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"Many times they afflicted me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me" (Ps 129:2).
Oh good, I have your attention! (Wink.) If you're joining me for the first time, or you've never read my BIO, you should know I have three (3!) sons.
Mothers with multiple sons with no daughter(s) are unique creatures in Christ. 1) While we've most likely viewed, enjoyed, and purchased the latest and greatest chick flick, it's highly likely that we are also in possession of every action man-movie and ridiculous boy-humor movie known to man-kind AND like good Christian girls, we've learned to love them unconditionally. And 2) Unless there's blood, fire, or vomit, we don't get too excited over bumps, bruises, and bone breaks.
Can I get an amen?
The idea for today's post came from the action movie: Edge of Tomorrow: Live. Die. Repeat.
Here's a partial synopsis:
The film takes place in the near future, where an alien race has invaded Earth and defeated the world's military units. It follows Major William Cage (Tom Cruise), a public relations officer inexperienced in combat, who is deployed into a combat mission against the aliens. Though Cage is killed in minutes, he finds himself starting over in a time loop, repeating the same mission and being killed. Each time Cage learns to fight the aliens better, and he teams up with Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski (Emily blunt) to defeat them. (www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edge_of_Tomorrow_(film)
I loved this movie.
There's a scene early on where Master Sergeant Farell (Bill Paxton) is running alongside his troop and initiates the following call and response:
Sergeant Farell: What are you? Sound off!
Troop: I'm a warrior!
Sergeant Farell: And what do warriors do?
Sergeant Farell: What do ya gotta do?
Sergeant Farell: What are you gonna do?
The take away for me in this scene is that according to 2 Timothy 2:2, I am a soldier of Jesus Christ. What am I called to kill?
The truth. When we know it, it sets us free. (John 8:32.)
Let's say a woman discovers that her husband views pornography. She's devastated and angry. To make matters worse, he minimizes his behavior. Our friend is so angry she tearfully tells a friend, "I wanna kill him!"
Oddly enough she's not too far off the mark. The desire to kill is not in and of itself sinful. Mankind was created with the ability to have this intense emotion. The million dollar question isn't whether or not we should have it. It's who's got control of it. The answer to this question determines the outcome--a mindset that will set a good Christian soldier free.
If the enemy has control over it: Our friend will hate until sadly, that hate defines her. And nothing kills an opportunity for healthy relationships like a heart full of hate.
But what if she were to yield this intense desire to Christ, rather than make fervent attempts to pray it away? How might the desire to kill be divinely fulfilled? By design, it will not be denied.
Her freedom begins with a confession: Lord, I'm so heart broken, I feel like killing him! (In Genesis 27 Esau consoles himself with the thought of killing Jacob; see, she's not the only one.)
To be followed by a question: What lies--verbal or implied--has the enemy fed me to keep me in bondage?
What are some of the lies the enemy might want her to believe?
- She's not good enough.
- Body too big--boobs too small.
- Something she lacks justifies her husband's deceit.
Perhaps you can add to this list. Darkness will always attack personal worth. If this woman can be manipulated into feeling small and insignificant, she will ultimately accept responsibility for the sin that broke her heart, leaving the heart-breaker above reproach and unaccountable.
See the bondage? This hinders healing in two hearts, not just one.
Hand in hand with Jesus, healing requires us to identify the lies we've internalized and replace them with the whole truth: What does God have to say to her about her AND her husband? Her heart? Her circumstances? Her marriage? And does it reconcile with the written word? Circumstances that include long-term deceit often require professional counseling by a psychologist.
Healing takes time. And time takes time. There is always grace for a broken and contrite heart. But please consider: It is not the character of God to point an accusatory finger at a woman who's heart is in pieces and without a single visable sign of repentance in the heart-breaker. God is Love and Love is loving.
What if her husband gives an honest confession with a willingness to do what it takes to heal?
It is my considered opinion that all manner of emotional healing from deceit/betrayal is possible through Christ when there is a sincere desire to confess and repent. After all, the harm he caused is manifest evidence that he, too, believed a lie.
So, who are you? Sound off!
A good soldier in Jesus Christ! (2 Timothy 2:2.)
What must you do?
Endure hardship because "no one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life!"
How are you gonna do it?
Separate the truth from the false.
"Let no one deceive you in any way" (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
What do you gotta do?
Replace every lie with the truth!
"When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him" (Isaiah 59 : 17).
The translation for standard, by the way, is truth. We cannot expect to bring half-truths to Christ and expect to made whole.
You are not alone,
Published on Friday, October 24, 2014 @ 12:46 PM CDT
The ex-hubs led me to believe I was to blame for the tension that ultimately choked the life out of our marriage.
"All we did was argue, and I didn't like how you spoke to me."
To this day these are the staple retorts for why he "had to leave." For the longest time when he'd say this it was like taking a bullet. I knew in my heart that I was for him and for our family and for our marriage. I had a journal chalked with prayers for him. Gratitude lists recorded on the days he made life so much harder than I knew it had to be. But still, I internalized the blame. I allowed his harmful actions to become secondary to my (as it turns out--very normal) re-actions to long-term deceit and betrayal.
Consider the phrase: Cause and effect. When the "cause" can convince the "effect" it's to blame, then there is no hope of change or healing or anything remotely healthy. There is no hope because this dynamic lacks empathy, honesty, and accountability. It lacks . . . love.
zero empathy + zero honesty + zero accountability = multiple arguments (Where is the symbol for infinity when you need it?)
Now for the quote God used to wake me from this nightmare:
"Controllers, abusers, and manipulative people don't question themselves. They don't ask themselves if the problem is them. They always say the problem is someone else."
This is why Ephesians 5:6 cautions "do not be deceived with empty words."
Another eye opener for me is 2 Peter 2: 19b: "for by whom a person is overcome, by him he is also brought into bondage."
What lies, verbal or implied, have you internalized as truth? Girl, if you've been devalued and deceived and you know in your heart you loved with all sincerity, lift your chin toward heaven today and ask God for the truth. Open your beautiful eyes to beautiful YOU.
"Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light."
(Eph. 5:14 NKJV)
You are not alone,
Published on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 @ 8:45 AM CDT