Friday, September 20, 2013


Years ago, I along with a few other young ladies from a couple of churches spent a day and a night with a woman highly respected in church. She was very educated, even taught in a university, and so did her husband. We were shown hospitality, fed, given beds to sleep in, the whole nine yards, but one of the first things I noticed about her once we got into her home was how abrasive she was, particularly to one of the young ladies. In the beginning, oh the first few hours, it was tolerable for her. She chuckled it off, shook it off, or whatever, I guess not realizing that it wasn't going to stop any time soon. But by the time evening and morning had come, the young lady was in tears, because the woman just wouldn't let up. One thing the woman said repeatedly was, "See that's what I do. I'll beat up on you and then love on you. I whip on you and then I feed you". "If I didn't love you, I wouldn't do you like I do you". (so did that mean she didn't love the rest of us?)" The saddest thing, well probably the next saddest thing about it all was that, of all of us, this young lady had the most admiration and respect for this woman. If any of us would have wanted to emulate this woman, it was the one she caused the hurt. I'm sure she had no idea that everything she believed and admired about this woman only set her up for a rude and painful awakening. I couldn't believe she thought that her behavior was okay. Maybe she felt she had the right because of who she was. She had no idea whatsoever what she was telling us about who and what she was, position and all. An educator. A professor. A leader in the church. An abusive personality. 

Preachers and teachers of the Gospel, we have to make sure that we don't use the Word of God or our position in God as a tool to bully people. We can't take the word and use it as a whipping stick, or a means to control, manipulate, threaten, or make people feel threatened. We can't call a witch a witch if we're using the Bible to do the same thing that they use spells to do. Well, then again, maybe we can. It does take one to know one. Hmmm. We can't use the Word to tell people about how God accepts and loves them no matter what, and they can come as they are, and then use the same Word to have them looking over their shoulder for a God who has His fist drawn back ready to strike them down. We can't handle the Word in a way that it leaves people feeling like they are to blame for every bad thing that happens to them, or like God has turned on them whenever life ushers them into a rough season. That's like teaching them to wallow in self hatred or self pity, and to be on the defensive with God.

At one time or another we all go through the toughest struggle of our life, and honestly there will be more than one time when we will say, "This is the hardest thing I've ever had to go through". These trials come straight for the jugular. They come to not just make us doubt God but unravel our very Faith in the existence of God. They come to take our very soul by trying to destroy the very foundation, or belief in the foundation that we base our entire life on. If we have been beaten up with the Word most of our lives it makes each battle so much more difficult because before we can get down to the Word that will hold us together and carry us through, we first have to muddle through all the things that tore us down over the years. 

I have often wondered why it's so much easier for some people to just simply believe God in tough situations when I struggle with every ounce of strength I have to do the same. And I'm the one with the gift, the ministry, the calling, the anointing. I'm one of the ones leading the church in worship. I'm the one in the microphone hosting an internet radio broadcast. Their initial reaction is usually so much more mature or spiritual than mine. Now, as I ponder it, I believe it is (spiritual) "upbringing". Parenting style can make all the difference in the world in how a child grows up thinking and believing. The generation that came in (to Christianity) after my generation came in during a time when most of the "beatings" had stopped. In my generation I caught the tail end of it, but it was a big tail and the damage was still life altering. I find that I am trying to overcome things that were embedded into my soul even as a baby Christian that still affect my ability to trust God in a challenging situation or even believe Him for certain things.  This also answers the question that arises about how people who have been in this their whole life or most of their life are still having a hard time getting it while others who come in later in life or even off the street, catch it and run with it and often surpass those who "should be doing more", or who "ought to know better". I recognize that I am one of His mouth pieces, but when tough trials come, too often my first reaction is usually that of one who feels victimized by the same God who fills my mouth with His wisdom, power, and His anointing.

It's a classic sign of abuse. It affects you for the rest of your life. It creates a pattern of thought, a pattern of tendency, a belief system that you know isn't right but it's as if it's ingrained in your cells. You hate it, but feel almost powerless against it. It feels like you were born with it, but in reality it was given to you after you were born again, so in a sense, you kind of were born again with it. It's what you fed on from the time of your rebirth. On top of everything you came into the kingdom needing to be healed of and delivered from, and eventually were, you now need deliverance from this. It was deposited into you by people you loved, respected, sought to please, and submitted yourself to, because you just wanted to do and live right. And, because you didn't think there was anyplace else you could go, because they told you that nobody else will be as good for or to you as they are. To some extent, even a big one, you really believed that too, or felt you knew it to be true, but it's part of what made it all so damaging. You were accepting something that you could never fully accept.

You desire close relationship with God but you still find so much based on performance and ritual that often you don't know for sure why you're doing something. Sometimes you may know you're called to do something, but if there is still a lot of that performance based teaching in your soul and mind, there are times when you feel the need to just stop everything, and try to figure out what's really going on. But if you're like me, the thought of that kinda scares the crap out of you, because, if you don't serve, minister, or "perform" you'll lose your soul or something.

I've been trying to form the words to ask God what He's doing. What's the thing I'm supposed to learn? But also asking, What did I do wrong? or SO wrong, that you need me to hurt like this? Why do I feel punished...again? I never thought I was displeasing You THIS much God! All the while wondering why I can't just TRUST instead of accuse or point the finger at the One who has always been there with me, even so close that it was as if He was in my passenger seat while I drove, on the couch right next to me, or walking so close to me that it felt like we were rubbing shoulders.

And now I know. I recognize the pattern now. It's a result of the beatings, the bullying, the shame, the threats over my head that had me looking over my shoulder my whole life, waiting to be jumped by God. So instead of my first reaction being something like, "Yet will I praise you Lord!", or "No matter what happens, God I will love and serve you and worship you because of who you are!" it's usually something like, "Why are you letting this happen to me? I'm doing the best I can! I'm not perfect, nobody is! Am I THAT BAD?!" Instead of responding to my trials with praise, worship and thanks to God who is good and faithful, I find myself on the defensive against the God that I was trained to believe would come after me if I did wrong, or who will take or snatch from me what He can't get me to give. All this, right after speaking what He spoke directly to me to speak, and being a BLESSING to many. Because in my soul are still the scars and a few open wounds of abuse suffered in church over a lifetime, at the hands of people who I'm sure meant well, but only passed along to me and others what was passed along to them. 

We've been told more than once that people often continue or even worsen behavior depending on how we treat them. That if we come at them with a heavy hand or criticism, we'll drive them further away. If we come at them right where they are to stomp them, kick them, or put our foot on their neck, it will drive them right back to the place that knocked them down to begin with. It seems crazy, and we call them crazy, but it's the truth. Even the bible says that they are already condemned because they are in sin. They look in the mirror every day knowing what they are, and that even though they're used to it, something isn't right about it. So if we are going to come to where they are, we must show up to pull them up. We must not show up with a nice hefty bag full of more condemnation, but of hope, love, and acceptance.  You know, that same stuff that God drew you in with? The bible also says that it is the goodness of the Lord that leads us to repentance. Not shame. Not threats. Not scoldings. Not beat downs or bullying. 

Even when we are being chastened/corrected by God, and even though the chastening doesn't feel good to any part of our natural being, we can still feel the comfort of the Holy Spirit. We can still feel the hand of God covering our heart. We can still feel His love for us. Think about it. As a child of God, when we really get out of line, what do we really feel? Condemnation? No. Conviction. There's a difference.  And why conviction?  Because we feel and sense that we have grieved the Holy Spirit of God. So wait. He doesn't beat us up, but we feel in our spirits by His response to our behavior that we have just hurt or offended HIM! But even in that, when we feel ashamed because of this, He draws us closer. To make it right. To help us understand and grow. To show us mercy and forgiveness. To remind us that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ. To teach us not to run away in shame, but to come boldly to accept His forgiveness and love. He, the offended One, becomes like my baby girls when I would apologize for wrongly accusing them or being cranky that sweetly said, "It's okay mommy". And hugged my neck and kissed me, and showed me unconditional love and forgiveness. So when we reach into the gutter of sin to pull someone out, we reach in offering them no more of what they already suffer with. No more condemnation, but the promise of love, acceptance, healing, mercy, forgiveness. 

I see so much clearer today than I ever have in my life. I thought I was better, and in many ways I am, but I never understood until now why this part of my walk with God is so difficult for me. It's like, I guess what people would describe as pulling teeth. Like I'm at a tug of war with myself and my God, but there's no puddle of water between us, it's hell fire. I'm in the victim role with the one who is actually trying to SAVE me!   (See what I mean?  I just proved my own point.) 

So when you see a woman degrading herself, or allowing herself to be degraded. When you see her using her body to get attention. When you see her putting up with ill treatment, and it looks utterly stupid to you, please don't call her stupid, a dummy or a fool. You're condemning the condemned when you do that. Please understand that she didn't wake up that morning with the goal to be as stupid as humanly possible that day. She more than likely woke up determined to simply survive the day, in whatever way she could. It could be that she really wants more or better for herself but doesn't believe she's good enough or worthy to receive it. It could be that she's holding against herself everything that you come along and throw in her face about herself. It could be that she feels trapped, unable to leave the current abusive (no matter what type) situation, and at the same time feeling unwelcome by the same people who are saying, "Won't you come?" because she sees their right hand of fellowship extended, but the closer she gets she begins to notice the other hand holding a belt and ready to strike.  Knowing something is terribly wrong with both, she may simply stay with the one that is most familiar. At least it won't catch her by surprise. She knows what to expect.

Please understand that she is not living like she's living because her life goal is to be stupid or a fool. No little girl says, "I want to be a stupid woman when I grow up". She's doing it because of something she believes about herself. There is something that she's been telling herself, or has been told every day, several times a day. Something has been whispered into her ear or screamed in her face, or both, on a regular basis about herself and as much as she knew it wasn't right, it was also all she knew. Even if she knows better there is something that she believes (in her heart) (Proverbs 23:7) that is carrying a heavier weight than what she knows (in her head). If you want to help her, get to the core of what that belief is and begin the work on helping her to reverse it. Help in the reprogramming, and renewing of her mind and her life. Don't shine the spotlight on her nakedness. Her accuser and her abuser are doing that every single day.

Maybe you need to reverse some things before you try to reverse something in someone else.  Maybe you need some things cleansed from your own soul. Or maybe you just need to be aware that as much as you want to help and are trying to help, you're not helping. I mean we've all heard people say it. "It didn't kill me and it won't kill you either". Completely unaware that with that statement the abuse and the abuser was somewhat justified, by the abused. Maybe, just maybe, you could be passing along some abusive behavior that was passed on to you, by someone who had it passed on to them, and you don't realize it because, hey, you turned out alright. Right? 

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