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Rated: E · Essay · Spiritual · #1794080
What God did when I was ruining two lives, & how things have ended up. GPs post-review
I would appreciate reviews on writing technique and communication skills.  If you would like to debate theology, or are interested in learning more about Salvation, the Bible, or the Christian Way of Life, please feel free to email me *Cool*


The Journey From Chaos to Contentment

Scripture taken from the The King James Version of the Holy Bible,

For several years, I was not trusting God to care for me and my family. I was putting my trust in various human beings, who, first of all didn't realize the extent of my dependence on them, and, secondly, were kind enough to allow me to be dependent on them to the extent they thought I was being.  Perhaps their allowing this to happen was sinful, perhaps it wasn’t – I just don’t know.  I know that we are responsible for sins we commit that we don’t know are sins – that those sins are cleansed from us when we commit our known sins. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.   But whether their motivation or actions were sinful, or just unwise, I really do not know.

Because of this rocky, crumbly foundation of mistrust of God, there were more sins on my part that I thought were necessary to keep my 'security'. There was deceit; not out and out lies necessarily, but withholding feelings and thoughts that allowed others to think I was okay with things I was not okay with, or allowed them to think I agreed with things I did not agree with. I also placed the needs of members of my family ahead of God, but behind what I thought others wanted/needed me to do.  Notice God comes #3 or later on my priority list during this time. I placed my own very important needs on hold to do some things I should have never agreed to or suggested. I took part in some decisions and participated in some things that I knew were wrong at the time.  I allowed myself to be swayed in some decisions concerning my children that I now regret.  All of those sins blossomed from the root sin of fear and not trusting in God.  Prov 3:5-7 [Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

Stopping going to church (again) was no biggie for me. I wasn't getting the level of teaching I wanted or needed at the local churches I tried - something I faced in more than one place I've lived. Heb 5:13-14 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. I’m not bragging; just realistic.  I had been nourished by the milk, loved the milk, and still drank the milk to nourish me, but I also craved – needed – meat.  Taking advantage of books and recordings from sources that provided the seriously in-depth information I needed wasn't new to me. But what was new was that I stopped reading my Bible. A few times, I'd start a Bible study with all good intentions and real desire, only to end up stopping because I couldn't face the guilt of what I knew I was doing wrong.  I knew I couldn’t lie to God, so I just stopped talking to Him altogether.  Even in moments of desperation, when I would want to ask His help, I knew I deserved every bit of what was happening to me, and, wrongfully, felt like if I deserved it I shouldn’t pray about it all.  I also knew I was sinking further and further into reversionism.

So that's the deal - I knew I was wrong to be deceitful, I knew my priorities for the humans in my life were screwed up, I knew Bible study alone was useless unless I confronted my sin and dealt with it.  So I stuck my head in the sand for a long time, continuing to make things worse.

And some things ended up happening in the Fall of 2009: bad things, evil things that I don't believe God initiated, but that I believe God used for His purpose...in my life at least. After the “incidents,” and over a period of weeks, He waited through my severe depression and desperation until He knew I was able to comprehend what He needed to tell me. Then He hit me with a fairly hard Gibb's slap, and told me a few things. I was devastated by things He revealed to me; and I was not the only one in the wrong. But in the next few months, through much prayer, Bible study, and contact with other Christians, I began to realize that in my mistrust of God, in my misplaced trust of humans, I had set up a situation where no one could come out a winner. Don't get me wrong -- there were things others did and said sinfully that are their responsibility to deal with; there are things everyone said or did that should have been handled differently -- but if they hadn't been put in the situation (by me) to begin with, they would not have had to make a choice about how to act or react.

The final piece didn't fall into place for me until over six months after the turning-point crisis. And the final piece was that I was firmly entrenched in a spiritual process some call reversionism (short definition - many terms in fundamentalism have been used to describe reversionism, such as “backsliding” and “falling away from God,” but these terms have failed to fully define the concept.  Reversionism is a maladjustment to the justice of God..) Being intelligent, being a skillful manipulator, if you had told me I was in that state, and I wanted you to believe differently, I could have fooled most people. I don't think I fooled Jay, my husband, but I don't think he knew what to do about it.  A few others who see this may think, “I knew it” or “I suspected it.” And I didn't allow others outside of my home to know how things really were. That was all part of the deceit and self-deceit.

The Lord made clear to me that I had to tell the whole and complete truth about things. I started with Him; I shared with Jay; I shared with my mother. I was, believe it or not, depending on if you heard from me during that time, less detailed in what I told other people. But besides our Father, the person I was most detailed with was the person who, in my opinion, was hurt the most. And the honesty…no, the sins I was honest about…killed any chance of repairing that relationship.

Now, to my points:

1) God disciplines those who get out of line. It's easy in this society, where Christians and God are seen as intolerant, arrogant, full of rules and restrictions and judgment and telling everyone what to do and not to do -- it's easy in this society to want to put a pretty polish on God so others won't see us, or Him, as hateful or judging. (Let me say first, God doesn't need us to polish Him up; He is brighter and more magnificent than we could ever imagine, much less make under our own power). But the truth is - God does some things that human beings don't like sometimes. He's not interested in appearing 'acceptable' to the majority of the world; He interested in having the world accept Him for who He is. One of the things He does that humans don't think is pretty and shiny is discipline His children. He judges unbelievers, too, but my focus today is on the discipline of believers, specifically me.

God punished me as I sank deeper into reversionism.  I’ve identified a number of things He has caused or allowed to happen to try to get my attention.  Yes, caused.  God is not all sweetness and light, my friends.  He is all righteousness and glory.  He is also all justice – and justice isn’t so pretty sometimes.  Justice includes sending unbelievers to hell; justice also includes punishing believers who are out of line.  The Bible compares His treatment of us to the treatment of a parent to a child.  When you had to cause a punishment for your child because he or she did something wrong, you were not all sweetness and light, either.  And you didn’t enjoy it.  But you did it because that’s what had to happen to bring your child’s attention to the point that they knew what they did was wrong.  God does the same thing.  And we are told not to resent it, but appreciate it and learn from it.

Prov 3:11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction

Heb 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.  12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.  12:9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 12:10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.  12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Job 5:17 Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty

God also allows us a way of responding appropriately to the discipline to prevent more of it.  He even turns punishment that continues after confession of sin into blessing.

1 John 1:9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 Cor 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.  (KJV)

Job 5:18For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole.

I did things that were wrong and God punished me in some very painful and devastating ways.  But what He also did, once I confessed my sin to Him and allowed Him to show me the rottenness that had taken over my inner being, was to bless me.  He’s given me an insatiable desire to study God’s Word – for months and months and months.  I was afraid when I first felt it that the “new” would wear off and I would grow weary of it.  That’s why I’m no good at long-term projects, because when the “new” wears off, I’m ready to move on to something else.  But not only the determination and perseverance have remained, but the craving has remained as well. 

His blessing is that the person I am today is different than the person of six months ago, a year ago, five years ago, or twenty years ago.  His blessing is that if we sincerely desire to return to His Plan and His protection, we are welcomed back with open arms, and instead of, “I told you so,”  or  “You deserved that,”  or  “Did you learn your lesson?”  we get “Welcome!  Wear the prettiest dress, wear the diamonds, eat the fatted calf, drink the best wine, celebrate your return to the family and then we’ll get down to some serious blessings!” 

Luke 15:20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 15:21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 15:22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 15:23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 15:24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

He does not revisit our sins with us; He moves on and makes it possible for us to do so as well.

Psalms 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

He does not buy into anyone’s attempts to discredit us and make our sins an issue again.

Luke 15:25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. 15:26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. 15:27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. 15:28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. 15:29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: 15:30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. 15:31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. 15:32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

2)  It’s hard, but healthy, to admit you did something sinful and that you caused people problems.  Several people with whom I have shared have made this comment, out their desire for me to not feel bad: “But you were doing the best you could at the time.”  If I was, that was still no excuse for sin, and, as God has been telling us for, what, 6,000 years or so,  that human best, my human best was crap. Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

But the real point is that I was not doing the best I could at the time.  That’s a humanistic fallacy that has taken over our society and culture, a handy excuse to not have to face responsibility for one’s own choices.  There are times in my life when I really was doing my human crappy best, but this wasn’t one of those times.  I made informed (by Bible teaching and by the Holy Spirit), conscious, deliberate decisions to deceive others, to do what I knew wasn’t right, to ignore the priorities that God would have me to attend to.  I may have been out of fellowship with God, but I didn’t forget what sin was.  I was even more mentally unhealthy during this time in my life because I was ignoring my sin instead of facing it; because I was making excuses for myself, instead of standing up for what was right in the sight of God.

So, I want to say to all you sympathetic, sweet, compassionate souls out there, I appreciate that you don’t want me to feel bad.  That’s nice of you.  But I did bad; I did sin – on purpose - and that did hurt other people and God whether I intended it to, or not.  Think God can’t hurt or feel pain caused by us?  Check out what Ephesians says:

Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

I grieved my family, I grieved my friends, and I grieved the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, God the Holy Spirit, by being out of fellowship because of sin in general; I grieved the First Person of the Holy Trinity, God the Father by not trusting in Him; and I grieved the Second Person of the Trinity, God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ when He had to bear my sins on the Cross, so I would not have to pay the penalty for my own sin.

Now comes the concern from others that I’m going to become mired in my guilt and unable to face what I’ve admitted and work through it.  Too late, my friends.  God has assuaged my feelings of guilt, God has pointed me to the passages in the Bible that I needed to see to be able to move on with my life.

The blessings of my relationships with family and remaining friends are sweet and rich.  The financial blessings we have been given are more than adequate.  The blessings associated with my emotional well-being are many.  But the greatest and sweetest blessing of all is the ministry of the Holy Spirit guiding me to, and teaching me true understanding of, the very Bible doctrines I need to be reminded of, and that I need to learn for the first time.

Should I continue to feel guilty and horrible for what I did?  I did feel bad about it, really bad about it for quite a while; bad enough to not even allow myself the privilege of fellowship with God.  I’m not a robot, and I do have feelings.  But God has given me the way to be cleansed from my sin, to be forgiven by Him, and to forgive myself.

So what about other people who may still be hurting?  I don’t want them to hurt.  I pray that the Lord will also comfort them and bring them blessings.  Beyond apologizing and recompense, I cannot do anything to alleviate their suffering.  They have to take it in hand and get with God and work on it if they want it to disappear completely.

So do I just think everything should be fine now and there be no repercussions? I’m trusting in God to handle any repercussions.  There are natural and logical consequences for everything we do; I don’t expect to be exempted from that.  But because of my confession, because of my return to fellowship with Him, because He turns suffering to blessing for those who are in His will, I’m just not concerned about what others think about me, or say about me.  If they don’t know me now, they don’t know me at all. 

Do I judge others who won’t forgive me or refuse to acknowledge my apologies?  Well, there’s a whole study I’ve done on “judging.”  The pith of it is: we are to identify (sometimes called "judge") sin, but we are not to judge the worth or punishment of the person. 

The Bible tells us not to be friends with angry, divisive people, or with people who will not acknowledge or stop their sinning.  We are to avoid evil. Let love be without dissimulation. Rom. 12:9 Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Prov. 1:10, 15 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not... 1:15 My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path In order to obey these scriptures, we must be able to identify sin. 

The Bible tells us that if we have sinned against a brother, or he has sinned against us, we are to go to him and make things right. Matt. 5:23Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there remembrest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 5:24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift{/c);Matt. 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone; if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 18:16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican Get that last part: we are to confront others about their sin, not just admit our own and if they don't acknowledge it, we are to treat them as the most undesirable parts of society.

{c;black}What about love?  Shouldn't we be tolerant and accepting?  Yes.  In love, we confront sin by dealing with out own first, and then holding others accountable.  In love, we distance ourselves from someone who is hell-bent (so to speak) on sinning without remorse.  Our perfect example of love, God Himself, does not force His goodwill on persons who are determined not to have it.  We should not be hateful with those who are unrepentant, but letting them follow their own path, on their own free will is a loving thing to do.  Someday, perhaps, their path head toward God's path and you will again have the chance to support and encourage them like you want to.

The Bible tells us that only the person without sin should cast the first stone – but in context, that scripture is not about identifying sin, but about deciding/administering punishment for it.
  John 8:1-11 

The Bible tells us to remove the large sin from our own selves before addressing the small sin in our brother’s life. Matt 7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 7:4 Or how wilt thou say to thy borther, Let me pull the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 7:5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. Notice: this passage is not saying to not identify and confront sin in others, it is telling you to get right with God so you can be in fellowship with God and under His direction when you approach the other person about their own sin. 

And throwing the passage:
“no one is righteous, no not even one” at a ‘judgment’ question is not taking the verse in the context it is written – as a declaration of who needs to be saved and why Rom. 2.

So now, come the verses that say, “Do not judge” or “as you judge, so shall you be judged.”  Matt 7:1-2; Luke 6:27-38 But if God tells us in one place to identify sin and confront it, why would He tells us in another not to?  He doesn’t.  Consider these meanings of ‘judge’ from Webster’s New World dictionary and confirmed by other published dictionaries and online sources (again this is the simplified version, the pith):

         judge: noun. an elected or appointed official; a designated person to declare the winner of a contest, or decide a controversy; a person qualified to give an opinion or decide the value of something

         judge: verb.  to hear and pass judgment according to law (order, decree, sentence); to determine a winner or settle a controversy; to decree; to form an idea, opinion or estimate; to criticize or censure; to think or suppose

“Do not judge” means to not to make a decision, not to criticize, to not form an opinion.  And human beings shouldn’t judge – we are not qualified to judge others on the basis of their sin.  We are not qualified to decide they should be punished or initiate a punishment (except, arguably, in the cases of legal system justices who are appointed or elected for the purpose of judging specifically in legal matters).

James 5:9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

Only the Lord God, our Father, is qualified to decide what is sin, and to decide or inflict punishment (with the above mentioned exception).  Jesus Christ died a spiritual death on the Cross, suffered the punishment of sin though He had never sinned, thereby absolving us from having to pay that particular penalty (spiritual death) of sin if we believed in Him and what He did.  Any temporal (time-on-earth related) punishment of sin is only valid from God or a legal official.  Take note: Jesus Christ has died on the Cross to pay the penalty for our sins; human beings have no authority to decide Christ's work wasn't good enough regarding any given person and that they (those who recognize the sin) must administer punishment beyond what God and the divine institution of our judiciary system has decided.

To identify sin is not judging it as wrong; it is saying, “In the Bible, God says this is sin, and this is what you have done.”  A lie has a specific description; gossip, gluttony, pride, adultery, etc. all have specific description.  God is the one who decided they were wrong.  God is the one who formed an opinion.  God is the one who decides and initiates (or allows) punishment. To confront someone with a sin is not telling them they are subject to your punishment, or to inflict punishment on them; it is admitting your own sin to God and getting right with Him, then going to your brother and saying, “The Bible says this is sin and that I have the responsibility to confront you with it.”  From that point, it is the sinner’s and God’s responsibilities to do something about it.

The passage that tells us to confront a brother’s trespass against us before we complete our offering, a passage of Jesus own teaching, also tells us that if the person does not acknowledge their sin, or keeps on sinning, that you are to confront them with one or more other people, eventually bringing them before the church if they remain stiff-necked.  Your final act towards someone who refuses to acknowledge their sin and attempt to control it, according to Jesus’ teaching, is to treat him as you would a “heathen man and a publican.”

[Yes, this passage again. It's just as important now as it was earlier.]
}Matt 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 18:16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. 

Regarding myself and judging another’s sin: first, I’d have to know about it.  There were persons at one time who sinned against me or mine, and I confronted them after some very painful time coming to grips with God about my own sin.  However, I cannot very well say I know that someone I haven’t spoken to in over a year is sinning today.  I cannot assume that because they have not acknowledged my apology, or that because they have refused to communicate with me, that they have not forgiven me.  It is entirely plausible, and, I believe, acceptable for this person to have forgiveness for me but choose not to have me in his or her life anymore.  So I’m not ‘judging,’ or identifying, that this person is committing the sin of unforgiveness.  If they are, it’s in God’s hands; if they aren’t, then I’m glad – more for them than myself.

Too many people, Christians and non-Christians are in error about what the  Bible actually says about identifying sins and judgment.  “Don’t judge me” has become a way of turning on the person confronting you instead of dealing with your own sin.  People use the word “judge” incorrectly in this context.  Recognizing someone’s sin and confronting them is not judgment.  It is a statement of fact.  If someone says you are sinning, it doesn’t mean they are judging.  It means they know what God says are sins, and are confronting you about it, which Jesus, in the Bible, instructed.

{c;black}What about my own ability to forgive?  Done, before any of this blew up.  And done fairly quickly after for anything new that came up.  It was drilled in to me from a young age that forgiveness is absolutely essential, and refraining from judging others is also absolutely essential.  I’m not going to decide what someone’s motivation was and harbor resentment and hurt.  I have enough emotional problems without that.

These passages are branded into my soul:

Matt 18:21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 18:22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

This doesn't mean we carry a little notebook counting how many times we've forgiven each person in our lives.  This means we just keep on forgiving, and forgiving...and forgiving.

Romans 12:17Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

The Bible contains myriad scriptures on humans forgiving humans.  Some say you are to forgive when a person asks for it; others do not mention this condition.  To play it safe and be consistent, it is easier (for me) to forgive regardless of that person’s acknowledgment of sin or an apology.

I’d love to tell you I’m perfect at forgiveness – that as soon as I feel there’s been an offense that a divine peace overcomes me and all feelings of negativity depart.  Actually, sometimes that does happen.  It’s just so much easier to let it go, than deal with having my energy sucked away by the negativity.  But it isn’t always the case – and during those times that I have a hard time forgiving, I suffer greatly.  I suffer guilt for not forgiving, I suffer whatever hurt or offense I’m nurturing (and the longer you hold on to a hurt or resentment, the bigger it grows, and the harder it is to let go!), I suffer anxiety because I know I’m not in line with God’s will.  I shed tears, spend more time in prayer than probably any other time, and eventually, in a few weeks, I’m able to give it up, I’m able to forgive, I’m able to love again.  Up until the moment of this writing, when I have been able to forgive there is complete reconciliation between God and I (if not between the other person and I), and the incident is never brought to mind again in a guilt-ridden or negative way.  I can’t guarantee that I will be able to accomplish this every time in the future – I’m only human, you know.

Unforgiveness of another is a form of sinful judging.  You have recognized the person’s sin, which is fine; you may have even gone directly to them, which is fine; they may or may not have apologized to you; but if you persist in withholding your acceptance of them, if you persist in punishing them for their actions, you have decided the person is not worth forgiving, and this is a direct violation of what Jesus instructed us to do.

So, very simplistically, I sinned, I was disciplined by God, even in following God’s instructions to come clean some things happened that I didn’t like, He’s forgiven me, He’s helped me move on, my relationship with Him is stronger than it’s ever been and He’s blessing me in many ways.  I don’t harbor bad feelings for anyone.  It is our place to identify and confront sin in others.  It is not our place to judge sin others.  It is our responsibility to forgive others and live at peace with them.
© Copyright 2011 KAL~ Kooky for my Kindle! (mskelly65 at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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