The Man in the Iron Cage — DJ

 

I want to take a moment to clarify some things about this situation in my family. I’ve heard the phrase “You don’t know the whole story” bandied about a lot lately from people outside of our family. This is what I do know:

1) My father has a drug addiction. For my entire teen life until present, I’ve struggled with this same problem. During that time, he was my biggest critic, and I respected his opinion over most other people’s because I looked up to my dad.

2) My dad is a hypocrite.

3) Growing up, he badgered us with the phrase “What are the two things I hate most?” and the answer was “Liars and Thieves”. Now, I find that my father is both.

4) I still respect the advice he gave me growing up, but no longer respect the adviser.

5) He told me one drop in a pool of water causes ripples through the whole body. He seems to have forgotten that, or no longer cares.

a) My mom lost her best friend and husband. She didn’t deserve that.

b) Rebekkah got closer to God and learned that sacrifices had to be made.

c) Caitlyn fell in love and because she was so far away, was spared most of the emotional trauma. Thank God. One more person in this broken mess would have been devastating.

d) I am grieving the loss of my entire family as I knew it. Collectively, we’ve all lost our home, our things, our stability, our peace, our security, and our dogs lost their yard. So, it was true — one drop of water rippled through the whole body.

e) We’ve lost friends, or they have been made to choose between us. This has been painful for everyone involved.

6) The Bible says, ” Every plant that my Heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up; Let them alone. They are the blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into a ditch.” Matt 15: 13-14    He’s proclaimed to be a Christian,  and I’ve now watched him openly denounce the Lord. And I can’t be any part of that.

7) I love my dad. I always have, no matter the circumstance; but, the Lord has shown me I must distance myself from him and any who are opposed to my Lord, and surround myself with like-minded people in Christ.

8) The Bible says, “No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You can not serve God and mammon.” Matt 6:24    We’ve chosen different masters.

So, here is the whole story in a nutshell: this is what happens when someone stops serving the Lord, and instead serves only himself.

— DJ

 

Thanks, God, But I Don’t Think You Understand…

Today, I’m thinking about forgiveness. Not forgiveness for other people, but forgiveness for yourself.

To me, forgiving myself has always been my number one stumbling block. I have no problem forgiving other people for failing me, or God, or other people. Call it a self-esteemissue, or whatever, but I didn’t used to set the

For better self-flagellation...Here's a clue: No matter what you do to yourself, physical or emotional, your blood is worthless. Only Jesus's was worth anything.

bar all that high for my fellow human beings, so when they failed, I almost just expected it. Satan hates us all, and he’s been doing his job a lot longer than any of us have been alive. It would be embarrassing for him if he wasn’t a master at it by now! And I know how much Jesus loves all of us, so it was with heart-felt sincerity that I would lend a hand to lift my brothers and sisters up, dust them off, and encourage them to keep on trucking down their proverbial road.

But that same courtesy just didn’t apply to myself, as I felt that I knew what I was supposed to be doing, feeling, saying…but when I didn’t fulfill whatever it was I thought God wanted of me, I would plunge into a self-hatred, despairing emotional valley, and lick my wounds for days down there. And it was in one of these dark little valleys that Jesus stepped in and shone His light on what was really happening. And you know, He only had to say one word to me for it all to become crystal clear — Pride.

You see, somehow I had elevated myself over other people by thinking that while they were doomed to fail, and Jesus’s sacrifice was complete and perfect for them, somehow God expected more from me…why? Because I was better? Because I was special? And then I would fail and fail and fail. I’d hide away in my little pity party, refusing to be comforted, refusing to answer my God’s voice. And by hiding down in my valley, feeling sorry for myself, I was telling Jesus, “Hey, thanks for dying on the cross and all, but Your sacrifice just wasn’t good enough to cover my sins.” What a big, fat lie from satan, and he snuck it past my ever vigilant brain quite easily.

I deal with my shortcomings differently now, by focusing on how Jesus taught us to pray. I am always paying attention to those tiny little voices that try to convince me that I have something to be proud of…pride is too easily introduced to me, so I pay very close attention to anything that would let satan slip that one past my guards. And when I pray, I embrace the humility of being an imperfect child of God, and then forgive myself, not giving it more importance than any other sin should be given. Jesus was pretty clear in His Word, even our good works are like dirty rags to God. Nothing to be all that proud of down here… 🙂

So, today, I’m starting out my day by asking God’s forgiveness for my ever-present failings, and then I’m forgiving myself right after, and I’m going to start my day with a fresh slate — both in God’s eyes, and my own.

Hope everyone has the best day of their lives today!

— Bird

Today I wrote this What’s In A Name? at 20 Lines A Day about how I insulted a biker… 🙂