After seeing all that’s happened in the past year, we can honestly say this: Hate seems to be alive and well in our world.
For all the progress we have made as a society in so many areas, hate has not been eradicated. In some ways, it’s still growing – in our culture, in our politics, in our lives, and even in our churches.
And, this is problem. Because, there is almost nothing more antithetical to Christianity than hate.
More and more, in the political process, in conversations, and even across pews, hate is pouring forth. And, it’s no longer enough to simply “call out” hate as wrong – we definitely need to do that – but, we also need to change this reality.
As Christians, we need to be partnering with the Spirit to rid our world of hate. Because, hate is toxic, it is infectious, and it spreads. Hate is insidious on the left and the right, and it is a problem.
So, what do we do? How do we rid our world of hate?
Well, the answer is to love those who hate. But, that is a real challenge. Because, loving hateful people is just plain hard.
Recently, I read something by James A. Baldwin that I believe is both true and helpful. He writes,
“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hate so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”
I think this is insightful, true, and also helpful.
As Christians, we are called to love others. We are called to make the world a better place. But, in a world of shouting, anger, and hate, it can be hard to love others.
What Baldwin is getting at is that often hate gets attached to pain. And, perhaps that’s where we need to focus. To not just focus in on changing people’s hate, but also on the pain underneath the hate. To hear, listen, care, and, yes, at times even challenge the pain, if necessary.
We need to see others not just as their hate, but rather as a people who might have pain as well.
This has been helpful for me. Because, now when I hear a hate-filled speech, I also hear pain attached to lost jobs, fear-filled futures, and uncertainty and lies. Of course, this pain never excuses the hate, but it does help me to love those who hate.
It also helps me to be part of changing the hate around me, as well as the hate that is within me.
So, I write all this because I think in our world full of sound bytes, talking points, yelling, name calling, and hate-filled speeches, we can find a better way. It begins by healing deep pain, not just seeking to stop hate. Maybe one way to live in this world of hate is to focus on its healing.
Because, hate will truly be stopped when healing happens.
Because, they are awful, wrong, and even evil things, but, they are also the things out of which meaning, beauty, and strength can grow.
This is the strangeness of death, suffering, and difficulty. It’s both terribly awful, and also the place of some of the deepest transformation I’ve ever seen.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross is one of the best known writers on the subject of death, suffering, and grief. In fact, she was the one who made known the “Five Stages of Grief.” She writes this…
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
I love that last line: “Beautiful people do not just happen.”
So often, beautiful people, with strength, sensitivity, and compassion, have gone through the crucible of suffering. They have faced hurt, suffering, and evil, and have not let it turn them bitter, but rather let it turn them into someone better.
And, to say this isn’t to make light of the suffering people face. Instead, it’s to realize that suffering doesn’t have the last word.
Because, what Kubler-Ross is getting at is something that is actually biblical. We read this in Romans 8:28…
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God.”
We should be clear with something: The text does not say everything we go through is good. Some things are evil. Some things are hellish. Some things are so full or darkness and difficulty that we yearn to be free.
What this verse is promising is that evil, suffering, and even death do not get the last word. That God works all the evil we go through toward good. That even the worst parts of our lives don’t get the final say.
That, in the words of Kubler-Ross, beautiful people don’t just happen, but rather they are made.
I saw this especially with my dad.
He suffered in pain with cancer for years and years. I saw him struggle, and walked with him as his health slid and pain increased. My dad always said that cancer had made him a better pastor, but was quick to add that he would have been fine remaining a mediocre pastor without the cancer.
So, death and suffering are wrong. They are to be fought against. And, they are an enemy. But, as Paul says, they also don’t get the last word.
Because, out of the ashes of death, suffering, and hurt, goodness can grow. In the end, grace, life, and God get the last word, not the difficulties we face. The question is…
Will we trust in a God who is working things toward good, even in the midst of the darkness of our lives?
Today’s blog post is a little honest or vulnerable for me to write, but I think it’s important. I want to let you in on where I struggle the most…
I struggle with a deep desire to be perfect, to succeed and be good.
And, that doesn’t sound that bad on the surface. It makes me driven, it makes me get things done, it makes me be a better dad and husband in many ways. It means that I don’t tend to drop things, and I will push things forward. It means you can count on me.
It also means I carry a brutal weight around, all the time.
Because, I can’t be perfect and the truth is (while it’s awkward to say), sometimes my desire to be perfect is greater than my desire for God. This is where this becomes downright dangerous, because all of sudden what matters more is my expectations, rather than God’s. What matters most then is moving things ahead, rather then sitting with God. What matters most is perception of perfection, rather than the real, honest, messiness of life. And, what this leads to at its most base level in my life is this…
I keep a scorecard of success and losses.
While you may not personally be driven to be perfect (that may not be your struggle), what I think you can relate to is this idea of keeping score. Because I believe this “keeping score” mentality drives so much that we measure ourselves against our brother or sister, our parent’s expectations, our co-workers, or that neighbour down the street. We measure ourselves by what “other parents do” or what “society says we should do.” And, we end up keeping score to know that we are worthwhile and meaningful.
We keep score to know that we matter.
In my desire to be perfect, I keep score all the time. But, this is just absolutely true: There is no keeping score in God’s kingdom.
Because whether you are perfect or not, whether you can keep up with your perfect sister, or that co-worker, or your perfect parent friend, you have this truth…
You are loved by God.
You are a child of God
You are redeemed by God.
I think what we need in life is less keeping score, and more submission to the fact that you matter and are already included in God’s kingdom. I write this as much for me as anyone else.
What if you gave up keeping score?
What if you gave up striving for all that stuff around you? What if you just rested in the fact that you are loved, you are okay and God is for you? What if we let that centre us and lose the scorekeeping cards? What would life look then?
Because the short answer is this: Your life would look better, wholer, and certainly more full of God.
So, give up the scorecard this week and see how it feels to simply be accepted by God.
Today I want to take a look at the paradoxical nature of the cross. The cross is simultaneously judgment, and forgiveness all in one. And whether the cross is judgment or forgiveness is often the result of perspective.
Andrew Sung Park writes this,
“When the cross of Jesus is seen from the perspective of the oppressed, it signifies God’s suffering with them; seen from the perspective of oppressors, the cross means God’s suffering because of them”.
And this little difference – makes a huge difference.
The truth is that God suffering on the cross signifies God’s solidarity with all who have been abused, oppressed, or hurt through evil. God knows what it is to be killed by an empire about power, oppression, and might.
Yet the cross is also simultaneously reminding us that God’s death is because of oppressors. That the death of Jesus Christ is the result of oppressive systems, people, and regimes that use violence to make peace. The cross stands in judgment of those systems, and offers forgiveness to those who are oppressors.
The trouble with this, or the offensive part of this is that we like to most identify with the oppressed. We like to most identify with the God who suffers with us, not because of us.
But the truth is that I am not really all that oppressed (I’m white, western, male, and educated). And the reality is that most of us probably reading this are not the oppressed in many significant ways. Through simply being born in the West many of us have inherited much privilege that others do not have.
I bring this up because I know personally I would much rather look at the cross as a place of God’s solidarity with me, but I know if I’m going to be honest I also need to look at the cross as a place of God’s judgment with me. Of the ways in which I can and do participate in systems that hurt other people. The difficulty is that in today’s day and age we don’t often see the ways in which our actions contribute to hurt around the world. We don’t see how our privileges might be at someone else’s expense.
I say this all not to make anyone feel guilty – because I believe guilt is a terrible motivator. I say this all because what God has been speaking to me and reminding me of is that yes the cross is a giant reminder that I’m forgiven. But the cross is also a giant reminder that there is evil in the world, and it’s often in us.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn famously said,
If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?
And I think the answer to Solzhenitsyn’s question is – Christians should be willing to destroy a piece of their own heart. Christians should be willing to do the hard work of examining our hearts and seeing how we might change. Christians should be the most motivated to change because when we look at the cross we know two things: 1) we are forgiven and included, so we should not be scared or fearful of doing a courageous moral inventory; 2) we all have sin and evil within us, so we should know we need to do a courageous moral inventory.
So I say this all to remind us of one simple thing: we should be so grateful for God’s forgiveness, so grateful that we do the hard work of examining why we need it. Because if you are anything like me there are actions I need to cut out, there are habits I need to be freed from, there are revelations from God’s Spirit as to the best path I need to hear. But it is easy to ignore doing the hard work of inwardly looking.
I just think that the cross invites us to do that hard work of inwardly reflecting on our lives. The cross says to us we are welcomed and included, but that there are parts of all of us that need to be changed. May we have the courage to really examine our lives, listen to the Spirit, and make changes so that we might not only accept the gift of grace from Jesus Christ – but live like him.
On Sunday we opened up a really important topic: mental health. Mental health is someone that affects huge numbers of people (estimates are around ¼ of people), yet it is one health challenge that has tremendous stigma, exclusion, and a lack of understanding surrounding it. And that’s something we want to change.
So we began by exploring some of the realities of what mental health is. We shared some basic information about three major mental health illnesses. But then to move it away from theory, and “clinical” descriptions I read the following first hand accounts from people struggling with mental health challenges.
“Depression is a very emotive subject for me, especially among people who have never had to live with it. It is that hidden disability that no one really understands fully – least of all those who suffer with it. The symptoms include feeling overwhelmingly tired, angry, emotional and with a need to withdraw from the world around you. Seeking treatment can also make you feel even more depressed as you feel that you are even more of a failure at not being able to get through it on your own.”
William Styron writes in Darkness Visible:
“The pain is unrelenting, and what makes the condition intolerable is the foreknowledge that no remedy will come – not in a day, an hour, a month, or a minute. If there is mild relief, one knows that it is only temporary; more pain will follow. It is hopelessness even more than pain that crushes the soul. So the decision-making of daily life involves not, as in normal affairs, shifting from one annoying situation to another less annoying – or from discomfort to relative comfort, or from boredom to activity – but moving from pain to pain. One does not abandon, even briefly, one’s bed of nails, but is attached to it wherever one goes.”
And Miriam writes:
“As someone with a mental health illness, you get the feeling that somehow you are more difficult to deal with within the institution of the “church”. In a naïve way I believed the church would be open to all. However, my experience makes me feel that I am on the outside of the institution and an embarrassment.”
The truth is that Jesus never turned away from someone in need, so neither can the church.
So to begin this conversation I unpacked 3 myths I see in the Christian world concerning mental health, and then next week we’ll look at how to help and support those with mental health.
The three myths we unpacked were: mental health is caused by sin, mental health can be cured by prayer alone, and mental illness isn’t welcome in the church.
The truth is that we love simple and easy explanations so when it comes to mental health we often reach for those easy solutions: you must have sinned. Yet this reduction of a complex issue that involves emotions, chemical imbalances, physical realties, and social environments to just personal sin that is “God is sending consequences” is directly against the Bible. I know that sounds harsh but in John 9 when the disciples try to reduce someone’s illness to personal sin – Jesus directly confronts them and contradicts their view. So we need to contradict this myth as well.
Secondly, we looked at how mental health is still believed to be cured by prayer alone by 35% of the church. This is also incredibly unhelpful and a myth. I’m not saying I don’t believe in prayer for healing, but that with any other physical illness we not only pray but also seek medical help. But when it comes to mental health there is the myth that prayer, reading your bible, and more self-discipline will be enough. This is simply not true, not helpful, not Biblical (see my sermon on James 5 for more), and needs to be stopped. I absolutely believe that prayer can cure mental illness, I just don’t believe it is the only cure.
Thirdly, we looked at how mental illness isn’t welcome in the church. I say this is a myth not because I don’t believe it’s true, or that it doesn’t happen in churches; but that in the church as it’s meant to be this exclusion should never happen. Jesus would never exclude or isolate someone who is hurting. So if we want to follow Jesus, this idea that mental illness isn’t welcome in the church needs to go. Following Jesus requires that we welcome and include especially in this area.
So those are three myths we unpacked, along with the myth that “the church can’t make a difference” in this area, because I believe we can. I believe that if we get serious about journeying with people and supporting them. Yes professionals and health care experts are needed (see next week) but so too are caring communities of support. And that’s what the church can and should be.
Jean Vanier & John Swinton write this,
The church has a history of pioneering in health and social care and I believe it is time for us to step up to the challenge of working in the area of mental health.
So on Sunday to wrap up I gave us one main point and one challenge. The main point was: Mental health is real and we need to address it. And then the challenge to do this was simple this week: to learn more about it. To fight against the stigma, lack of awareness, and exclusion by learning and growing. This is obviously just the first step but it’s a necessary one. And next week we’ll learn how to take another step as a community.
“Give to us grace, O Father, not to pass by suffering or joy without eyes to see; give us understanding and sympathy; and guard us from selfishness that we may enter into the joys and sufferings of others; use us to gladden and strengthen those who are weak and suffering; that by our lives we may help others who believe and serve you, and project your light which is the light of life.” H.R.L. Sheppard (1880-1937)
Big Idea: Mental health is real and we need to address it.
¼ people experience an episode of mental health challenges.
It is not okay to hold prejudice against those with mental health challenges.
Three major mental health illnesses: bipolar, major depression, dissociative identity disorder.
Myth #1: Mental Health Challenges are caused by personal sin and punishment from God.
We cannot reduce the cause of mental illness to sin.
Myth #2: Mental Health Challenges can be cured by prayer alone
I absolutely believe that prayer can cure mental illness, I just don’t believe it is the only cure.
Myth #3: Mental Health is not welcome in the church.
We believe that people struggling with anything are welcome in this place
The church is one of, if not the most important thing in combating mental illness and changing it.
The church has a history of pioneering in health and social care and I believe it is time for us to step up to the challenge of working in the area of mental health. John Swinton and Jean Vanier
The greater our understanding the greater or depth of care
Adult Discussion Questions:
What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? What was new? What experiences have you had in relation to mental health? Did you realize that mental health was that prevalent? Why do you think it’s important to talk about? What myths have you believed about it, or are still working through? How can you learn more about it this week?
Discussion Questions / Responses for Young Families
Today learn more about mental health. Look up on the internet for some good discussion guides to talk to your kids, and use one!
So on Sunday we opened up a bit of a difficult topic, but a needed one: grief at Christmas.
The truth is that for some people who have experienced loss, whose families are in shambles, or who struggle with debt, Christmas is a really difficult time. While others are celebrating they are seeking to hold it together. And it’s not honestly a topic many people even acknowledge. And this makes it even worse for those who are hurting the feel worse than being ignored, they feel non-existent.
But here is the thing: the first Christmas was coupled with grief too. There is the story in Matthew of violence, and killing initiated by Herod. So the very first Christmas also had times of intense joy for some, and times of intense sadness. But we tend to ignore this part of the story. But if we ignore this part of the story, we tend to ignore those around us with that story. If we don’t acknowledge that the first Christmas had difficulty we don’t acknowledge those with difficult in this Christmas.
So we landed on this main point on Sunday. We cannot ignore the hurting during Christmas. We cannot ignore those struggling with loss, hurt, broken relationships, or deep debt and need. when we ignore the darkness of life, we end up ignoring people trapped in it. But nothing could be further from the meaning of Christmas. Jesus entered the world as light, to bring hope to those in the dark. And we need to do the same.
So we challenged people to actually be like Neal in the end of the movie Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Neal notices that Dell has been hiding his hurt. But he doesn’t ignore him, but invites him into his home and his life – carrying his baggage both metaphorically and literally.
The point isn’t that we lessen the joy we find around Christmas if we are doing well. The point is to invite those struggling into our joy at Christmas. So we closed with this challenge. Reach out to someone this week for whom Christmas might be difficult. Because that’s what Christmas is about, going out to those who are in the dark and hurting and bringing light and love. That’s what Jesus did when he entered our world, may we do that and enter the world’s of those around us.
Big Idea: We can’t ignore the hurting during Christmas.
Christmas isn’t easy for everyone.
The Christmas story has both Light, and beauty, and transcendence and also death, difficulty, darkness, and grief.
We, as a culture, avoid grief, death, and difficulty.
We can’t forget the darkness and hurt in the story.
When we ignore the darkness of life, we end up ignoring people trapped in it.
We can’t ignore the hurting because Jesus didn’t ignore these people.
Adult Discussion Questions:
What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? What was new? How do we tend to ignore those with struggles in our culture? How can we support those who are struggling? Are there those that you know that you can support? What can you do to “carry their baggage” into your home like Neal?
Discussion Questions / Responses for Young Families
This week talk to your kids about supporting others during Christmas. Ask them if there is anyone you, as a family should support? Kids often have greater eyes to see this than we might.
Challenge for the Week: Reach out to someone this week for whom Christmas might be difficult.
On Sunday we are opening up a bit of a difficult topic. We are actually going to talk about grief. I know not a normal “Christmas” topic. But here is the truth, Christmas can be really difficult for some people. And Christmas is also about hospitality, and welcoming others.
So on Sunday I want to talk about how to welcome, include, and gather those who are hurting. A few weeks ago I talked about fully entering into the joy of Christmas. On Sunday I want to take the flip-side and look at welcoming those who are struggling. And to do this I want to watch one of my favorite movies. Well not the whole thing, but a significant portion of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.
So that’s where we are going on Sunday, but before we get there, why not spend sometime thinking if there are those who are hurting who you can reach out to this Christmas. Because one of the biggest things we will learn from the movie, is the power of noticing a need.
On Sunday we looked a song by one of my favourite bands called “The National”. And the song we explored was called “Sorrow”.
The reason we looked at this song was because this was the song that I played on repeat again and again when my dad passed away. It was a song that for me got tied to that dark and difficult time. The singer sings, “I don’t want to get over you” and that was so very true in my life.
He also sings, “Sorrow waited, and sorrow won”. And that was also true in my life; sorrow seemed to be winning.
And that’s really what we wanted to explore on Sunday, how do you move past sorrow? How do you overcome sorrow that grips you? How do you move forward?
And the answer is found in something called the lament.
The lament is really a type of prayer. A brutally honest, bring up the raw stuff within, kind of a prayer. Lament, if it’s about anything, is about honesty. But rather than discuss what it is, we looked at an example of lament in Psalm 39.
Psalm 39 is where David wrestles with maintaining silence before God, and expressing his hurt, anger, and accusation at God. David begins with maintaining silence, in fear that he might sin in what he says (v 1). But this doesn’t last for long because silence can’t last forever. And instead, out comes a torrent of expectations, longings, and hurt.
Listen to some of the raw stuff he says,
Rescue me from my rebellion. Do not let fools mock me. I am silent before you; I won’t say a word, for my punishment is from you. But please stop striking me! I am exhausted by the blows from your hand. (v. 7-9)
Leave me alone so I can smile again before I am gone and exist no more.
These are some brutally honest lines. David accuses God of punishing him, ignoring him, or not rescuing him when he should. And he ends with this line, that if God doesn’t help, at least leave him alone so that he can smile again. Being left alone by God is better than being rejected and punished by God. Or so David thinks.
Now do I believe that God is the one punishing David, or that God “strikes people”? No. But that’s not the point. The point is that David brings all that he feels, right or wrong, and brings it openly and brutally honestly before God. David’s reaction isn’t to avoid God, but to bring his accusation towards God. And this in itself is an act of faith, and hope. That even in bringing his desperation, hurt, and anger that God might hear and act.
This is lament. Being brutally honest with yourself and with God about what you feel and where you are at.
And this is what we need to learn. We do not lament. We hide, we paper over pain, we bury pain. We do not address pain and loss. But the truth is that if we want to learn to ever heal or move forward in sorrow, we need to learn to lament. We need to learn to be brutally honest with God and ourselves. And this is something that not only does the Bible authorize, but suggests. One third of the Psalms are complaints, laments, or Psalms of disorientation. Their very existence says that we can come to God with all that’s within us.
So we ended with the main point on Sunday, that we need to learn to lament. And for some of us this might take some really practical points. We might need to journal and let the hurt out. We might need to let a song speak for us (like “Sorrow” which is a modern day lament). We might need to lament with others either in a structured group, or with close friends. Or the best way is maybe to just read the Psalms and let them express our feelings to God.
The point is that if sorrow, grief, or difficulty ever grip and grab you, the way out isn’t to pretend it’s not there. The way out begins with one step. It begins with lament. And life and healing might be a long way off, but lament is the step that begins a journey. And it’s one we need to be okay to take.
Big Idea: We need to learn to lament.
You are never ready for grief.
“I don’t want to get over you” – The National
Lament, if it is about anything, is about honesty.
David brings what he feels, not just what he knows, to God.
Within lament, even when you accuse God, You are still hoping in God.
To the extent we have not learned to lament, we deal superficially with the world’s brokenness, offering quick and easy fixes that do not require our conversion. Chris Rice, Emmanuel Katongole
We need to learn to lament.
Learning to lament has helped me find healing.
Lamenting can be journaling, sharing with others, having a song express your heart, or reading Psalms to lament.
We all take each other too much for granted. The routines of life distract us; our own pursuits make us oblivious; our anxieties and sorrows, unmindful. The beauties of the familiar go unremarked. We do not treasure each other enough. Nicholas Wolterstorff
I have been . . . grievously wounded. So I shall look at the world through tears. Perhaps I shall see things that dry-eyed I could not see. Nicholas Wolterstorff
Adult Discussion Questions:
What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it? What was new? Was it awkward for you to talk about grief and sorrow? Have you ever experienced sorrow? What was it like for you? Have you ever “lamented”? What might lament look like in your life?
Discussion Questions for Young Families
Today let your kids teach you. Ask them what they do when they are hurt, and angry, and in sorrow. Kids are much more open and we can learn from them.
Challenge for the Week: Learn and practice the art of lament.
I had a funny little interaction the other day on twitter. I had posted this comment from a conference we were at:
The antidote to Satan’s deception is truth. Vishal Mangalwadi
And almost immediately someone who I’ve never met, but clearly likes to poke at Christians beliefs responded with this.
Yes. And the truth is that there is no such thing as “Satan”.
Now I don’t expect anyone who isn’t a follower of Jesus to subscribe to or believe in Christian doctrine. But with this one belief, the belief in Satan, I just honestly have no idea how anyone can deny it. And I know there are lots of people out there who might have some strong objections to that. But let me at least clarify what I mean, and why this matters for all of us – whether you follow Jesus or not.
The word “Satan” literally means “the accuser” in Hebrew. And I know lots of people will argue where there is a real being called Satan. And it’s not my intention to wade into that debate right now. My point is whether or not you believe in a personal being called Satan, you have experienced the reality of the Satan – of the accuser.
And here are some examples:
Have we all not experienced accusing voices that will not leave us alone?
Have we all not experienced thoughts that confuse, conflict, and depress us?
Have we all not been able to shake some hurt, pain, or insecurity that just nags at our soul?
Have we not heard accusation in our hearts and minds? Voices that say…
“You’re not good enough”
“You’ll never amount to much”
“Things are going to get bad”
“People don’t really love you”
When the Bible says that there is an accuser out there, I just believe that’s true because I’ve experienced it and seen it.
I meet with people who can’t seem to get these accusing voices, thoughts, and beliefs out of their minds. I’ve sat with people whose orientating stories or worldview are all based on what they lack, how they will fail, and they’re unworthy. That is satanic literally: that is accusation that won’t leave you. That is the voice of the accuser. That is what the Bible is talking about. So my point in all of this isn’t to debate the reality of a personal being called Satan; my point is to call to our attention the reality of “the accuser” in all of our lives.
And this brings me back to Vishal Mangalwadis quote above. The only way to combat these voices, this activity of the “accuser” is with the truth. Jesus says “I am the the way, the truth, and the life”. The point is that while the accuser is out there seeking to deceive, to kill, to steal hope, to destroy, and to lie to us, we overcome those accusing voices with the truth. The truth of Jesus Christ. The truth of the gospel. The truth of how God sees us.
The only way you combat lies, and accusation – isn’t with arguing and engaging – but with knowing and trusting in the truth.
Jesus says the Truth will set you free. And that’s absolutely true. And this is the truth about you no matter what any accusing voices in your life say. No matter what your dad, mother-in-law, insecurities, or accusing voices within tell you. The truth is this:
That you matter
That God is for you not against you,
That no matter what you go through – God will be with you
That Jesus thought you were worth dying for
That Jesus died to rescue you from all the brokeness and voices that seek to hurt and harm you.
That there is nothing in your life that Jesus can’t help you overcome
My point is that whether or not you believe in the reality of Satan, we all struggle with accusing voices from inside us and outside us. And the only way to be free from the hurt, the damage, and evil they cause – is to know the truth. The truth of who you are from Jesus Christ.
So today I wanted to just remind you of one little fact: that you are loved and matter to God. Lots of voices will try to confuse, be divisive, and argue against that truth. But that is the truth that can and will set you free if you start to trust in it, and follow it.