Tag Archives: guilt

No, I won’t turn to my neighbor and say “Jesus Loves You.”

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I have a little rebellious streak in me.  It’s somewhat related to a pet peeve of mine.  When I’m in church and the Pastor tells us all to do something as a group, I refuse to do it.  Even if he says, “turn to your neighbor and say ‘Jesus loves you’.”  I won’t do it.  Would my neighbor really believe that Jesus loved him just because the pastor told us all to say it? Or would my neighbor think we were a bunch of brain washed, Kool-ade drinkers if I did that?  Who knows, but it makes me feel creepy, so I don’t do it.

I hate manipulation.  It might be just a slight form of social group behavior, but it feels like manipulation to me.  We’re already in danger of actualizing that accusation in some of our churches, so I don’t think it’s healthy to perpetuate that stereotype with more mandated compliance from the pulpit.  Not only that, but it feels disingenuous.  It feels like a pointless time filler, a feel-good warm fuzzy, a charade of Unity.  I don’t know why Pastors do that.

I hate group participation.  This is another thing that rubs my fur the wrong way.  Maybe it’s just because I’m an American and I was raised in a culture of individualism, but I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum.  I don’t raise my hands with the group.  I don’t give Jesus a clap offering… unless I want to.  I don’t lift my Bible and recite a pledge before the sermon (I guess that’s kind of popular now).  I don’t like any of that, so I get a little prickly when I’m supposed to turn to my neighbor and repeat some pithy, pasty phrase.  I don’t repeat.  I look at my neighbor and roll my eyes.

I hate repeating.  If a pastor says, “repeat after me” you can bet that I just won’t.  I don’t recall Jesus ever saying, “Repeat after me, ‘Blessed are the compliant ones, for they shall find favor with God.'”  So I don’t repeat, I don’t copy, I don’t chime in, I don’t Heil Hitler.  NO to all of that.

So last week a friend posted something on his Facebook page that made me say, YES!  Now that’s what I’m talking about.  He said:

According to various Facebook posts and emails, I must surmise: I am in spiritual rebellion; I don’t love God; I don’t serve Christ; I don’t care about others. I could prove otherwise by clicking on “forward” or “share” each time I see, “If you love God you’ll forward/share this.”

Apparently I’m in that same sinful state of rebellion because I don’t pass along email prophecies, dooms day predictions, social gospel guilt trips, or anything with the above mentioned condemning tag lines.  Those kinds of stupid things just make us Christians look condemning, immature and shallow.  Click LIKE if you agree with me.  Otherwise you’re never, ever, ever going to be my friend ever again.  “Jesus loves you!”

How to avoid being robbed- part 1

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“I feel so guilty that I’m here enjoying this beautiful day at the beach and back home, I know my family is going through a hard time.”

The student who said that during our team devotions was affirmed in his guilt by several others who nodded their heads in agreement and murmured parallel emotions.  It kind of made me mad.  Right in front of my eyes I was seeing the subtle theft joy by our Enemy.  These kids had worked for a week here in Costa Rica and there were two more weeks of ministry ahead of us.  Today was our only day at the beach to relax.  They may not have recognized their need for it, but my husband and I have been hosting teams for years and we know that not only did they need a day of rest, but we did too.  We were running on empty.  Our Enemy would like nothing better than to burn us out and to rob us of our joy.

God is the Lover of our Souls.  He fills this world with wonder and beauty for us to enjoy.  It’s a gift.  And rest is a gift too.  He calls us to come away with him to a quiet place where he will give us rest and refresh our weary souls.  Not only that, God uses the beauty of nature to draw us to him and to show us what a wonderful God he is.

We should never, ever feel guilty about enjoying nature or needing rest.

I think about God’s wooing of my soul in this way.  He is like a Lover who brings a special gift to the woman of his desires.  God made her, so he knows what she likes.  He knows what she needs.  He knows exactly what will make her happy.  Imagine that when the Lover brings the Woman the gift, she felt GUILTY about receiving it.  That was not his intention at all!  He wanted her to feel loved and to feel special and to feel cared for! 

But her Great Enemy has whispered in her ear again- just like he did in the Garden of Eden– and he has told her God doesn’t really love you, he wants you to be “suffering for Jesus.”  You have to earn good things like this and you haven’t worked hard enough to deserve this kind of joy.  You can’t fully enjoy this and still be a good Christian.  What will people back home say?

Our Enemy has a mission, he comes to Steal, Kill and Destroy us.  He hates that God loves us.  He hates that God gives us good gifts, and if he can, he’ll steal your gifts right out of your hands.  Don’t listen to his subtle lies.  Don’t let him rob you of your joy.

Tomorrow’s blog talks about how to prevent Satan from robbing you of your joy, part 2.