“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” ~ Proverbs 16:18
The world has proclaimed that silence is golden. Well, I have remained silent concerning the supreme court’s ruling on gay marriage since it went historically viral, but I desire to remain quiet no longer. I have friends who sit on both sides of the fence in this moral debate. I see the world split in two. Therefore, I am going to say some things. First, because I am a born-again Christian who believes that God’s word is final and inerrant, I believe that homosexuality is a sin. I do, and this places me on one side of the fence. This statement will shock some of my friends who have heard me say otherwise in the past or because I have remained voiceless about my true feelings on the issue to avoid being “offensive”. I am sorry, but my Savior was spit upon. My Savior was lashed and beaten because he was offensive to people who did not wish to face their internal demons. Because of his offense, I am free. Because of his bravery, I will be brave enough to speak truth. But, I refuse to throw stones. Instead, I have decided to straddle this fence of offense and offer salvation, just as I believe Jesus would. I believe the homosexual lifestyle is a sin and I believe that the supreme court has disrupted a standard for marriage set in place by God in the garden of Eden, but I also know that Jesus died for all sinners. Just because I think your lifestyle is morally wrong, does not mean that I hate you. How could I be so presumptuous? God does not accept the homosexual lifestyle either, but he sent his son to die for those who practice it just the same as he sent his son to die for me. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Despite all the little, big and in-between things we do that go against what God has proclaimed as good and righteous, God loves us. He knows that we struggle. He knows that we defy him. He knows that we do not like to admit when we are wrong. And still he loves us. And still he died for us. And still he conquered death. For you. For me. For everyone who has ever struggled with any sin in his or her life ~
When I posted this on facebook, someone with a differing opinion commented. I want to share our micro-debate with you:
Jim: I support your rights to religious freedom; however, your religion does not belong in government. Otherwise there would be no divorce (Mark 10-2), or tatoos (laviticus 19) or eating shrimp. But how is it the sin of homosexuality is not listed as one of the Ten Commandments but adultery (committed by many Christians) is?
Honey, I love you dearly and think you are a wonderful person, but when it comes to marriage, it’s not a religious concept so really, do we only count certain sins or all sins? Let people live the way they are born and take care if the poor, the sick and needy.
Rachel: Let me address the points you have made. First, you say that marriage is not a religious concept and I disagree. Considering the fact that my religious freedom grants me the right to believe that the Bible is truth and inerrant, I believe that marriage was instituted by God in the garden of Eden when God placed one man with one woman who became one flesh and were given the responsibility of filling the earth. This is a union established by God and therefore, I see an earthly court ruling of redefining something eternally defined by God as a concept that is against a core foundation of my faith. Second, I can understand your stance concerning divorce and the ten commandments, but consider that homosexuality falls under the category of adultery. Yes, Jim, Christians get divorced. Christians have sex before marriage. Christians get tattoos. Christians cuss and flip people off and murder others through vile, hateful speech. Christians are not perfect. Perfection within Christianity is not required. Perfection is not attainable through the self. We all fall short of God’s glory. The beauty of believing in Christ is that though I make mistakes, though I blunder and am a hypocrite and though I struggle with sin daily, I am forgiven. This does not mean that egregious actions should be taken lightly. This does mean however that when I see my fellow man believing a lie and when I see the world and people I love satisfied to rejoice in sin that I am to be a voice for reason and truth and love. The greatest love I can do for someone is to show through my actions and words that God loves them and does not wish to see them wallowing in the darkness of sin no matter how colorful it proclaims itself to be. Third, to address your question concerning certain/all sins. Every person – proud and humble, rich and poor, black and white, faithful and unfaithful – will give an account for everything they have done in this life. We are physically, mentally and spiritually incapable of being perfect. God knows this, but he has also sent us an advocate. We do not have be defined by our actions or mistakes or slip-ups and accusations and pride because Christ took the burden. He has set you free from the burden of self-righteousness and self-preservation. He has set you free from guilt and anger. He has set us free to care for others without doing so in a manner designed to gain eternal brownie points but rather to do so solely in love.
Jim: But Honey, you are using your religious laws that don’t apply to US laws. It would be one thing if we lived in Israel or followed sharia laws but we don’t unless you are saying we should invoke sharia laws which follow the Old Testament?
Rachel: Jim, you are missing the key point I am making. I understand that the Ten Commandments and sharia law are not the law of the U.S. The supreme court does not have the right to make the decision it has made however by violating the 10th amendment and acting outside of its bounds as a judicial branch and political branch of government, so yes, I disagree with the decision made beyond the proclamations of faith I have addressed, but the main point I am emphasizing is: the grace of God, His forgiveness. Jesus Christ’s sacrifice fulfilled the law. Before his heart burst and lungs collapsed as he hung upon the cross, He said, “It is finished!” This is an exclamation. Just because God fulfilled the law through Christ’s death and resurrection which conquered spiritual death does not mean that it is okay to continue to sin or to not speak up when we see sin hurting the lives of others. “Seek the Lord while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very though of doing wrong. Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously. ‘My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.’” Isaiah 55:6-9
Jim: You do realize Muslims follow the same portions if the bible? Just saying
Rachel: The Muslim religion stems from the same history, yes. But it boils down to a dispute between two half brothers and God preserving the blessing upon Jacob’s descendants and not Ishmael’s. Through Jacob’s lineage was born Jesus Christ who fulfills the law and provides salvation to all of mankind. I have a question, however. Why do you only battle the Christian faith in its stance for what it believes to be truth and not also battle the Muslim faith when they hurl homosexual men from rooftops or be-head them publicly? I speak out in love towards the gays because I want them to know the grace of God and overwhelming love that washes away the stain of sexual struggles. I want them to spend eternity in the glory of God’s love because God intended forgiveness. I do not scream out that they should be murdered. I call out sin for what it is: sin. But there is no sin too great that God is not willing to forgive someone and guide them in a path of new life.
Jim: Baby I battle all religions that claim to be the only true religion.
Rachel: “This is what the Lord says – Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: ‘I am the First and the Last; there is no other God. Who is like me? Let him step forward and prove to you his power. Let him do as I have done since ancient times when I established a people and explained its future. Do not tremble; do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim my purposes for you long ago? You are my witnesses – is there any other God? No! There is no other Rock – not one!’” Isaiah 44:6-8
I am tired of the world. I’m tired of the despair, the darkness, the misery, the obsession with “things”, the false faiths, the violence, the perverseness, war, disease, snotty attitudes, lack of care or stewardship, vicious words and curses…I’m tired of all the corruption that man’s sin has wrought on the earth. We are so vile on the inside that we are leaving a physical effect on our planet. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of it. And what I hate most of all is how sin parades itself around like a prize, something to be envied and killed for. Sin haughtily flaunts its feathers in musical lyrics, books, news, cartoons, daily conversation…It is the most prevalent, vicious disease and the world is okay with it. We are okay with it! We love it! We cry when people die or get burned alive or are beaten to a pulp by their husbands or for war in other countries or sex slavery…we cry, but then, we go back to our tablets and magazines and sugary foods and laugh about which celebrity is caught in scandal or praise Bruce Jenner for his sickness. I’m disgusted. We care little, do nothing, and are satisfied to waste our lives here as eternity hangs in the balance. We think this life no longer matters because we’ve taught that we are evolved slime. We disregard babies and humanity and oxygen because depravity is just the “survival of the fittest”. Satan loves it. He lavishes temporal glory and riches and power to those who would caste aside their inheritance like a bowl of lentil soup. And we have been lied to, that this…all of THIS…is normal, progress, natural. A young girl being burned to death in a public square in Honduras is natural? Millions of infants with no voice being ripped from women’s wombs by surgical instruments is normal? Sodomy, pervasive greed, sexual torture and rape and slavery of children, rampant drug use, gang and military violence, worshiping trees and stone and wood and metal and gold is progress? Do we not see how we are no less better than every generation before us who has earned the judgment of God? Oh right…I forgot, Jesus Christ was only a prophet. He didn’t really love you enough to die and rise again so that you can escape this hell. I’m sorry. You are welcome to stay here. You are welcome to remain blind. You are welcome to be selfish. You are welcome to not care because evolution is going to weed out the weak, afterall. You are welcome to be your personalized version of “free”.
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions – is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” ~ 1 John 2:15-17
Jeremiah 33:2-3 “Thus says the Lord who made earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it – the Lord is his name: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”
I have asked myself ten times over: Who am I? In the past, I would banish any self-doubt by rushing into an ill-prepared answer without over-thinking the truth behind that question. Frankly, I did not want to be honest with myself. I wanted to find a quick definition that would connect me with those I was trying to impress. Have you not ever tried to press yourself into two or three molds in order to reflect back the same visage or personality embodied by the environment of people you wish to impress or be accepted by? Whether you have or not, I have. And, it began to wear me thin. I became obsessed with defining myself as others may see me, and in the process, I forgot that only one set of eyes are worthy of my impression.
Not everyone who reads my blog will believe in God, but I do and I can’t deny that fact anymore. Because…God is the only one I should be worrying about impressing. And to impress God means that I don’t conform to how others would want me to act or look or define myself, but rather conform to the image represented by God – love of others, purity, self-control, slow to anger, etc. These are qualities that keep me focused on developing a gentle spirit that longs to see the world come to understand saving grace and acceptance and eventually joy with the understanding that there is life after death – a triumphant life with God – worth pursuing without fear of what others may think.
All that being said, you are going to see a pretty drastic change in the subject matter represented in my blog. I won’t be deleting any posts because I think it is wise to know from what state my heart, perceptions and words have developed and grown. I am not dissatisfied with the words I have been sharing with you thus far; I am just dissatisfied with their content. I’m not ashamed of anything, but I think God has a bigger purpose for this little blurp of space occupying the internet and so I’m planning on making my words count for a higher purpose.
I’m not planning on everyone agreeing with me, but maybe, together we will see how words can truly affect people’s lives for the better. That is why we write in the first place, isn’t it? To persuade people to view life differently. To highlight alternate perceptions of the reality we all share. I hope that you will join me and we can debate issues and conquer questions that plague our hearts. Hopefully, through sharing with you my faith and unaltered opinions on truth and love, we can discover real truth after scraping away all that seems convoluted by jargon and deception.
An original oil painting by yours truly
My heart pitter patters
On wings made of hope and lace
I felt it necessary to represent a butterfly in my first painting since coming out of my past relationship. What many of you probably don’t know is that my ex-boyfriend abused me. I did not understand my predicament until I was in the midst of it, and I know that many girls – just like I had – have found themselves trapped in a situation that seems hopeless. But it’s not hopeless, and I am proof of that. With help from family and friends I was able to remove myself from that cancerous situation and slowly heal. This painting entitled “Butterfly Spirit” represents a creature reborn as a fearless woman. I wanted to embrace the notion of wings and being set free through art. The colors are void of black because there is no longer room for darkness.
If you know of someone or suspect someone to be in an abusive relationship, take action! I was trapped for months longer than I should have been because I had to gain the courage myself to ask for help. The majority of woman are disheartened by their abusive partners to such an extent that they do not have the strength to ask for help, and their partners take extra care to segregate them from family and friends to make seeking help even more difficult. A sickening statistic shows that over 35% of people to know or suspect physical/verbal/emotional abuse to be taking place keep silent about it. Don’t let yourself become a statistic! I can tell you that if someone had simply asked me, “Rachel, is he hurting you?” I would have broken down and wept for help. Abuse affects the lives of over 60% of woman in the U. S. alone. Let’s try to better this world and not stay silent any longer.