Friday, June 27

Doubting Thomases; hating yourself for what YOU cannot do.......

"Your life will always be hanging by a thread. You will live in terror day and night. You will never feel sure of your life." Deuteronomy 28:66 GWT

Doubt, this is the core to what ails you, according to Dr. Larry Crabb. At the root of any diagnosis, illness, or dependency is a basic, simple, and generational doubt that God is good, or good enough to deliver His promises and take care of us.

Our lives become reflective of what we believe at the core, deep within the quiet accesses of our heart. Black or White, Good or Evil, self-protective or selflessness. One way or the other, there is no middle ground (unless we include the deception that is the Enemy's tool)

That is something we cannot change, this core belief, because of the sinful, broken self that we are. We cannot save ourselves; no matter the advances in medicine, no matter how tolerant we are of others, and we cannot cop a plea to the dysfunctions and wounds of our past as reasoning behind why Sin should not carry the death sentence.

Yet, that is what we spend the most time doing. We realize in the course of our living this life on this planet full of millions and millions of people; different in social, economic, and cultural ways, that "No one is fully sensitive to our hurts and fears.......cares for us with a love that allows us to relax one ever will." Dr. Larry Crabb, author of Finding God, describes what we call a "lurking despair" or as the Germans say, our "angst".

Satan will give us a push then, playing to our angst, with thoughts like; "You will always be alone", "You will never find anywhere where you can belong, find love, be part of a community, or meaning to your life." Cast adrift in this sea of despair and hopelessness, we grab on to whatever is within our reach or find some means to be self-sufficient. Anything; from addictions to co-dependency, self-improvement books, or withdraw from society, "are all efforts to avoid the despair that sets in when we realize that no earthly relationship will give us what we need," Dr. Crabb points out.

We come to a standstill, without the energy to deny the probability that we will never find anything that will bear fruit, and we face the dismal fact that apparently we were right and God is as impotent to do anything good, or even participate in our lives. We have been abandoned, left to our own devices to solve our problems by any means necessary. Others can't do it for us, or won't. We enter into a place where we realize it is our fault for the way things are and we gather our considerable emotional strength together to begin bashing ourselves to death.

In response to the growing insight that we, as a people, hate ourselves and spend our time loathing the person we have become, the Church teaches us the 'gospel of self-value' by telling us that all we need to do is overcome this self-hatred and realize God's unconditional, agape, love because once we realize this love the Father has for us, we will stop beating ourselves up over the inability to 'improve ourselves' and will realize the happy, productive, and meaning-filled life that was the original intention for our lives. The Church, in trying to address the angst of generations who move away from its walls, has cause us to fall......

Right into Satan's hands.

And, ironically to our way of thinking, right into the hands of God also.

Its when we face the fact that we cannot overcome this pressure we've created through the teachings of the Church to just overcome self-hatred and 'relax' in God's agape love, when we find that our 'works' done to capture a momentary feeling of 'salvational assurance', and are brought to that place where we cannot deny the certainty of our sinful presence before a Holy and Just God, we face a crossroad. A choice.

We can listen to Satan's whispers; to 'focus on the self-hatred' that binds our souls to a life of torment and pain....."Surely you will not die!" We can believe that such whispers are the truth and the sole remaining reason behind our dysfunction.

Or we can find God there in that darkness of our deepest parts of our soul. "If we saw our wicked, stubborn violation of God's design, then we would value the Cross as the place where God, through His Son, took on our sins and forgave us," Dr. Crabb says, "And we would see that He continues to forgive us every day of our lives until the day when there will be nothing left to forgive." God has the capability to help us overcome our rotten core of sin, and He has provided the means by which we can do so; by the sacrifice of His Son and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. If only we find Him.

It is then that we are free, as Paul speaks of often in his epistles, from the Law of Moses and freed by grace. Once this freedom is gained, we judge ourselves by the eagerness that consumes us to be like Christ despite the whisperings of the enemy instead of judging ourselves by our own understanding.

I spent most of my life under shadows; the shadow of bearing my father's image, the shadow of my eldest brother's brain, the shadow of my younger brother's mechanical abilities, and so many more that I won't mention here. And, as I pursued a doctrine of life that sought to justify my needs being fulfilled in the approval of my father, the admiration of my eldest brother, or even the simple mirroring of ability that my youngest brother displayed, I found myself growing into a doctrine of self-hatred. "Well, I must be the one that broke the mold, since I cannot do anything right."

It is not the sole function of the love that God gives freely to us to redeem ourselves through the sacrifice of His Son's death upon the Cross. It is not solely because of His Holiness that such an event had to take place. But that love, unconditional, that is given is the lifeblood of the movements of our Father God and Jesus Christ in the quest of the Kingdom agenda. That Holiness, perfected, set the course by which it takes place.

So, should it not also be our sole function, to reach that point where the love of the Father is felt, known, and realized. But, it should be the lifeblood that flows throughout our actions, thoughts, and understanding for our movement into relationships that are going to be breeding grounds for our angst, where no one will be sensitive enough to our hurts and fears, or care with a perfect enough love to let us know peace, or where pain is as common as the stars in the skies overhead. It is this desire to know God, to conform our lives as closely as we can without the realization of achievement in this world that should drive our interactions to each other, our direction in fulfilling our purpose for the Kingdom, and our desire to overcome our doubt.

It is there, in that place where we can accept that life will not give us what we need and is bent on our destruction coupled with the fact that we ourselves are incapable of adapting ourselves to the world in such a degree as to find peace and grace within its walls, it is in that place that we feel God's gentle tap upon our shoulders. It is there that God reveals Himself to us. And, if we only turn around, we would see His arms stretched wide in welcoming grace.

"Either we live under pressure to grow, or we celebrate grace." Dr. Crabb concludes his chapter 12: Third Floor; I hate Me "It comes more naturally to hate ourselves and be driven by pressure to improve, than to judge ourselves in a way that leads to a celebration of grace."

We can spend our lives trying to use social justice to justify our lives, by changing the social 'hot points' of the changing cultural awareness or we can spend our lives knowing that we are incapable of fixing a world that has no life to give us and seeking to be set free of our inherited doubt of God.

It is not within our ability to overcome our own, or the world's problems. We are not that capable of such authorial and universal power. We are our own worst enemy.

But God is capable.

And it is within our capability to seek out God in the midst of the chaotic and broken landscape of our life. And, once we've dedicated ourselves to that pursuit, to die to ourselves so that we may live in His grace, then we will know our God and Creator..............

and change the world!

No comments: