Dear Christian, find your life in Jesus Christ

addressing the false teaching of “daily dying to self,” part 4

Part 1 (link) introduces how detrimental this concept can be in the context of an abusive marriage, and gives my husband Tim a platform to speak. Part 2 (link) addresses Scriptures such as “I die daily,” “deny yourself,” and “take up your cross.” Part 3 (link) addresses the Scriptures that talk about “mortification” and spiritual “dying.”

 The Christian life is about finding “rest from works” in the spiritual realm

Jesus promised that those that came to Him would find rest for their weary souls. He accomplished the work in the spiritual realm, so that we wouldn’t have to. Our part is to trust Him in His finished work. But . . . 

In contrast, the “daily dying to self” teaching is a work (in opposition to faith) that Christians are told they’re supposed to accomplish in the spiritual realm, in order to further our life in Christ.

But it’s impossible. Have you observed that it’s impossible in your own experience? Have you felt Continue reading

Dear Christian: stop trying to die

addressing the false teaching of “daily dying to self,” part 2

You can read Part 1 here. 

I die dailyPart 1 was an introduction to the topic of “daily dying to self,” partly to respond to a blog post, plus I had the privilege of providing a platform for my excellent husband.

But Part 2 will begin looking at the Scriptures that don’t teach “daily dying to self.” First off . . . Continue reading

Dear Christian, your marriage is not supposed to kill you

addressing the false teaching of “daily dying to self,” part 1
Your marriage is not supposed to kill you.

by Rebecca Davis

A couple of months ago blogger Darrell Harrison posted this blog article (link), which told us our marriages are supposed to kill us.  Continue reading

Pronoun Trouble in Romans 2 that can keep the oppressed in a place of bondage

Not long ago I received a request from a reader to help her understand the first verse of Romans 2 as it might apply to praying for God’s judgment against one’s wicked abuser.

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 

She told me that because of this Scripture in particular, someone she knew had refrained from naming her abuser’s actions as wicked, and had thus continued for a long time to be in a dangerous relationship.

So here is a modified version of my reply. Continue reading

Righteous anger or sinful? A response to the Women’s Study Bible

Last Friday morning I wrote and posted a response (link) to Michael Pearl’s blog post in which he answered the questions of a woman who, with her children, was living with an abusive husband (link).

The title of my post, “Dear Michael Pearl, this is what righteous anger looks like seemed self-evident. This is because, as it so happened, the previous morning someone else had written to ask me a question that in God’s providence prepared me for Friday morning.

She asked for my thoughts on a short lesson about anger from the Thomas Nelson Women’s Study Bible (WSB), edited by Dorothy Kelley Patterson and Rhonda Kelley. (There appear to be dozens of editions of this Bible available, but I’m linking to one of the most recent ones.)

Here is the lesson, found at Ecclesiastes 7:9. (in this edition it’s on page 982.)  Continue reading

Maybe your bitterness isn’t really sinful: a video interview

 
It sounds radical, doesn’t it? And as a solid Christian, why would I want to convince anyone that something we’ve always thought of as “sinful” isn’t really sinful?
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To be clear, I’m extremely opposed to sin! But I believe many in the church of Jesus Christ can end up putting “heavy burdens and grievous to be borne” on the shoulders of those who are already being oppressed, and I want to do my part to lift those burdens through the love and power of our Lord Jesus. Sometimes one of the first steps can be lifting that burden of false guilt.
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As one commenter said in regard to the video below, “At first I was like, nah, but then I thought to persist and listen to what you had to say, and I’m so thankful that I did. Thank you for sharing this. It was really helpful. I truly appreciate it.”
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Another commenter said, “This is amazing. I’m weeping.”
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There’s a kind of bitterness that is sinful. And for sure, for sure, it’s really bad! But if you study every time the word “bitter”—or any of its associated words—is used in the Bible (the way I did), you’ll find there’s a whole lot more to discover about bitterness than just those few passages—eight, to be specific—that are sometimes used to tie people up, gag them, and tangle their minds.
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This interview with Natalie Klewja of Visionary Survivor explains more, with topics based on much more information available in the book Untwisting Scriptures. (If you want to read the RealTime comments and questions that others have left on the video—and leave your own—you can right-click on the video to get the link to go to the original site.)

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When is bitterness sinful and in need of rebuke? When is it not sinful and in need of care? I hope these truths helps you on your quest toward full freedom and joy in Jesus Christ!

A video interview on the topic of “yielding rights”

This morning at 11:00 EDT I was interviewed by Natalie Herbranson Klejwa of Visionary Survivor, (aka Emotional Abuse Survivor), in the topic of “rights” in the life of a Christian and whether or not a Christian should “yield rights,” with totally Christian totally freeing teachings supported by Scripture. (The actual real interview starts 5 minutes in.)

 

Sadly, my thoughts weren’t as organized in the interview as I would have liked for them to be (“oh, I just thought of one more thing!”), but you can read about the totally Christian perspective on your rights in a more organized fashion Continue reading

The other kind of hypocrisy

This post is being simultaneously published at the website of Leslie Vernick.

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I’ve been urged to watch 13 Reasons Why to see the 13 reasons [why] a friend hates it so much. (Though I’ve read and heard enough about it to understand it, so far I’ve been able to get through only the first episode). The bullying she personally experienced at her Christian school, she said, was pretty much everything that happened in this Netflix series, and more.

One of the most important things she described to me about her school was the dynamic of bullying. Some students there were genuinely nice people, but they lived in such an environment of fear that whenever the main bullies were around, they remained silent or even participated in the bullying if necessary, so they wouldn’t become a target. (You may wonder why no one tried to alert teachers or administrators about this massive problem, but someone did and it wasn’t believed, but that’s beyond the scope of this blog post.)

So while I was pondering the dynamics of a bullying school environment that went stratospherically beyond anything I had experienced in my own high school days of mild bullying, we heard a sermon on Galatians 2.

“Well, what do you know,” says I to myself, “there it is again!”

The story goes that the apostle Peter and the other Jewish Christians were actually welcoming the Gentile Christians and even eating with them (a truly big deal in those days) . . . until the bullies came.

The bullies weren’t swaggering studs or prima donna divas; they were Continue reading

Dear sister I read about on the CBCMoscow blog post

I don’t know you, but I’d like to reply to the letter you wrote asking for counsel, which was published on this blog post, with a troubling reply. Here is your letter:

Dear Pastor,    

You’ll never believe the terrible state of my marriage. I was raised in a Christian family. My father and mother never fought. I wasn’t rebellious as a teen and my husband and I went through all the “proper” courtship process before getting married. Now, five years later, everything has fallen apart.    

Roy, my husband, who was so loving and kind in the beginning has become rude, surly, and angry all the time. The good thing is that he doesn’t hit me or the children (one boy and two girls), but he gets really quiet and spends a lot of time in the basement. Every once in a while, he does blow up and wowser, what a blow-up. He curses, yells, calls us all kinds of names, and throws things.   


We never know when he’s going to blow and what is going to cause it. We’re all walking on egg shells all the time.   

Can you fix him? Can you help us?   

Hurt & Confused    

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Here is my reply:

First, I want to tell you that I get being hurt and confused. I’ve never been in your situation, but because of many friends of mine that I’ve listened to at length, I’ve tried to imagine what it must be like to think you were getting a loving and kind husband, but then realize he’s a completely different person, a scary person, and you don’t even know who he is. Hurt and confusion are appropriate responses.

You may have counselors giving you unhelpful advice along the lines of “What were you expecting, a bed of roses?” But Continue reading

“Conscience” in the Bible: insight into abusers and their targets

Scout’s honor, I didn’t start out to make this a blog post about Mark Driscoll. I was thinking about how those with hardened/polluted/jettisoned/seared consciences take advantage of those with sensitive/weak consciences, and I wanted to study conscience in the Bible to understand it all better, and then post about what I had learned.

So I did the Bible study, learned a lot, and then wanted to see what other people were saying about the conscience. In the middle of all that, another former member of Mars Hill Church (which had imploded after the many scandals of the Driscoll debacle) decided to speak publicly about the spiritual abuse she and others endured, and in that interview she mentioned something significant about the conscience (which I’ll get to later).

Mark Driscoll Uncle Sam wants you

Mark Driscoll admonishing his listeners.

That led me down a very intriguing trail, which I have to say, made a study of the conscience a whole lot more compelling. Continue reading