Developing Godly Character Pt 10: Relying on the Body

This is difficult for me to even write, because this is an area where my character is anything but godly.  That I can recognize and communicate the truth, does not mean that I have implemented it in my own life.

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Here’s the deal.  A lot of believers fall into one or more of the following categories:

1.  Familial abuse, resulting in not being able to rely on one’s own family.

2.  Religious abuse, resulting in an inability to rely on the Body of Messiah.

3.  Societal abuse, resulting in general isolation.

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All three of these foster an attitude of never wanting to entrust to others what one can do themselves.  It seems virtuous. and courageous, and strong, but it generally amounts to selfishness, fearfulness and weakness.  We are never what we could be because we are alone, even in the midst of relatives.  We are never able to fulfill our highest callings because we settle only for what we can do on our own.  We live our lives unable to trust because we resent those we could not trust, projecting their crimes on the rest of the world. We are often one strand cords even though we are successfully married, have successful businesses, and are branded as over-achievers and perfectionists.

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But our perfectionism isn’t always about desiring to be perfect (although those brought up in harshly critical environments often do feel that way), sometimes it is just an extension of the ego that does not want to admit that we need anyone else.

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So we handle our own problems, because we have been trained through experience to believe that no one will care enough to help us.  Furthermore, we are afraid to be indebted to our helpers, terrified that it will be used against us as leverage.  We might put on a brave face and project spiritual perfection, because we are afraid of not being perceived as enough.  We try to look and sound tough, so that no one will get too close and see our vulnerability.

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So many of us dealt with abuse in the church that I am shocked anyone is still left in it.  And I am not just talking about sexual abuse, I am talking about the type of abuse that twists and misrepresents the character of our God and King so terribly that there is literally no one on earth or in Heaven who we would ever want to rely on. And that scares us.  So we go it alone.  We can go it alone at home or in the midst of a mega-church, it works either way.  One way just looks more righteous than the other.

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The sad thing is that it is preventing us from becoming the Body.  We watch people get abused and we don’t get involved.  We let teachers and preachers and prophets and apostles slide on sin while we come down hard on the world.  The Body is full of bullies who are actively training people to run from community.

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But like it or not, community is what we are called to be.  Ten years ago I went through a terrible persecution in my own home church at the hands of a pastor who took it upon himself to lie about me behind the scenes to the rest of the congregation based on something he wrongly thought I said, never once asking if I had said it.  And the Body stood by and did nothing.  I didn’t even know exactly what was going on because no one would talk to me.  I found out months later, after I finally left.  What hurt the worst was not not the betrayal of one man and his wife, who I loved, but the refusal of the Body to stand up.  The words of Messiah were preached to them, Leviticus 19:18 — “And you shall love your neighbor as yourself.  I am YHVH.”  But they were not willing to love me as themselves, unless they wanted to be preached against and gossiped about by a man who didn’t even fact check.

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This morning I started teaching my children in earnest about the greatest commandments, and how the Body of Messiah is failing in both.  Hillel I, when challenged by a Gentile to preach the entire Torah standing on one foot, stood on one foot and said, “Anything that is hateful to you, do not do to others.”

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But we treat Messiah unlovingly when we consort with those who once knew Him and now actively slander Him.  I know that if someone made or posted a picture of me as a zombie with the caption, “He was dead but now he’s alive and he wants your soul,” and my friends turned a blind eye, I would not believe them if they claimed to love me.  And I haven’t even died for any of my friends, so how much more loyalty should there be for the one who did?

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And we treat each other unlovingly when we don’t question those who post vitriolic accusations online, when we simply take their word for it.  If by our actions we are doing what would be hateful if it was done to us, then we are not operating in love or mercy, or kindness or goodness.  When we stand by and watch well-meaning people whose only crime is that their eyes have not been opened called idiotic, rebellious pagans — we ought to consider if that is a tactic that would draw us in or drive us away.  The people that Messiah insulted — they weren’t the people who were genuinely trying, they were the people buying the priesthood, who were murdering their political/religious opponents, who were in the pocket of Rome.  They were the destroyers of community, and sometimes we act just like them, on our own limited scale.  We need to think before we post, and before we respond.  We must ask, “Would this be hateful to me.”  And then we have to be really honest, and we have to ask the Father to reveal the truth to us that we so oftentimes hide from ourselves.

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When we start being the Body, people are going to get healed, people are going to come to the assembly the way they did in the early church, in droves.  Why would anyone want to face persecution in order to fellowship with the Body the way it is now?  But if we start loving, if we cease to do what is hateful, if we stop making excuse after excuse for our behavior, pretending like flesh is Spirit, then we will do greater things than Yeshua ever did.  Yeshua never changed the world, He changed a group of good men and women and then they changed the world through the power of His resurrection.

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I feel it, I feel it in my bones, that it is time.  Even we introverts are feeling the call to community.  It has been haunting my dreams lately.  It’s time to be loving. We have no more excuses and no more time.  We can’t wait for someone else to take the first step.

community

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So I am here saying that I am willing to be willing to put my life in your hands (I needed two willings in there because I am still working on it).  I am willing to be step up and become reliable, to stop jumping to conclusions, to stop jumping on the bandwagon, to stop jumping on my brothers and sisters.  I am willing to let you help me, and I am willing to admit that I need you because I can’t do community without you.  I can’t fulfill a lot of the commandments unless I have you in my life.  And there are commandments you can’t fulfill if I am not willing to receive from you.  This is probably the most terrifying things I have ever written.  I am willing to have you potentially betray me in hopes of coming together in community.  I am willing to risk you letting me down and to risk watching you stand by while people hurt me.  I am willing to admit that there is a piece of me missing that I can’t fill for myself, even though every time I contemplate that fact (and I know it is a fact), my mind wants to push it aside and deny it.  I pray you are willing to risk the same things too.  I will try to hold up my end of the bargain.

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We have to start relying on each other and we need to start being reliable.  It’s potentially the most important character issue of all.

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2 Comments


  1. Celebrating your courage bravo young lady. I agree with you 1000% Tyler. I also am an introvert. But I’m meeting more and more people who are sick of the backbiting and are utterly unwilling to participate any longer. This has given me hope. I believe it’s time to step out and start working on building relationships.
    Living in the place between horror and hope and praying for discernment. No longer being allowed to hide myself away. Hope to meet you out there sometime.

    Reply

    1. Was talking to a sister this morning, actually we’ve been talking about this a lot lately. She’s been in the “movement” for decades and she says the past two years have been the worst by far – we both see a definite separation happening. I wrote this over a year ago and since then the gulf between the people wanting unity and those still following the critical, self-righteous knowledge trail is getting more and more pronounced. It’s been great to see more and more folks wising up to the need for good fruit and being less and less tolerant of the bad 🙂

      Reply

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