12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
Listening and Doing
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
Years ago, when my kids were little, I worked in the financial corporate world of the IT department. I absolutely loved my job as a computer technician. As a matter of fact, there were several things that I liked about my job in general: flexibility in your schedule, the ability to talk to people as you worked on repairing their issues, whether it be computer, networking, or printer. Last, but not least, I liked the whole idea of getting to listen to the problems that the end users were having, and then the challenge of recreating the problem in order to come up with a solution.
While working at this financial institution, I decided that I would get my Masters Degree in Information Technology. The degree was a 14-month intensive online program. Although I had two small children, I was up for the challenge. I also had the idea in the back of my mind that this degree would increase my value and my salary.
After obtaining the degree, I spoke to my supervisor, who in turn stated that she had to talk to her boss. I was told that the raise wouldn’t happen, and that they were on a hiring and salary freeze for the entire company. What made matters worse, is that I found out that what was said was not the entire truth. They were giving raising. Specifically, significant salary increasing to non-minority employees without degrees. I was disheartened and discouraged because I felt that I had done all of this hard work for nothing.
What I didn’t realize then, but do now, is that I felt that I had no worth there because of this incident. In their eyes, I didn’t qualify to sit at the same time with other individuals with my qualifications.
One thing that I now see is that when it comes to God, even in all our brokenness, because of Jesus’ death on the cross, we will always receive the “exempt” stamp of condemnation. There is always room at God’s table of executives.
Ephesians 2:4-7New King James Version (NKJV)
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
I am blessed to be airing Episode 4: Unhealed Brokenness & Toxic Relationships. Last week I aired Episode 3: Broken People Judging Broken People, and it can be found here. I am not a mental health professional. I am speaking on this topic based upon my relationships with individuals in the last twenty years where toxicity existed.
I pray that if you are dealing with any of the signs/symptoms in a relationship, that are mentioned in this podcast, that you seek professional help in navigating this dynamic, and that you remove yourself from the toxic dance before it’s too late.
7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17 “I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband.18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak,28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”
32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
You can always tell what things are important to Jesus. That is why his last three words on the cross summed up everything: “It is finished.” He already knows the things that keep a high level of stronghold on us. Shame and rejection are just two of them. Shame is when we are perceiving ourselves as bad. This perception can be due to issues playing out in any of the following areas: financial, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, physical, and mental. Because we are all broken, we dump shame on ourselves, and then unfortunately we dump shame on others. Last week, we discussed the shame aspect of trauma here. When we wallow in shame, then we see ourselves as unworthy. We become deficient in self-worth. What did the scripture say about our actions in regards to shame? “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
Rejection: It is Finished
Rejection hits the same brain wires as when we experience physical pain. When rejection plays out, we receive the hidden message, “You are not good enough”. You need to prove yourself. The next natural response to not being “good enough”, is trying to figure out what we need to do in order to qualify. Unfortunately, depending on our background, this could turn into a dangerous ground for Satan to get a foothold. Jesus was despised and rejected as he planned to take his place on the cross. He didn’t need to prove himself, or figure out how to get someone to like him because God, his Father, was all the approval that he needed, and Jesus is all the approval that we need. His life in exchange for our freedom: He was despised and rejected–a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Isaiah 53: 3
We can finally release all of the shame and rejection on the cross by remembering the last three words that Jesus said, ” It is finished”.
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30
As Christians, we know that the best example we have for living is Christ. We love because he first loved us. We forgive because he has forgiven us. We give grace because we have been given grace. But, the question is, when is grace no longer grace? This is the question that I have had to revisit several times in the last few years.
Grace is no longer grace when we have gotten to the point of disrespecting ourselves. How do we know that we our disrespecting ourselves? It is usually when our needs, thoughts, well-being, and boundaries are ignored. Boundaries exist emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
One of the ways to know if we are disrespecting ourselves is to pay attention to our “gut reaction”. A lot of times our bodies know that something is wrong before our emotional, mental, and spiritual knows that something is wrong. When I first met a neighbor at my last residence, she seemed nice. Although she seemed nice, there was still something that didn’t allow me to feel 100% safe. During the course of talking to her, she almost fell. She grabbed on to me to recover her balance, and my whole body locked up. If you live with PTSD/trauma on a daily basis, then you are very familiar with the stiffness of the body as a reaction to trauma/stress. Because of trauma victims having a negative charge, we are even more sensitive to detecting something wrong. We are magnets to certain types of energy. Had I acted on this warning, I could have avoided a lot of heartache. When you have a gut reaction about something, it is your body’s warning that your boundaries are being crossed, or that something said isn’t right.
We all have bad days. We are all broken, and because of our brokenness we are going to sin on a daily basis. However, it is important to pay attention to how often we are giving excuses for behavior.
We are not to keep score, however, it is important to know that there is give and take in any relationship. If we are on the giving 90% of the time side, this is a sign that grace is no longer grace. This will manifest itself through feeling drained emotionally during or at the commencement of the relationship. This isn’t a normal reaction in a give and take dynamic.
You are working to prove your value and worth all the time. Jesus’ death cut out all the legalism of work. If we are striving for approval or value from others, or we are given the hidden meaning to keep hustling for someone, grace is no longer grace. I love this verse in Romans that makes this so clear: And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. Romans 11:6
Grace is no longer grace when we allow ourselves to to be controlled. Control can be subtle or obvious. When you find yourself in a toxic dance, your gut feeling is not right, and you are going around in circles, this is a sign you are being controlled. It can also be a matter of having the things that you say or do be used against you. For example: Person A says : Do this. Person B: Does this. Person A says: Why did you do this? And then this repeats over and over again. The only way to come out of the dance is to eliminate your action as person B.
One of the best ways to determine whether grace is no longer grace is to look for patterns. These patterns will give a clue into whether or not there was a misunderstanding on our part, or if there is a pattern of sin on the other person’s part. If it is hard to detect, then one of the best things that we can do is to pray. Prayer for wisdom and discernment will allow us to receive what God wants us to know. As much as we hate conflict, it is something that we can’t avoid. The podcast on handling conflict can be found here. We are told in scripture how to handle the conflict of sin:
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17
What I have come to figure out myself is that if the scripture verses above were put into effect in all of my situations, then the draining/toxic effect could have been avoided or lessened. We cannot save or fix others. It is Satan’s job to make us believe that we can, to the point of disrespecting ourselves, where grace is no longer grace.
Episode 3: Broken People Judging Broken People Healing Our Brokenness Podcast Seri...
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Last week, our podcast was focused on “Conflict Among Broken People”. You can find the podcast here. This week’s topic is “Broken People Judging Broken People”.
What is brokenness?
What is judging?
What does Jesus say about judging?
Judging Others Matthew 7: 1-5
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.Now what do you say?”6 They were using this question as a trap,in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stoneat her.”8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,”Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
I used to think that avoiding conflict was good. I thought that avoiding conflict was the same thing as avoiding confusion, strife, and extra drama. I took pride in thinking that avoiding conflict was keeping the peace. I was so wrong about that. What I was doing was avoiding dealing with a small problem, which later became an out of control problem. This was due to fear of the response of the other person.
What God revealed to me recently was profound: We are all broken, and so when we avoid conflict, we are avoiding dealing with the problems that arise between two or more broken individuals.
This podcasts dissects all aspects of the word conflict, by giving the things that occurs when we avoid conflict to going through the steps to take to resolving conflict.
King Solomon Handled Conflict
King David Refused Conflict
Used Passive-Aggressive Behavior
Bible Verses to Focus on:
1 Kings 3: 28
Everyone in Israel was amazed when they heard how Solomon had made his decision. They realized that God had given him wisdom to judge fairly.
2 Samuel 13: 21-22
When King David heard all this, he was furious. 22 And Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad; he hated Amnon because he had disgraced his sister Tamar.(2 Samuel 13-21-22)
2 Samuel 13: 28-29
Absalom ordered his men, “Listen! When Amnon is in high spirits from drinking wine and I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon down,’ then kill him. Don’t be afraid. Haven’t I given you this order? Be strong and brave.” So Absalom’s men did to Amnon what Absalom had ordered. Then all the king’s sons got up, mounted their mules and fled. (2 Samuel 13:28-29)
2 Samuel 13: 37-38
Absalom fled and went to Talmai son of Ammihud, the king of Geshur. But King David mourned many days for his son. After Absalom fled and went to Geshur, he stayed there three years. (2 Samuel 13:37-38)
2 Samuel 18: 14-15
Joab said, “I’m not going to wait like this for you.” So he took three javelins in his hand and plunged them into Absalom’s heart while Absalom was still alive in the oak tree. And ten of Joab’s armor-bearers surrounded Absalom, struck him and killed him. (2 Samuel 18: 14-15)
Matthew 18: 15-17 If Your Brother Sins Against You
15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
Revelations 2: 1-6
2:1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus, write the following: “This is the solemn pronouncement of the one who has a firm grasp on the seven stars in his right hand – the one who walks among the seven golden lampstands: 2 ‘I know your works as well as your labor and steadfast endurance, and that you cannot tolerate evil. You have even put to the test those who refer to themselves as apostles (but are not), and have discovered that they are false.
3 I am also aware that you have persisted steadfastly, endured much for the sake of my name, and have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you: You have departed from your first love! 5 Therefore, remember from what high state you have fallen and repent! Do the deeds you did at the first; if not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place – that is, if you do not repent. 6 But you do have this going for you: You hate what the Nicolaitans practice – practices I also hate.