Tag Archive: spirituality

You’ve seen the quote ”dance like no one is watching, sing like no one is listening, love like you’ve never Imagebeen hurt’… But have you spent much time thinking about it?

 I have it engraved on stone hanging on my wall and I noticed it yesterday… Especially the last line.

 Love like you’ve never been hurt.

 How is this done? For those of us who are the walking wounded, who have been hurt one too mImageany times to count, feeling like reaching out one more time simply might be the death of you -risking again… For what? Perhaps we need a little help to get there.

 Loving, risking, losing. Start over.

Loving, risking, losing… Again and again, stung by betrayal, abandonment, loss. Rejection.

 As the ice melts from my frozen heart, and spring has come to fill my soul afresh, I feel my wounds heal.I have been taught humility by my circumstance.Image

 The world does not revolve around me. I saw a friend, deeply wounded, and saw how she held onto love despite the pain she faced. I looked within myself and saw my inadequacy. I saw that I grappled with mercy and grace and judgments towards those who’ve offended me. How hard it was to let it go and set them free & embrace humility. My pride and resentment kept me trapped in a prison of my own making. Bitterness. I had been trying to forgive – wrestling with it, trying to let go of the pain, but the pain had become my only friend, and my protector. The ice around my heart began to form to protect my heart from further injury. I became numb. And broken. What used to function normally- the ability to love, felt frozen behind a wall of insecurity, fear of being hurt again, fear of loss and pain became my comfort. But in the hardening of my heart what came next was isolation.

 Man was not meant to be alone.

 I’d forgotten how to love at all.

Yet alone to love like I’ve never been hurt.

The secret is forgiveness. Not for them but me. Unforgiveness is like a poison you drink yourself.

 ‘Forgiveness is nothing more and nothing less than an act of self healing – an act of self-empowerment – no longer a prisoner to my tragic past, that I was finally free’.

 The above quote was taken from Eva Kor, a survivor of the Holocaust and the experiments of Joseph Mengele at Auschwitz 50 years ago, who was able to forgive her oppressors in the very place they took away her freedom, her innocence and her family.

 Forgiveness is a process as it takes time to heal, for sure.

But humility and recognizing our own weaknesses and sins can help us give grace to those who have injured us. Grace is a lesson I am learning. I have never been very proficient at it. Without being aware, I have battled with my own sense of self-righteousness and would cling to my right for justice, all the while knowing that mercy triumphs over justice. But still I held on to the ‘why me’, ‘it’s not fair’, victim mentality. It wasn’t my fault. So why did this happen to me?

 Now I see the error of my ways, my own pride and am humbled by my own vanity.

 How do you love like you’ve never been hurt? Without walls of fear or anger or pain or pride to protect you? I knew it in my head, but it needed to penetrate to my heart… Let go of the need to be in control. Let go of the pain and trust God with your heart’s protection.

Let go of fear and give it to God to hold onto. Perfect love drives out fear.

I saw myself in the garden of Eden, along with Adam and Eve, hiding themselves from God.

 ‘where are you?’ He called out to them?

 ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself’ Adam replied.

 So true. Our vulnerabilities make us feel naked. Our awareness of our sinful nature cause us to feel humiliated so that we hide. We feel alone. We believe we must defend ourselves and hide. Hide from more hurt. Hide from awareness of our own flaws. Hide from the effects of other’s sin against us.

 God was reaching out to them, but they couldn’t see that because of their own shame and independence from him. Unable to turn to the only one who could help them, they locked themselves in their independence and separateness from him, left to their own devices to protect themselves from harm, little knowing that their own efforts were causing them to open themselves to vulnerability in harmful ways. But deceived, they believed they were protecting their vulnerability instead.

 By holding onto control, we leave ourselves more exposed to harm and falsely believe our walls of independence -the belief that we can handle it on our own – will protect us from further vulnerability and further harm. But it is only an illusion.

 The only way to love like you’ve never been hurt, is to let go of our attempts to control the  outcome of events. Control is an illusion. I can’t control what others do or don’t do, I can only take responsibility for my own actions.

 Fear is not my friend. It is not a good protector. It blocks us from the ability to love.

 To love like I’ve never been hurt requires me to trust God with my pain, my fear, my inadequate ability to effectively protect myself, and believe that even when I don’t understand, that he will somehow work all things together for the ultimate good, if I choose to embrace the lesson to be learned from my experiences. 

 Instead of hiding in the garden afraid, respond to God’s question ‘where are you?’ with a new answer.

 I’m hurt Lord. I want to protect myself from further pain. I know that is independence from you & I choose to open up to you, to not hide, but rather run to you and let you embrace me, and bandage my wounds, and make me whole again. I choose to trust you with my heart. I choose to take down my walls. I choose to love and I choose grace and I choose forgiveness and I choose to acknowledge I am fallible too. I hurt people too. We are all on equal footing. I choose to repent of my own arrogance and self righteousness. And self pity. I choose to embrace love.  I choose to learn and offer grace. I choose humility.

 My friend and I are on a journey together. We are letting life teach us it’s lessons to learn. We are letting God teach us how to love like we’ve never been hurt. How to let down our habits and trained defenses and walls, and learn the healthy boundaries of taking responsibility for the only thing we Imagecan. Our own actions, our own behavior and responses and attitudes.

 To all of those who have hurt me in some way great or small, to all those i have hurt as well. Not only do I forgive those who have hurt me, But I repent as well. For the lack of grace, lack of integrity, lack of love, the walls, the judgments, the arrogance, my fear. I am fallible too. I know that now.

If you’d like to look at another great resource, check out my one-on-one Trauma Recovery Program which will help you move forward from betrayal, hurt, or loss!


If you have any questions on today’s blog or would like help on taking steps forward, I’d love to hear from you!  Post a comment below or visit my website and register for your Complimentary Strategy Session to discuss your situation in more detail.

Katie Meilleur – Certified Life Coach

Self compassion. What is it?

To understand this concept better, we must first understand the concept of self worth. For people who generally already have a pretty good sense of self esteem and who recognize that their worth does not come from something external, such as how you perform or whether you are accepted or rejected by the people you love, self compassion is a relatively easier concept to understand. These people have either taken in enough emotional object constancy from their formative years and taken in enough nurture and love from their parents at that crucial stage of development, that they have enough love within themselves to understand self compassion. Or, they have learned the tools to develop a positive sense of self esteem later on in life. And yes! Self-esteem can be taught, learned and appropriated!

It is for those who have come from a more traumatic background of neglect or abuse of any kind or who lacked the nurturing or a stable, consistent environment while growing up who will likely find this subject of most value. A stable consistent environment can include anything from receiving consistent messages of worth and value as a person, not by what you do or don’t do, but just for who you are, to having steady, consistent people in your life, to living in the same neighborhood, growing up with the same kids from your school to increase the sense of bondedness and connection. Kids who grow up with one parent who has several partners who come and go frequently lack the steadiness of knowing both parental figures will be there for them. When families move frequently to different cities, uprooting their kids and planting them in new schools every couple of years or so, even if it is necessary for work related reasons, the child learns to adapt, but not to feel a sense of consistency or attachment with peers, which is also essential for the stability necessary to build into a child a healthy sense of connectedness. Even those who grow up with healthy parenting can be affected by low self worth for a variety of reasons. No family is perfect, and you may miss out on one or two of the essential pieces necessary to build a strong sense of worth, as in the above examples. The nurturing may be there, but moving a lot can affect the child, or if the nurture is inconsistent, or a variety of other factors may affect one’s sense of self esteem. So the bottom lime is, everyone can benefit by understanding more about self worth and where it comes from. So let’s take a look at a simple definition of it, before we unpack how to build that self esteem by introducing self compassion.

Self esteem is a realistic and appreciative opinion of oneself. Realistic meaning an honest and accurate assessment of yourself. It involves having positive feelings toward the self. It involves the ability to know that you have worth regardless of external circumstances.

Trauma has a way of re-wiring the brain to de-rail one’s sense of worth. What then begins to happen is that a person begins subconsciously speaking negative messages to the self. “I am not lovable because I was abused” or “I can only be worth something if I perform well” or telling oneself messages like “I’m a failure.” “no one loves me.” “I’m worthless.” “It would be better if I were dead”, etc. These are a few examples of negative self talk. The more you listen to these subtle statements, the worse they become. A person can begin to self-sabotage themselves and give in to self pity, or reject love when it is offered by dismissing it with reasons and assumptions as to why it can’t be true that someone loves us. Why? Because we have re-programmed our brain to only listen to negative messages that we use as a wall to protect ourselves. That’s right! Pain can be a protector. So can anger and rage. Anger and rage turned inward on ourselves is deadly to self worth. The sad thing is, most of this is going on subconsciously as we go about our day to day life, battling depression, despair, or self hatred, not realizing where it stems from, due to a lack of mindfulness about what we are allowing our minds to dwell on. There is a lot of research on how our brains work, and in many studies revealing ways to by-pass the trauma centers of our brain to re-route as it were, by reformatting the messages the brain is taking in. I do not have the time to go into that further. But the point is, there is sufficient evidence that our brains can learn new messages. We do not have to stay in trauma forever!

The bible suggests that ‘ whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things” Philippians 4:8 NIV

This is good advice and wise counsel. Buddhism and Psychology also offer good tools for paying attention to what we are thinking about, called Mindfulness.

“Mindfulness is the practice of skillfully managing our attention and awareness. Attention regulation leads directly to emotional regulation.”

” Mindfulness is…knowing what you are experiencing WHILE you are experiencing it. Moment to moment awareness. Paying attention to our stream of perceptions rather than our interpretations of them… It is both knowing where our mind is from moment to moment AND directing our attention in skillful ways.”

The above quotes are from the book “The Mindful path to Self Compassion” by Christopher K. Germer, PhD.

The bible discusses this concept as well when it instructs us to “take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:5

Joyce Meyer teaches on this concept as well, to “think about what you’re thinking about” instead of carelessly allowing destructive thoughts to take up residence in your mind.

Before I get into self compassion, I must look at the flip side of the coin. There are those who dwell on pain and allow pain to be their protector. The same applies to self hatred. But, there is another aspect to take a quick look at. Studies show that the mind naturally wants to avoid distressful events and uses denial and all sorts of other coping mechanisms like projecting our distress on others, etc. The problem with this is that denial amplifies the problem. Seeking pleasure or addictions to numb pain are temporary fixes that inevitably make things worse for us later on.

“The ability to see things as they are, with acceptance, gets us through.” (taken from the book, the mindfulness of self compassion, Again.)

Suppression actually ends up becoming preoccupied by what is trying to be avoided, causing all sorts of anxiety, self hatred, depression, etc.

“New research suggests that establishing a new relationship with our thoughts and feelings, rather than directly challenging them, makes the difference. This new relationship is less avoidant, less entangled, more accepting, more compassionate and more aware. Leaning into our problems with open eyes and open hearts – with awareness and compassion – is the process by which we get relief…Resistance creates suffering. Acceptance alleviates it.” (The Mindfulness of self compassion)

Now acceptance is not embracing and feeding the negative emotions and coddling them and making them right at home where they can wreak havoc on our souls, but rather to take a look at what is happening in our emotions. I have had it explained to me to try and look at those problematic emotions as a cloud passing by in the sky. You watch it with interest, apply compassion, and allow it to move on.

“Self compassion is a form of acceptance. Whereas acceptance usually refers to what’s happening to us -accepting a feeling or a thought- self compassion is acceptance of ourselves while we are in pain… Self compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.”

“Mindfulness says ‘feel the pain’ and self compassion says ‘cherish yourself in the midst of the pain.'”

The bible, as does like every other religious teaching out there, the golden rule: To love others as you love yourself.

I invite you to practice kindness toward yourself. Give yourself grace for when you feel like you have failed at something. Every time you want to automatically criticize yourself, you are hurting yourself by engaging in self-sabotage. Some of you believe that is all you are worth. It is a lie in it’s ugliest form. We were all made in the image of God and are dearly loved by Him. We were all designed with dignity and incredible worth. My heart goes out to those of you who believe you aren’t worth much. My advice: If there are people who are contributing to this message of a lack of worth in you, that you separate yourself from them, at least for a time, to begin to practice self compassion and self worth, until you recognize that your value does not come from external validation, but that it is innate within you.

I could say SO much more on this subject… It is very near and dear to my heart. But I can only say so much in one blog.

Remember to think about what you are thinking about and extend kindness and compassion to yourself!

If you’d like to look at a great resource, check out my one-on-one Personal Development Program which will help you overcome this and other struggles such as depression, unhealthy thought patterns and so much more!


If you have any questions on today’s blog or would like help on taking steps forward, I’d love to hear from you!  Post a comment below or visit my website and register for your Complimentary Strategy Session to discuss your situation in more detail.

Katie Meilleur – Certified Life Coach

“Here we are, in a desperate state of isolated independence from God, a loss of the relationship and perfect community designed by God. Now, we are living in the age of the fall, the era of mistrust, aloneness, pride, independence, fear, rejection, the pursuit to make a name for oneself, and the list goes on…to somehow deaden the blow of what is felt internally – bankruptcy of enormous proportions, a bankruptcy of the soul. Adam and Eve felt it immediately. Something had changed. They’d been ripped off. And they KNEW it. The eyes of their heart had been opened, and they understood that they had been deceived. They understood that the former intimacy had been robbed from them. Or so they thought. They understood that this knowledge was backfiring somehow. They thought they would be like God, but what had happened is that they had cut themselves off from the former enjoyment with God. But I doubt they fully understood why.
We are blessed that we have the story from beginning to end written out for us in the bible, but even in that, our eyes can remain blinded by deception for a lifetime, that we cannot see, nor understand this grand narrative that I am attempting to describe. (2 Cor. 14-18). Even as Christians it can take us years to finally figure out just how ‘deep the rabbit hole goes’ so to speak, in understanding the human condition, our spiritual bankruptcy, our fallen condition.

We touched on the wrath of God in the last chapter, arising out of a jealous love to protect the ones he loves, and are about to explore a little of God’s frustration, hurt, sense of betrayal and even anger, as he pours out his heart to the ones who have fallen away from him, all the while in a desperate pursuit to win back the heart of the one he loves, as he frequently refers to as his bride, in both the old and the new testament.

You see, our fallen human condition was not merely Adam and Eve alone in this fallen state, but every son and daughter since, has inherited this dreadful condition. As with all things, as a result of the fall, the condition atrophies, it worsens over time. It may have been a simple act of disobedience in the garden of Eden that day, but very soon after, we learn of a murder arising out of the condition of jealousy, among the children of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel. And the more you progress in reading the old testament, the greater the atrocities of our sinful human condition emerge. You see King David taking another man’s wife as his own, and having her husband murdered, you see him refuse to do anything for his daughter who was raped, arising an outpouring of wrath among one of his sons adamant for justice, taking justice in his own hands and murdering the one who raped his sister. You see human sacrifices as the people God loved turned away from God and sought other gods and became obedient to the practices of child sacrifices to appease the gods they chose to serve, something that was abominable to the one true God. On and on it goes, the depravity of the human condition, unleashed as man takes matters into his own hands. In our day we see it too, the corruption in our governments, the pursuit of power at the expense of others, the lack of peace in Israel. War and terrorism becoming a real part of our world, and holocausts, killing off whole races of people because one race sees themselves as more superior than another. White supremacy, bringing other races into slavery and abuses of extreme conditions. Human trafficking – the lack of respect for the dignity of human life. Nuclear threats, you name it, not to mention the murders that take place in our own time, due to jealous rage, or racism, or whatever the root cause may be… it all comes back to our sinful, inward condition of waywardness from the intentions God desired for us. It is the result of our falling away from a real and living God who loves us. In our independence, we thought our own human effort was good enough to resolve the condition of the world, ignorant and unaware that coming from a place of fallenness, could not possibly result in a perfect solution.

And so we come to see the grief of God, and his anger at the atrocities he sees in the world.
We first see this great grief expressed in Genesis 6:5: “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” In his anger, he said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land… for I am very sorry that I have made them.” This is the cry of a broken heart. For those of you who know the rest of the story, God found a man who was righteous before God, Noah, whom God chose to be the man whom he would rebuild the human race with, after he chose to flood the earth in an attempt to rid the earth of the violence of mankind. When all was said and done, God was again grieved and his anger subsided and he vowed he would never again destroy the whole earth by giving us the sign of the rainbow. But then again… some time later, wickedness arose so desperately in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, that the outcry of their evil deeds arose to God’s attention. He decided to wipe out the whole city. But Abraham interceded to God to spare the city, as he bartered with God from 50 men who were found to be righteous, down to 10. In the end, not 10 were even found righteous, and God allowed the city to burn up in smoke, after allowing the few people in the city who still feared God to flee for their safety.

It is difficult for us to look at these stories and see that God is a loving God that cares for us. When we see his wrath and his anger, we once again, from our fallen condition, reject him still further and wander farther off from him, not seeing his side of the story, his broken heart. His grief at our waywardness. His desire for a community of unity, rather than one that breeds hatred, isolation, and cruelty.

Let us take a closer look at how he feels toward us, this jilted lover, who is broken up over our wandering away from the love and fellowship he desired to share with us.
Listen to his heart:
“I long to be gracious to you. You are precious and honored in my sight, because I love you.”
“From everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him” Psalm 103:17
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you. Therefore he will rise to show you compassion. For the lord is a god of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him.” Isaiah 30:18
“Love each other, as I have loved you.” John 15:12
“For God so loved the world…” John 3:16a
“As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so your God will rejoice over you.” Isaiah 62:5
“The Lord God is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love and truth, who keeps his lovingkindness for thousands, and forgives iniquity, transgression and sin. Yet he will by no means leave the guilty unpunished…”
“I have loved you, says the Lord, but you say, “how hast thou loved us?” Malachi 1:2a

Here we see a developing theme of his great unshakeable love for us. But we also see He is equally a God of justice. We complain ever so readily when we feel that God has been unjust, and yet, every time he displays his acts of justice, we assume that he is cruel and lacks mercy. Exactly like this last quote we just read out of Malachi, where the Lord is speaking to us telling us that he has loved us, but complains that we say back to him, ‘how have you loved us?’ because we cannot believe. We are all locked in this state of blindness and hostility toward God, that we cannot turn to him even if we will it, by our own might. “because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God, and it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh, cannot please God.” Romans 8:7,8.

God intends to show us mercy. God has envisioned a plan for our redemption. But before we see this plan unfold, we must take a painful look at God’s side of the story. The anguish and grief, the sorrow and anger that burns within him at our wayward condition, and his desperation to renew a right standing between God and mankind once again.”

The above is an excerpt from the book I’m writing, called Found Wanting. I think I will leave it there for now.

Next Monday, I will try and attempt to unpack how desperately God loves and longs and yearns for relationship with us.

God’s Original Design

On Monday’s I blog about the book I am currently writing called “Found Wanting”. Today, I am simply going to post from my book about God’s original design for mankind, the desire in his heart for a community of relationship between us and God, as well as with each other. Keep in mind, this is just a small excerpt about what God’s original purpose for us was, prior to what Christians deem, ‘the fall of man’ when sin affected and corrupted God’s original plan. The belief is that in order for God to create us with the ability to love, he had to create us with the freedom to not love, which opened the door for rebellion, hatred, independence and unbelief, all key ingredients of what christians call ‘sin’. For those reading who are not of the Christian faith, keep in mind that this book is geared for those who are Christian, so if you have any questions for me, by all means contact me and ask! Here is an excerpt from an early draft of my book:

Made in God’s image, a brief look at the triune God

“God is presented in the bible as a tri-unity of entities existing as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, a community of ‘one-ness’ that we refer to in the Christian world as ‘the trinity’. The Evangelical Theological society describes the Godhead as the ‘original community of
one-ness in a single sentence: “God is a trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each an uncreated person, one in essence, equal in power and glory.” Each member of the trinity participates in the creation of, as well as the grand design for mankind. The Father is the originator, the son is the revealer and the spirit is the one who completes the work. And what is the work? To build a community of one-ness like the one that the trinity shares. There is a unity that is shared among the trinity that we must explore to understand.

Throughout all eternity, God is Father, Son and Spirit bound together in a dynamic relationship that unites the triune God. What is that bond? The discovery of that is the key to understanding what God thinks of us.

God is love. “The unity of God is nothing less than each of the Trinitarian persons giving himself to the others. This unity is the dedication of each to the others. The Father loves the son, and the son reciprocates that love. This love is the Holy spirit, who is the spirit of the relationship of the father and son.” (–Created for Community, Stanley Grenz)

Augustine wrote, “If God is love, then there must be in Him a lover, a beloved and a spirit of love, for no love is conceivable without a lover and a beloved.” Frank Viola suggests that ‘pulsating within the centre of the godhead was the very essence of deity, a passionate love.”

God lavished his goodness upon all of the earth and the creatures on the earth in his work of creation. But immediately after creating the man Adam, he saw that the man was alone. Everything else in creation had its counterpart, but man was solitary. Everything else God created he said “it is good,” after he spoke it into being. But not with man. The first thing he does is say “It is not good for man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18) Why? Because God had enjoyed the intimacy of a community of love in the trinity, he immediately saw that Adam’s alone-ness was not good. His design was to create a community to share in the love expressed in the trinity… because the nature of true love is to be generous, to reach out beyond ourselves and to embrace others and pull them into the circle of love so that others may experience the intimacy that comes from being loved. So too, God, who is love, desired to lavish his love upon us, and allow us to experience the love and unity that the Godhead has shared for all of eternity. Because God is community, he creates community. It is his gift of himself to humans.

Created in His Image

What does it mean when God tells us that we are ‘created in his image?’ I believe this means that we reflect who He is, the attributes that are a part of His divine nature. His creativity, His love, His passion, His ability to rule, His authority, His intelligence, His beauty. And many other details that we can take the time to observe in the things which He has created to get a glimpse of who He is, and what He is about. It also speaks of His goal or design for us, about the connection we have with him, our identity as connected to him.
God envisioned that mankind would model his creativity, and share the love he poured out on us that we would experience by knowing we were unconditionally accepted by God. We were to demonstrate his loving Father’s heart for us, to our families. He created us to be ambassadors, in a sense, taking what we have learned of his image, his character, his desire for mankind, and to represent him here on earth, in our relationships, in the varying roles we occupy throughout our lifetime. As we care for the earth and the creatures in it, we were made to model Him, and His ways, his ideas on earth.
Being in the divine image involves living in the grace of the creator, a special relationship with God, unique, above the animals, and plant life on the earth, we enjoy a special worth in his sight, receiving a special love. It involves a purpose and a future (Jer. 29:11). This being made in his image also involves a design he created, to enjoy rich fellowship and community with him, our families, our world and the body of Christ. He created us for community with each other.

Made for God

And so begins our journey of discovering God’s original design. God made us and designed us to be in intimate relationship with him. To enjoy the extension of the unity and love expressed within the members of the triune God. And so we see the first glimpse of the passion of a God who loves us completely. Let’s take a minute to look at a common definition of the word passion: “a strong and barely containable emotion, a state or outburst of such emotion, an intense desire or enthusiasm for something,’ and some common synonyms to describe the emotions of passion: rage, ardour, anger, love.”

There is much more to speak of God’s love and the purposes he created for us, but I will leave you with this passage from the new testament concerning the evidence God created for us to see and know and understand that we are not here by accident, but there is in fact a loving God who designed the world, and each human being uniquely and with purpose, and the sad effect that sin had on that original plan:

“That which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being, and birds and animals and reptiles.

Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity…For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the created, rather than the Creator.” Romans 1:18-25.

Perceptions about Christians

So I mentioned on Monday that today I would blog about the perceptions many people hold in north America about Christians, church and religion. Most of these opinions are negative, according to statistics.

This particular subject is actually something I am extremely passionate about. I strongly believe that God is relevant for today’s society. For years, the age of enlightenment has taught us that we outgrew God. That modern science would replace our need for God, or at least prove He doesn’t exist. As much as I would like to delve further into that subject, I will save that for another time. The point is, the current trend that is taking place, at least in North America, is a moving away from the modern era, and moving steadily towards what people are deeming the next wave, calling it post-modernism. What are the differences you might ask? Well, in a nutshell, instead of leaning heavily on the sciences, and modern intelligence, a new generation is emerging that is extremely spiritual, and hungry for spiritual meaning. Now, you might think that is great news for modern religions, such as Christianity, that work to proselytize new believers to the faith.

Instead, what is actually taking place, is a movement away from traditional religions in their purest form, such as Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, the Muslim religion, and others. What IS happening, however, is that people are finding a sort of ‘choose your own adventure’ sort of faith, mixing varying traditional religious beliefs from many of the above religions, and then some, adding their own ideas & values, forming the ‘god’ that suits them best. A god that most represents themselves individually, forming something that people have best labeled, ‘tolerance.’ It’s the concept that you can believe what you want, and I’ll believe what I want, and we will respect each other’s opinions.

Now, for me, coming from a Christian upbringing, what I personally see out of that, is merely that we have become gods to ourselves as a generation who has been dis-enchanted and disillusioned by the traditional modern faiths of our time. What it looks like from my perception, is that we gave up on something greater than ourselves, and must rely on our own selves instead. The problem with this, I fear, is that… What if we’re wrong? What if there is absolute truth? What if there is a solid foundation to be grounded on? What if we are just floating around believing in whatever we ‘feel’ is best for us, and the same thing happens all over again? Another wave of disillusionment that comes from recognizing that what we have put our faith in (ourselves) is not enough. Then where will we turn? Because obviously, modernism and science did not feed the hunger in our souls for a god. What if our own melting pot of ideas, borrowed from this faith and that, does not accomplish the fulfillment or completion, or enlightenment we are looking for? What will we do then to fulfill this spiritual hunger that is escalating to an all-time high? Whether we admit it or not, we are hungry, as I mentioned on Monday, for purpose, a sense of meaning as to why we are here, a need for destiny, intimacy and hope.

The problem for those who admit they are hungry for something more, and are searching for truth, come up empty, raised without knowledge of the varying religious beliefs out there, many come out empty, wondering… “well, just what IS the right religion, or the one that holds truth?” But most people looking for faith in something often look elsewhere other than to the beliefs of Christianity, because of a very negative stigma the church carries. Sadly, they are right. It is true that some of Christian history is muddied by horrible atrocities done in the name of Christ, such as the crusades, using the predominant religion of it’s time, to justify a lust for power and conquest for control. The same could be said of Hitler and the holocaust. Hitler believed that he was a christian, and was quoted saying, “I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the almighty creator… I am fighting for the work of the Lord”. Persecution of the Jews, and murder were never the teaching of Jesus himself. Neither was the quest for power and control and pride. He spoke that the meak would inherit the earth, not the power hungry. He himself, was a Jew, why would he instruct his followers to persecute those he loved so dearly? It is sad to see how religion used for politics and military conquest can become something so totally against the teachings of Jesus.

But more recently, and before I get too far off track, the more current complaints against Christianity and perceptions of its faith, according to recent statistical research conducted by The Barna group, the main concerns people hold of Christians and their faith, are these 6 issues:

1. Christians are hypocritical.
2. Christians are only interested in getting converts to their faith.
3. Christians are anti-homosexual.
4. Christians are sheltered, disconnected from current culture, and therefore irrelevant.
5. Too political.
6. Judgmental.

Sad, but true. As Ghandi summed it up: “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.” Amen to that Ghandi!

My passion, as a believer in Jesus, is to see Christians become like our Christ. Because the message Jesus preached was grace and love, and called himself “the way, the truth and the life.” (John 14:6)

“For God so loved the world, that he sent his only son, that whoever believes in him, shall have eternal life.” John 3:16

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent us his son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1John 4:10.

I believe Jesus is relevant to our emerging post modern culture, as a viable option to fill the deep spiritual hunger of this age. My mission: to see the Christians become like their Christ, and to erase the negative stigma the church currently holds as judgmental, hypocritical, sheltered, etc, as were mentioned above, and to become a solution to human need, instead of being part of the problem.

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