Encouraging thoughts on forgiveness and grief

Back in September I published a post called “Here’s an abuse survivor’s plea about nouthetic ‘Biblical’ counseling.” You can see it here.

In that post, the anonymous writer gave some astute words about the demand for forgiveness that’s so common in nouthetic/”admonishing” counseling. She said she was told she needed to forgive the childhood sexual abuse perpetrated on her before she even understood what it was she was forgiving.  

The Lord tells us we should forgive, yes. But in cases of great betrayal, it takes time even to understand what it was that has occurred. 

Continue reading “Encouraging thoughts on forgiveness and grief”

Grandma, can I tell you about my rape? A message to kind Christian grandparents #youtoo

Note: This post was born not because I have any particular grandparents in mind, but simply from the fact that so many young people are speaking to me about their rapes. I wish they could speak to you.

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You love your granddaughter. You may be wondering what’s been wrong with her lately, why she’s having all those physical problems, or why she suddenly seems to be going off the cliff in her bizarre behavior, or why her parents won’t say much to you about her, or why she’s suddenly avoiding you. Continue reading “Grandma, can I tell you about my rape? A message to kind Christian grandparents #youtoo”

Why “moral injury,” like “PTSD” is a term that applies to far more than our soldiers, and why that’s important to all of us

What Have We Done coverI recently finished reading the book What Have We Done: The Moral Injury of Our Longest Wars, by Pulitzer-prize-winning war journalist David Wood (Little, Brown, 2016). When my husband brought it home from the library my interest was piqued because I hoped it might give me insight into why the abusive situations I’ve known about involved what seemed like a disproportionately high percentage of abusers who were military veterans. Continue reading “Why “moral injury,” like “PTSD” is a term that applies to far more than our soldiers, and why that’s important to all of us”

Rethinking the idol factory: challenging the “idol” construct as the explanation for all sin in the lives of Christians

Hindu idol factory

Clay-Ganesh-Idols-1024x562Why does it matter whether or not all sin is described as idolatry? 

It has surprised me, as I’ve researched it, how many Christians simply assume that all Christians churn out idols. To think that everyone who worships Jesus Christ is all the time actually worshiping something else is disturbing at its core.

As I studied the topic, I saw this quotation again and again from John Calvin: “Man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols.” (Even though the writers who quoted him Continue reading “Rethinking the idol factory: challenging the “idol” construct as the explanation for all sin in the lives of Christians”

In the messy middle of the story

At the beginning of the book of Ruth, Naomi was bitter. No doubt about it. She said she was bitter. She changed her name to “Bitter.” (That’s what “Mara” means.) Preachers and writers often point to her as an example of sinful bitterness.

When many preachers and writers talk about Naomi they say that she—and you—should instead be like Joseph in the book of Genesis. After he was betrayed by his brothers, he said, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.”

But there are a couple of problems with this way of thinking. For one thing, when we look at the word bitter elsewhere in the Bible, we can see that the majority of the time, it’s talking about grief.  Naomi was grieving. (Untwisting Scriptures talks about what grief really is and how a lot of people don’t understand it and don’t want to acknowledge it.)
naomi-in-the-middle

And there’s another important point we should observe about Naomi in contrast to Joseph. Continue reading “In the messy middle of the story”

Bitterness in the Bible? It’s not what you thought it was

This post is Part Three of a larger series on the Biblical concept of bitterness. Parts One and Two were published earlier this month, covering the “root of bitterness” in Hebrews and the “gall of bitterness” in Acts.

Update October 2016: The topic of bitterness is addressed at length in the new book Untwisting Scriptures that were used to tie you up, gag you, and tangle your mind, which you can read more about here.

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griefFar and away the most common use for the Biblical words translated “bitterness” Continue reading “Bitterness in the Bible? It’s not what you thought it was”