Many people these days are prisoners, held captive by false information and lies. But if we turn to Jesus and listen to Him, as He said, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
Truth is hard to find these days. It keeps getting run over and buried by fake news, theories, and lies. I search for truth, but it seems in vain. Even when I think I’ve found it, well, is what I’ve found really the truth?
Cynical? Me? Sure, I guess so. Maybe it’s just the scars from being lied to so many times. Politicians, biased “news” sources–they’re the biggest liars in my life, they’re the breeders’ of my cynicism.
But there’s one source of truth I can believe in, one truth that feels like a solid anchor in the nightmare of this stormy life. For me, Jesus is the truth, the one and only truth I can actually rely on.
I started reading the Gospel of John this morning. “We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only (Jesus), full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (verse 17)
And of course, there’s freedom in truth. Wow! Freedom? Really? Freedom seems about as rare as truth these days. But as Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
Oh sure, I’ll keep searching for the truth of worldly goings-on, always skeptical of any source of “news” I land on. But I know that when I get tired of futile searching, I can rest in the truth of my relationship with the Spirit of Jesus within me. He is my truth.
Are you looking for truth? Does your life feel full of confusion, delusion, and deception? Does truth seem hard to find? You will find truth in a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit… the Spirit of Jesus Christ. As Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth.” (John 14:16-17)
And… “When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13)
I, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, have spoken of The Wall before, the wall of false ideas that stands between you and me. The stones in this wall are all the beliefs about me and my Church that are not true.
This wall of lies is built on the foundation of natural human pride. For it’s pride that twists the truth to meet the self-interests of humanity. Look, pride focuses on self rather than others. Pride focuses on personal preference, rather than truth. Therefore, pride stands in the way of a healthy relationship with others, and with me.
Though I despise the wall of pride that blocks your view of me, I still love my pride-filled children. For pride is not a choice you make. Pride is a plague that infects all of humanity. Yet it’s a plague with a cure, and I’m the doctor who can cure it. Look within yourself to me, within you. As you focus more on me, the wall of pride will begin to fade, as will your own prideful nature.
Yesterday I spoke with you about the wall – the wall of false ideas that stands between you and me. I, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, see this wall clearly. I can bring down this wall. But first you need to see it for yourself; you need to experience its reality. Then you will be able to feel the true magnitude of my love as I bring the wall to ruin.
How can you see a spiritual wall? Well, first you need to see each stone for what it truly is. Everything you’ve ever heard about me and the church I built, that is false – it’s these lies which are the stones in the wall, blocking your view of the truth. To see the stones of lies, you need to first know the truth.
You will find the truth in my written word… the Bible. And in prayer, for prayer is where you will find me. I will open your mind to the truth, for I am the Spirit of truth. And my truth will set you free from imprisonment behind the wall of lies.
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth.” (John 14:16-17)
“When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13)
There may be a wall between you and me. I, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, see this wall, and I patiently wait for you to see it too. This wall is built of man-made stone. You’ve placed some of the stones in this wall – stones of doubt, stones of fear, stones of your self-sufficient ego. Other people have also placed stones in your wall: false messages coming from the pulpit, deceived friends, or the media – stones of deception and lies, about my church and me. Anything that gets in the way of your view of the truth of my presence within you is a stone in this wall.
Can you yet see the wall? Can you reach out and feel it standing there in the midst of your mind, blocking your view of me?
Yet this wall is weak. You have the power within you to bring it down. You can look right through the wall, to me. And as I come more into focus within your mind and heart, as my presence becomes more real to you, I will crash over this wall as a wave of love. And my love will flood into you, overflowing you and spilling out through tears of joy and love. And the wall will be no more.
Please, look through the wall of false ideas, to the truth of me, within you.
I’ve been working on refining the description of the book I’m writing. I think it’s about time – I’ve been working on this thing for almost seven years, and I tend to awkwardly stumble to an answer when people ask what the book is about. Lately I’ve been working on the elevator pitch; the briefest of descriptions. Here’s what I have so far, maybe for an elevator ride of about five floors.
Book title: His Truth Will Set You Free; knocking down the prison walls of manmade religion.
Pitch: The manmade false ideas that pollute Christianity are like large stones in a prison wall, mortared together by pride and greed, holding captive unwary believers and barricading those seeking answers. This book demolishes the prison walls of false messages with the mighty truth of Jesus Christ.
I’m curious; based on that brief description, would you read such a book?
A dear friend once said to me, “I see so many different Christian churches, which I’m okay with, but they all have different messages. What should I believe?”
What we see as Christianity today looks like a bicycle wheel. Jesus is the hub, the center. Each church is like a spoke, and by the time Jesus’ original message gets to the outside end of the spoke, it’s filled with manmade modifications. Traveling around the outside of this wheel called Christianity can be a bumpy ride, as my friend discovered.
I don’t want to criticize churches who customize Jesus’ message. I think it’s natural, given our pride-filled human nature. Pride drives people to put their personal mark on things. My purpose with this post is to point to the truth, which you will find only at the center of the wheel, at Jesus.
And Jesus is easy to find. You will find His truth in the bible, in your prayers, and in your heart – for that is where the Holy Spirit of God lives.
If you’re wondering, this is the right place. Actually, the “right” place is a matter of opinion, which I leave to you. But this is likely the place you were expecting to land with your last mouse click. I just decided to change the look of the blog site.
It’s been over six years since I started this blog, and I felt it was time for a wardrobe change. And in a way, it’s symbolic of some changes in me…
When I first starting writing in this blog, those six years ago, I believe I still held onto anger towards churches that abuse the truth of Jesus Christ, and I let that anger spill onto the keyboard. Well, maybe wisdom comes with age, for I no longer want to fill my posts with acquisitions, even if based on absolute truth.
All I want to do now is write about the truth of Jesus Christ, and that means letting His love spill onto the keyboard while I write. For me, it’s a new look, and I like it.
One of my strongest desires is for unity within the churches of Jesus Christ. And in the name of unity, today I offer up an appeal to all Christians, and a prayer.
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. (1)
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (2)
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love. (3)
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. (4)
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (5)
Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name – so that they may be one as we are one. (6)
May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (7)
I pray … that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (8)
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (10)1: (1 Corinthians 1:10) 2: (Ephesians 4:2-3) 3: (1 Corinthians 16:13-14) 4: (Romans 15:5-7) 5: (Colossians 3:12-17) 6: (John 17:11b) 7: (John 17:23) 8: (John 17:20-21) 9: (John 17:17) 10: (Ephesians 3:14-21) [This was first posted July 17, 2008]
In Jesus’ church, there are no denominations. Jesus’ church is simpler than the complex collection of differing manmade Christian organizations. Jesus’ church is the family of Spirit-filled believers.
“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22)
In the years I’ve spent on this blog site, surfing other peoples blog sites, and in my life outside the cyber-world, I’ve met many wounded Christians. The wounds come from churches. The wounds may come from other Christians. Or the wounds may come from inside themselves, from false ideas they believe to be true. There is no blame or guilt in all this – it’s just a result of people being normal, broken, sinful & prideful human beings.
I recently stepped out of my boat and ventured into Facebook land. It’s an interesting place. I discovered Facebook groups. I have since been inspired to start a group for wounded Christians. I just hope the inspiration came from God and not me.
This group is for sharing personal stories of suffering and confusion. Sharing stories may help others; by showing them they are not alone. Most importantly, this group is for sharing stories of healing. And this group is about sharing the truth of Jesus Christ. For it is His truth that will answer questions. It is His truth that will heal wounds. It is His truth that will set you free from pain, suffering, confusion, guilt, and many other manmade maladies.
A friend of mine described this Facebook group as “A wonderful group for those of you who love God but have been wounded by His people.”
The name of the group is “For Wounded Christians – a Place for Healing.”
Many Christians believe that making the gospel relevant for our times will attract people to the church. Trying to “meet people where they live” is just what Jesus did, so this should be a good approach. Yet, judging by the dwindling numbers of those attending church, there must be something wrong with the drive for relevance.
The flaw of the relevance approach is when they change the message to meet the needs of the day. This takes the focus off the truth of Jesus. His message is eternal, in that it always meets the needs of the day, no matter what day it is. We always need love, always need faith, and always need hope. This is what Jesus has to offer, and it’s always relevant.
What people need is not a customized message for the day, which will loose power as conditions change. It’s not relevance that’s needed, but truth.
After Jesus was crucified and came back to life, his disciples had a hard time believing what they were seeing. They thought he was a ghost, still dead. They saw with their eyes, yet still did not understand. Don’t be surprised if you have difficulty understanding what you read in the bible, for even eyewitnesses had trouble.
Yet, as Jesus did for His disciples, He can do for us…“Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:45) Understanding does not come from our own intellect, cleverness, or imaginations. Understanding comes from only one source, the Holy Spirit. “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.” (1 Corinthians 2:12)
If you are willing, the Holy Spirit can open your mind and show you the truth. As Jesus said, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:12-13)
Why do some Christians distort the truth of Jesus? There are two reasons. First is ego – to gain honor for themselves. As Jesus said, “He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.” (John 7:18)
Ever since Jesus preached His gospel while walking the roads of ancient Israel, people have felt the need to put their own mark on the truths He had proclaimed. Perhaps they felt their own personal revisions would improve His message. Or, maybe they were unable to accept His message as-is, and they decided to reshape it into something they could agree with.
“Everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 2:21) Everyone suffers from the temptation of believing that they know more or know better than God does. This disease of pride moves some people to re-make God and His message into their image.
The second reason the truth gets distorted is that well-meaning everyday Christians portray false ideas about the truth of Christianity just by how we live. We are imperfect human beings, tasked with conveying the perfect message of Jesus Christ. Our imperfections are bound to smudge the message now and then. Our human hands too easily mar the heavenly masterpiece of Jesus.
“This is what the Lord Almighty says: … love truth and peace.” (Zechariah 8:19)
Truth and peace – I have to admit that I sometimes find it hard to include peace with my blog posts about truth. I indeed love the truth. When I write about truth in a way that confronts some false message within Christianity, I tend to get passionate. Yet I am sometimes a bit harsh in my response to deception. I have a hard time including peace while I lash out at some religious doctrine that is contrary to the truth of Gods word. The truth is so important to me – I lose sight of the need for compassion. My prideful human nature often closes my eyes to the peaceful approach.
The peace I wish to bring doesn’t come from me – it comes from the Holy Spirit within me. So if you read a blog post of mine that includes just the right mix of truth and peace, then you will know that I stepped out of the way and let the Holy Spirit of God speak through me. And if the peace is missing from my message, I sincerely apologize to you, and God.
“As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honoured with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.” (Catechism 82 of the Roman Catholic Church, emphasis added) The Catholic Church considers God’s word, as recorded in the Bible, and Catholic tradition, as equally valid and important.
Jesus might say in response, “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” (Mark 7:8)
Moses might say, “Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.” (Deuteronomy 4:2)
And the apostle Paul might add, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)
Catholic tradition verses the word of God – I’ll choose God.
Please, tell me your story of truth. If you’ve read any of my posts on this site, you know that the theme is all about contrasting false images of Christianity we see in our world, with the truth. Sometimes what we see is not anywhere near what the founder of Christianity, Jesus, had in mind.
I haven’t written anything on this site for a long time. The reason is that I’ve been spending my writing time working on a book. But instead of getting back to writing posts for this site, I find that I’m now more interested in hearing the experiences of others. What have you experienced in your exposure to the Christian church that may have been a false image of Christianity? Please share your story.
I know a lot of people who have been wounded by false messages coming from some churches. And I have a growing passion to help people find freedom from the pain of lies and deceptions. It occurred to me that maybe simply providing a forum to vent might be helpful. So please vent. Have you been wounded by a so-called Christian church, or so-called Christian? Then please, tell us about it, if you want to. Just comment to this post.
And if this kind of sharing becomes popular, I’ll try to find a better way to help facilitate it.
Here are some of the ways I used to feel around Christians; see if these sound familiar to your experience:
- I felt like Christians were constantly judging my behavior and actions.
- It seemed to me like Christians thought they were better than everyone else.
- I felt like Christians disliked me and everyone else who wasn’t a Christian.
- I thought Christians were flat-out weird whenever I saw them praying in public, and I’d stay far away from them, as if I didn’t want to catch whatever sickness they had.
- The worst was that I always felt like Christians were trying to pressure me to convert and take on their beliefs. Just leave me alone and let me be how I want to be!!! – that’s how I felt.
Than I became a Christian. I remember my sister saying, “Oh no, are you now a Jesus Freak?” The answer was yes. Yet even though I had become crazy about Jesus, I sure didn’t want to become creepy. Ever since I decided that I really like Jesus and believe in Him, I’ve been searching for the truth of what a real “Christian” should look like. In other words, how would Jesus have Christians appear to non-Christians?
For all who call themselves “Christian,” here’s some advice from the experts (note, I like to put Jesus’ words in red, since He’s the best expert on the subject):
“Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” (1 Corinthians 8:9)
“Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.” (Romans 14:13)
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” (Matthew 7:1)
“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.” (Romans 14:1)
“But you – who are you to judge your neighbor?” (James 4:12)
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37)
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men… But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.” (Matthew 6:5, 6)
“Make every effort to live in peace with all men.” (Hebrews 12:14)
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)
“Be merciful to those who doubt.” (Jude 1:22)
All Christians should pay attention to the advice of the experts.
It’s difficult and often dangerous out in the “real” world. As I raised my children, I protected them, fed them, taught them, cared for them, and loved them. I did my best to create a safe, joyful and loving environment at home. Yet they left.
Well of course they left; that’s the way of our society. Raise your children and then send them off on their own, to fend for themselves and put what you taught them into practice, hopefully.
It’s part of our nature to want to go out on our own, and live independent of our parents. We want to make our own decisions and direct our own life, without having to report to someone else. And along with this comes the responsibility of dealing with our own problems, on our own.
Of course for many of us, mom and dad are no farther away that the other end of the telephone, and they are often willing and able to help us deal with our problems. We may have left them when we moved out of their house, but they never really left us. Loving parents make themselves always available to help and guide their adult children.
Where am I going with all this? Well, I think this little scenario illustrates our history and relationship with God.
Humanity, in the persons of Adam and Eve, were lovingly raised by God, who offered them a home with Him, forever. He would protect them, feed them, teach them, care for them and love them. But the independent nature kicked in. Adam and Eve wanted to leave home and go out on their own, make their own decisions and direct their own lives.
I know some self-proclaimed atheists who make a case that all of the world’s problems are evidence that there is no God, for how could a God possibly allow so much evil. The truth is, God does not allow evil, in His home. But humanity struck out on their own, into the cold, cruel, evil world. We left God to go out on our own, spurred on by our prideful ego, which told us we were smart enough to live independent from God.
Yet we are not alone in this cold, cruel world. God is always just on the other end of the phone, lovingly willing to help us deal with our problems. All we need do is call, and listen.