What Is It?

Every time I feel the chains of bondage wrap around my struggling heart, I fight equally as hard against the urge to sadistically chuckle and mutter in Heaven’s direction, “This sin isn’t my fault. Fix it yourself, Jehovah. If you can… I dare you.”

We live in a fallen world. Because of that, there are multiple sins that are results of something done to us. One phrase heartbreakingly comes to mind: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have encountered multiple loved ones with PTSD who hopelessly reminisce about actions which go against the Word of God, but they feel like they “have to” do them. They can’t remember what survival without the action in question looks like.

Men and women alike who have been sexually assaulted or abused cringe when well-intentioned people speak boldly against sexual acts as sins when the victim has a brain programmed to think those acts are needed for physical survival. 

So, the question gets posed: Is it sin? When a person’s outburst of anger is because of a flashback they could not control… Is it sin? 

There are 2 types of people reading this: 

1) Someone who has no idea what I’m talking about… sin has almost always been circumstancial rather than positional. Praise God for that. I can only imagine the rest of this post won’t make sense.  

2) Someone who knows all too well what I mean and you’ve made a game out of hiding your struggle because good sane Christians don’t have problems or dilemmas like this. 

If you come from that second group hear me say first and foremost I’m so sorry for the pain you’ve suffered. I’m so sorry you’ve been told openly fighting against yourself for the glory of God should be easy… or atleast get easier over time. I’m so sorry if you’ve been told you’re just weak and should give up trying to reach sanctification. All of those things are well-veiled half truths.

Hear this warning come from someone who has lost almost everything by coming from the position of thinking my actions aren’t my fault. “Not my circus, not my monkey” has entered my “forgive me, Lord” prayers on more than one occasion. I can look back on my past and see the exact moment when my brain changed from human being to threatened victim… so blame shifting is d**** easy.

You may be able to blame-shift. You may be able to call yourself a survivor only when you do certain things that make other Christians cringe. When that happens, you are in danger of secretly breeding a level of pride that shuts the door of your heart off from anyone else getting in to possibly help you heal. That pride can get so thick you stop hearing God simply because you’re wallowing in your own self-pity and self-righteousness. 

The “prayer” I mentioned earlier? When I’m honest with myself, my heart is actually saying this: “You may be the Creator of the Universe, but I’m the one person you can’t touch and who can’t be affected by your love, redemption and mercy. I only need you for the attributes I can comprehend. You’re too weak to love me into changing.”

Be careful of hiding your pride behind the pain of your past. You may not see the root of your sin simply because it’s easiest to focus on your pain. My friend, that is the Enemy’s greatest ploy. 

Let God fight your battles, even if it’s not the battle you expected.

Talking at Him

“You’re pretty. I haven’t talked to Amy in a long time.” I made eye contact with the announcer, assuming he was just another loud-mouthed, phone-using customer. One look at him and I knew he was a peer who had high functioning mental disorders. 

He didn’t have a cellphone. He was talking to me, apparently.  Oh Jesus… help me. Use me if you want. What does this dude actual need? I silently prayed. Upon acknowledging the fact that I saw him, the man repeated the same precious words.

“You’re pretty. I haven’t talked to Amy in a long time.”

I did the only thing I could. I smiled and replied, “Okay. Hi, Bud.” 

Usually, that opens major doors to long conversations. Usually, when I intentionally open myself up to those moments, I get asked questions everyone else would consider brash. Ya married? You have kids? You want kids? Do you like me? Do you think I’d be good for you?… I was steeling my pathetically impatient heart for all of it. The reality was, I had time to kill… being peppered with innocent questions wasn’t going to destroy me.

Instead, my not-so-quiet observer gaped at me, finally nodded his head, blinked twice and walked off. The end. I supressed a chuckle as I wondered what anxieties I had added to by opening the way for a conversation. My potential special friend never found out what talking to me was like, though.

I wonder how many times we do that to Jesus. We observe his presence, get curious and, instead of saying hi, we bring up the one thing we think will tell our story for us:

“I’m addicted to food.”

“I’m a drug addict.”

“I don’t love my spouse.”

“I’m not being honest with my money.”

Whatever the line is, we shout it at Jesus, rather than letting Him discuss it with us. Somehow, we assume that since the rest of the world identifies us by our weaknesses and reject us… So will Jesus. So, just to get it out of the way, Lord, I know you appear to be loving, but I’m disabled, I have a frustratingly quirky personality and I’m terrified of rejection……

Instead, He smiles, dips His head a bit and says, “Hi… Wanna talk?”

He does the one thing that has become incredibly rare. He sees the story that made up the person and works with it, rather than runs from it. 

The question is, do we give Him the chance to even begin?