To Fear or Faith, That Is the Question

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At the end of the day, there are only two motivations for all actions in the human experience. Only two. Fear or Faith. That’s it. It’s that simple.

In the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were like, “This fruit will make us wise? A wisdom God wasn’t going to give us? He’s been holding out on us!” They were afraid they were missing something. They didn’t have faith anymore.

Then, after the ate the fruit, they were really living in fear. “Oh no, I’m naked! I’ve got to cover up!” And we’ve been living to cover up our shame ever since, out of fear of being exposed.

Fear says, “I have to take care of myself before I help you, because otherwise I won’t have enough.” Fear of failure. Fear of being known. Fear of being alone. Fear of being rejected. Fear of not being loved.

Faith says, “I can afford to sacrifice this for you, because I know God will make it up to me.” Faith God will provide even though we can’t see it. Faith it will be ok even though we don’t see how or when. Faith through uncertainty. Faith we are loved.

All negative, sinful actions are motivated, ultimately, by fear. So when someone’s being a hurtful jerk, ask the Holy Spirit to show you what they’re afraid of. And what you can do to serve them, bless them and disarm their fear. When we realize this, we treat people differently and it works.

Have you experienced this? Has someone disarmed your fear? Have you disarmed someone else’s? Tell us in the comments your experiences.

The Cop-Out of “Don’t Judge Me”

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Does not judging mean I have to tolerate abuse or evil behavior against me? Abusers would like us to think so. Abusers pervert the whole “don’t judge” principle to their advantage. So let’s get this sorted out and bring some balance here.

Judging, accountability, and our emotions are all totally separate things. Our society, and even the church, often gets these confused. You can forgive someone and hence not be judging them, while at the same time holding them accountable for their behavior, while still being angry and hurt. If their behavior was criminal, you can prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law while still completely forgiving them.

We should always hold abusers and criminals accountable for their behavior, for two main reasons:

  • To protect others from being victimized like we were.
  • So (hopefully) the person, when confronted with their sin, repents and turns to the Lord who sets them free from it, healing them from the pain in their lives that made them vulnerable to that sin in the first place.

Working through our emotions over the sin against us is totally separate from whether we hold the other person accountable or not. If the sin against us was grievous, we may need to walk our emotions through the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). Get Christian counseling, inner healing, deliverance, probably all of the above, whatever help you need to work through it. It’s normal to need help to work through the emotions in a healthy way. An excellent plan is to work with both a Christian counselor and your Pastor.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean pretending it never happened, or not holding the person accountable. It means releasing them from owing us anything for it. Because we realize they are not what they do. We can still set healthy boundaries as long as our heart is right – not to punish them but either to (1) keep ourselves safe, or (2) hold them accountable (for example, if it’s an authority-to-subordinate relationship like parent-child or employer-employee).

Judging and forgiving are not activities centered in our emotions, but in our will. They have nothing to do with how we feel about the person who hurt us. They have everything to do with what we choose to believe about that person. They have everything to do with what we declare about that person.

So what do we declare about the person who wronged us? Are they the evil they did to us? That’s judging. Or can we declare that they are not the evil they did to us? That’s forgiveness. It really is that simple, but it’s not easy.

What do you think? Is this striking a chord with you? Tell us in the comments.

Who’s the Enemy?

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Have you ever been so angry you could spit fire? I sure have. Usually it comes from being deeply hurt. When we’re hurt and angry with another person, we often forget who the real enemy is. We easily get deceived into thinking the other person is the enemy.

There is an enemy. He wants to destroy both us and the other person with every fiber of his being. Satan, the prince of this world, is our real enemy. But we forget that in the heat of the moment.

Not knowing who the real enemy is condemns us right up front to fight a losing battle. Why? Because we’re fighting the wrong person with the wrong weapons. Once we get the real enemy right, we can fight effectively with a whole different strategy and a whole different armament. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of this world (2 Corinthians 10:4). This was brought home beautifully in the movie War Room which I highly recommend and strongly encourage everyone to see.

If this strikes a chord with you, pray with me: Lord, I repent this day for wrongly thinking ________ is the enemy. (Fill the blank for you.) They aren’t my enemy, Lord; they’re just a hurting person like me that you love. I acknowledge my true enemy is Satan, and I ask you Lord for your strategy against Satan in this situation. Help me be a blessing to ________ even when they aren’t to me.

Does this resonate with you? Ever been down this road? Tell us your story in the comments.