I am often reminded of times in my past where I have failed miserably. One of the earmarks of a person who has been broken is that, like Jacob after wrestling with the Angel, they walk with a visible limp…proof that battle was entered into and was lost.
I walk with such a limp but I don’t dwell on it. I have come to live with it and to cherish it as a reminder that God is my ultimate defender…but He is NEVER my accuser.
And this FACT, that God does not accuse us is why I am blogging today. I have been around of lot of well meaning people (and a LOT of not well meaning people) who seem to take it upon themselves to remind me just how badly I have failed in the past. For some unknown reason, many people….ESPECIALLY Christian people, have decided that their calling in life is to put people in their proper place by dredging up the areas of failure or sin, which one has experienced. They say it is good for you…to keep you humble. But it has always been my experience that dredging up the past in someone’s life has NOTHING to do with humility, but almost always HUMILIATION. This type of conjuring up past failures is nothing less than an attempt to control and manipulate with guilt and condemnation. It has nothing to do with love. The New Testament says,
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
I Corinthians 13:4-5
Perhaps you have failed in life in some very hard areas. We all have…it is just a part of the fallen human condition. We fail, and others fail us. The beauty of love is that it will not constantly remind us of our fallenness. True love will overlook a wrong that it has suffered. However, those who would seek to control and manipulate you, will ALWAYS remind you of how you once lied, or cheated or stolen or…..ad nauseum…until you grovel and beg for forgiveness. The ultimate symptom of hatred is that it seeks to control and gain advantage from a persons weakness. Only a person who is downcast and convinced of their “unworthiness” can be manipulated…because they do not feel they are of value. Maybe you have experienced this from others in the past.
I want you to be set free from the oppressive nature of those who would bring up your past in order to put you in bondage to condemnation. There is a very clear difference between someone who will gently remind you to guard yourself from an area of temptation due to a former weakness, and one who would harshly use your past failure as an attempt to humiliate you so that they can gain control of your will.
Relationships that feel “safe” are those relationships where we feel we can share the depths of our hearts…the disappointments, the personal failures, and know that we will be loved and accepted after the disclosure. Relationships that do NOT feel safe…and in fact ARE NOT safe, are those relationships whether marriage, friendships, church memberships, where after the disclosure of personal failure or sin is confessed, it is used against us time after time after time, in order to guilt us into submission.
God is your defender…he is your encourager and your joy. I have a healthy appreciation for that encouragement. God will not bring up past failures, He will not remind you of former things where you were destroyed by bad choices. God is for you and not against you. His banner over you is Love. Love will never dishonor you, discredit you or accuse you for falling short. Love will not envy the good things taking place in your life and seek to take you down a few notches in order to make itself feel better. Love will never CONTROL OR MANIPULATE YOU. NEVER, NEVER , NEVER.
Love will allow freedom and liberty to reign in your life. Love will never demand to have it’s way. True love will allow you to make choices, allow you freedom in your choices. This is how God works. Love is never afraid of freedom. Control is a human invention, Love is simply who God is. You will never find love being so arrogant so as to compare itself …how much better financially, spiritually or emotionally it is than where you are. Love has NOTHING to do with arrogance. This is why cults and other controlling organizations are such a blight upon the people they destroy. They try to shroud themselves in the garments of God sounding commandments and rules. God does not have any rules…..except one…Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. Any group purporting to speak for God yet doesn’t show love, mercy and compassion is a cult…plain and simple.
If you are a member of a cult that constantly uses the sins you confessed in confidence against you publicly, I encourage you to leave it immediately and seek protection from other churches and seek legal protection as well. College Campuses have a multitude of cults that prey upon young students who want to have a relationship with God. They take advantage of your innocence first by making you their friend, second by separating you from other friends and family, and finally, after they have their hooks in you, to control you with man made rules that have NOTHING to do with God and that violate the principles of Love. If you are involved in a campus organization that appears biblical, but afterward, you have lost your joy and individual self worth…we are here to tell you that there is a future and a hope.
Love will allow you to go to ANY church you wish to attend WITHOUT condemnation.
Love will not discourage friends from talking to you. This is cult behavior
Love will not discourage you from talking with family. This is cult behavior
Love will not constantly “rebuke” you. This is cult behavior
Love will not tell you who to marry, date or separate you from the culture in which you live. This is cult behavior.
We are here for you…and you are LOVED!