Today, I am featuring another aspect in the “Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis” series. This aspect is that of music. Music can have several effects. It can make you go from feeling relaxed to nervous, anxious, and scared, and then switch over to anger, frustration, and sadness in a heartbeat.
Whether you are suffering with trauma/PTSD or not, listening to music can take you back to twenty years of memories that can feel like it was yesterday. Our emotions get stirred, and if we are not careful, we can start riding the waves. You can start thinking about old relationships and all sorts of things.
When it comes to music and PTSD, it can be both a good and bad thing, depending upon the situation. If the music is loud and harsh, with screaming involved, it can cause you to have the trauma symptoms of irritation, dissociation, and anxiety.
Unfortunately, I have experienced all of these. About five years ago, my son was listening to some metal Christian music. I had to ask him to turn it down, then off. It was just too much. The screaming caused the Fear Aspect of Trauma to settle in. I started to feel unsettled in my spirit, along with feeling agitation and anxiousness.
Whether you are listening to loud or soft music, if you haven’t processed memories that are associated with a particular song, you may not be able to tolerate that song or style of music for a while. You’ll usually know if you can tolerate the song/style because you will be able to listen to it without any problems. If the song is intolerable, you usually end up with bad flashbacks or dissociation.
Just recently, I realized that I am fully able to enjoy gospel music again. Starting in 2013, it became hit or miss. Gospel music is associated with attending a missionary baptist church as a kid, leading the choir with my ex-husband, praise dancing, and my roots in general. In order for me to truly appreciate it again, I had to process the important events that this genre held close to my heart. The events weren’t just from one particular time period. They were spread across years.
Recently, my friend invited me to two gospel concerts she performed in. I felt like I was back in the church that I attended as a kid. I knew that this genre had helped me to place the piece of puzzle of my identity in this area back to where it belonged.
Music from the 70s and 80s is also some of my favorites. When I listen to this music, it causes ambivalence. Why? This time period represents a life of simpler times. I have relatives that were alive then, and no longer alive. Community was food, dancing, talking, and enjoying one another’s company. Sometimes, I find myself dancing and crying at the same time.
The more I listen to it, the better it gets. However, I still have moments of extreme grief from trauma, as well as joy at the same time because these memories will forever be in my heart.
How has the music aspect affected your PTSD? Would love to hear your thoughts!
Episode 32: Surprised by Provision Healing Our Brokenness Podcast Seri...
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Surprised by Provision Podcast Outline
Surprised by Provision
There are a lot of things that happen in life that we are just not prepared for handling. As a matter of fact, if God revealed to us what was on the way, we’d take off running in the other direction. Sometimes one thing happens, and that one thing ends up changing your entire world for what you know it to be.
That is what happened to Naomi. She was
surprised by disappointment, and then surprised by provision.
Naomi and her husband Elimelech, and their
two sons decided to leave Bethlehem and reside in Moab because of the
famine. Instead of life getting better at this point, it got worse.
Elimelech died. Their two sons found wives and got married. Then
their two sons died.
Naomi decided to go back to Bethlehem, since
she heard that they had bread again. She figured that this might be a
small sign of God’s provision. Naomi told her two daughters-in-law to
head back to their homelands so that they could find husbands, since she didn’t
have any more sons. Orpah left, but Ruth decided to stay:
And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: (Ruth 1:16, KJV)
When they returned to Bethlehem, it was evident that
Naomi was surprised by God’s provision:
So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And
it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved
about them, and they said, Is this Naomi?
And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me
Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.
I went out full and the Lord hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi,
seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty
hath afflicted me?
So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her
daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they
came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest. (Ruth 1: 19-22, KJV)
Neither Ruth nor Naomi had a clue that going
back to Bethlehem would bring surprise provision itself. They went back
for bread. God had a little bit more than bread waiting for them.
He slowly began to reveal his plan.
Ruth went out to glean corn, and she met a man named
Boaz. They had a conversation, and Boaz let on to Ruth that God was
recompensing her work for her full diligence:
And Boaz answered
and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto
thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy
father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people
which thou knewest not heretofore.
The Lord recompense
thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.
2: 11-12, KJV)
When Ruth arrived back home, Naomi questioned her
about the food. Ruth told her that she had met a man by the name of
Boaz. Naomi knew this was good news:
And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be
he of the Lord,
who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi
said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen. (Ruth
2: 20, KJV )
According to the law, a kinsmen could be the
redeemer if a relative died. In this case, since Boaz was a kinsmen, he
could redeem the land that belonged to Elimelech and his two sons.
However, there was a kinsmen even closer than Boaz. This meant that he
had first pick. This relative didn’t want to forfeit his own inheritance.
Therefore, Boaz became the kinsmen redeemer.
And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all
the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was
Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, of the hand of Naomi.
Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of
Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon
his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his
brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day. (Ruth 4: 9-10, KJV)
What a surprise! The women encouraged
Naomi, telling her that God hadn’t forgotten about her:
And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be
the Lord, which
hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in
And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy
life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth
thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him. (Ruth 4: 14-15, KJV)
My Surprise Disappointment
At the age of 25, I had my surprise
disappointment as well. I was pregnant with my first child, and I worked
all the way up to the day before delivery. At the time, I was the
breadwinner for the household, and I had all of the family health insurance in
my name. My son had his days and nights mixed up, and so for almost six
weeks, I had between two to three hours of consecutive sleep during the
night. I was at the point of extreme exhaustion, and I could tell that my
blood pressure was up.
This was confirmed when the home nurse came
out to check on me. As soon as she checked my blood pressure, she knew
that it was from lack of sleep. Four days before my six weeks was up, my
son started sleeping through the night for four consecutive
hours. However, I knew that I would
need two extra weeks of this before returning to work, or else my health would
I called my job and requested an additional two weeks off. I was informed that if I didn’t come back right away, it would be considered job abandonment. With $50 left to my name, and no emergency money, this was a hard call. I hung up the phone, and then wrestled with what to do. However, I also knew that if they were like this about my health, then they would be like this about my son’s health as well. I decided not to go back, not sure of how I would make it.
My Surprise Provision
My son was almost three months old when I
took him to his three-month checkup. After the appointment, I decided to
visit my old job, which was five minutes away. I got caught up with
everyone, and my old boss asked me when I would return to work. I told my
old boss what happened, and he said,” Just like that?”. I replied,” Yes,
just like that. End of story.” We laughed, and he asked me what I thought
of working for him again. I thought he was joking, but he was dead
serious. What a surprise!
Within two weeks, I was back to working
again. In the beginning, I worked a five-day week, then a 10 hour
four-day week while my son was little, before moving on to a different
job. I didn’t know, but God knew that his divine providence was waiting
for me at this place. Like Naomi, All I had to do was to go back and get
Thank you for helping us to step out on faith, even when we are not sure
what you have in store for us. In your name,
My weekend discussion on this topic: How have you allowed yourself to be led by emotions? (i.e., tightening up control with the kids, yelling, saying things that you later regret?) What was the background story? What patterns of behavior do you notice makes you want to ride the wave? What patterns of behavior helps you to jump off of this surfboard? How could you have reacted better than you did? How did you heal the relationships that were damaged as a result of you being led by your emotions instead of responding to life’s issues?
Episode 31: Giving the Best Gift Healing Our Brokenness Podcast Seri...
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Giving the Best Gift Podcast Outline
Shame over Gift-Giving
Peter and John’s Gift
There have been quite a few times over the years when I would see someone that’s homeless on the streets and was deeply moved with compassion and empathy for their situation. Majority of the time, when this happened, usually one of two things were going on: either I didn’t have cash on me, or I literally didn’t have the money. I would feel bad inside, then let them know that I wish that I had the money to give, and then say, “God bless”. Then, they would usually nod.
What I said didn’t fill their physical need. However, saying, “God bless” told them that I did care. Sometimes, we see Christians and non-Christians, and we wish that we could help, but for whatever reason, we just can’t. Satan often uses these times as tools to place a stronghold of shame on us. Money isn’t all that we can give others. We also have our time and our talents that we can bless others with. However, once we start the comparison trap, then this reality goes out the door along with everything else.
Peter and John faced the same situation with a man at the gate Beautiful, asking for money from the passersby. They didn’t have money to give him. They had something better: the gift of salvation leading to eternal life:
Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.
2 And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;
3 Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.
4 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.
5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.
6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.
8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.
9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God:
We thank you for when we have money to help others who are in need. We also thank you for when we don’t have the money, knowing that the best help that we could ever give is the plan of salvation. Please help us to remember this when we encounter certain situations.
Episode 29: The Power of God Healing Our Brokenness Podcast Seri...
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The Power of God Podcast Outline:
Dissection of Relationships and Our Brokenness
My Witness to the Power of God
Saul’s Witness to the Power of God
Welcome to Healing Our Brokenness Episode 29: The Power of God. Have you ever seen the Power of God in your life? Well, today I am going to give two examples of his power at work. First of all, let’s do some a little dissection.
Dissection of Relationships and Our Brokenness
Whether we are at church, work, or in our neighborhoods, it is important to cultivate relationships with people. Sometimes, in the process of doing this, people become jealous, or they turn on us for no reason. If there is a reason, it is one that doesn’t make sense to us.
However, since we are all broken, we all do things that are characteristic of our sin nature. In a few of these instances, there are times when the people who turn on us are toxic, and the best thing to do is to setup boundaries. In many cases, this may involve little to no contact at all. Prayer from a distance is the best way to go.
My Witness to the Power of God
When I was going through my divorce, my ex-husband’s behavior got so out of control and toxic, that I had to setup a boundary that he could not come back to our marital residence to visit the kids for some months. They could walk out to the car to go with him.
However, that was the extent of it. What led to this decision? His behavior was so out of control during one particular visit, that it cut through my soul and crushed my spirit. It was also during this time that my grandmother was dying in the hospital. I ended up having an emotional breakdown of sorts and was hanging on by a thread.
All correspondence was done via email for a while. What I didn’t find out until later from my son, is that he had decided he was going to come in anyway. However, as the Lord would have it, the first time that he attempted this, his car broke down. Every time that he decided that he wouldn’t follow the paperwork from the court for his financial obligations, his car would break down. My friend joked with me and said that she would never cross me. I said, ” Why?” Her response was that once I started praying things happened.
Saul’s Witness to the Power of God
Saul became jealous of David because the women sang songs about how David had slain ten thousands and Saul had slain thousands. Saul’s anger got so out of control, that he decided that he would kill David. He sent his messengers ahead of him to find out his exact location.
As God would have it, his messengers ended up prophesying. They entered the place where Samuel and his prophets were praying and prophesying, and God caused this to happen to them. Saul sent messengers out two more times. The same thing happened. Finally, he went himself, and God caused him to be filled with the prophesying spirit. This was done long enough for David to escape.
When David had fled and made his escape, he went to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel went to Naioth and stayed there. Word came to Saul: “David is in Naioth at Ramah”; so he sent men to capture him. But when they saw a group of prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing there as their leader, the Spirit of God came on Saul’s men, and they also prophesied. Saul was told about it, and he sent more men, and they prophesied too. Saul sent men a third time, and they also prophesied. Finally, he himself left for Ramah and went to the great cistern at Seku. And he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?”
“Over in Naioth at Ramah,” they said. So Saul went to Naioth at Ramah. But the Spirit of God came even on him, and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth. He stripped off his garments, and he too prophesied in Samuel’s presence. He lay naked all that day and all that night. This is why people say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”
Talk about the power of God moving! When we do the praying, God does the acting.
We thank you for your grace. Thank you for having our backs when we are literally up against the wall from our enemies. Please help us to remember to set boundaries and pray when we are surrounded by toxic people.
Episode 28: Bad Advice Healing Our Brokenness Podcast Seri...
00:00 / 00:14:10
In case you missed our last episode, Episode 27, Simply Grace, you can check that one out first. Click here. Today’s episode is entitled, “Bad Advice”.
Bad Advice Podcast Outline
Younger Adult Advice
Same Age Group Adult Advice
Older Adult Advice
What the Bible Says About Advice
Solutions for Advice
Welcome to Healing Our Brokenness Episode 28, entitled, “Bad Advice”.
When it comes to making decisions, some of us take way too long. Others of us make decisions too fast. We wish that we had thought things over well. A lot of times, bad decisions can’t be erased. The domino effect can be felt for years. When we make decisions, sometimes we include God and other times we leave him out. God also uses other wisdom-filled people filled with discernment to help us make decisions. Ultimately, we have to decide what we are going to do. Other people can’t make us decide to do what’s best.
Younger Adult Advice
It is good to gather advice from our younger friends. These friends are more than likely raising children younger than ours. They can cause us to have a come to Jesus moment about some of the crazy perfectionistic moments that we had with our kids when they were little, use this advice for our grandkids, and see how it is when younger adults are active in community. Some of our younger friends have been through a lot, and they have old souls. They can give as much advice as an older person.
Same Age Group Adult Advice
The next group of advice can be given from same age-group friends. These friends can give us a different view than we are currently using in raising children, making friends, and living in community. Since God hasn’t made any two people the same, our same-age group friends can help us to reframe what we are thinking regarding life, and vice versa. We tend to share parenting kids of the same age group, and thus we can share similarities and differences. If we are in community with safe friends, then they will go there and tell us what we need to hear.
Older Adult Advice
Our older friends have been there and done that. They have years of advice and experience to
give us. They can serve as mentors for
the younger and middle-aged adults. They
can tell us the lessons they have learned from their struggles in life. Older people are less into the comparison
trap and caring what other people think.
They have more of the you do you and let me do me. They help us to be more at ease. I praise God for my older friends who are
indeed old enough to be my mother. They
have helped me in parenting, living life, and being me.
What does scripture say about giving advice/training
different age groups?
however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine.2 Teach the older men to
be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in
faith, in love and in endurance.
teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be
slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the
younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be
self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be
subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
6 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
We’ve all had times
when we’ve gotten bad advice. And this
is where we have to use discernment and proceed with caution. Healing advice from a person who has been
stuck in self-pity or blame for 15 to 20 years and is seeing no way out wouldn’t
be in our best interest.
Getting advice for how to deal with your spouse from a
person who hates all men or all women because they were wounded by one wouldn’t
be in our best interest as well.
Rehoboam got advice from the younger men in his age group. And it was the worst advice ever. Jeroboam had expressed to Rehoboam that his
father Solomon had a heavy labor load on them.
They wanted the load to be lightened.
The older men who advised Solomon said to lighten the load. The younger
men who were Rehoboam’s friends, said to increase the load. Not only did he deliver this awful news to
Jeroboam and the people, but he was filled with contempt and nasty with the
went to Shechem, for all Israel had gone there to make him king. 2 When Jeroboam son of Nebat
heard this (he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon),
he returned from[a]Egypt. 3 So they sent for Jeroboam,
and he and the whole assembly of Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him: 4 “Your father put a heavy
yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on
us, and we will serve you.”
answered, “Go away for three days and then come back to me.” So the people went
6 Then King
Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his
lifetime. “How would you advise me to answer these people?” he asked.
replied, “If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and
give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.”
Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young
men who had grown up with him and were serving him. 9 He asked them, “What is
your advice? How should we answer these people who say to me, ‘Lighten the yoke
your father put on us’?”
10 The young
men who had grown up with him replied, “These people have said to you, ‘Your
father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter.’ Now tell them, ‘My
little finger is thicker than my father’s waist. 11 My father laid on you a
heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I
will scourge you with scorpions.’”
days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had
said, “Come back to me in three days.” 13 The king answered the
people harshly. Rejecting the advice given him by the elders, 14 he followed the advice of
the young men and said, “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even
heavier. My father scourgedyou with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.” 15 So the king did not listen
to the people, for this turn of events was from the Lord, to fulfill the word the Lord had spoken to Jeroboam son of
Nebat through Ahijahthe Shilonite.
16 When all
Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, they answered the king:
share do we have in David,
what part in
To your tents, Israel!
Look after your
own house, David!”
So the Israelites went home. 17 But as for the Israelites
who were living in the towns of Judah, Rehoboam still ruled over them.
Rehoboam sent out Adoniram,[b] who
was in charge of forced labor, but all Israel stoned him to death. King
Rehoboam, however, managed to get into his chariot and escape to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel has been in
rebellion against the house of David to this day.
This one bad decision that king Rehoboam made caused a domino
So, the question is: how do
we combat bad advice?
Remember God’s advice is the best advice.
Don’t forsake the advice of our elders, especially when they have
proven that they possess wisdom and discernment.
Test the spirit as the scripture said. God often uses what we think he is telling us
by giving us confirmation through other people.
The question that I want to leave with you today is: “What bad
advice were you given that you are still paying the price for today?
Thank you for being a part of our listening audience for Healing
our Brokenness’ Episode 28: “Bad Advice”. If this podcast is making a difference in your
life, please submit a review, tag a friend, subscribe on YouTube, iTunes, or wherever
your podcast medium is located.
When it comes to toxic people, it’s not a matter of if they will gossip, judge, or criticize others, it’s a matter of when. Have you ever entertained a toxic person? If you did, what were your reasons? Did you have a lot of regrets afterwards? Do you remember other people being hurt?
A couple of days ago, I starting reading the book entitled, “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown. I have only read a little bit so far. However, there is a story that Brene tells in the beginning that deals with a shame reel after she has given a presentation. I am very familiar with that reel myself.
We all have a series of events that happens when shame knocks at our door. When it comes to mine, it is usually trauma-induced. When a traumatic memory comes up, it may or may not be foreknown that this memory was traumatic for me. Not only does shame play itself out, but anxiety comes in.
I feel embarrassed, start self-protecting, anxiety sets in, and then I start wondering if I should be vulnerable and discuss this issue with my therapist. My shame reel plays by replaying how I will tell my therapist, what I will say, how she will react, and what she will say. This will keep playing until I am vulnerable and get the issue out. Shame is reduced at this point.
I think of it like God chipping away at a brick wall of my shame with a hammer when I allow vulnerability to take over.
“Simple Split Pea Soup” Recipe
Now, on to the recipe. I wanted to make something quick, and with adequate protein, and so, Easter weekend I made what I call, ” “Simple Split Pea Soup” .
This recipe only requires a few ingredients. The longest length of time is spent on the split peas boiling. Other than that, everything else is straightforward. As you are learning by now, I love using the combination of spinach and fire-roasted salsa tomatoes to add into a lot of my concoctions.
Total Prepping and Cooking Time:
1 hour 45 minutes
1 can of cut-leaf spinach
1 can of fire-roasted tomatoes
1 16 oz bag of split peas
3 tablespoons of oil or vegan butter
1 container of vegan broth
onion powder- 3 tablespoons
curry powder- 3 tablespoons
parsley – 3 tablespoons
cumin – 3 tablespoons
chili powder – 3 tablespoons
turmeric- 3 tablespoons
1/2 cup of quinoa
Boil the bag of split peas for 1 hour 45 minutes after quickly rinsing them off.
Boil the quinoa for 18 minutes.
While the split peas are boiling, saute the spinach and tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of oil or butter.
Add the saute mix and quinoa to the peas after 1 hour and 10 minutes, along with 1 tablespoon of oil.
Add the broth after 1 hour and 20 minutes, along with all the seasonings.
Let the soup boil for another 25 minutes and enjoy.
Episode 26: The Sin of Cynicism-Part 2 Healing Our Brokenness Podcast Seri...
00:00 / 00:24:56
In case you missed last week’s recording, “The Sin of Cynicism-Part 1”, you can find that here. Today’s recording is Episode 26-The Sin of Cynicism-Part 2.
The Sin of Cynicism-Part 2 Outline
Reflection on Part 1
Dissection of The Older Brother
Welcome to Healing Our Brokenness Part 2. Today’s recording is episode 26: The Sin of Cynicism-Part 2. Just as a quick recap from Part 1, we discussed the fact that Cynicism has several factors that lead up to its brokenness as a state of mind:
Reflection on Part 1
You have experienced a lot of issues with betrayal.
There are historical patterns of things not working out in your
favor, or working out in a way that is undesirable to you.
You get to the point of seeing too much and hearing too much to
think that things will be different.
Most of the people that you trusted let you down.
The few times that you thought things would turn out good, they
turned out bad, and you lost faith in believing that things could be different.
In the case of the two stories that we are
going to look at today, the two biblical characters carried out the sin of
cynicism because of two main reasons:
The historical pattern of character of the authority figures.
The lack of legalism that existed for these authority figures.
The two men that we are going to dissect is Jonah
and the older brother of the prodigal son.
Their reasons for cynicism contradict the normal factors. Cynicism set in with both of these men because of the recognition of the good qualities of the father and God.
Dissection of The Older Brother
Let’s explore the story of the prodigal son first.
The dad was gracious, merciful, slow to anger, kind, forgiving,
accepting, non-judgmental, long-suffering, and compassionate.
the prodigal son returned home penniless, hungry, and exhausted from wild
living, the father could have greeted him with judgment, coldness, and
distance. Instead he accepted his son, welcomed
him with a grateful heart that he was safe and sound, and embraced him for who
fact that he ran to meet him to diffuse being shamed by the community was a
bonus. It showed the son that he was
going to be welcomed. There is nothing
worse than messing up big time, and not knowing what other Christians are going
to say as you reenter the house of God or run into them while you are in
Luke 15 tells us:
But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had
compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight,
and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe,
and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and
24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is
found. And they began to be merry.
The father knew that hitting rock bottom was enough of a consequence for the younger son. He didn’t need to enforce further punishment. He also possessed enough self-acceptance that he didn’t worry about being embarrassed in regard to the reaction of the community.
older son dwelled on his sin of cynicism that is evidenced through dialog that
is filled with scornfulness, bitterness, and resentment. He felt that he had been failed. He didn’t focus on his younger brother’s
condition of going from “lost to found”.
Along with his cynicism, he was filled with self-pity and envy: Luke
15: 28-31 reads: “28 And he was angry, and
would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.
29 And he answering said to
his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any
time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make
merry with my friends:
30 But as soon as this thy
son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for
him the fatted calf.
31 And he said unto him, Son,
thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.
32 It was meet that we should
make merry and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and
was lost, and is found.
The father tried to get the older son to go
in twice. We are left wondering what
eventually happened. Did he stay outside
and continue to sulk? One thing this
clear about the brother’s dialog is that not only is he resentful, but he is
filled with broken thinking. Two words
suggest broken thinking when resentment is present: “always and never”.
Our dialog goes something like this:
“I always have to clean the house.”
“She always gets to do something special.”
“I never have the opportunity to do anything.”
Nine times out of ten, these statements aren’t
true. If they are true, there is some type
of dynamic that has been setup that needs to change. Or, perhaps, the financial situation has
changed that allows you to do more for the younger child than you were able to
do for the older child. Whatever the
case may be, broken thinking is present.
First-born children tend to be
rule-followers. With that thought in
mind, the older son definitely felt that he was cheated since he was the “rule-follower”. However, one thing about rule followers is
that they can get caught up in being legalistic because they follow the
rules. God is more concerned about our
hearts than checking off boxes to say that we did something.
Let’s explore the story of Jonah.
Jonah was told to go to Nineveh to warn them about
their sin and God’s judgment for their sin if they continued going in the
direction that they were going.
Jonah decided that he knew best,
and so, he skipped out on the trip altogether, and took a boat ride to a
different part of town. God had a fish
to swallow Jonah. And Jonah prayed
inside of the fish for God’s mercy and grace, and the fish released Jonah.
Let’s discuss the character of the authority figure in Jonah’s story.
Jonah’s story, this figure is God. Not surprisingly,
the dad in our first story is actually a representation of God.
are the characteristics of God that Jonah was familiar with?
God was gracious, merciful, slow to anger, kind, forgiving,
accepting, non-judgmental, long-suffering, and compassionate.
In Jonah’s story, Jonah was bitter, resentful, and cynical because
God proved that his heart was all of those characteristics that were just
mentioned. It was okay for God to have
all these attributes when it came to saving him. However, it wasn’t okay for him to possess
them when it came to saving the Ninevites.
God gave Jonah a chance to get it right. He sent him to Nineveh a second time:
Jonah 3 King James Version
3 And the
word of the Lord came
unto Jonah the second time, saying,
2 Arise, go
unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid
3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the
word of theLord. Now Nineveh was
an exceeding great city of three days’ journey.
4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast,
and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from
his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and
sat in ashes.
7 And he caused it to be
proclaimed and published through
Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor
beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:
8 But let
man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let
them turn everyone from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their
9 Who can
tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we
Ninevites didn’t have to suffer consequences because they repented right
4: 10 says:
10 And God
saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the
evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.
Like the older brother in the prodigal son story, Jonah was so
angry that he didn’t know what to do with himself. God tried reasoning with him. Unfortunately, Jonah wasn’t haven’t it.
His cynicism showed up in verses 1-2, when he basically said, “See,
this is why I didn’t do what you told me.
I know this is how you would respond.”
Here are his exact words: “But it displeased
Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.
2 And he
prayed unto the Lord, and
said, I pray thee, O Lord,
was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before
unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to
anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.
God told Jonah that the people were lost, just as the father tried to help his older son to understand about the prodigal:
Jonah 4: 7-11, KJV
God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd
that it withered.
8 And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God
prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he
fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die
than to live.
9 And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for
the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.
10 Then said the Lord,
Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither
madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:
11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?
Jonah and His Rights
Jonah pouted outside of the city underneath the tree just as the
older brother pouted outside of the party celebration that was going on inside
for the prodigal son. Both men felt that
they were right. Both authority figures
tried reasoning with them twice. Both
were caught up in anger, bitterness, resentment, and cynicism. And both missed out on blessings because of
it. But why? They ignored the sovereignty of God. We have all been in both of their shoes. WE know best.
WE know what justice should look like.
WE can play God and have mercy and grace poured out on us, and others
should not. When we don’t adhere to God’s
plans, his timing, and his will, we trade whole faith for broken pieces of bitterness,
resentment, and cynicism every time.
When cynicism becomes our brokenness, it becomes our idol, and we began to scorn God directly and indirectly because of our trials and other peoples’ success. This is how Satan works. If he can get us to lose trust in our faith due to our trials, others’ brokenness, and the hurt and pain of “church hurt”. Then, he has got us.
So, the question is, how do we get out of this sin. Prayer.
Lots of it. Cynicism is spiritual
like all other sin. Getting grounded in
our identity. Getting rid of our broken
thinking. Changed thinking equals
changed talking and changed talking equals changed behavior. Accept that God is sovereign. Pray and ask God to help you to be able to trust
again, knowing that we can’t live in this world without it. It takes time to heal, but it is
possible. Trust God’s sovereignty and
plans for our lives.
I hope that you have enjoyed today’s episode. Thank you for listening, and if today’s episode
has impressed upon your heart, share it with a friend or coworker.