Category Archives: Pleasing God

Writing About Not Being Able to Write

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Of course, by starting out with that title, and then writing about it, by definition, I’m putting the lie to my title, because I’m writing, which I just said I wasn’t able to do. Kind of silly I suppose, but I had to do something to make myself start producing words again.

It’s so frustrating when you have all these ideas roiling and running around inside your head, but you can’t get them out onto paper. I think the common phrase for it is writer’s block. I’ve got a list of about six different ideas that I’m working on for eventual use here, but I can’t seem to develop any of them enough for publication.

So here I am, rambling, in an effort to write something, anything, because that’s what I do. I blog. And if I’m not writing, I’m not blogging.

I mean, the purpose of this blog is to help survivors of child abuse see that it’s possible to emerge victorious, with God’s help, from the hell that was perpetrated on them by evil and selfish others, and if I’m not posting then the information I have to offer isn’t getting out there.

Of course that begs the question, am I offering information that’s actually helping? Is what I say here bringing glory to God, as well as providing anything of substantive value for those who might need it? I certainly hope so, because if it’s not, then I need to change what I’m doing here ~ or stop doing it altogether.

But I don’t want to stop. For one thing I love to write. Writing used to be so difficult for me, worse than pulling teeth, because of one of my alters, named Secret, when I was multiple. I had another alter, named The Secretary, whose job it was to chronicle the goings-on of my system ~ my internal life, if you will, and she too loved to write. But The Secretary and Secret worked at cross purposes to each other all the time, and Secret was much stronger than The Secretary, so The Secretary was always being stifled.

And Secret had good reason to keep us from writing, because The Secretary wanted to write about what the cult was doing to us, as well as about Harry’s abuse, and of course, that absolutely could not be allowed. Harry had been threatening to kill us if we talked for years, so Secret’s efforts to keep us silent were probably keeping us alive as well.

Now that I’m no longer multiple, and I’m no longer being abused, there’s nothing hindering me from writing. So if I can’t write, there must be something else stopping me ~ but I don’t know what it could be. I certainly did get a whole lot written for someone who isn’t able to write, however. Thus far I’ve written 533 words.

Pretty good, I think, considering I’m not able to write. I wonder how many I could write if I was able to write. The thought boggles the mind, but at least I’ve written something I can post. I don’t know if it’s worth anything, and I don’t know if it will help anyone, but it’s better than nothing at all.

The Gadarene and Me

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I’ve always felt a great affinity for the Gadarene demoniac, whose story is told in Mark 5:1-20 and Luke 8:26-37. As the story goes, Jesus and His disciples crossed the Sea of Galilee and landed in the region of the Gadarenes  (some manuscripts say Gerasenes; still others read Gergesenes), because Jesus had told them to go to the other side of the lake, and land there.

When they disembarked their boat, they were immediately set upon by a demon-possessed man, known as the Gadarene demoniac, so called because he had many demons, and he had been unable to live in civilized society for a long time. Luke 8 describes it well,

As Jesus was climbing out of the boat, a man who was possessed by demons came out to meet him. For a long time he had been homeless and naked, living in a cemetery outside the town. ~ Luke 8:27, NLT.

The passage also says that people had tried many times to restrain the man with chains and shackles without success. Each time he’d simply broken the chains and torn off the shackles, and then was driven into the wilderness by the demons who possessed him, deserted and abandoned by everyone who knew him,

For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was guarded, bound by chains and shackles, he would snap the restraints and be driven by the demon into deserted places. ~ Luke 8:29, CSB.

Over the years I’ve mentioned several times to a number of people that I’ve felt like I could relate strongly to this poor soul, but each time my feelings were discounted. I was told that any feelings I might have for this man couldn’t be real because I’d never been possessed by a legion of demons as he was.

I hate it when someone treats me like that. By denying my feelings, they’re denying who I am as a person. No one likes being disrespected like that ~ because that’s exactly how I felt whenever someone told me that ~ completely disrespected. And it’s taken me all these years to understand that, and to figure out that those people were wrong.

It’s not a matter of whether or not I’ve been possessed by one or a million demons that makes the difference. What makes it so I can relate to this guy is the fact that I understand how he FELT. Because whether or not I’ve been possessed by any demons at all, I’ve experienced the same feelings he did. I’ve felt abandoned and rejected, as he surely must have felt when he was driven from his home and forced out of his town, both by the demons that controlled him, and by the neighbors and friends who feared him.

When I was multiple there were times when a child alter would come out. If that happened when I was out in public, my behavior would get a little strange. It would look like I was talking to myself, or all of a sudden I would start talking like a small child, or I might have a panic attack and begin hitting myself. That kind of behavior in a public place is terribly off-putting to other people, and I had very few friends, because most people who knew me weren’t willing to put themselves in the position where they might be embarrassed by my weird behavior should I be triggered by an environmental cue into having a panic attack, or switching into another alter.

So while I’ve gotten used to being alone, and most of the time even enjoy it, there used to be times where I got lonely, because most people didn’t want to be around me. Now I really like being alone, at least partly because I never feel alone. I can always feel the presence of the Holy Spirit with me and in me, and I talk to God all the time ~ my version of prayer, I guess.

Once I realized that God had been with me throughout my childhood, saving my life and protecting me from the worst of the abuse, I understood that everything He’d said in His Word about never leaving me nor forsaking me was actually true.

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” ~ Hebrews 13:5, ESV.

This promise is quoted from the Book of Joshua,

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. ~ Joshua 1:5, NIV.

I find that promise to be cause for great rejoicing, and very comforting. For the first time in my life I have someone who is willing to keep His promises, who will always tell me the truth and not lie to me, and who will always be with me wherever I go. Also, if the Bible is any indication, and if McT is telling the truth (McT is my therapist and I trust him), then God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit actually like spending time with me. McT says I’m a delight to be with.

I’m not quite sure what to do with that information. The most obvious thing would be to accept it as true, but I want to ask McT how he knows that. He said that he himself finds me delightful to be with, but he also said that God thinks I’m a delight to be with as well.

So how does he know that? ‘Tis a puzzler for me, and a delightful one at that, pun intended.

And on that note I’ll end, at least for now, but I’m sure this is a topic I’ll be revisiting often.

Go To Forgiveness, Go Right To Forgiveness. Don’t Pass Through Guilt, Don’t Go To Condemnation.

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God’s been working some changes in me over the last few weeks, and I’m so excited that I have to tell everyone about it.

I don’t play computer games. Well, not very much anyway.

Well, two games.

Fine, three games.

Okay, okay, four! Gimme a break!

It really is only four: two online games, one called June’s Journey, and one called Ravenhill: Hidden Mystery. I also play a crossword game, and a game that’s a combination between mahjong and solitaire, called Mahjong Solitaire Epic. The two online games are hidden object games. I play the crossword game to, hopefully, increase my vocabulary, and I like Mahjong Solitaire Epic because it requires strategy and makes me think as I’m playing, plus the graphics are beautiful.

My point in talking about my computer games is that, until about three weeks ago, everytime I played one of the games I experienced a great deal of frustration everytime I made a mistake, with subsequent panic/rage attacks and consequent self-abuse.

I used to get so angry at myself when that happened! I had to forgive myself for the self-abuse, and forgiving myself has always been like pulling teeth for me, plus whenever I get upset enough to hit myself, I always feel like I need to ask God to forgive me.

Playing these games has always been a struggle for me, because I’ve always had the feeling that I’m not supposed to be playing them, yet if I stop playing, then I’m afraid I’ll get bored.

So about a month-and-a-half ago, in a drastic move, I deleted all my games. I got tired of feeling like I was disappointing God by playing the games, plus I knew I was spending way too much time playing, so I decided to get rid of all of them.

Then after about four days, I realized I’d made a mistake, especially with one particular game, June’s Journey. And of course, June’s Journey is the one I like the most.

When I deleted it I was at Level 299, going on Level 300, and I was in the middle of upgrading the pirate ship, with only the country mansion left to renovate (I’d already finished upgrading the lighthouse and the chapel). I’d been playing for about a year-and-a-half, and was far advanced. I then realized my mistake and tried unsuccessfully to re-download it at the same level as before, but when my efforts were ineffective I came to the conclusion that if I wanted to play June’s Journey, I’d have to start over.

So that’s what I determined to do, but I realized I’d been spending far too much time playing when I could have been doing other things much more conducive to serving God. Things like reading my Bible more consistently and going to church on a regular basis.

Then God showed me that it’s okay for me to play the games as long as I do it in moderation. I decided I could do that. That I could manage.

All of this transpired a little over three weeks ago. Then I re-downloaded June’s Journey. All of a sudden, all the frustration that had driven me to hit myself was gone, simply gone. It was like there had been a sharp arrow embedded in my mind that got dinged whenever I made a mistake, causing agony and self-abuse everytime, and God had supernaturally removed the arrow and healed the wound it had made. So now, since the arrow is gone, so is the consequent frustration, and the subsequent self-abuse.

And along with everything else, forgiving myself is now easy.

I can’t tell you what peace and joy this change has brought me! It feels like God has done a miracle in me. In fact, I think He did, because one day I was hitting myself, and the next I wasn’t, and in addition, it was suddenly easy to forgive myself. I don’t know why I would doubt that, or find it strange, because He’s been doing miracles in me for years as He’s healing me.

GLORY TO GOD! HALLELUJAH TO JESUS! THANK YOU, HOLY SPIRIT!

I thank God for His inexpressible and unfathomable gifts to me! He is so good to me!

The Gift of Free Will

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Something I’ve been thinking about recently is that Jesus was 100% obedient to God’s leadings 100% of the time. That just boggles my mind. I’m doing well if I’m obedient maybe 50% of the time.

Of course Jesus spent huge amounts of time in prayer, plus, even though He was 100% human, He was also 100% divine. But He was 100% human, and anyone who is human will always be tempted to disobey God.

Though all I’ve ever wanted is to know God and please Him, until now I’ve felt like a complete failure in that area. But I’ve come to realize that my problem wasn’t that I couldn’t please God, but rather that I doubted my faith in God. And notice that I said I doubted my faith in God, not that I doubted God. It’s an important distinction. Throughout my life, with everything I’ve been through ~ all the horrific abuse inflicted by Harry and my mother and the cult ~ I’ve never doubted that God existed, only that He loved me.

Now I’m confident that I do have faith in God, because I’ve been seeking Him ever since I became a Christian. It says in the Book of Hebrews,

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. ~ Hebrews 11:6, NKJV.

So if I’m to believe Scripture, and I definitely do, I must be pleasing God, and I must have faith, because I’m seeking Him, and I always have been. Sometimes I question my motives, but I’ve never stopped seeking Him, regardless of the reason why.

Praise God! Thankfully, that question has now been resolved!

But there’s still the problem of my almost constant disobedience, at least that’s what it feels like, though I think I know why I have such huge problem with it.

When I was being abused in the cult there would be someone in a white robe sitting on a throne telling the others what to do to me, and that person on the throne was God. And sometimes the person looked like Harry. So now when I’m trying to be obedient to God I can’t tell if it’s God, or the devil, or maybe Harry in my head telling me what to do. It gets all messed up and confused inside.

I used to have panic attacks about it all the time. Now I just try to live the way I think God wants me to and be done with it, though every once in a while I become aware of a specific leading. When that happens I go through the same confusion trying to figure out who’s talking, and whether I should obey whatever the instructions are. It’s never of any great import or significance, but if I can’t be obedient in the little things, I can’t realistically be expected to comply in the big ones, because I’m never sure whose voice I’m hearing.

A long time ago I did a drawing that well illustrates what this looks like:

Jesus-Harry-Satan Face of Confusion

The face with the halo and heart-shaped features is Jesus, the face in the middle is Harry, and the face with the horns and fangs is Satan, and they’re sitting on a throne in a white robe just like they are in my memories. The two mountains are my-mother-the-iceberg hanging around during cult rituals, pretending to ignore what they’re doing to me. And the Satan side is holding a cross dripping in blood, while the Jesus/God side is holding a dagger dripping in blood.

All of that is to say, that’s what the confusion looks like when I try to be led by the Spirit, because I can’t tell who’s talking to me.

I thank God that He’s not bound by my confusion and/or insufficiencies, and the Bible says that God is not the author of confusion,

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace… ~ 1 Corinthians 14:33a, ESV. 

I have to believe that God is able to lead me regardless of any hindrances or confusion on my part. Otherwise what hope do I have of being able to follow God given my present difficulties? I choose to trust that God is merciful and trustworthy, any problems I have in following Him notwithstanding.

Thank you Jesus for your unchanging love and faithfulness!

I Would Make a Great Hermit

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And I’m not saying that’s a necessarily a good thing, either, because I believe God created us to be in fellowship with other Christians, as it says in the Book of Hebrews,

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. ~ Hebrews 10:25, NLT.

Gathering together with other Christians keeps us sharp and sensitive towards God. Going to church and hearing the Word preached on a regular basis, in fellowship with other believers, does the same thing,

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. ~ Proverbs 27:17, NLT. 

All of that is to say that I like being alone. I’m a finest-kind introvert. I would much rather be by myself than spend time with other people. I don’t like talking on the phone just to talk. If the phone call doesn’t have a definite purpose other than to say hi, how are you, then I don’t want to participate in the conversation.

I’ve often thought that I’d love to find, or better yet build, a cabin out in the wilderness somewhere. I would want it to be a multilevel treehouse that has all the amenities, including wi-fi, and a full bathroom (NOT an outhouse). I want an indoor bathroom with indoor plumbing, and a full kitchen, even if the only cooking I do is nuking. I would be the only one living there with my cat and my dog, who would be close friends. And it would be way high up in a huge tree, so I wouldn’t have to come down, except for maybe once a month to drive out to purchase food and supplies.

I’ve wanted a treehouse for a long time, many years, in fact. Treehouse Masters was my favorite show on TV when they were airing new episodes. Unfortunately, they aren’t going to be on TV any longer. Pete Nelson sent out a newsletter a couple of weeks ago that said they won’t be making any new episodes.

I’m fairly certain that the foundation for my craving for isolation is my wonderful childhood (and, yes, that’s big-time tongue-in-cheek and sarcasm that you hear in my words). The only time I was safe was when I was by myself, and I couldn’t trust anyone but myself.

I have no illusions that my almost desperate desire for solitude is a godly one. I know it’s not, because my understanding of Scripture tells me it’s not. But, at least for the time being, it’s not something over which I have much control. As I can I try to place myself in contact with other people on a periodic basis, but only as I can do so and still remain in my comfort zone, so to speak. There are times when I try to step outside my comfort zone, but not very often. By definition, it’s too uncomfortable.

Obviously this will have to be a matter for discussion with McT.

HARRUMPH!!!

Stunned and Gobsmacked, or, God Must Be Right and I Must Be Wrong.

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Maybe I’m doing better with God than I think I am. I’ve always thought it impossible for me to please God regardless of what I do, say, or think. I realize I’m probably seeing God through the lens of Harry. I wish I could just take the Harry-glasses off and break them into a million pieces and be done with them for good so I can see God as He truly is, but such is not to be, it seems, at least not yet.

But maybe I’m not doing as badly as I think I am. The Bible says,

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. ~ Hebrews 11:6, NKJV.

Throughout my Christian life my greatest strivings and highest longings have always been to know God and to please Him, but doing that very thing is what has always caused me the greatest anguish, because I’ve felt the most hopeless about being able to do so. But the interesting thing was that in all my struggles and strivings I never stopped believing in God. I always believed that He existed, I always believed that His Word was true, even if I couldn’t believe it was true for me, though I desperately wanted to believe that it was.

If I’ve always believed, and never doubted, that God is, as it says in Hebrews 11:6; in other words, that He exists, seems to me that requires faith. Maybe even a lot of it, given the kinds of experiences I’ve lived through.

The Bible gives the definition of faith as,

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. ~ Hebrews 11:1, NLT.

So maybe I do have faith, possibly even a lot of it. I’ve been seeking God diligently my whole Christian life, regardless of any memories that were niggling in the background, or that were surfacing, or whatever. It feels scary for me to say that as a statement of fact, even arrogant. There’s a big part of me that wants to qualify it so my faith looks in some way less, but I don’t think I’ll do that, as uncomfortable as not doing so makes me feel.

But maybe God sees me differently than I do. I mean, the Bible says,

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. ~ Isaiah 55:8-9, ESV.

So maybe the way God sees me is completely different than the way I see myself, and more importantly, the way Harry portrayed me. The Bible says God created me in His image and after His likeness (see Genesis 1:26). I really like the way that sounds, because God doesn’t create anything ugly or defective or junky. He only makes beautiful things, and I finally figured out that God thinks I’m beautiful.

When I realized that I was utterly stunned and gobsmacked. God sees me as beautiful? Wow!! And God doesn’t make mistakes, so He must be right.

I think I’ll believe Him. He’s smarter than I am.

Which brings me back to whether I have faith or not. I must, if I’m choosing to believe what God thinks about me rather than what I feel about myself.

How cool is that!

 

God Is Completely Other. Harry Is Just Evil.

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The last time I saw McT we talked about the difficulty I have with taking showers. And just to clarify, taking a bath is just as hard for me as taking a shower is.

The very first abuse memory I had was of Harry trying to force me into having oral sex with him when we were in the shower when I was about two years old, and I had it during a therapy session with McT. Harry forced me to have oral sex, so I got confused and lost control of my bowels and pooped on the shower floor, which enraged him. As a result he picked up the feces and threw it at me, and then forced me to eat it.

First off, I forgive him.

Needless to say, the shower is an emotionally charged place for me, and it’s nigh unto impossible for me to take one without major advance preparations.

There are a number of things I’m afraid of. For one thing, I’m terrified I’ll have new and more horrific memories of things Harry did to me in the shower while I’m taking a shower. It’s happened before. That seemed to be a favorite place of his. I don’t know what his deal was, but he just loved to get to me while I was in the bathroom, and especially while I was in the shower. And that first memory was one that he initiated.

The other memories I’ve had mostly centered around him bringing other men in to have sex with me while Harry watched, sometimes in the shower, and sometimes not. I’ve had memories of them paying him; it was always a very small amount of money, because Harry didn’t want me to get the idea that I was actually worth anything. He allowed me to see the amount of money, and told me how much it was, so I would know just how little I was worth, and just how bad the sex was that they were getting from me.

Seriously? I didn’t ask for this, damnit!! You’re the one who forced it on me!! If you didn’t like what you were getting, then you should have gone some place where your presence was desired!!

And always, Harry watched. He got his jollies watching. And always, I forgive him.

Sometimes I get tired of forgiving him. It doesn’t seem to do any good. But I have to remember that I’m not forgiving him for him. I’m doing it for me, because that’s what God commands. And I desire above all else to please God. God isn’t Harry. God isn’t my father. God is my Father, and completely OTHER. God is absolutely different from Harry, completely OTHER.

I have to remember that. God is completely OTHER.

An Interesting Yet Painful Paradox

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I just realized an interesting paradox, that I’m able to accept the fact that I’m flawed and imperfect, yet while recognizing that fact, I still expect myself to be perfect.

My pursuit of perfection has led to thousands of incidents of self-abuse over the years, yet if I acknowledge that I’m imperfect ~ as is every single member of the whole human race ~ then such a quest is a fruitless endeavor, and will always be one.

Then why do I continue to pursue it?

I don’t know.

Maybe I can figure it out, with a little Spirit-led assistance.

For one thing, it may be rooted in the cult and its rituals, which seemed to be never-ending. For instance, there was the one that they started doing to me when I was as young as two years old, where they had me in a room with a high ceiling, and a huge bonfire in the middle of it.

There was a metal table suspended from the ceiling by pulleys and a big timeclock on the wall, and there was a naked man tied down to the table. They would ask me questions, questions which had no answer, but they would expect me to come up with the right answer, and when I couldn’t the pulleys would lower the table closer to the bonfire. And the timeclock gave me a certain amount of time before it dinged. Once it dinged it was too late for me to answer that unanswerable question, and the pulleys were triggered to lower the table.

Because the table was metal it was like a frying pan, so as it got closer and closer to the fire the man’s skin began to burn, and the man started screaming in agony. He begged me to make the table stop moving towards the flames, and pleaded with me to answer the questions correctly. But given that the questions were unanswerable, and that I was only two or three years old, that was an impossibility. So all his screaming and pleas did was confuse me and make me panic-stricken and frantic.

That was the kind of perfection that was expected, even demanded, of me throughout my childhood. Nothing I did was ever good enough, no matter what I tried, and if I made a mistake, my mother made like I’d done it on purpose if I didn’t act remorseful enough. I remember spilling a glass of milk at dinner a few times when I was a kid, and if I didn’t act abjectly apologetic, she accused me of doing it on purpose.

Like, who knocks over a glass of milk on purpose, especially if doing so is going to result in a beating and/or getting raped, considering that Harry used rape as punishment for anything and everything.

I’ve wondered if having to feel that kind of abject remorse for a simple mistake is the seed that was the genesis for the self-abuse. It makes sense to me that it was, but even knowing that doesn’t seem to make any difference in being able to stop doing it, and that is extremely frustrating to me. Sometimes I feel desperate in my desire to not do it anymore. Lately I’ve taken to asking God to take me Home ~ that’s Home to Heaven ~ just so I don’t have to go through it anymore.

It’s just so painful, and I hate doing it!! It can’t be pleasing to God! It just can’t!!

The first incident of self-abuse I remember was while I was a student at Ripon College, and it was during my junior year. I was taking pipe-organ lessons (Ripon had a small, two-manual pipe organ), and one day during a practice session that wasn’t going at all well, I got so frustrated that I completely lost it, and I scratched my forehead so badly that I drew blood. I ended up having to find a Kleenex to staunch the blood-flow so it wouldn’t ooze down my face and make a mess. I also ended up ripping the pages of the music, so I had to figure out how to mend them so they were still readable.

The other early incident of self-abuse that I remember was when I was visiting Priscilla and Malcolm in Colorado, and they asked me to macramé a plant hanger for Bernice (Malcolm’s mother). They paid for all the supplies, and everything, but I only had a week to complete it, and somewhere in the middle of it I figured out I’d done a whole series of knots wrong and had to rip out a huge section of work and do it over, so I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to finish by the deadline Priscilla had given me. As a result I scratched my forehead and my arms, making an enormous bloody mess of myself.

They didn’t ask me how I got the scratches on my face, but I’m sure they knew, and I was too embarrassed to mention them.

I was able to get it finished on time, even a few hours early, though I ended up having to stay up all night to do so. I was so sure Bernice wouldn’t like it that I couldn’t be in the same room with her when they gave it to her. I had to hide in the other room. That’s how afraid of her criticism I was.

Fortunately, all my fears were for naught, because she loved it, and it remained hanging in her house until the day she died, several years ago. In fact, from what Katharine says, it’s still there.

So that’s my story, my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, perfectionistic, and painful story. I feel a desperate craving to be free of it. If I could open up my skull, and find the part of my brain that contains the self-abusive perfectionism, I would rip it out so I wouldn’t have to struggle with it anymore.

But I can’t, so I won’t. I guess I’ll have to trust God to do that part.

Rats!

I’m Perverting God’s Word. Moi? But Yes!

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It occurred to me recently that I’m twisting God’s Word. It says in the Book of Hebrews,

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who diligently seek him. ~ Hebrews 11:6.

But I leave half that verse off all the time, because I’m terrified that I’m not pleasing God. This is the Book of Hebrews according to Sarah,

It’s impossible for me to please God no matter hard I diligently seek Him ~ Hebrews 11:6, Sarah’s Word.

That’s a hard truth to accept about myself, but there it is. Something I never want to be guilty of doing is adding to or subtracting from God’s Word! I love the Bible, more than any other book I’ve ever read or known of.

The Bible has some severe things to say about people who pervert God’s Word. Like, if you add to it then God will add all the curses listed therein to your life, and there are a LOT of curses in the the Bible. And if you take any words away from the Bible then God will take your name out of the Lamb’s Book of Life.

REALLY don’t want that to happen! I like being in the Lamb’s Book of Life a LOT!!

Of course my version of Hebrews 11:6 assumes that I have no faith, which would be why God can’t be pleased with me, according to the real version of the verse, as quoted above. Also, I realize that I’m basing that perception of God on the fact that it was forever and always absolutely and completely impossible to please Harry, and it also felt like it was futile to try and please my stepdad as well.

An example of that futility was one time after I had graduated from a program in medical assisting. I got the highest overall score that anyone had ever gotten at that school ~ a 99.25%, and when I told my stepdad about my amazing score, all he could say about it was, “Why didn’t you get 100%?”

I felt SOOO ANGRY when he said that!!

I had worked so hard to get that score, slaving night after night memorizing volumes of material that I didn’t think I’d ever use.

And all he could say was why didn’t I get a 100?!?

DAMN!!

I think he thought he was encouraging me, but he wasn’t. What he said cut me deeply. It made me feel like nothing I did was good enough.

I had to forgive him. I didn’t want to but I had to. It wasn’t for his good, but rather mine, so I did.

This is a hard thing for me. It’s so difficult for me to differentiate between God and my father, to separate them and put them in unrelated categories. I have to detach, disengage, and disentangle God from my father in my mind, will, and emotions so that God no longer comes to mind when I think of my father. So that the only reason my father might come to mind when I think of God is because I want to pray for him.

That’s my goal, and I know it’s doable.

Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment…

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I’ve been thinking about a phrase from James, Chapter Two, “Mercy triumphs over judgment.” ~ James 2:12-13,

So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. ~ ESV.

And I especially like the way the New Living Translation says it, because it explains what’s meant by the phrase, “Mercy triumphs over judgment.” I’ve long thought that mercy and judgment were inextricably intertwined, and the way the New Living Translation phrases it, it seems that I’m understanding it correctly:

There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.James 2:13, NLT.

I found a good illustration of this concept in Matthew 18:23-35, the parable that Jesus told of the unforgiving servant, and the New Living Translation tells it quite well:

Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold ~ along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned ~ to pay the debt. But the man fell down before his master and begged him, “Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.”

Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt. But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. “Be patient with me, and I will pay it,” he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.

When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. Then the king called the man he had forgiven and said, “You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?” Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.

This says to me that for mercy to triumph over judgment, forgiveness must be offered by the wronged party to the person who wronged them. So, while God certainly plays a part in the matter, if we want God to judge us mercifully come judgment day, we must act with mercy towards others in our dealings with them in this life. We must forgive when we are wronged rather than holding a grudge or seeking revenge. Jesus told us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (see Matthew 5:44), and that’s certainly what He did when He forgave those who crucified Him as He was on the cross (see Luke 23:34), which is all the more remarkable considering the agony and excruciating pain He was in at the time.

So Christ is our example, and He’s the best example we have. If I need to know what to do in any situation, all I have to do is figure out what Jesus would do, and if there’s no specific precedent to follow, then follow the path of Love.