Wednesday, August 27, 2014

When People Feel They're A Burden

This post has been on my spirit ever since I did the post last month entitled How Suicides Can Be Prevented. I didn't plan to type this today, but I believe someone will receive this. 

Let's defined what a burden is: a load being carried, a worrying responsibility. It also means giving a task that's difficult to deal with.

So when I think about burdens and how it rates to when people feel they're a burden, I take it to mean that there are some people who feel they are a load to other people. And this can stem from many things: abuse (physical, sexual), marital or relationship issues, illness (physical or mental), and the list can go on. 
Looking back at the definition of burden, I can't help but think about children who are given the task of being an adult when they're still a child. 

Now many people are probably thinking about a Bible verse, particularly Matthew 11:28 that says Come into Me, you that are burdened and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Now let me give you a Scripture to think on (it's probably one you intentionally put on the shelf; Galatians 6:2. The Apostle Paul is telling us to bear one another's burdens. No one, and I mean no one, should ever feel they're a burden to anyone especially if they're going through (or are in the process of healing). Now if you're just trying to be a pest (meaning you know what to do, but you just want to bother them to make yourself feel important), that's a whole different lesson there. I want to focus this on those who are suffering (whether publicly or privately). 

There are 3 things we typically do with burdens:
1. We carry our burdens because we don't want to get rid of them.
2.  We don't want to share our burdens with others because of how people may act (more to be said on that in a moment).
3. We don't want to cast our burdens over to The Lord or share with others in order to maintain some stability in our lives (because we never received security in our childhood).

When it comes to bullet point #1, this is really just a pride issue and/or wanting drama in your life. The next two bullet points is where I want to focus on.

In relation to bullet point #2, it's sad that we can't share our burdens with others (and part of it is due to fear and the feeling of being vulnerable - I get it). Yes, there are many who can't handle what another person is going through. If you run into someone who's burdened and can't handle it, could you just pray and/or intercede for them? Even if it's for 5 minutes, it's time well spent (you could actually save their life). To cast them down as a problem, they will feel they're a burden and they won't share. And then comes the infamous finger pointing. Now you could say at this point it's their fault. But I would beg to differ. Why? Because you assisted in them feeling they are a burden by you cutting them off and not listening to their heart - when really, that's what they want). James 5:16 says confess your faults to one another. If they can't confess, they can't be free. Anyway, if you can't help (or don't want to help), just pray or lead them to someone who can (and that's not a bad thing), sometimes people just need a sounding board.

In relation to bullet point #3, this is a painful one to address, but it needs to be addressed - for this is detrimental to the health of someone who is struggling with this one. Now excuse me for being a little personal as well. Many people who have been hurt (via abuse, neglect, or something else that's traumatic) will be able to identify with this. I can speak on this because I've been neglected and abused - you can view my story via the YouTube video on the right hand side of this page. Anyway, when you grow up in a home where there's no stability, a child will feel that they have no control. If it's not addressed when they become an adult, they will stomach everything and feel they're a burden (carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders). In fact, they will end up with anxiety issues? How do I know? I am in therapy for this very thing (even as I type this). Now just don't tell someone to just "stop it," or "you're in sin and the cause of all of this." Get to the core of what brought this on (not to be nosy or gossip, but seriously be able to pray for them more effectively and meet them right where they are). As I stated above, if you're not equipped to minister in this capacity (and that's ok by the way), intercede for them and direct them to someone who can. Because this particular group has gone through something traumatic, they will more & likely feel they're a burden to society anyway. Those who are in this group is a great concern to me. I can understand their need for control or some form of stability, so intense prayer and counseling (which I recommend - and not just one session) is in order.

There are many people who feel they are a burden, and it's not intentional on their part. The truth is, they want to be free: physically, mentally, spiritually & emotionally. So everything we say to them (good intended or not) matters. 

Now I can't wrap up a blog post without saying something like this: if Christ is the burden lifter, and if we are to do the works of Christ, why aren't we bearing each other's burdens? My take on that question: many churches have become social clubs (or dare I say social cliques). We cast down those who are burdened and would say something like this: "they're disturbing my anointing and my chances for prosperity. They're too negative for me." Now my question would be this: "who do you talk to when you're down?" They would probably say: "I talk to Jesus." I would say, "OK, so you don't talk to any other human being?" They would say: "well yes." I would then say: "so what harm is it to help someone else be free from their chains since you're free from your chains - especially if you believe there is power in the name of Jesus - which there is by the way? And I don't mean just give them cliches which some of them aren't scriptural anyway." From there, they have to deal with God.

The main reason why this blog post was dropped in my spirit is because sadly, when people feel they're a burden, there's a strong chance that suicide is right around the corner for many. From experience, feeling that way is no fun. We don't need to make anybody feel they're a burden by our conduct. We will be held accountable by how we treat our brother and our sister (regardless of where they are in their lives).


The Mayne Man

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Relationship 101 (A Woman's Response)

Earlier today, I posted the 3rd Revelation of Relationship 101. Now as I promised, here's a response from a woman's perspective to the same 3 questions.

I asked Pastor Shantae Charles & Evangelist Marva Johnson to weigh in on these questions. So, without further delay, let's get into it.

Question 1:
In the realm of relationships (marriage), would you say that for a man, a protector is who he is or are there things he can learn to be better equipped as a protector of his wife and kids?

Pastor Charles: There are always things a man can learn to be a better protector. Practically, he can receive mentorship or take classes in his weak areas. Spiritually, he can read the Word of God which is laced with much wisdom throughout in nearly every area of life.

Evangelist Johnson: The way that God created men, that's one of Adam's responsibilities. At the same time, a woman has to know God first as her husband. It's important that a woman knows that it's God first, especially if a woman has been in a toxic relationship (abuse, abandonment, etc.). Those relationships leave holes in a woman and if she doesn't know God as a protector first, she will put undue pressure on the next man to ensure what happened before doesn't happen again. A man is supposed to protect and provide, but there's a lot that a woman needs to be and to do for a relationship to be balanced. 

Question 2: 
There are some men who can claim to be protectors, but are impostors. What can women do in this case?

Pastor Charles: Women can pray and seek God first of all. They can ask for God's discernment to expose impostors. They can also introduce the person of interest to men they trust who can give an honest assessment of the person. A man's night out with some of your male friends can expose what he may keep hidden from your view as woman (like a wandering eye, for instance).

Evangelist Johnson: Sadly, this is a time where the very elect will be deceived (in fact, Jesus said if it were possible, even the very elect will be deceived). There are many impostors, predators, vampires & pimps in the church. 

If a woman is in the Word and spending time with God, she can protect herself. The only way a woman can be deceived is if she wants to be deceived. The Holy Spirit sends flags (and examples in the Word). Adam didn't have to eat that fruit, he CHOSE to. The same holds true for women and men too. Women need to go slow and not get caught up in emotions. Slow & steady wins the race. If you're caught up in emotions, you'll miss the signs (and the devil will come as an angel of light). Look at relationships like layers. You have to peel and peel till you get to the core. In fact, the further you peel, the more it burns your eyes. Chefs will tell you to put an onion in the freezer for 15 minutes. If a woman keeps herself cool (and under control) she can read the signs. In fact, 6-9 months you'll start to see who he is. If a woman is connected to God, impostors will eventually be exposed. 

Question 3: 
There may be men who may feel like they are not prepared (or they are but the enemy is attempting with every fiber to get in his mind to say "you're not prepared, she can see through you, or you're trying to win her over)," what can the men & women do? 

Pastor Charles: There is a level of preparation that has to occur, but I also see preparation used as a stall method for being indecisive. If you are not ready, get ready. If you are not ready, give yourself a time frame that you will seek to be in preparation mode (6 months to a year), focusing on things you see that may need to change in you. Don't let it be an open-ended phrase, because you will not prepare. 

Evangelist Johnson: Prayer and fasting is it right there. When you can't do it, God can. He will give you insight on what to do and not to do. The key is to stay open before The Lord for that's going to help protect your wife and kids. Know what your call is and what battles you have to fight. Once you get out of the emotional realm, it's easier to get into the spiritual realm for that person God called you to. Men need to govern themselves according to Scripture. A man needs to lead himself before he can lead his family. There is a difference between single and being married. When he gets married, things will shift because your wife and kids now is your ministry; but he must maintain his relationship with The Lord. When he's single, he could just focus on The Lord, marriage requires a shift. One more thing a man needs to do is to cast down every thought that comes against God and against your mate. A book I recommend is by John Eckhardt entitled Prayers That Rout Demons. 

I pray this has blessed someone.

As you have read both of their responses, don't be surprised if you see Shantae's responses again in Volume 2 of Robert & Shantae's marriage series. If you want to get volume 1, here's the link (and it's only available as an e-book).   

In closing, Shantae did a lesson on Broken Ribs. I encourage you all to check this out. 

Relationship 101 (Third Revelation)

This post was birthed out of a conversation with a friend of mine and we were discussing about the role of a husband. Three questions came out and I asked a dear brother (and a minister of the Gospel) to shed light on this. Hope you enjoy (and yes. It's unedited just for you).

Question 1: Is a husband a protector by design or is it something he learns? A protector is who he is, it's not something you pick up along the way. Genesis 2, Adam was to guard & keep the garden. That is a man's role as husband & father. Anything that enters the home needs to go through the head. The Bible made it clear when the serpent was talking to Eve. If you look at the Scriptures closely, you'll find that Adam was with her and he didn't protect her. If you look even closer, Eve was deceived, but not Adam. Their eyes weren't opened until Adam ate. Sin occurred when Adam ate. The responsibility is on the man because he's the head. Ephesians 5:21-33 is very clear about the role of the husband (and wife).

If men aren't ready for that kind of a role (considering that's a responsibility), they should not get married because the Bible likens marriage of a husband and wife as to Christ and the church.

I feel led to just flow off of what my brother said: a lot of men get married without understanding what it all entails (that's what I see as a hubby-in-training). Can the husbands (and wives) agree on that marriage is work just like our salvation is work? And it requires a deep commitment. I'm about to flow for real: a husband should be able to pray and cover his wife when she's hurting - that's what Christ does for us when we're hurting! Wives get beat up by society and the devil and we men need to pray and protect them with no ulterior motive. Christ knows that His bride gets attacked daily, and He's praying and interceding for us daily. Ok. I'll stop :)

Prelude to Question 2: How do we address men who step into the role of husband but have no clue about protecting their wife and kids? First, the Bible says that my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Sadly, a lot of men spend more time studying the car they intend to purchase than they do the marriage they intend to enter. 

Question 2: What can women do to protect themselves from impostors (knowing they are the weaker vessel)? In a normal marriage, the father gives the daughter to her now husband. A woman should stay under some kind of authority. It could be a father or pastor (that can speak into her life and give godly counsel), but the wife has to be under the covering of her husband. 

For the single ladies: A single woman needs a covering by a father figure or pastor to be protected from impostors.

Now when speaking about "weaker vessel," we're talking physically and not intellectually. God's order is that the man be the covering and protection for the wife. If she's not getting the counsel from a pastor, it's like a woman trying to raise a boy to be a man (it's not impossible, but there are some things she can't teach him). She needs that pastor or her father for guidance because he can give honest counsel (and not the man she loves because she's enamored). 

Question 3: How should a man who's ready to enter a covenant marriage deal with the devil's darts of doubt?

First, we men must have viable standards or concrete criteria that aligns itself with Scripture. Why? Because we're never going to be 100% and everything requires a measure of faith to it.
Go through a scriptural checklist: 
1. Do I love this woman? 
2. Am I prepared to die for her? 
3. Am I prepared to commit myself to her?
4. Am I willing to forsake all of my lady friends for her?
5. If I marry her, am I capable of taking care of her?

Flowing off of my brother for a moment: if he can unequivocally say yes to the above questions, then he's ready. Christ being the groom is committed to His bride. You see, the devil is only committed to self and manipulation. If we men are to be like Christ, we need to step our game up. We need to take the role of protecting seriously because marriages are a representation of Christ and His church. Just like women who are being deceived by fake men perpetrating to be grooms, the bride of Christ needs to be careful and not follow after a false Christ!

And let me add two additional questions to that checklist:
6. Am I praying for her with no ulterior motive? 
7. Will I continue to pray for her even if God has not joined us together? 

Ok. Back to what my brother was saying :)

After we pray, there has to be a peace in our heart - and this crucial: differentiate between your head and heart because your head is going to question why the T's aren't crossed and the I's aren't dotted. 

We men must ask this one question: when I think about marriage with her, deep down inside, what's happening? Is there peace in my heart and my spirit?

Like Joshua said, why be halted between two opinions? If you're still deciding between other women, you're not ready! If your heart says yes, then check your head and trust God. Do your due diligence (reference the spiritual checklist above). 

In regards to this question within the checklist: If I marry her, am I capable of taking care of her? I also need to ask if I'm in position. Now, there's still going to be some uncertainty and it will require faith. The Bible says whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Some time this week, I will share responses to those questions from two powerful Sisters in Christ. They are Pastor Shantae Charles & Evangelist Marva Johnson. It will be entitled Relationship 101 (A Woman's Response).

Here's the link to Relationship 101 (A Woman's Response)