Tag Archives: the lie

Rejecting the Jesus they never knew…

 

I’ve been reading a lot over at recoveringgrace.org these days.  This is a group of young people who have come out of the teachings and influence of Bill Gothard.  They represent a great deal of pain and confusion because of the legalist teachings.  Many of them have found the way to the grace of God in Jesus and enjoy their walk with Him.  Others, however, have given up on religion completely.

It breaks my heart to hear someone say he has rejected Jesus because of legalism.  I want to scream: “Jesus was never a part of legalism.  You can’t reject the true faith of Christ if you have never known it.”  In some ways the first motivation of this ministry (Grace for the Heart) was to reach out to those who have either rejected or are afraid of Jesus because of what has been done to them by Christians.

But it makes sense, doesn’t it?  If Jesus is presented as someone who expects rules and standards in order to love, then what happens when you can’t reach those standards or keep those rules?  And if He is always angry with me because I can’t measure up, then I would naturally want to distance myself from Him.  If the phrase “sinners in the hands of an angry God” refers to Christians, then who would want to be a Christian?

There’s more.  According to performance spirituality, we are supposed to work for our salvation, either to earn it or to keep it.  But if I could do that, why would I need a Savior at all?  It seems very reasonable to reject Jesus if I just have to do it all myself anyway.  And, if I reject Jesus, what is left?  Even the legalist system says He is most important.  I might as well come up with some “basic principles” of my own.  My morality.  Developed by me and for me.   Do it myself.

I also understand that the name of the Lord was taken in vain by churches, preachers, parents, and others.  They used His name to condemn many things, even things He never condemned.  They used His name to push and pull and intimidate.  They used His name to hurt and abuse.  And, when they had made Him an enemy of our hearts, they told us He loved us.

BUT IT WAS ALL A LIE!

(Capitalized and ended with an exclamation point.  I was tempted to underline it also.  Maybe italics?)

That was never the message of the Lord.  It was never about how well we could perform.  The gospel accepts our failure as normal and natural, then offers real deliverance in the person of Jesus, someone who came to get us because He loves us.  Performance was never the issue.

Jesus is about God’s love for you and me.  Some preachers shout about His condemnation, but He says there is no condemnation.  Some teach about His anger over our sin, but He says our sins have been washed away.  Some tell us we should prepare for His wrath, but He tells us He has prepared a wonderful and good place for us.  Some tell us of His disappointment with us, but He tells us of the joy of His heart as He thinks of us.

The message of legalism and performance, anger and hatred, was never the message of Jesus.  The god of legalism is not the God of love, not the God of the Bible.  It has all been a lie.

I pray for those who push away the truth because they have only heard the lie.

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Filed under heart, Legalism, Relationship

How to unlearn a lie

First, admit that it is a lie.  That’s not as easy as it sounds.  If your understanding has been based on a lie, it will be very difficult to see the lie unless you have found the truth.  In other words, the only way someone who believes himself to be unlovable is to learn that someone does love him.  Of course, learning a fact and believing that fact are different things.  That’s okay.  You have to know the truth first.

Once you have the truth available, even if you find it hard to believe, you can start to establish it in your heart and mind.  Begin by thanking the Lord for the truth.  Tell Him that you find it hard to believe, but thank Him for it anyway.  He understands that you want it to be true.  All your life you have felt unloved, for example, and now you hear that He loves you.  Thank Him for loving you even if you are struggling to believe it.

Then make a clear distinction in your mind between the lie and the truth.  Tell yourself that your feelings of being unloved are a lie and that the fact that God loves you is the truth.  And, when the feelings pop up, remind yourself that they are the lie and the truth is that God does love you.  Then thank Him for loving you.

Now you will want to be with people who support the truth and you will want to hear and read the truth.  Perhaps a change of churches is in order, or maybe you will want to read blogs like this one.  The lie will have its support structure in your life already.  You will begin to identify their words as part of the lie.  But the truth may not have as much support so you will want to find some.  The more the truth is supported, the easier it will be to believe it.

Don’t hesitate to put the burden on Jesus.  He wants you to know that He loves you.  Pray and ask Him to show you His love.  When the feelings of rejection come, pray and ask Him to remind you that He loves you.  Tell Him how you feel and thank Him for the truth of His love.  He will hear and answer you.

 

You see, the lie of rejection and unlove holds us in the most practical places of our lives.  Almost everything around us has been interpreted in favor of the lie.  People have deceived us and betrayed us.  We feel alone, even in the crowds and even among friends.  We are afraid of the pain.  We are weary of the fight.  So we have accepted the lie, resigned ourselves to it.

But it isn’t true!  Jesus does love you!  He reached out to you because of that love.  And every time you reject the lie, you will believe the truth a little more.  This is one of the most practical and prescriptive posts I have written and I do it because we are called to a new way of thinking, to believe differently about the Lord and about ourselves.

Please don’t think this is easy.  It may be simple, but not easy.  The lie is pervasive and persistent and has a great deal of support.  The truth is not forced on you like the lie is.  Love allows you to choose because love values your thoughts and identity.  The lie hates the truth and, honestly, it hates you.  But you knew that.

You may have to do this several times a day at first.  But it will get less.  And then you will be hit out of the blue with waves of the same old feelings.  Just do the same thing.  Reject the lie and thank Jesus for the truth.

 

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Filed under Freedom, heart, Relationship