Hey Jesus, your sacrifice was wasted

I’m angry today. I’m frustrated. I’m hurt. I’m feeling overwhelmed and a little beat down. More than all that, I’m feeling a sense of resignation. Like giving up.

On what…you might ask…

On us.

I was on radio yesterday for 3 hours and story after story, caller after caller had the same situation. Someone in their life has basically looked Jesus in the eyes and said, “Hey, Jesus, your sacrifice was wasted on me. That whole ‘full life’ thing you talked about…nah, I’ll pass.”

Rather than resolve to live in humility, under God’s sovereign wing, surrendering to what he may be calling us to, we’ve allowed ourselves to fall into a dull, mediocre life justified with Scripture, rationalized with the realities of life’s difficulties, medicated with sex, money, alcohol, entertainment, sports and even church. We succumb to the gravitational pull towards brokenness, revenge, entitlement, greed, selfishness and perhaps worst of all, mediocrity.

I just can’t get my head around that Jesus came to earth, was beaten, abused, rejected, kicked out of his hometown, insulted, ridiculed and then murdered. For us. How many times during his life, especially in the 3yr period of his main ministry, did he think about cashing it in? So much easier to have been a fisherman. Or a tax collector. Or a pharisee. Anything other than following God’s call. Anything other than the way of pain and persecution.

But he didn’t give up. He didn’t resign. He didn’t give excuses for why it was too hard. He didn’t sit around pointing the finger at others, complaining about Peter being a hothead or Thomas being a whiner. He didn’t spend his time playing the victim card, trying to make some psychobabble justification for a mediocre life today based upon the fact that his parents forgot about him as a kid. He just, as best I can tell, woke up each day, looked it in the face, and adopted a posture of willingness to be led by the Spirit and committment to faithfully following the Father. He didn’t give up on me. Or you.

So I can’t resign or give up either. Because He didn’t. Hopefully, if you’re struggling with resignation, you won’t let it win the day. If nothing else, as an act of worship and a response to the model before us. Maybe today you decide to stop letting the past define your present, and ripoff your future. Perhaps today you decide to own your junk, and apologize to the people whom you love and have hurt the most. Maybe today you decide that it doesn’t matter whose fault it is, but you’ll be the one to take the first step towards fixing it. I hope so.

**UPDATE**

Strangely enough, after I sat down to write today, I saw Shelley’s latest post. I wanted you to see it too. Turns out we’re channeling the same wavelength – https://rlforwomen.com/whats-breaking-my-heart-today/

Dignity

This week while I was on New Life Live Radio the overwhelming theme was dignity. Or, better said, the lack, degradation and thievery there of. I want to spend a few minutes here talking about dignity.

Here’s the definition: the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect.

For too many men, we’ve diminished our dignity through our involvement with pornography, prostitution, affairs and other sexual escapades. We’ve jettisoned our own sense of honor and respect. I don’t know about you, but in my addiction I hated seeing myself in the mirror. I just didn’t like the man looking back at me.

Likewise, many wives have diminished their dignity by being willing to accept their husbands’ wanton disregard for them. On radio, we talked with several wives who’ve resigned themselves to marriages fraught with sexual, spiritual, emotional and physical abuse. They’ve mistaken love for license, and in so doing have lost respect and honor for themselves. Many of those wives seemed to believe that they don’t deserve to be treated with honor and respect.

We are all men and women of worth, simply because God handcrafted us in his image. Neither the things we’ve done nor the things done to us have tarnished our true worth and dignity, it only informed our perception of it as rusty and dilapidated. Those things put blinders of shame on us to see ourselves through a foggy, dysfunctional and errant lens.

Part of our (Shelley and I) healing journey has been to recapture our sense of God-given dignity. I had to decide that I’m worth an intimate relationship with another human being, not just relegated to a fraudulent, empty life of sexual fantasy.

I had to decide, through God’s help, that the women I was engaging with, both online and off, were created in His image and, as such, they were women of worth and dignity. My abuse of them was in fact spitting in God’s face and giving him the bird.

Shelley had to decide that she was worth more than lies, secrets and settling for second best. She had to come to the conclusion that what God said about her is more important than what I was saying about her. She also had to decide that her self-respect and the respect of God was more important than anyone else’s respect on the planet.

I hope today you’ll also recapture your sense of dignity. You worthwhile and honorable, deserving of respect simply as a function of God having breathed life into you.

Disappointment

 

There’s an interesting, confusing dynamic that happens for some men and their wives in the recovery process. It’s about disappointment. Specifically, when the past comes back up; when a wife is triggered, or when something on tv or radio or at church reminds us of how badly we’ve hurt the person we love the most on the planet. We feel disappointed with ourselves for causing our wives’ to feel disappointed in us.

It’s actually an empathic response, but it has a threshold where we can’t handle it anymore.  Many guys, when they hit that wall, will shut down. They’ll sulk and mope, and sometimes even move into a space that looks victim-like. It’ll become a pity-party of one. Others, once at critical mass with the disappointment, will get angry and defensive. This can feel like punishment to an already hurting wife. And for those men, it’s like they are so in the “bad box” (thanks to Bob for that word picture) to be present with anymore of it feels like torture. Their shame has piled up and they can’t see straight, much less actually feel meaningful empathy.

What we want to shoot for is expressing the empathy in a tender and gentle way. To let our wives know that we hurt for them feeling disappointed, not just for ourselves feeling like a disappointment. It can’t be a patronizing, “aww I’m sorry you stubbed your toe” kind of communication either. It has to be connected to the heart. Say what surrounds it. Try to put to words what you wish your wife could know. A client recently said to his wife in one of these moments:

I hurt that you hurt. I hate that you hurt. I hate that I’m the cause of your hurt, because you don’t deserve it. It’s cruel and unfair. You shouldn’t have to endure this.

And he meant it. You could see it in his eyes, hear it in his words, feel it in your bones. Even as the words came out of his mouth you could tell he desperately wanted her to believe it.

She didn’t. But he still needed to feel it and communicate it. For his sake. And because one day she will.