When you want to help…

It’s funny how telling the truth can open doors for you.

My sisters and I spent 4 hours yesterday talking to a girl whit a very similar situation to the one we got out of. Same kind of abuse, mostly, same hiding behind the church, same manipulation. Same fear too.

She seemed relieved just to be listened to her. Like us, she’s had people blow her off one too many times.

It’s hard to hear other people’s stories, knowing they are still suffering, but haven’t been able to break free yet. We encouraged her to have a plan, and reach out for help, but we can’t do it for her, not without proof.

I don’t know where it will go, but I do know she seemed a little lighter after unloading all that. Just not suffering alone can be helpful.

It’s funny, between being at home, the life of a victim can be pleasant by turns, just like anyone else’s. What makes abuse a little hard to explain is that you can seem like you do normal things, and the twistedness is always in how it’s just not done the way other people do them.

Like while we talked her parents must have called at least 4 times to ask if she was okay, but she was with us the “Super Christian purists” as her mom thinks, at a cafe two minutes from their house, just talking.

I was like “what do they think you’re doing to do? Drugs?”

But that’s her reality.

At least I didn’t have to deal with that, my dad was paranoid, but didn’t really care about me enough to check in most of the time. Only if I was out past 10pm usually. He did try to discourage me from liking most of my friends, and boys…and anyone who wasn’t in his circle.

Well, comparing stories is useless except to sympathize.

I could see plenty of myself in her experiences, and some things are worse. The physical abuse is worse for her, the emotional abuse was worse for me, but, really, it’s just as damaging either way.

It’s so sick to think how normal this is for so many people, and how often it is even in the church. I don’t blame the church for what these people do, just for not being open about talking about it so that people can seek protection there, like they should be able to do.

My church is better than many, and I can’t speak for every church, of course, just none of the other ones I went to were useful, but since my dad did pick the churches we went to, that may be a symptom more than a cause. He always picked ones where he could get away with it.

Perhaps other people may be wondering what it’s like for us to talk to others with similar experiences, knowing what we know now.

I think the hardest thing is, knowing how much to say. There are somethings I was only ready to hear after months of therapy, recovery, and healing. There are some things I was only willing to accept once I had already decided to trust God.

What I told her is what I think I needed most to hear when I was stuck:

That, I didn’t get explanations and answers until I had already chosen to trust. Understanding does come, faith does come, once you have left that up to God.

I also mentioned that I don’t know why some people get saved from these situations supernaturally, and others don’t. But that God did work in our lives, and I can’t deny that. Why do some people get the fairy tale rescue and others get the action hero type where you’re trained to do it yourself, who knows? Could have something to do with ones calling.

Not everyone who has been abused is called to help other people get out of it, but the girl in question is already one of the healers, I think, and like us, it could be she is supposed to learn how to overcome it so she can help other people.

Let’s be real, for every Christian in this situation, there’s probably 100 non Christians at least, if not more, in a similar or worse situation. Christians may still get abused, but, it can’t be denied it happens to us less often. It would be very strange if it didn’t.

To be able to enter that field and understand the kind of pain and damage those people carry, and knowing how God fixes it, you have to have felt it yourself.

I like to quote Betsie Ten Boom “There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still. They will believe us because we have been here.”

We were there.

I am still recovering. New breakthroughs in defeating anxiety are still happening for me every month. New memories that are losing their power. New things I realized about freedom. I am not the same person, but also, I have always been this person.

I tried to give our friend hope. I said “It’s not easy to choose that path, but if you choose it, years from now, at the other end, you will be a new person.”

It’s up to her and we know that. As much as I believe it’s morally wrong to give in and choose hatred and bitterness, I know it can not be forced to forgive and heal. You have to want that.

We told her how we wanted a better life than that, well, I did. And how I fed myself with stories about it so I knew there was something better out there, so I had something to hope for.

I still do that to this tday.

I read Webtoons obsessively sometimes, and sometimes just casually, I know they aren’t very realistic for the most part, some are better at that.

But what it does is constantly put before my eyes a best case scenario, a better version than what I saw growing up.

To the point where my idea of marriage is far more connected to what I believe it should be, than to what I saw. I realize that is actually rare for someone in my position.

I didn’t realize it till recently, talking to other people, and seeing how they hate men, they hate marriage, and they hate relationships, all because of that association with their past.

Like Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice, I was not informed just by my own family.

Trashy romances (of which many webtoons are not by the way, all due respect to those authors) have few uses in this world, but if you read it with an eye for what is real, even amidst what isn’t, you can begin to dream.

Its also good to read true stories of happy couples, realizing they really do exists, and not listening to bitter people who’ve never made a relationship work tell you that it never happens.

My father spoke very negatively of marriage, though he said my mom was the most wonderful woman in the world, he also referred to her “jokingly” as his slave, made fun of her weight, her singing, and would gross us all out on purpose and tell us stories we said we didn’t want to hear, if we protested, he got upset.

If I went by that, I’d think men were just what the angry feminists say.

But I’ve also read of men who are much, much more considerate, and been treated better by other guys I know, and had some stereotypes called into question even by my cousin.

Heck, men can be more emotionally damaged than women a lot in this country because of our gender stereotypes about them. At least people will believe me if I say it happened.

I don’t hate men. I do detest the kind of men who do thinks I detest, I detest women like that too.

I’m lucky. I was shown the foolishness of doing that much sooner than many women are. But I also wanted to be fair.

I think really, it’s all in what you want to be true.

Someone who really wants it to be true that true love exists, that gentlemen are not extinct, that women are actually compassionate (some of them), that freedom from trauma happens… that person will not give up until they find those things. The odds are, in this life, they will eventually, if you live long enough.

Someone who has already accepted that it’s all a lie will stop looking, and if you don’t seek , you don’t find.

Jesus promised that everyone who asks receives, everyone who seeks finds, and to whoever knocks the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:8)

He didn’t say it happens the first time you ask, he told us to ask again and again until we get it.

He also said he who endures to the end will be saved.

It maybe that some people do not make it out, but I believe, if they seek, if they ask, if they knock, either they are delivered in this life, or in the next. Usually in this life.

Lucky for us God also controls the next life.

I suppose that could sound naive, childish, and even crazy to many people.

Many people are bitter and jaded, and have never understood God to begin with.

To the true believer, the knowledge of God provides something that makes all this suffering worth it. What can we explain about it? It’s like breathing, or like sleeping, it’s not something you really overthink while you’re doing it, you just are.

Of course we have times of questioning if it really is worth it, but it’s my understanding that anything you really love in life, you only really love if you do it when it’s not fun, and believe it’s worth doing even when you’re not getting rewarded for it.

I don’t write for attention, though I do appreciate every view and like that I get, but it’s not why I write.

Just the same, I don’t believe in God and walk with him to get out of pain. I do get out of more pain because of that, I get through pain because of that, but it’s not why I do it.

Getting credit for hard work is the proper reward for the work, but so is just doing the work itself and seeing what you made. In the same way, getting to know God is the proper reward for putting effort into it, and relief form suffering is just the other natural outcome of doing it.

I mean most things have more than one good result. Sex gives pleasure in the moment, but it also creates new life, that takes a little longer doesn’t it? And it’s a lot more work to bring that to fruition than it is to have sex (so I hear) but neither one nor the other is unnatural, or bad. Only one might argue that the long term, harder pleasure of having children is more valuable than the short term pleasure of sex. I’d agree there.

Sometimesknowng God is like sex, exhilaritng, and instantous, and the eoffrt is met with a reward in the moment, you cna’t distuibngis them. (of course there’s going tob e some margin for erro here, just like in real life, not like the movies).

Sometimes knowing God is like having a baby. Plenty of pain, discomfort, and confusion before the final miracle happens, and that miracle tens to just start another series of miracles in the form of child rearing.

Not everyone likes children, not everyone likes sex, for that matter. Ad not everyone likes God. But it doesn’t change how the natural order of things works, and to my mind, whether I am liking it or not, this is the way life works.

If it seems naive, then all I can say is I’ve tried cynicism, and it didn’t do anything for me. Perhaps child-likeness is better in the long run. Cynicism doesn’t make you happy, only self satisfied, and that pleasure just isn’t worth it for what you sacrifice along the way.

all this is osmehting y firend is going to hav eto elarn for herlse,f htough, ad so will anyone else. All I can do is pointe them to wehre this could go, if you are willing. I can’t walk for them.

There are times we have to carry each other, but at some point, all of us will have to stand on our own tow feet and choose what to do with our lives. Love, or Fear; Forgiveness, or Hatred. Complaining or Patience; Depression, or Gratitude.

We can’t make that switch all at once, but in one moment, we can decide what we’re going to aim for. And get as close as we can until the day we die.

And that’s whay I’ve learned about it. I don’t know if oeopel will take my adivce or not, but it’s the trueht. And here, even secular thearpay agrees to a certiane xtent.

Hope this helped, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

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One and Only

I have had this idea in my queue for almost  a year, and I never got around to finishing it, figured it was time to remedy that.

Story Time:

I had a conversation recently too that seemed to go along with the topic (of course I’ll simplify it in the recounting.)

We were having “philosophy class” (as I jokingly call it) with mes cousines  (French plural form of “cousin” if you don’t know), and we began plying my 13 year old relative with some questions about moral compasses, and worldview.

I introduced the Kohberg 6 levels of Moral Development to him. You can Google that, I got the idea from Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire” and have found them very useful for examining people’s character, real and fictional.

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  1. I don’t want to get in trouble
  2. I want a reward
  3. I want to please someone
  4. I follow the rules
  5. I am considerate of other people
  6. I have a personal moral code and I stick to it

Well, finding his level to be from 1-3, in his opinion, maybe also 4, we asked him why. Upon more delving into worldview, we pointed out that though level 6 is the goal, according to the author of said book (Rafe Esquith), level 6 is only good if you know your moral code is good. Suppose you were Hitler, or Stalin, people with their own code… and it was of the devil. 

Well, that’s a difficult question for a 13 year old, though, I will say, one I would have definitively been tackling at that age, I’m special. But he considered it and said that “We can’t really know we’re right. Anyone could be right or wrong.”

My sisters and I exchanged looks.

“So, pluralism,” I said. “Or, Post-Modernism, moral relativity. You believe that there is no right or wrong answer.” 

“Yes, ” he said “anyone could be right, and it’s just the majority’s opinion that they are wrong.”

“What about Hitler, don’t most people feel that Hitler was wrong?” We pointed out.

After some discussion, he declare “Hitler could have been right. If that majority went with him at that time.” The rest of his argument basically constituted that society determines our moral compass because we don’t go against it, but since he admits that majority rule is really no guideline, he refuses to pick a single world view that is right.

The news that he, in fact, already has a worldview, Pluralism, seemed to come as a bit of surprise to him. Especially when I asked “Where did you hear that?”

“Nowhere” he said.

I said “But you must have got the idea of pluralism form somewhere, someone must have said it.” 

(Naturally, I was thinking of a previous debate I had with his mother while he was in the room that included the flaws of pluralism among other things, the kid had to remember that, I asked him later what he thought, his answer back then was “I don’t know.”)

Finally, he seemed to leave it at “I don’t know. I just thought of it.” 

I informed him that his view was held by quite a lot of people nowadays, though it didn’t used to be popular. Then I explained at some point that I wouldn’t have his same difficulty with answering our questions about how he knew right from wrong, because I didn’t believe in majority rule, or that people decide that answer. I’m not sure what he thought of all that in the end.

But when I looked at this old post idea, I saw a similarity:

About a year ago now, my history class was covering Ghandi for about a- week.

No denying he was a great man.  I studied him back in my homeschool co-OP days. But even back then I wondered why we were studying this philosophy as well as Christianity, theism, communism, etc. Without a real point, it seemed, except to compare them.

In this history class we do the same thing, with far less direction than before, not really discussing what was right or wrong.

I didn’t know this before, but apparently Ghandi saw it as fine for Hindus and Muslims to share their faith as both being seeking the same God.

So… yeah

I remember years ago now, I mentioned that creepy movie “Life of Pi” in a post (I could not find the post for the life of me…) Anyway, the guy in the movie is Muslim, Christian, and Hindu, and claims he gets different things from each religion.

It’s been said that to be completely open minded is to also be empty headed.Image result for open mindedness is the same as empty headed ness quotes

Image result for G. K. chesterton, 'merely having an open mind

Image result for open mindedness is the same as empty headed ness quotes

 

I hear more and more this idea, people who don’t wish to condemn religion entirely decide to just say that you can get something good out of all of them. This is the wisdom of the world.

.Image result for open mindedness is the same as empty headed ness quotes

To me, among other objections, this has always been a statement of gross ignorance of what religion is, and what some of them teach. If you;re going down that road, you can call a cult a religion, and justify some of their thinking. This is the wisdom of the world.

If anything, diving deep into other cultures for studying purposes has convinced me that if there is an obvious problem on the surface, if you go deep down it only gets worse. It does affect the whole attitude of the culture and people.

Why are some cultures so passive in the face of oppression, and others so violent about enforcing their beliefs?…Is it not because that is what those beliefs lead to?

Of course, someone could say “Well, Christianity does not always lead to peace, so how are you any different?”

Fair enough, but I’m not saying that violence is wrong, or that passivity is wrong. The Bible allows for both approaches in their proper time, Ecclesiastes 3 says “a time for war, and a time for peace.”Image result for To everythin there is a seaon, a time for war, and a time for peace

It’s a mistake to rule out any one approach completely, history will always provide you with counter examples, even if you don’t care about religion. If I learned anything from my philosophy class, it’s that someone can always find counter evidence, though we may not always decide it’s valid.

But, I find this fad of accepting all religions disgusting for another reason:

It can sound good at first, it would create peace between people if we all stopped arguing about our beliefs right? It’s our own truth, and if we respected that, no one would die over it.

Yes, Religious Exclusivity is the problem, if Muslims and Christians would just stop insisting that one of us had to be right, they’d stop killing us off…

(This is meant to be ironic, I’m not making light of either faith, but the implications that come with saying it could be solved that way)

Look, let me say it like this. I am a Christian, and I would never tell a Muslim to just be more open-minded. I would not blame them in the least for getting offended if I said that, I don’t agree with terrorism, but I agree with their sentiment that you must do whatever God requires of you, in that way, they are far more similar to us than Hinduism is with it’s nonviolent, detached way of looking at worldly things.

Of course, any extremist would be insulted if I compared us at all, but let’s just say we are both willing to die for what we believe, they are just also willing to kill for it, and not in war, where it is an understood thing, but innocent people (I know not all Muslims are extremists, just like not all Christians are radicals, but we get compared to that, so it’s the best example of what I’m talking about).

Like many Americans, I don’t consider War, or Self Defense killing to be murder, or evil, but anything beyond that is not justifiable except as legal punishment.

This is what I mean by whatever God requires of you, it should be unpleasant to have to do these things, but it can be necessary.

If we take issue with the Muslim, or Christian, because we say they are too exclusive, we fail to understand what they really believe.

Some Christians, influenced by the culture, are now trying to be inclusive. They are welcoming the LGBTQ practice into their churches, they justify abortion, they teach things that contradict the Bible, not because they have decided that those things have just been misinterpreted, but because they think the Bible can be ignored, completely, since it’s more important to just believe in Jesus and love other people.

That is an effort to make peace. But at what cost?

Jesus said “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34)

Yet, Jesus brings “peace on Earth, and goodwill to men?”

It can be confusing, but certainly, Jesus brought anything but peace with his ministry, always stirring up trouble with the Pharisees.

 The biggest problem in the Christian Church, at least in the Western part, is the compromise with worldly ideas.

I run into it all the time. Other people my age who just can’t understand why I’d bother arguing over beliefs. Often I find out people even at Youth Group have this idea.

The point is not that I like to argue (though I do) but that even when I’d rather not make more work for myself, I still feel I need to, not because I feel I will lose my faith, but because people need to hear.

And the question I finally want to get to, is why is it so important to have a Single Belief?

Isn’t that old fashioned? Isn’t it more progressive to try to include everyone? Wouldn’t Jesus want us to do that?

Actually, no.

In fact, Jesus might have called it blasphemy to even suggest God had part in more than one religion. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6: 15-16 “And what accord does Christ have with Belial? [a false god mentioned often in the old testament] Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols. For you are the temple of the living God.

Jesus said “No one can serve two masters.”

It could not be much clearer that it’s against biblical doctrine to be inclusive about religion.

Now, the intellectual might ask me “Why? Why does your God have to be the Only God?”

The Bible tells us (and any christian with a living relationship with God would confirm it) that God is a jealous God, a consuming fire, and that we should not serve any other Gods but him.

Or before Him, as it’s put in the older translation.

That’s an important difference. If we serve any other god before God, eventually we will not serve God at all. Why? Because the Nature of God makes it impossible to serve Him the way He requires of us, and serve another god, if you stop serving God, you’ll serve something else. You cannot do both.

Which is why I decry anyone who claims to believe Christianity as well as two or three other religions as a hypocrite who understand nothing about it.

It’s, in fact, pleasing lie to the skeptics. It gives them such a smug feeling of rubbing it in the Christians faces, I see it on YouTube all the time.

“Just let us enjoy this…”

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s religious or not…”

“Let’s all just get along…”

Newsflash: Human beings are not meant to “just get along”

And we never will, till Jesus comes back. Even then there will be rebels (see Revelation and Isaiah)

I am not sure why even we in the church are so obsessed with getting along. Jesus said we never would get along with the world. That it would hate us, as it hated Him.

It does make me mad, too, this compromise. It’s not because I don’t like to have my beliefs challenged, its because it’s fraud.

I care about truth (hence the blog name) too much to want to see it water down and mixed with other stuff like some juice concentrate. Till it’s of  no use to anyone.

And I would not consider myself a Real Believer, if I did not feel this was the only Way, Truth, and Life.

I would be more furious with someone trying to blend two incompatible religions, than one sticking to one I don’t agree with it, but doing it with integrity.

The person who knows what devotion is, can change the object of it and not lose their character, the person who never understood devotion will be useless to anyone as anything, because they cannot really believe any more than they can commit.

The problem with how little the church is confronting this belief, at least in the mainstream, is that it knocks the spine out of new believers and old alike.

They are passive, they accept the world’s way because they are never presented with an alternative.

And me, as someone who has always been fiery and passionate, have been told by my pastors and leaders that students just aren’t ready for that.

It’s a lot of poppycock, no one ever is ready. Can you be ready for God’s power? It is something only He can give to people. Do I feel ready now to do anything He might tell me to do? No, but that has nothing to do with doing it.

We are told to be ready in season and out of season, but the church is often not teaching us that we have A Single Religion, that we must not be afraid to tell people that, that if we accept multiple faiths, we dishonor all of them.

It’s like people think Christianity will somehow override the other beliefs and make the person okay, but nothing in the Bible or in history implies that is true. Everything tells us that once you let in a conflicting world view, it takes over until it’s rooted out.

I think this old song by Green Day gets more of what we’re going for here:

 

At risk of sounding nuts,  I could almost picture this song being from Christ to the church, I mean, the biblical allusions are there:

“She’s a rebel, she’s a saint, she’s the salt of the earth and she’s dangerous.

She’s a rebel, vigilante, missing link on the brink of destruction.

… She’s the symbol of resistance, and she’s holding on my heart like a hand grenade.

Is she dreaming, what I’m thinking? Is she the mother of all bombs, about to detonate?

Is she trouble, like I’m trouble, make it a double twist of fate, or a melody that

She sings, the revolution, the dawning of our lives. She brings this liberation, that I just can’t deny.”

My pastor was preaching on just this subject this week, and I would encourage any Christain reading this to see it as a call to action. I don’t know what all you can do, in your situation and life, but I know that my cousin is not the only kid who desperately needs to be taught about this, the whole world does. 

I think that’s where I’ll leave it.

 Although I literally added a bunch to this old post, it’s still like 500 words shorter than my recent ones, go figure, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

 

I now have options to donate if you wish to support my work so I can keep writing 👍👌

 

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