Anime Bondage: Naruto–3

Okay…time to tackle Sasuke…

I know if you’re done with Shippuden, you probably like Sasuke again. I’ve not started Shippuden yet, so bear with me, this will not be a very positive look at his character.

(I know he gets redeemed people, but it’s one freaking messed up origin story just the same. Oh, also, sorry if you didn’t already know that…but trust me, you’ll want to know it ahead of time if you’re going to endure hundreds of episodes of frustration.)

I’m not going to go into the myriad of things about Sasuke that I do not like, a lot of it is likely going to be changed anyway. I can’t speak for the future, so I’ll just sound stupid if I try to.

But the subject is bondage, so I want to talk about two things. A:  How did Sasuke get into bondage? and B: What did it do to him? Or, what is it? If you will.

I know that thousands of fans have no doubt assessed why and how Sasuke fell from grace, probably to the point where other fans hate the mention of it. I am not going to hyper-analyze everything, no worries. (frankly, it’s not worth the energy.)

I’m just going to highlight a few things:

Sasuke starts off as your typical emo anime boy, less likable than Todoroki (MHA fans) or Gray (Fairy Tail Fans) or whatever nicer version you happen to like (Naofumi from Shield Hero anyone?). But he wasn’t awful. I liked him up till season 3 or so.

He starts to get he typical emo arc of learning to care about friendship, and balance out their darker tenancies with strong loyalty to a select few people. Very common in anime.

Then, also common, he gets stuck with an evil power he didn’t really want, at first. But the allure of it slowly begins to corrupt him.

What is interesting, and horrible, about Sasuke’s fall is that not all of it is his own fault.

Both of the main villain of the series screw with his mind directly. One gives him a cruse mark that feeds of hate and fear and anger and corrodes the person who has it every time they use it.

The other traumatizes the crap out of him twice. In a way no human being should be put through.

Sasuke’s mind snaps, understandably, and though he is healed from the mental strain, the effects on his soul play out in a way that was very painful for everyone involved.

I really don’t like the punk, but I am going to be fair to him. It would be impossible to survive that unscathed, even uncorrupted, without a lot of help that he does not have available to him.

You see, in dealing with trauma of my own, I’ve found only God can really take the poison out of it. In Naruto, God is not often acknowledged. And no one would know that He can heal.

It may surprise the non-christian, or the legalistically raised christian to learn that the bible describes God as the Comforter, Near to the Broken Hearted, Binding up their wounds. The Healer, The Protector, and of course, our savior.

In the bible, it might surprise you to know, easily half of what the people who cry out to God in the major books want to be saved from is emotional turmoil.

Sure, it’s awful to have people trying to kill you., but the sting of despair, of being neglected and alone, is far worse. That is what the prophets, David, and people like Hannah, Hagar, and Abraham and Jacob, are always asking God to help them with.

I know I spend more prayer time begging God for help with my pain than with my real-world problems…if those two things are really different.

I pity Sauske, for being on an anime, and not having access to such help.

You may laugh at me for thinking about it that seriously (trust me, I’m light for a weeabo) but what I can’t laugh off is that Sasuke’s story is something that happens to many, many people. Only, he has the rare blessing of friends who do not give up on him and who risk everything to try to get him back.

Sasuke’s story is not painful because it is rare, it is painful because it is common. Though most people have not had their family massacred (in the West, that is,) they have had their home lives destroyed. There’s a little of Sasuke’s past in my story, probably in yours too. Who had not felt alone? Abandoned? Neglected?

If you haven’t, man, you’re so lucky.

A theme on Naruto is that a child who’s left alone will get twisted by their grief.

I don’t really like that the show always goes to extremes with it, as it gets kind of hard to believe after awhile, but I agree that loneliness causes you to develop weird habits.

I dealt with loneliness a lot as a kid. And, I still do. I still cry about it.

The truth is, we just rarely love each other the way we should and the way we would like to be loved.

Maybe we don’t care, maybe we don’t know how, maybe we just can’t.

Sasuke fell because he had the same problem as everyone, but not the solution. The solution all of us can have, if we search for it. Our pain will drown us if we do not seek a life line, and God is the only life line that never breaks on us.

Now, briefly, what did Sasuke lose? What did bondage do to him?

It’s important to know this, because until you know what you lost, you will not know what to ask for.

Sasuke is warned that he will lose himself if he uses the corrupted power. He is not able to resits the temptation because he has no strength of soul, and never did. But, unlike the usual fare on shows, the curse does not take away your ability to think, or reason, or fight….so what does it do?

The answer seems to be that it takes away your heart.

Not to overthink it, but I noticed that the more Sasuke used it, the less compassion or guilt he had.

This also is real life, people. You may suffer mentally form your baggage, but even if you escape that, your heart is going to be damaged.

It’s not your fault. The only time its our fault is when we could have healed, and we chose not to…like Sasuke.

(I could do a whole part two on the other problems with Sasuke’s choices, but I am trying to focus on how he got into bondage, not on what he did once he was in it, and that’s two different things. I’m trying to prevent it getting that far.)

Well, that’s all temporary anyway. But there are those who never recover once they refuse to heal. I’ve known them, you probably do too.

So, if you take away nothing else, my plea for this post is that you will seek to heal, and not to stay damaged.

The answer is very simple. God is near to the broken heated. With people who are in bondage simply from trauma, going through healing, prayer, and inviting God to bear that burden with them is the answer. How it will look for you specifically will depend, I can’t speak to that. There’s a lot of good resources about it, I recommend checking on John and Stasi Eldredge’s writing and teachings.

Until next time–Natasha.

Anime Bondage: Naruto (pt 2)

Well, no one read the first part of this yet, but far be it form me to let that deter me from writing what I want.

Heck, I’ll read it if no one else will.

So…

Sasuke is the worst. But I think he’s of a different kind of bondage than the other three I mentioned, so I’m reserving him for a separate post.

I’m still talking about how to deal with bondage you didn’t really choose, and with that, we have two characters left. (Probably not the only two on the show, but I like these ones, so let’s do this.)

Neji Hyuga:

Neji’s story is somewhat like Gaara’s. As a kid he was born into the Branch part of the Hyuga clan, he was branded with their special curse mark so that he would always have to protect Hinata, the daughter from the Head of the Clan, who was Neji’s father’s twin brother.

They’re cousins, if you’re confused.

Neji’s a pretty big jerk when he’s introduced, and goes on about destiny more than Pyhrra Nikos, and with a pretty twisted view of it. He thinks it cannot be changed, that we are stuck in certain roles, because the curse mark prevents the bearer from rebelling against the head family.

Neji’s a gifted Ninja, but feels he will never get to pursue that as he would choose, but as has been chosen for him. and resents that his father died to save his uncle.

It’s a messed up story, like most of the character’s are, and it wouldn’t be anime if people didn’t have daddy issues and tragedy in their past.

But Neji’s is resolved rather quickly, and he begins to become a better person, after embracing the path of forgiveness, and deciding to try his hardest to live his own life.

As far as spiritual matters go, that’s an excellent way to begin.

Neji’s story is a prime example of something called Generational Sin. Another anime, Fruits Basket, is pretty much devoted to that subject. And I know I mentioned it before in another post.

Generational Sin is a sin that passes from person to person in a family. The parents teach their children, who teach their children, who teach their children. Often the sin is started by one bad seed, and becomes a pattern over the course of just two or three generations.

Feuds start because of this.

And if it’s strong enough, the Sin can become a curse.

A curse doesn’t have to be bad luck, or even being forced to be evil, in fact, curses are far more often being given a tenancy to a certain self destructive behavior.

If you hear something enough times, and don’t actively resist it, you start to believe it.

Kids who grow up being told their stupid, and won’t ever succeed begin to live in a way that guarantees they won’t. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I think, really, almost all prophecies are self-fulfilling, what we speak effects what will happen.

Neji’s Curse Mark works as a visual representation of hos Family Curses operate. They are all about control, you can’t do a certain thing, you can’ be a certain things, you have to act a certain way.

And this has nothing to do with what class you’re in, all that’s superficial. I’m talking about things like holding onto a grudge, criticizing people constantly, addictions, anger issues, deceitfulness.

People used to get branded by what family they were. IF you read any book from the 18th or 19th century, chances are you’ll see references to someone from a family who’s known for dishonesty, or sluttishness, or pride. It’s all over L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series, for instance.

And if you try to break out of your family pattern, as C. S. Lewis points out in The Four Loves, the family will bring down all their force on you to get you to conform.

This has occasionally worked in someone’s favor. Pressure to be good is not always a bad thing, if the person retains their individuality even so.

Neji’s cousin Hinata is, despite her position, a kind person who doesn’t seem to blame Neji at all for his resentment of her. Though she eventually learns to stand up for herself.

Within families, there are usually a few individual who break the cycle. For whatever reason, they don’t fall prey to the temptations the other members do. Much might depend on how well they understand why those temptations work.

In the example I’m using, though so far it hasn’t been explained, one could infer that Hinata simply noticed how the Curse Mark and the system in place was cruel, and bred resentment. She noticed that hatred and mistrust were at the center of it, and she decided not to be full of those things. She’s far from fully understanding, but she’s not cruel.

Neji himself realizes that part of the Curse’s effectiveness is making you live by it, by hating people so much that you have to be forced to help. His own father realized that if he chose to protect his brother, then the Curse wasn’t making him do it by force, and so, in way, he was free.

In Spiritual terms, Family Curses are hard to break without self awareness. But once you realize the patterns in place, it can be simple. It’s not easy.

In my own life, I have a father who carried on the curse of resentment and fault finding with me that he learned form his own parents. Despite hating that they did it, and recognizing it was bad, he has not yet shaken it off himself, or come to really understand why it was so destructive, and so he put it on me. We do what we are taught.

But, I’ve chosen a different path. It’s no good to just vow never to be like your parents. You have to dig deep into your own soul, you have to learn why your parents fell to these sins, why you yourself are tempted.

It’s no good denying it, we like to think we’d never be like our parents, but we inherit their weaknesses.

The good news is, those weaknesses can become our strengths and our children’s strengths if they are exposes and turned around.

I have had tenancies to tear people down and take a negative approach to things, much like my father, and to wallow in self-pity instead of responsibility.

It’s been hard to break that, because if he got away with it, why can’t I?

But, I don’t want to be that person.

I’ve had to dig up the roots of why I do this, for myself, and not just blaming my dad for every bad habit. After all, it’s not his fault I’m tempted to bet he same way, that’s my own nature, wanting to take the easy way out.

And, the Curse, unfair as it seems, is the easy way out. Change is hard, and it’s often discouraged by your family.

When Christians address Family curses, we break them off, but we also focus on healing from the pain. Because the pain has to be healed if you’re going to start moving forward. Forgiveness is a big step to healing the pain.

Forgiveness isn’t just about letting your family off the hook, that’s not what it does, forgiveness is not hanging on to their actions, because that keeps you tied to them.

I forgive my dad, because he’s my dad, and because I will not let him dictate my life anymore by blaming him for everything. I don’t ignore what he did, but I don’t cherish it either.

Neji does, thankfully, realize this. For him, breaking the Curse would be a simple matter, since he’s already let go of it.

I’ll get more into what happens if you don’t let go when I tackle Sasuke, and a character from a different show also, but for now, thanks for reading–Natasha.

Anime Bondage: Naruto (pt 1)

Okay….here we go.

If you read my previous post: Thank you, first of all.

This is going to be fun.

So, why use anime to talk about this?

Because anime literally has spiritual battles in pretty much every show. Even innocent shows tend to use things like aura; the show Fruits Basket uses the idea of thought Waves; and curses.

What brought this to a head for me was recently starting Naruto, and Fairy Tail. I know I’m late to the party, but I never watched anime till the last 10 months or so. I know that most weebos probably will already know about Naruto.

I’m getting the worst over with first, because Naruto has unusually dark examples of this, but with both Naruto and Fairy Tail I will be going over the kind of spiritual problem that is not actually your fault.

That said, let’s…wade in, you really should’t dive into this subject headfirst.

So, Naruto had 4 huge examples of demons and spiritual issues, and plenty of smaller ones.

If you watched it you’ve already guessed I’m going to bring up Gaara and Sasuke, but I also want to use Neji and Naruto himself as examples.

I’ll tackle Gaara first, since he’s the biggest, in a way.

For the non-fans, here’s the skinny on this character.

Gaara of the desert: Tragic past, has sand raccoon spirit inside him that kills people, can’t sleep because of it or it will take over, was bound to the spirit since birth.

Gaara did not choose to be possessed or to be bound to a demon. As he tells his story, his village put the monster inside of him in order to gain power for their people, they killed his mother in order to link it to him. It’s an awful story.

(I’ve only gotten through part of the first show, by the way, so if I get anything wrong, please forgive me. It will still illustrate my point either way.)

Gaara, as a child, didn’t like being that way. He wondered why people were afraid of him, why he kept hurting them by accident, and why he felt unloved.

Then, as the story goes, his uncle told him the truth, and told him no one would love him, so he should love himself.

Gaara, under the trauma of the moment, snapped and resolved to live only to kill people who tried to kill him, or who struck him as powerful enough to validate his existence…or to kill in general.

We might all wish this story was an exaggeration, but it’s not. We’ve heard the news stories of people like this.

But I can go further, because I know also what caused it.

The show doesn’t hide that it’s a demonic problem. This kind is a serous kind, it’s something known as a blood oath or blood tie.

It’s most common in cults to do it.

My family knew a girl once who had a blood oath with an evil spirit.

I prefer not to get into it too much, but these oaths usually involve sacrificing an animal, or cutting yourself. The Bible tells us never to do this as an act of penance or worship. Self-harm is forbidden.

God made the body, He made it to work. He made it as a gift to us, he does not want us beating it up like its garbage.

The result of a blood oath is not something I know much about, I can say it’s likely to be like Gaara, the person will probably deal with not being able to control themselves, or with being haunted by pain and guilt. With feeling alone.

The really serious part though is that just casting it out is not likely to work with that kind of bondage.

Every bondage can be broken, but spiritual warfare is very specific.

I’m not writing out steps to it here, it would be foolish for me to try to walk you through it. You may not need it, and on the off chance you’re reading this and you do need it, you’d need a more specific approach than a blog can provide.

This is just to help identify the problem and solution. And if you’re into anime, it might also be interesting for you.

Anyway, with a blood tie, with any tie where death was part of how it happened, you need to know Jesus, and His blood has to cover you, His death has to free you. That’s the only thing powerful enough. An evil power has to be cancelled by a higher good power.

Holy water isn’t going to cut it, in other words. Actually, Holy Water is not scriptural, I’ve never heard of it working.

Gaara’s case goes further though than just the blood tie.

The strength of all bondage is lies. A curse can’t stick without a cause.

Gaara was first neglected, then traumatized, at a very young age before he could even begin to know how to make sense of it. Sadly, this is common to many kids, especially ones whose parents dabble in the occult. They often don’t get a choice about being raised in the darkness of that.

But there are amazing stories of people coming out of that thanks to God’s intervention.

With trauma, you have to walk through it. Demons stick to brokenness like sharks to blood, or leeches, if you will. It’s necessary to seek healing if something terrible happened to you that started your problem, or to someone you know. That applies even if it’s more emotional and not spiritual, but it’s rarely one or the other, it’s almost always both.

There is healing in Jesus.

There is one more part to freedom.

Gaara took the wrong path, he stands as a foil to Naruto, when he’s first introduced before his redemption arc, because he took the dark path.

He wasn’t given much of a choice, unlike Naruto, he can’t control his power well, he also was born to be an assassin, and his village didn’t really make it an option. A man who’s got no way out will usually learn to like his prison, in a twisted way, because the torment would be too much to bear otherwise.

It’s like being a masochist. Something is broken inside you, but you can’t fix it, so you come to enjoy being broken and bruised as a way out.

In Mark, I think, Jesus casts a demon out of a boy who had it since childhood, and it tried to kill him with fire and water many times. Jesus says that this kind only comes out by prayer and fasting.

It’s harder with long-standing problems.

If you have had a problem like this, don’t try to deal with it alone. Seek deliverance, but use wisdom. See what kind of reputation the place has. Or find some Christian who understand these things to pray with you privately. It’s always better to have help, more than one person preferably, with things this intense. As Gaara points out, Solitude eats away at everyone if it’s not addressed.

And, never believe you are a monster, if you have a monstrous feeling, it’s not you. There’s a way out.

Thanks for sticking it out, until nest time, stay true–Natasha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 411 on Spirits (bad and good).

I have a weird subject today. Warning: If you don’t believe in the spiritual realm, you will probably find this post disconcerting.

I think people are surprised to learn Christians believe in demons, it tends to be treated as the same as believing in ghosts, curses, and magic.

What’s more surprising to me is how many Christians believe in angels, but don’t seem to think about there being a dark side to spiritual things.

I wish there wasn’t, believe me, but it’s impossible to believe that if you’re paying attention to what’s going on with the word and the people you know.

So, I am one of those Christians who believes in all of it, I think ghosts are real (but they are not actually people, they are spirits disguised as people); possession; curses; and magic (also demonic); I believe in miracles, I know people who were healed by prayer. I go to a church where that happens frequently, as a matter of fact.

It’s easier to say all this stuff is fake if you’ve never bothered to look into it.

I remember when I was younger, my non-christian relatives were watching a show about ghosts haunting houses, and I objected to it. My grandma said “How’s it any different from what you believe in?” Or was it my aunt, or both.

Well might you ask that, actually.

Not to sound stuck up, but to someone who’s met God, the idea that demonic activity and divine activity are the same thing is… disgustingly ridiculous.

Let me say, people mistake demons for God, it’s happen all throughout history (Idolatry) but, as C. S. Lewis pointed out, you cannot make the opposite mistake. Not usually. Once you know God, you are much harder to fool.

I’ve made the opposite mistake myself, but when God is actually speaking to me, I don’t often think it’s something else.

I know that a lot of people have been burned by Christians obsessed with spiritual warfare and with visitations of the Holy Spirit. I will say, some do focus too much on God showing up in a moment of time, and not enough on the fact that we are meant to be carrying his presence in us all day, everyday.

God is the most important thing, there is no mistake about that. God must be first.

The evil spirits in the world are deadly to non-believers, but more of a nuisance to believers, except in extreme cases.

I believe that many mental health problems are actually demonic problems. Often it’s both that and trauma and life choices combining to leave a person in a very dark place.

Chances are, if you live in a country in Africa or Asia, you may actually already believe in this stuff, I’m aware it’s common knowledge in a lot of the world. If you live in the West…it’s not really as rare as people think.

I’ve read so many stories, and met people who’ve had experiences with that kind of thing. Actual skeptics are rare. In my college, secular college, English class, when my teacher brought up ghosts, not many people didn’t believe in them. I don’t remember any, off the top of my head.

So, I realize you actually may not disbelieve me, and I’m going to write accordingly. If you do think I’m crazy…well, I don’t really care, actually.

That said, people who know this is for real often are scared to death of it. OR prefer not to think of it. The attitude with demons and curses and spirits is that they are beyond our control, and so we had better just hope not to run into them.

The idea in pretty much all horror movies is that monsters or psychos cannot be stopped by people, so you have to hope you’re not the main victim in the story. I hate those movies for that very reason.

It’s not true, actually.

What people arguably find harder to believe than the existence of demons is Christian’s way of handling the matter. Because it’s quite simple. We take authority over it.

That demons cannot be fought against or stopped is the biggest lie about them, and the one they love to perpetuate…I’ve heard them do so.

(I don’t converse with demons by the way, I’ve seen people attacked by them.)

I am not claiming to be an expert on this subject, all this is what you’ll find int he Bible alone, without theology.

The way it works is if you truly know God, he puts His Spirit into you, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not control you, it’s not possession, it’s more like the bond between a husband and wife. Being one and yet still two separate people.

The Holy Spirit is what makes us children of God. It is what brings our own spirit back to life after being dead in sin. It is also our defense against the evil one.

The solution to evil is always to overcome it with good. Overcoming demons is the natural outcome of carrying the Spirit of God, not the goal of it.

Demons seem scary until you’ve met God, and then…they seem small and pathetic.

Actually, the Bible says that at the end of time when the Devil himself is revealed, the kings of the earth will look narrowly upon him and be amazed that such a small thing made the world tremble.

Jesus also commissioned His followers to cast out demons. He spent about 1/3 of his Ministry doing that and healing, if I remember correctly.

Also, the Bible warns us that nonbelievers should never try to cast out demons. There is a story in Acts about it happening, and the demons tore their clothes off and chased them out. Saying “Jesus I know, and Paul (a christian) I know, but who are you?”

Spiritual authority is about identity. Those who belong to God have Christ’s authority, those who do not don’t.

Now, it maybe someone who’s dabbled in this subject will be thinking “What about witches? What about people who claim to do this who are not Christians? What about physics?”

The answer: They’re fake.

the power isn’t, but I read a story in “The Cross and the Switchblade” about a dabbler like that trying to rid someone of a demon, it failed.

Some of these people know Christians are a threat, by the way. My church had a witch show up to curse it for several weeks, nothing happened, I think she eventually got saved actually.

I’m not making this up. Believe it’s real or not, but these people do believe it’s real, and they hate Christians.

As for fortune tellers, we are warned to stay away from them. Even if what they say comes to pass, no good ever came of going to them for it, as Macbeth makes clear.

Since I’m ticking people off, I might as well add that horoscopes are also off limits. Astrology is not something to screw around with.

Get mad at me if you wish, but what do you think is behind it?

However, maybe you aren’t mad, maybe you believe me, and you’re scared.

I know, because I used to be also.

So, I’m going to end this with a reassurance: Whatever you might have seen, the powers of darkness are nothing to God. It might be you’ve been a person who’s had that problem yourself, maybe your whole life. Maybe church didn’t give you an answer for it, I’m sad when I think of how many churches are ignorant of it.

Whatever the case, you don’t have to live in it. God can take the worst darkness and destroy it. Sometimes it only seems overwhelming and terrible because we’ve never seen the alternative.

And if you were a christian and read this far, I’d encourage you to research this if you never have, and learn how to pray about it.

I’m not trying to teach you warfare, I don’t think a blog is the best place to do that on, people might get weird ideas out of context.

I just want you to be aware of it.

I’ve never gone into it a whole lot because I expect people to think I’m nuts, but if you’ve followed me for awhile, you now I’m not obsessed with this stuff, I prefer to talk about normal things most of the time.

I actually only decided to address this because anime often deals with the subject, and I began to think: so many people watch anime, and if they see this and have similar experiences, they may try to apply what they see because it’s all they’ve ever seen about it.

And anime rarely provides the solution to such problems accurately, I plan on doing a follow up post about that with specific characters from different shows, so if you found this interesting but would prefer to discuss it fictionally and not in real life, check that out.

Or if you’re simply curious about what I’ll say, even if you aren’t buying this at all.

Or if the subject bugs you and you want to learn more about defeating it.

Whatever the case, until then, stay true–Natasha.

 

Jealousy.

I had a crazy last week guys, so I didn’t post.

Fun fact: My out of state friends tell me that you don’t refer to girls or mixed groups as “guys” in some states. Maybe that’s going out now that we share so much media, but apparently it marks me as a West Coast gal.

Now, you’re seriously going to wonder about it the next time you see someone use it, right?

Anyway, I have a myriad of weighty subjects I could write about, and probably will, but I’ve been considering for a while that I should write a post about Jealousy.

I’ve mentioned it before, that there’s good and bad jealousy, but I apparently ave never devoted a whole post to it. So here goes…

Guys: You need to get more jealous.

Yeah, I said it.

I’ll cut to the chase, according to the Bible, Jealousy is a godly quality.

“Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” (Exodus 34:14.)

I saw in some comment section somewhere that this person was talking God down for being described as jealous. God has been criticized for this declaration.

It certainly can be annoying, if you are trying to devote yourself to other things besides God, to have Him always interfering with it. A lot of trouble in life happens because we chase after false gods, and the Lord destroys them, much how H destroys their idols and altars in the Bible.

Jealousy is a consuming fire, as God describes Himself to be. But we should be grateful for that, because int he same way that fire destroys what we love and idolize, it also eats up the things we find ourselves in bondage to.

God will not have us enslaved to fear, doubt, and depression any more than to pleasures. He is just as jealous that the darkness will not have us as He is that false light will not.

There are some movies and shows and books that have beautifully portrayed this with human relationships. Often ones with a bit riskier of a plot. A character had a love interest that had a darkness or flaw that they can’t seem to shake, the character proceeds to love with a fierce kind of love, ready to go to any lengths to deliver them from their darkness.

The infamous Luke and Darth Vader example isn’t the most poignant for jealousy specifically, but it shows a little bit of it.

I really love that type of story.

Often we do not think of that as jealousy.

Jealousy is a fierce hatred for something that steals away your beloved. Anything that takes what you feel is rightfully yours from you.

It gets a bad rap because people are so flawed that they take jealousy to an extreme it shouldn’t be taken to. They want to own more than they should.

In an odd paradox, you really can have someone belong to you completely, yet belong to themselves at the same time. The more free they are, the more yours they are. Good jealousy exists to protect that freedom form outsiders who might try to steal it away be deceit or by force.

Jealousy, in romance, is a sign that the relationship is real, usually. There are petty people who will be jealous over nothing. It’s also not right to be jealous of someone who’s already committed to another person. even if you can’t help the feeling, you shouldn’t act on it.

Yet, I really can’t stand the thought of being with a guy who wouldn’t get at least a little upset if he caught me with another guy, or another guy was hitting on me in front of him.

I’ve liked someone for quite a while, and I got surprised by the amount of jealousy I felt over the thought of him dating someone else. (We’re not together, sadly, but the idea made me mad anyway.)

I am no stranger to jealousy of other types too. My emotionally abusive father liked to make me jealous on purpose. Plenty of parents do it by accident, he would deliberately provoke me.

Oh, yeah, people can be provoked to jealousy.

We all have heard a story about the girlfriend or wife who messes with her husband to get him to prove a point.

I actually don’t think that is always wrong. Don’t set someone up for failure, but to reasonably test their loyalty is sometimes appropriate.

“Set me as a seal upon your heart, As a seal upon your arm; For love is as strong as death, Jealousy as cruel as the grave; Its flames are flames of fire, A most vehement flame.” (Song of Solomon 8:6)

In this verse, a new bride is telling her husband to put her as a seal on his arm, and heart, warning him that love and jealousy are like death, relentless.

Love is relentless trying to do good to the beloved, and if the beloved wanders from that, ceases to receive it or to be around for it, Love will be painful like death. The loss and grief of love is a lot like losing someone to death, as you who have had very painful breakups can attest to.

On top of that, if the beloved goes to another source for what he or she should only get form you, jealousy will seek to remove that source by any means necessary.

And yet, the bride warning her groom is done in a pure and passionate tone that I find very compelling. It is not said in cruelty or bitterness or even in distrust. The Bride simple recognizes that her beloved is precious, and others besides her may want to steal him away.

There’s a desire in women, and I think men too (I’m not one) to protect someone by the sheer act of loving them. AS if all the love we pour into a person could be like a shield to them from evil.

The truth is, it can be. Love will not stop you from suffering, but if you’ve received it and let it sink deeply into your heart and soul, that love can protect you from suffering destroying who you are.

Love is joy even in the worst of circumstances. Peace in the face of trouble. Hope when there is nothing else to hope for.

If anyone can love us, then, there must be something worth living for and waiting for. Love itself proves the existence of better things. Nothing so wonderful could exist if the world was all bad.

And we should protect that with all the jealousy we can muster. It’s why toxic relationships have to be ended. Protect your ability to love and be loved above all else, people.

And if you meet someone who’s as fierce about that as you are, you stick with that one.

Well, that’s all I have to say for now, until next time–Natasha.