... (yes, I'm flowing as He leads) and that God can deal with your kinks (believe me, I know I have some). We as men need to understand this: women are special and to see another man trample on a woman's emotions, chastity, etc. should break our hearts. Women who have had bad marriages (where men just abandon the relationship or where men just want the benefits and not the commitment that comes with it) or have been in hostile relationships need our prayers (especially if you have a heart for God and her well-being), our understanding (she will need to vent, and we need to cover her with the Word and not our agenda), and most of all time to heal!

In summary: Boundaries must be respected when a woman is healing, and if you love her, pray for her healing and that she be whole on His agenda and not yours.

Part 3
Sisters, if you are coming out of a bad relationship (whether marriage or simply a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship) and you meet a man who has qualities that are pleasing to God and that you did not see in your spouse or the man you thought was "the one," he should love you enough to set a boundary to not only protect him, but to protect you along with your heart, feelings and your relationship with God. It will only be natural to be attracted to him as you see the fruits of the Spirit displayed in his character, but know this: fruit is good but it must be picked at the right time (now that part right there is for men too, cause we can find a good thing, but try to grab it in the wrong season)! #SpeakHolySpirit

Part 4
To the Brothers, if you believe that the woman you're praying for is the one (now let me qualify that, you've consulted God and you have a relationship with Him), then you need to be honest with yourself, and be sure you're praying for her well-being, that she's whole even while you're just friends. Especially if the friendship progresses, still make the focus on her (especially if she has scars whether it be abusive, marriage, etc), because scar tissue can become callous and she may not know there's a wound underneath and it can damage a friendship and possibly a relationship.

We as men have to understand that if a woman has been battered, beaten, abused, abandoned by her boyfriend or spouse, that we have to pray for her wholeness and restoration in terms of who Christ made her to be and no damage comes as a result of what he did to her.

Part 5
Scripturally speaking, if a man abandons the relationship, she is free to marry whom she will, but only in the Lord. The key is not so much that she's free, but is she ready. And that's something we men need to understand - pushing her into a relationship (even if she may push a relationship) displays that we're not waiting on God as well not waiting on her to be healed from the damage that her spouse or boyfriend did to her.

Part 6
Brothers, if you know a woman who's been through (emotionally abused, physically abused, bad marriage), we need to pray for her wholeness and that God will heal her  everywhere she's hurting (physically, mentally, financially & spiritually). This is what it means to cover a woman as the Bridegroom covers His bride #PreachingToMe

No man should push a woman into a relationship when she is coming out of a relationship that was plagued with abuse. Why? It’s because the wounds may not be healed and they can fester in the new relationship.
Brothers, if you know a woman who's been through (emotionally abused, physically abused, bad marriage), you need to pray for her wholeness and that God will heal her everywhere she's hurting (physically, mentally, financially & spiritually) and in the places where she's vulnerable.

Continuing on: This is what it means to cover a woman as the Bridegroom covers His bride #PreachingToMe
While I'm on that subject, God wants both husband & wife to be complete in Him, whole & lacking nothing

Part 7
Now if a man really loves a woman who's been battered, beaten, and suffered much pain via marriages, relationships, rejection, he will pray for her that she be complete in Him so when she thinks of her "exes," it won't be painful (meaning, she can think about it or talk about it and it won't be painful). She can move on and recognize that these men were nothing more than a demonic spirit who was trying to seize the woman (like Shechem seizing Dinah, or the serpent pushing Eve).

Part 8
When a man really loves a woman (or is interested in a woman) he will see facets in a woman that are extremely desirable (not just sexually). The key is to let patience have her perfect work. No man or woman should have anything lacking in their relationship. A lot will be lacking and missed if a relationship is rushed. So a man must check his prayers and to be sure pray for her well-being (now that can work vice versa).

Part 9
When a woman has lost a parent, a child, or the father of the child abandons the woman & child, there's a sense of loss. If you're a man of God and you have an interest in a woman in this situation, God can use you to be the ointment of restoration (my insert: Hallelujah!), but you have to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, not rush her and allow her to move at her pace without making her feel like she has to move faster because she might "lose me."

Afterthought: Ladies: the minute a man says that you will "lose him," that's not a red flag, that's a black flag! A man will show that he loves you when he is more than willing to wait on God's timetable and not be operating by his hormones!

Part 10
When a man loves a woman and she's suffered a loss (such as a parent/child), or she was in a relationship and the ex abandoned her, this man will implement Proverbs 18:24 and be a friend that sticks closer than a brother. And he's going to need discipline especially when her losses are very recent. Yes, she's a strong woman, but there's pain even though she may not show it. And there are doors that she may not want to open right now. And if the man really loves her, he will continue to be patient with her and pray for her wholeness. Now when she's ready to open the doors and the Lord has predestined for the two of them to progress further, he, being a Godly friend, will be there to help her open the doors if there is a relationship beyond friendship. Otherwise, there will be things he'll never know because she's guarded (to avoid opening up to get hurt).

Part 11
What does it mean to be a true friend to someone you care for? Well, though this works both ways, let me speak from the perspective of a man who really cares for a woman. He must be very guarded and not move faster than he should. His motives and actions have to be solely in what's best for her right at this moment and that's a tall order. But a real man will rise to the occasion to spiritually mature.

Part 12
If a friendship turns into a relationship, a man of faith will cease from making the attention on what's best for her and will then make the attention on what's best for them. Through this friendship, a woman should see the authentic man for what he is versus a man who wants to take advantage of her (trust me a woman doesn't need a Shechem in her life)!

Part 13
When a woman (who has been through) sees a true man, then she will able to truly love & care for him without feeling vulnerable (and not subject to being hurt). She will be willing to take the risk of loving him without restraint (but he must prove it by his actions).

Part 14
If a man does what he knows is right when tending to a woman (refer to the other 13 parts), the breakthrough will come and will happen quickly. He just needs to be prepared. Meanwhile, he just needs to do the following
1. Make his prayers all about her
2. Continue to grow in his relationship with God (and let God deal with his issues)
3. Serve God with all of his heart

what will happen as a result is this: folks will be like "where did he come from?"

They will ask because they won't understand the foundation he built, the depth of his efforts, because when people burst out on the scene, it looks like they were there all the time. But he was just implementing Galatians 6:9.