Categories
forgiveness

Mercy always triumphs over judgment

When we see others acting in ways that don’t align with our conscience in Christ, we are called to be merciful.

We were forgiven by a merciful God who carried our sins on the cross and set us free to live a spiritual life filled with his love.

The world might judge and condemn, but we live under the power of grace. We speak up for mercy, forgiveness and love for everyone being crushed by the destructive systems of this world.

We must not keep silent when others are being crushed. Indignation has its place as long as we don’t lose our minds and become hostile, giving way to expressions of evil.

When it is necessary to confront others to assert our values, we must do so with calm and loving words.

We should pray with a hopeful spirit and ask that the One who made us converts the perpetrators of hatred and the ones being affected by it into expressions of his love.

His mercy always triumphs over judgment.

And when we allow him to make his home in us, and seek him first, his mercy triumphs over our judgment.

Without him, we would be agents of destruction. With him, we are agents of his peace and cooperators for his loving word.

Categories
spirituality

Converting from Christianity to Jesus

There are many layers of understanding to uncover when we desire to have a relationship with God, but the hardest one to reach is the understanding that religion has nothing to do with God. This includes Christianity in all its denominations, and even its non-denominations.

Our lives might look a certain way from the outside, but only God knows what’s in our hearts. We are called to follow Jesus, not Christianity, which is a world system that tells us what our lives should be like and who we have to be to belong.

A lot of us seem to refuse to accept that Christianity is a religion and, as such, just as problematic as every other religion that has ever been created by men. Yes, religion is and has always been an obstacle between us and God’s love.

Jesus teaches us that we can not separate wheat from chaff. Yet being a Christian is largely about saying who’s living a godly life and who’s not. This is also why most churches are empty.

As Jesus’ followers, we are not called to tell people how they should live as a condition to be saved. God loves all of us and he saves whoever he wants. The transformation that he operates in our lives is unique to each of us and entirely up to his will.

I am often appalled by the oppressive Christian beliefs about our sexuality, which reveals their legalistic systems.

As a friend of loving people who are gay, I can absolutely not stand the oppressive Christian preaching that singles them out as if they were the worst sinners in the world.

What about the heart of stone ready to exclude and condemn someone for love, albeit same-sex? Is that not sinful? Remember, mercy always triumphs over judgment. God is not going to send a loving brother to hell because of his sexual orientation.

As a woman, I can absolutely not stand the oppressive Christian preaching about virginity and marriage for life. This is being preached among many who are abused, abusers or too conservative to promote a satisfying relationship.

When we pervert Jesus’ message of love to promote a deeply legalistic and religious lifestyle, it becomes evil and oppresses people instead of saving them into a gracious spiritual life.

But God puts his word in people’s hearts however he wants, including people who haven’t heard of Jesus. This truth is offensive to most Christians, blinded that they are by their religious arrogance.

Following Jesus and abiding to Christianity are thus mutually exclusive. Yes, there are followers of Jesus who happen to attend Christian churches, because there is a good community there. Yet the vast majority of Christians are not followers of Jesus.

Christians’ conviction that believing into Jesus requires religious knowledge and practice shows a profound lack of understanding of God’s almighty power and plan for every one of us.

Following Jesus, not abiding to Christianity, is what saves us from our own pursuits of adequacy and worthiness. He calls us to lose our lives so we can become a home to his life-giving love.

Remember, our God is a God of the lost. After he finds us, we still desperately need his loving grace to guide us along the way.

Categories
recovery

A lesson on resilience

I watched Schindler’s List for the first time a few weeks ago. The resilience of those people while facing the absolute worst of humanity could only have come from God. They would have never made it without him, and neither would we.

I believe all our sufferings are relevant. But watching a movie on such a horrific story really puts things into perspective. It is a tough watch, but a humbling experience. Our sufferings look so small compared to these dehumanizing events.

Another key aspect of our dark history is how often it takes a monster to defeat another monster. We know God has used ruthless characters to defeat oppressors of his people.

Although it might look like these ruthless individuals are doing what’s right, we are not in a position to justify them or rely on them. Their cruel actions have good outcomes exclusively because God can bring good out of any situation.

We should always remind ourselves that we can only trust and rely on God

It is God who gives us the resilience to walk through the most terrifying moments with the confidence that they will yield good outcomes of a spiritual nature in our lives.

Holding on to his love saves us from losing our ability to be grateful, loving and forgiving in the cruelest of circumstances.

As we walk with God, we know everything is going to pass. At the end of the tunnel, there is light, goodness and unfailing love.

Categories
Church of U2 faith

Our offerings of gratitude

Everything we “have” was given, so we don’t actually have anything in the sense that it’s “ours”, because it’s all gifts.

Living with this spiritual understanding humbles us.

Like in the worship song Gloria, by U2, we acknowledge that we don’t have anything. But if we did, we’d want to give it to God as an offering of gratitude for the eternity of love he gave us!

Oh, Lord

If I had anything

Anything at all

I’d give it to you

U2

When God calls us, we become expressions of his love by worshiping him with the talents he’s gifted us.

My offerings of gratitude to God are my writing and counselling/coaching with his Love as my “methodology.”

What about you, what are yours?

Categories
love spirituality

Prayer, a therapy of Love

Prayer is an intimate conversation with God.

Because he already lives in us, we don’t need to pray out loud. God doesn’t need us to utter words, he knows our minds.

Prayer is not the repetition of religious text. It is a moment of intimacy with God to express our love, gratitude and share our struggles to ask for guidance. 

We chat with God in our own way.

I do it all the time. It doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing. It doesn’t have to be in a quiet place. I don’t move into a position or fold my hands. All I do is open my heart to God.

It is the safest and most powerful way of opening up.

It is therapeutical, because it helps us identify what’s troubling us. Yet God doesn’t need us to tell him our troubles – he knows.

His diagnostic is that we rely on ourselves instead of relying on him.

He treats us with his forgiveness and heals our brokenness with his love.

He also does’t need to be reminded of what we need – he knows and is already taking care of us in his own perfect time and way. We do what we can, then rest. God is in control. 

Prayer is a wonderful way to consciously connect with him and experience the peaceful hope that this connection fills us with. 

Although he already knows everything, he still wants to hear from us through our prayers, because he knows we need this.

God listens. God knows.

And he will gives us more than what we ask or need.

Categories
love spirituality

Rebuilding our love bonds with a spirit of repentance

Every relationship that we have will experience cracks in its structure at some point. But we can mend those cracks, or even rebuild a broken bond, with a spirit of repentance.

Love teaches us to repent and live life with a renewed spirit that makes possible what wasn’t possible before. We are given a chance to do what is right and move on with a hopeful spirit.

While the world puts a lot of weight on “telling the truth”, repentance is about actions, not words.

We are called to rebuild our love bonds with repentance through a change in our attitude. It is our actions that express love.

This means that if a hurtful truth from which we wholeheartedly repent is bound to break our love bond, Jesus isn’t calling us to tell it and crush someone with its unbearable weight.

We’re not called to tell a truth that crushes. Destructive truths can only destroy. Instead, we are called to live the truth of our repentance and rebuild our love bonds with love.

Categories
faith spirituality

When being wronged is good

We will be wronged a lot in the course of our lives.

Each of us has the freedom to either be wronged and not take action against our oppressor or pursue the justice of this world.

Yet it is when we have the willingness to be wronged and to suffer loss that we are given the opportunity to keep Christ’s virtue at a cost that this world is not willing to pay.

The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?

Paul

I know wonderful people who have suffered severe wrongdoings.

Thanks to their surrender and faith in the wise ways of God, they make a decision everyday not to pursue worldly justice. Their peace and joy overflow and inspire.

This way of life, which mirrors Jesus’ spirituality, resonates with few of us. Yet this is the life that rewards us with peace that exceeds all understanding. This is the divine life worth living.

Categories
forgiveness love

This world can judge us, but Love changes who we are

While we insist on judging ourselves, or listening when others judge us, we miss the fact that repentance is the power of God’s forgiveness already operating in us.

As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point.

Paul

We repent and rely exclusively on the One who makes us better. Relying on ourselves or the public opinion will crush us.

When God himself came here as the fully man, fully God Jesus, it was to draw us to him as a means to become like him.

We’re forgiven. We build our house upon this Rock.

By following his way and truth, we enjoy a peaceful life that doesn’t have an expiration date. The life he gives us in the spirit.

The judgment of this world has no power over our spirit. It is God who justifies and turns for good what was once used for evil.

Categories
love recovery

Always be the good company that others are grateful for

Being good company is about loving our company – something that the coaches, books or articles of this world cannot teach.

Like me, you’ve probably experienced your share of company that is unhelpful in the course of your life. What we can do is forgive those who hurt us and be more selective about the people who we allow to come closer to us moving forward.

When we let go of what doesn’t do us good, we make space for what brings good to our lives.

We should never, ever be too busy when others that we know need us. And when we make ourselves available, there is yet another stepping stone: being good company.

This world might have forgotten what being good company is like, but we should not.

We laugh with those who laugh, and cry with those who cry.

We don’t ridicule others.

We don’t look down on or judge others we don’t like, but pray for them.

We encourage each other with hopeful, peaceful and loving words.

We don’t oppress one another with the expectations of this world, but listen to what we need and what is good for our spirit.

We remind each other that everything is possible for the One who made us when something seems impossible.

We rejoice in the fact that all things contribute to our good, and that the struggles of this world can’t crush us.

We happily offer practical help and not simply wait until there is an urgency or emergency to step up.

We make sure our “yes” is a “yes” and our “no” is a “no”, because we won’t be good company to someone when we say the opposite of what’s in our hearts.

Setting boundaries is important, so we know what and how much we can give. This way, we won’t raise false expectations in others that we know we can’t meet.

Good company makes us grateful because they are available, helpful and a joy to be around thanks to their noticeable appreciation for us.

Our love for one another should be felt in our words, but most importantly in our actions. These actions could be as simple as a heartfelt hug, or taking a real interest in how someone is doing instead of just asking and letting it be.

I’d like to encourage all of us to put in more love in our interactions with others. Let’s take the time to let them know what we appreciate about them whenever there is an opportunity and not just leave it on that note.

Let’s remain a constant presence in their lives in loving ways and show we are grateful for each other’s lives.

Categories
love recovery

Love gives us eternal life in a world full of deadly fears

Have we finally given in to the world and its fear of death? So many have started using worldly language and imposing limits on our lives. Most look for answers in the media and start relying on what governments can or cannot do.

But what can governments do? What can I? What can you?

We know there is very little that any of us can do in a world that is dominated by darkness. We know only an almighty power can overcome this world and, in fact, it has already overcome it. 

This isn’t a time to figure out creative (and profitable) ways of connecting with the aid of technology. It is a time to face our difficulty to rely exclusively on the One who made us.

We experience his power when we seek him. And his power is love. Not what the world thinks love is. Divine love. The world only knows a shadow of it, yet love already shows an unmistakable power to change our lives for the better.

Love is the power that made and moves the universe.

What is expected from us is that we love one another. It is through this love that we have eternal life and that the poisonous death that consumes this world is defeated. 

When we love one another and rely on his power, he makes the impossible possible. Because nothing is impossible for the One who made everything and conquered death with love.