About 6-8 months ago, I listened to a Chuck Girard song titled “Don’t Shoot the Wounded,” and although it’s one of my least favorite songs of his, I couldn’t get one line of the song out of my mind…
“We can love them and forgive them when their sin does not exceed our own” (Click here to see all the lyrics for context)
The song basically describes how most people will forgive other’s their sins because they themselves have sinned…UNTIL someone’s sin exceeds the boundaries we have set, then we judge them and slam the door in their face!
Why did that line catch my attention and speak to my spirit so much? Because, at that time, someone in my life was having a hard time with a sin I committed before I knew them and I, myself, had done this to others in my life before I learned the whole truth…before Yahuweh and Yahushua stripped me of all pride, haughtiness, jezebel, etc.
People in our lives put us up on pedestals sometimes…not realizing we will always fall from it because we are all human…all born of a sin nature.
Now why did I wait 6-8 months to write this blog? I knew when I heard that line in his song, that I needed to write about it, but it wasn’t the right timing, His timing…until now.
Recently, another person who has been best friends with me for over 20 years, shared through an email that we can’t fellowship about Yahuweh (God) or Yahushua (Jesus) because of sins from my past that she knows about. She admitted she put me on a pedestal, and when I sinned and didn’t make the choices she wanted me to make, or thought I would make, the pedestal went away (she kicked it out from under me while I was still standing on it.) She cannot see the new person I am NOW, in Messiah…all she remembers is the sin of my past.
Let’s stop and define friends or friendship, and mention a couple of key verses in Scripture….
In an online course I am taking, they define a close friendship as “a relationship between two or more people characterized by availability, compassion, helpfulness, honesty, loyalty, trustworthiness, empathy and care.” They also say, “a true friend is one who is willing to meet the needs of another.”
(My note: very few people meet this definition. Just as there are very few who will enter the Kingdom…there are few real friends in our lives.)
In Yochanan (John) 15:15, Messiah says to the apostles, “no longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing. But I call you friends, for all teachings which I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”
(My note: based on the above definition of friend…this verse takes on a whole new meaning, doesn’t it? If Messiah calls us friend, we have to know Him intimately. He gave us the gift of Father’s Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh)! For the Spirit to lead us, teach us, and reveal secrets to us, we have to know Messiah personally…as a friend. Messiah definitely meets the above definition…He meets our every need!)
See Mattithyahu (Matthew) 23 for why we shouldn’t put people on pedestals…it is unscriptural. Someone said it beautifully on biblestudytools.com, “Don’t let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates.”
I became a “Christian” and filled with the Spirit at 14. But like most believers, my passion for sharing His Good News faded as I was in an abusive household and internalized a lot of anger since I was 5. I made very, very bad choices, and did not trust Father or Messiah….for that matter, I trusted no one and thought I was in control of my own destiny. I didn’t KNOW Them intimately. I became a surface “Christian”…checking off my list of going to church on Sunday, being an overall “good” person, taking my kids to church, saying bedtime prayers, and sharing stories from the Scriptures, and I said many times, “I would never do that!” I was very opinionated and thought I knew everything!
Over 20 years later, when I turned 40, I went through a very dark time in my life. Yes, I sinned! Yes, I made bad choices! Yes, I used alcohol to not feel or think about what I was doing! I thank Yahuweh every day for bringing me out of the pit and turning my mess, my filth, my sin into something good…and for not giving up on me!! I fell on my knees and begged Abba to help me, to forgive me, to make me whole and clean before Him. I started studying His Word for myself (after reading some of Yedidah’s articles), and I stopped drinking. My rebellion and sin lasted less than a year. When He brought me out, I knew I didn’t deserve anything except the lake of fire…but He forgave me and He opened my eyes to what it truly means to KNOW THEM. He delivered me from my internal anger that I had held onto for over 30 years….it is not only gone, everyone in my life will attest, I am a completely NEW person in Them!! HalleluYAH!
Now, when my friend sent that email telling me she can’t accept me talking about my walk and being filled with His Spirit, I was deeply disappointed and hurt. Then, the Spirit showed me Luke 4. I am not a prophet or comparing myself to Messiah…but I realized what He was showing me…that if Messiah is persecuted, I can expect nothing less if I am following Him…if Messiah was not accepted by his hometown, neither am I to be accepted by everyone I grew up with.
This helped me get past my hurt and rejoice in Him…rejoice and praise Him for being persecuted, judged, and not accepted!
“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Mattithyahu (Matthew) 5:10-12
I still have to live with the consequences of my sin…we all do. I still have things I struggle with and at times cry out, “Where are You?” Much of the time, I feel I know less now than I did before…that I struggle more now than before…but I am so grateful, so thankful He is my Teacher and He didn’t give up on me! I am so humbled He gave me the gift of repentance and took away (is taking away) all that was/is not of Him in my life.
Instead of turning my back on my friend and being “offended,” I quoted some of the Scriptures in this blog, reaffirmed my love for her, asked for forgiveness again for anything I have done to derail her off His path and for not being a good example of a true follower of His Way when I really did not know Them, and I gave it all to Them in prayer. My friend is most of the things mentioned in the friend definition above, especially honest (since she told me how she felt instead of keeping it from me)…but more importantly, she is growing in Yahuweh and Yahushua…she is on her own journey and I knew I had to forgive her if I want to be forgiven by her. I have to put aside all flesh and look at her through Their eyes. I have to be a testimony of Their goodness, faithfulness, mercy…a testimony of the changes They made in me.
When I started writing this, I wasn’t planning on sharing my story….but Abba had other plans. I know if He wants it in here, then it must be to help someone. I pray my story will help others to seek Them with their whole being and allow this testimony of Their mercy and loving-kindness to bring you out of the pit into a NEW (renewed) Birth which brings all the fruit of the Spirit, and I pray it helps those who put people on pedestals or can’t forgive when the sin exceeds their own to realize what they are doing and stop!
Sin is SIN! Period! We are all born with it, and we can all OVERCOME it with Their help if we truly know Them and are filled with the Spirit (Galatians 5:14-17 and 1 John 3)! When we lay down our self will and ask Them to take over…for His Spirit to lead and guide us in all we do and say, we can overcome anything. None of us are better than anyone else.
If we all remember where we came from and things we have done, remember what Messiah has done for us, remember how Father gave us His Son so we could be forgiven and atoned for our sins, and handle everything and everyone in our lives with humility…with Their nature, ways, and thinking….there will be true friendships with no pedestals.
As we enter into the season of Elul (the season of repentance), make right any relationships in your life that have been damaged by pride, arrogance, offended spirits and unforgiveness. It’s time to drop the stones we carry, and realize we are no better than anyone else. The sins of others are as equal to our own. (Yochanan 8:7)
“If someone says, “I love Elohim,” and hates his brother, he is a liar. For the one not loving his brother whom he has seen, how is he able to love Elohim whom he has not seen? And we have this command from Him, that the one loving Elohim should love his brother too.”
1 Yochanan (John) 4:20,21
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father shall also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither shall your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Mattithyahu (Matthew) 6:14-15
“Do not judge, lest you be judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged. And with the same measure you use, it shall be measured to you.”
Mattithyahu (Matthew) 7:1-2
See also Marqos (Mark) 11:25-26, Luqas (Luke) 6:36-37
Shavua Tov (good week)!