I finally went to the dentist today. I had been putting it off for a long time. Most of us are like that. When we know that something is going to be painful, we refuse to act until a stronger pain forces us to act. Unfortunately, that is the case with spiritual things as well. Much that God asks us to do goes against all of our natural instincts, and so we put off doing them.
When it comes to human relationships, we all have illusions about an idyllic relationship where everything is soft and warm and cuddly. We remember some soft warm cuddlies from our infancy, and we keep trying to get back to them, whether it is with our parents, our spouses, our lovers, or our dearest friends. And certainly there are some good times in all of these relationships. But it seems like God has something against them, because at the same time that he asks us to love our enemies, he calls on us to "hate" those who are closest to us... to forego the cuddlies that those relationships represent. Why is that?
The story of God asking Abraham to sacrifice his only son - the son whom God himself had promised to Abraham - is so shocking that most Christians would rather not even think about it. God had condemned pagan religions for teaching people to literally sacrifice their children to false gods, and yet he himself was asking Abraham to do much the same thing. I believe that what God was really aiming at was not the destruction of Isaac, but rather a severing of the false illusions that Abraham must have had about Isaac.
Sometimes we must be cruel to be kind (to ourselves as well as to others), and while there is an emotional dependency on anyone, you cannot really love that person. Instead, you will smother the person, in an effort to satisfy your own need for soft warm cuddlies in return.
What most people mistake for love is just a selfish need to be loved. When they cease to get what they want out of such a relationship, they often dump the other person or turn on them in anger. But mature love doesn't work like that. Mature love gives without demanding cuddlies in return.
It is difficult to consciously choose to forego the cuddlies. But God often engineers things so that sooner or later the cuddlies will disappear of their own accord. At one time or another, our loved ones will disappoint us and hurt us. And when that happens is when we find out what our so-called love is made of. Do we remain faithful, or do we leave?
Those whom we love most we also have the most power to hurt. And they have the same power to hurt us. When some have been hurt, they have fallen away, whether it be from a marriage, or from some other lesser fellowship, suggesting that they may have been in the relationship more for the cuddlies... for what they could get out of it. Others have stayed faithful, and because of it, they have grown into a deeper relationship with those whom they loved.
As a leader, I would love to be popular, to be a "nice guy". But I rarely have the opportunity to do that. Some of my gruffness is a result of impatience and ignorance, I know. I am sorry about that. But at least a bit of my gruffness (and the gruffness of almost any human leader) may come as the result of attempts to be good leaders, accountable to a higher Authority that you. As a Christian leader, I believe that I have a responsibility to wield the sword of truth with unflinching accuracy, often letting the chips fall where they lie. In order to speak the truth, I am forced to leave most of the cuddlies for someone else to enjoy. Most of my cuddlies, and the cuddlies of those who follow me, must come from Jesus himself. Surely this is true of other leaders as well.
I could well imagine that some of the strongest individuals in the fellowship that I lead are people who don't particularly like me. They just "endure" me because they have a higher reason for being here.
Look at Jesus himself, the perfect leader. His closest followers were asked if they would leave him when so many others were turning away, and the best that Peter could say was, "To whom would we go? You alone have the words of eternal life." In other words, if Peter had been given another option, he probably would have taken it.
Peter wasn't saying, "Oh, we definitely agree with what you have just said, and we're behind you all the way. See, Jesus had just said some things that seemed totally off the wall (i.e. about eating his flesh and drinking his blood). But he had said so many other things that made perfect sense, that Peter just had to take the bad (or that which appeared to be bad at the time) along with the good, or else choose to fall away from God altogether by leaving Jesus.
With any human leader, you get even more bad with the good! However, if every one of our personal relationships broke down and not a one of us could stop from being repulsed by all the others in our community, the truth would still be the truth, and we would still need to stay together because of our love for the truth, if for no other reason. And if God could build an army of people with such pure motives, don't you think he would actually choose to destroy our interpersonal relationships in order to do it?
So let us each learn to hold lightly to the cuddlies and grasp strongly for the truth. In doing that we may find the eternal cuddly from the One who alone can satisfy for eternity.
Dave McKay, and his wife Cherry, are co-founders of a string of Christian communities. You can read more of his articles on the community's website: http://www.jesuschristians.com
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Memories Didnt Happen
Have you ever experienced a traumatic event? I'm sure the answer to that question is an unequivocal yes as it appears to be embedded in the nature of the reality that we exist in.So having said that, if I ask you to focus on a particular memory of a traumatic event that you may have experienced, I think you will, without a doubt say that "it happened".
Can People Really Change?
MOST PEOPLE NEVER REALLY CHANGESad, but true.Some people never even try.
Thou Shalt Not Be Shallow
I have sent out hundreds of press releases for my new book entitled Hook Line and Sinker or What Has Your Church Been Teaching You, published by Publish America of Baltimore MD. It has been a great learning experience for me.
When my dad was nearing the end of his life he began searching his heart to see if there was anything left undone - some unconfessed sin, a misdeed, anything at all he needed to make right before he faced God. He constantly prayed that the Holy Spirit would bring to his remembrance anything he needed to make right with his fellowman.
Whenever we have the opportunity to make human assessments, the assessments we make will always betray our doctrine of man. We can always glean from what one person has to say about another, their doctrine or philosophy concerning man in general.
Going Where Youve Never Gone Before
One of the first issues people on the spiritual path have to address is a doctrinal one: Is it wrong to ask questions that I've never asked before? Is asking questions about the truth we've been taught "sinful?" Your answer can have a dramatic effect on your ability to explore who you are and what you believe in without guilt!If anyone has ever told you that the path to spiritual self-awareness (defined in it's simplest terms as "knowing who you are and what you believe in, and letting those beliefs be the driving force in your life") is an easy one, they were being less than honest!Finding your own truth in these times of confusion and change is no small undertaking, and it isn't surprising that many people begin the journey full of hope and enthusiasm, but - as each step becomes even more difficult because it requires even more honestly with yourself and with others - they begin to lose courage. They find a comfortable plateau - a point in their lives where things are better than they used to be - and they decide that staying where they are might not be such a bad option.
Are You Following Your Knows Or Your I Dont Knows?
We have all heard the phrase, "follow your nose". This means to keep your direction straight and you will find the way you are going.
The Power Of Prayer - Gush Katif Needs You Now
You can't help but feel a sense of electricity in the air. History is unfolding, make that prophecy is being fulfilled, and will continue to be fulfilled daily from now until the coming of the Lord.
My Experience with Spiritual Healing
Healing is a special gift that any human being can have. It is fortunate that we are provided with the opportunity to acknowledge and develop it.
Making Our Self Real
"Self-Actualization" is the process of making our self "actual." Our "real self" is our inner being, and it is only when we have integrated our inner truth into our external personality that we can - actually - express who we are and what we believe in so consistently that it becomes our "visible truth.
Home of God
The first hymn of Isha Upanishad says - whatever living beings inhabit the world here, God resides in all of them; enjoy what is given by Him and don't seek other's wealth.All religious people believe in God, who resides in heaven.
Show Of Hands
The human body is surely a miracle of God's creation. Each member has its unique function with none quite as active as the hands.
Just Learning To Cope
I have been thinking about this all night. I am realizing that there are more and more people dealing with anxiety.
Past Life: Wanting to Know Who I was in My Past Life?
Before we tread into the domain of Past Life..
Christening and Baptism Favor Ideas
Baptism and christening ceremonies are an important event that signifies the start of a child's spiritual life. As a common courtesy to guests who attend these ceremonies, the parents of the child or the host of the event often obtain party favors as a gift.
Did You Know Everything In Your Dream Is About YOU?
Carl Jung, 20th century psycho analyst and dream researcher, said: "A dream is a theatre in which the dreamer is the scene, the player, the prompter, the producer, the author, the public and the critic."Dreams are like a play with you taking the part of all the characters and the scenery.
Windows of the Soul
People engaged in kissing experience information and energy transfer, although we usually do it for the 'buzz' and don't get into the science or mystique of it. A judgement is made and processed by the Thalami and brain.
From Superstition to Clashing Rocks
"Our mind is capable of passing beyond the dividing line we have drawn for it. Beyond the pairs of opposites of which the world consists, new insights begin.
What Is Your Relationship To Time?
Have you ever thought about how your orientation to time profoundly affects the way you are in the world? Each culture has its own unique way of relating to the concept of "time". Some cultures perceive time as a room that is lived in.
I Can Do All Things Through Christ Jesus Who Gives Me Strength
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