Tag Archives: love

Hate, Love, and Homosexuality

Did you know that there are verses in the Bible that say that God hated Esau? (Malachi 1:3, Romans 9:13) I have read the verses over and over in my lifetime but never gave them much thought.

One day, a man in our church preached about it. He challenged me and compelled me to come to terms with the meaning of those passages. He and I arrived at different conclusions, but nonetheless, I am indebted to him for forcing me to look into this topic.

You see, it’s NOT okay to read the Bible, soak up the parts that sound good to us, and let the rest fall to the ground. (Which is, unfortunately, what most people do. They create their own god – based on the parts of the Bible that they like.)

The painful truth is, if the verses about God hating anyone were true, then He was not the God that I’d always believed Him to be. Or, so I thought.

I went home from that church service unable to sleep or do anything other than think about what I’d been forced to read. I stayed up late that night and got up early the next day, insistent on getting to the heart of the matter. I would not rest until I had the answers in my hand. I turned to just about every reference book I owned, searched the web, looked up every possible related passage in the Bible, wrote pages of notes. I WOULD have resolution, and I would have it soon.

Here is a note that I wrote to myself in the margin of one of those pages:

“How can we fit those verses into the same Bible? How can He be the same God? We know He is, by the many proofs we have seen (Feast days, OT points to Christ). If it doesn’t seem to fit, there must be a misunderstanding of some kind.”

You see, in the quest for truth, one thing is absolutely necessary: that we learn to be honest with ourselves.

At first, I went looking for excuses. I thought that perhaps it was okay to hate people who were doomed anyway – I rationalized by wondering if it was because they deserved the penalty for their sins. But that didn’t make sense to me because I knew that God did not desire for anyone to perish, but for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Also, I deserve the penalty for my sin, but God doesn’t hate me. In addition, David said that he himself hated people with a perfect hatred. Was David righteous enough to hate an imperfect perfect person? No.

Next, I thought to myself – perhaps the meaning of “hate” has changed since 1611. For the next page or so of notes, I based all of my research on this idea. After all, we know that English words like “conversation” (lifestyle), “knew” (had sex with), “let” (hinder), “meat” (food), “quick” (living), “quit” (keep on), and “suffer” (allow) have all changed in meaning since 1611.

This argument was close enough, and I finally got some sleep.

Skip forward to today.

For the past 18 months or so, I have been studying Hebrew. And lately, I have learned a few things about their language and the way they see the world: Hate is not what I thought it was. Neither is love.

Try to fully define either of those words for yourself, and what do you get? Paragraphs of explanations and examples. They are called abstract ideas for a reason. And if you compare your perception of these nouns to anyone else’s, there will be inconsistencies, contradictions, arguments. I have discovered that the Western way of thinking is wholly to blame for this. The reason we don’t understand things such as faith, love, or hate is because we are looking at them through a Western lens.

The Word of God was penned by people who understood the reality of these terms. The Eastern mindset is concrete. In order to love someone, you have to do it, not feel it. And that makes sense, doesn’t it? If you don’t do it, then you don’t really feel it either. A mother who fails to feed her starving baby does not love that baby, no matter how she thinks she feels about him. Hate and many other abstract words function the same way.

When God spoke of hating Esau, He wasn’t telling us how He felt about them. He was telling us that He actively worked against them. He brought judgment down upon them. Not because He wanted to destroy them, but because His righteousness demands that all sin must be paid for.

In reality, He desired to save them, just as He desires to save everyone. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

If you persist in rejecting the Messiah’s substitutional sacrifice in your behalf, then you will necessarily pay for your own sins, which will prevent you from inheriting eternal life. (The wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23)

So that’s the biblical definition of hate. Then what is love? The Almighty God loves us by doing what is best for us. God’s entire Law hinges on love. In it, He tells us how to live a healthy and successful life. The Law is love. The Law is life. After informing us of the best way to live, He allows us to choose whether we want to walk in the ways of life or abandon it.

If there is sin in our lives, then the Law prescribes correction. It’s not always pleasant, and it’s not always what we would choose for ourselves, but it is always best. If you are a parent that loves your child, then surely you have corrected him. Parenthood is the perfect object lesson. There’s a reason He calls Himself our Father.

So how do we even begin to love Him in return? I have one word for you, and that is obedience. Look it up. Read your whole Bible this year, and when you have finished it, tell me if I’m wrong. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15

The following is a story about a lawyer who was trying to trick Jesus into tripping over His words. I believe that He wanted Jesus to belittle some of God’s words (making them less important in comparison to others). Here’s how the story goes:

Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,  Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:35-40

How did Jesus score? Did He pass the test? Yes, He did. His answer was rhetorical. All of God’s words are equally important. So Jesus said to love Him and love people. In doing these two things, you will walk in all of God’s commandments because:

Love for God = obedience

Love for your neighbor = lawful behavior toward mankind

Jesus’ response to the lawyer points out the weight of the whole Law. He had the same response for satan: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that procedeeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4 – not just some words, but all of them.

Time for a few more abstract terms:

Forgiveness. Have you ever wondered how to forgive someone? It’s not in how you feel about them. It’s how you behave toward them. It’s what you say behind their back; it’s how you treat them to their face.

What is faith? Behaving like you believe. That’s it. Faith manifests itself in action. It is the evidence of things not seen. If there’s no action, there’s no faith. James 2:18 is rhetorical: “shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” Read the whole chapter to get the big picture.

One more really controversial topic; I will say as little as possible while still making myself clear: homosexuality itself is concrete. If you aren’t sleeping with members of the same sex, then you aren’t a homosexual. If you sleep with a member of the same sex, and then stop again, then you aren’t a homosexual. In fact, we really shouldn’t be using the adjective homosexual to define a person at all. There is homosexuality – that is the noun, the act. For Christians to call another human being a homosexual is for Christianity to buy into the belief that we are born that way and have no say in the matter.

Perhaps you stole a candy bar from the gas station 30 years ago. Do you refer to yourself as a thief for the rest of your life? Perhaps you know the combination to the safe at work. You daydream about making off with the money and retiring to a tropical island. Do you refer to yourself as a thief because of your temptation? No. Thievery is what you do – how you behave. It is an action.

What about a recovering sugar-addict? You may dream about ice cream, donuts, and candy bars all day long. Yet you care more about your health, so you deny yourself sugar. (IMHO, this is the same reason that God told us not to commit homosexuality – because it’s not healthy, and he wanted us to know that it isn’t good for us.) Do you label yourself a sugar addict forever, or do your actions define who you really are?

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t refrain from thinking homosexual thoughts. We should also refrain from fantasizing about burglary, extra-marital sex, vengeance, any number of things. Thoughts lead to action. However, I am worried about all of the kids and teens and even adults out there who are going to start labeling themselves as homosexuals just because an impure thought crossed their mind. We don’t label ourselves fornicators and adulterers at the slightest temptation. Why would we do the same for homosexuality? I’m afraid that these people will buy into the idea that they are “homosexuals” and that their belief will lead to behavior. What do you think?

Again, I know I’ve touched on some highly controversial topics here. I would venture to say that many Christians and many homosexuals will be offended by some of the things I’ve said here today. However, I do want to hear from you. My mind is forever adapting to new information, so I encourage any feedback you may have for me. Let’s just give our best effort to respect each other and keep things civil. 

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My Kids Hate Me (Flash Fiction)

I love telling short stories when the narrator doesn’t even know what’s going on. It’s one of my favorite methods of plot exposition. I think it’s so easy to deceive ourselves, and that it happens every day. I like to analyze why people feel the way they do, or what makes people behave the way they do, so you can see why this kind of writing appeals to me. It’s kind of sad sometimes, I know, but so is life.

The following was my first attempt of a prompt suggested by The 3 A.M. Epiphany. I didn’t stay within the parameters, but I did want to continue the story to see where it led. So, if my writing partner is reading this, don’t worry – I started over today, and now I’m obeying the rules, lol.

I have 2 daughters, and they both hate my guts. Even though Rich says I’m exaggerating, I know he’s wrong. I have proof. For instance, my 70th birthday just passed me by, and it didn’t occur to either of them to stop by for a visit or even call. My whole life is passing me by, and they don’t care a bit.

I have been up all night wondering how in the world they could disrespect the woman that gave them life. I’m sure it’s nothing I did. They must have gone astray somehow – had friends who taught them to hate their mom, or read the wrong kinds of books or watched the wrong kinds of movies. I’ve noticed that most moms in movies don’t love their kids at all, so maybe they’re just getting their ideas from Hollywood.

I can’t stay focused enough to figure it out; I’m too upset. So I have decided to write down what I know and see if the answers come to me.

 

Myra

Myra, she’s my oldest. She’ll be 49 in a couple of months, and she has no clue how good she’s got it. Her husband Frank works a full-time job, and she just sits around all day watching reruns of Golden Girls and sewing afghans. (She’s always been a loner, staying home when her sister and I went out, keeping to herself in her room, barely making an appearance for meals.)

She never had any kids – I guess she doesn’t like the idea of being a mom, since she hates me – and she doesn’t even know what it’s like to have to hold down a job.

Anyway, maybe I can guess what her problem is. When she was real little, she was the only child I had. We spent the first 8 years of her life playing Barbies, coloring together, enjoying games of hide-and-seek. I had to work outside the home, but I always made time for her.

But then Kelly was born, now she was a sick baby, so I had to let Myra sort of figure things out on her own after that. I’m sure it was good for her to finally take some responsibility. I had been molly-coddling her for almost a decade, so it had to end some time.

Myra kept nagging me and demanding my attention, but Kelly was a full-time commitment, and I was real tired when I wasn’t fitzing with her. One day though, she just stopped asking me to play with her.

At the time, I though she must have finally grown up, gained some independence. But that’s probably when she started hating me. Like I said, I’m not sure she ever really understood that I just didn’t have time to cater to her anymore.

Kelly

So I already mentioned Kelly, but she’s my second. I would almost call her my problem-child, except that none of it was her fault. Like I said, she was a sick baby, but that never really got better. Well, anyway, by the time we all learned to cope with her condition, she hated everyone, and me the most.

I tried to give her everything a little girl could possibly want, because I seriously didn’t know how much longer she’d live. I gave her extra candies and hugs when she was little, and all of the latest gadgets and fashionable clothing when she got older.

Myra never cared for any of that stuff. In fact, she moved out before Kelly turned 9.

Out of the blue, Kelly started asking for things that I just couldn’t afford, like that trip to Europe with her friends. She should have realized how much I loved her when I took that extra summer job to pay for her trip to California, but she had already missed her senior class trip, and I guess she never forgave me for that.

 

Well, I won’t lose any more sleep from now on. If they hate me, it’s their own fault for not realizing that I was doing my best for both of them. I can see that bending over backwards to show them that I loved them never did a lick of good, so why even try anymore?

photo credit: dmitryzhkov <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/67084790@N03/33209720101″>4_DSC8944</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

 

 

The One Man Who Could Have, Didn’t

Only one man has ever had the power to utterly destroy his torturers, body and soul. But not only did he allow them to live, he also stuck around and submitted himself to the torture, allowing them to finish their work, even as He finished His. The fear of torture freaks me out more than anything in this world, and I just can’t wrap my mind around anyone will the will-power to purposefully accept it.Cross

I Can’t Sleep

I wonder how much of my life has been spent tossing and turning, trying to go to sleep, only to fail for hours on end before drifting off from total mental and physical exhaustion? I have no idea why I am having so much trouble sleeping lately, except that my mind has been going, going, going. You would think that I would be so tired of thinking by the end of the day, but ideas seem to multiply themselves like rabbits. I guess I could watch TV before going to bed and numb my mind down to nothing, but I really don’t want to. What I want to do is write, and what I don’t want to do is lay in bed and become frustrated. So, even though I have a pretty busy day planned tomorrow, I am going to stop torturing myself by trying to sleep. If I am tired tomorrow night, I will just go to bed earlier, so there. Maybe then I’ll be able to sleep like a regular human being.

So, I had a different post planned for in the morning, but here is what I am thinking about right now. In fact, I wrote parts of the following portion of this post from my phone, in bed, about 10 minutes ago:

During church service Sunday morning, we sang “This Is My Father’s World.” Our song leader mentioned that he always thinks of that song when he spends time outside hunting. I usually think of “I Sing the mighty Power of God” or “For the Beauty of the Earth.”

I love spending time outside because it reminds me of the Creator. It puts us closer to the mind of God, helps us The Creationunderstand Him a little better. He loves beauty. He loves serenity. He loves painting new masterpieces in the sky for our entertainment. He enjoys watching the industry of the animals and the interaction between the plant and animal world. In short, He loves His creation. He loves us.

I am afraid that the more time we spend indoors, and the more we surround ourselves with man-made things, the less we will remember our Creator. And, until I started going to the city every day, I would sometimes go for days on end without ever stepping foot outside. Our lives revolve around technology (I say, as I sit up late at night typing instead of sleeping). I remember once or twice last winter, I wanted to know whether it was snowing. But instead of getting up to look out the window, I picked up my phone and looked at my weather app. I know better, but I am still hopeless! I really need to make an effort to spend time outside every day, remembering my Creator and talking to Him.

Do you think there is a disconnect between humans and nature?

Do you think it’s important to spend time outdoors?

Do any of you all make it a point to go outside on a regular basis?

Dominant Race

Earlier this month, I read Dominant Race by Elisa Nuckle. It was a new experience for me, because I don’t remember ever reading a novella before; however, after I got used to the pacing, it was extremely enjoyable. The book itself was very interesting. It focused on a group of humans that are descendants of people who were genetically modified with animal DNA. It was a fresh twist on all of these extra-human novels filling our bookstore shelves. I must admit that at first I was nervous, because I try to stay away from reading anything that precludes the existence of God, such as vampire and werewolf novels. But I’m happy to say that this novella was very believable, and could maybe even actually happen… a very long time from now. The differences in the humans were based in science, and not super-natural powers of any sort. The main character of the book deals with coming-of-age, love, betrayal, and prejudice, and I was impressed with how the author addressed each of these issues. All-in-all a very enjoyable read. I can’t wait for the sequels to come out!

Check out this super-cool ebook on Amazon!

Five Miles South of Peculiar

Sunday, I finished reading Five Miles South of Peculiar, by Angela Hunt. The story focused on three middle-aged sisters, their relationships with each other, and the changes that they all face when life steers them in new directions. Fear, betrayal, and anger are countered with love and forgiveness in this heart-warming tale that centers on the difficulties of living in a small town, where every woman’s history is well-known, and her decisions and mistakes can haunt her for the rest of her life.

This was a nice read. While I was never bored, it did seem to take me a while to get “into” the story. I think it was mostly due to the fact that the story is best suited for a middle-aged audience. The main characters are believable and well-developed, and I grew to care for them throughout the course of the book. A couple of times, I shed a few tears out of the empathy that I felt, as their hearts were torn, and then healed. This is a fantastic book for teaching all of us about forgiveness – a trait that’s becoming more rare as the years go by. Overall, this book really left me with a sense of hope, and an overall feeling that “life begins at fifty.”

If you want to find out more, check out the product page for this book. Or you can preview it here.

Note: In exchange for an honest review, the publisher provided a complimentary copy of this book through Glass Road Public Relations.

What does God sing about?

You!

The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

I wish I could put into words how this verse makes me feel. We’ve all heard John 3:16 so many times, that we tend to overlook its deep meaning. We’re desensitized. I think people get the feeling that God is trying to guilt them into serving Him.

But this verse in Zephaniah is fresh. It proves to me how much God really does love me. Enough to give His son, of course. But even more than that. Enough to sing over me. I am precious to Him. He enjoys my company; desires my fellowship.

It kind of reminds me of my relationship with my husband. I told someone the other day that I really like my husband, and they said, “Well, you love him!” But to me, liking my husband is even more important than loving him. I love a lot of people – I care intensely about them and what happens to them. But I really like my husband. I like being around him, talking to him, spending time with him. This is the way God feels about us! Not only does He love us, but He likes us too!

This verse does a couple of things for me: first, it makes me feel deeply loved (and liked!).

Second, it makes me really wanna hang out with my best friend, who also happens to be the Creator of the universe.

Third, it helps me forgive others because I realize that this verse can apply to anyone walking the face of the earth. Even those who aren’t saved yet still have the potential to get saved, and to bring this much joy into the heart of God. It helps me remember how precious each and every person is.