I am a Marvel Comics fan ALL DAY. If you’re a DC Comics fan, it’s ok….I don’t discriminate so you can read this too! The most amazing conversation I’ve heard to date comes from the Marvel show “Luke Cage”! One character’s hatred from betrayal ran so deep that his vengeful nature was backfiring on his health. In an effort to save his life, his friend reminded him of the word of God, “Vengeance is Mine said the Lord!” To which his friend replied, “well He can have it back when I’m done with it!” I’ve read poems, novels, short stories and plays but this was the best conversation I’ve heard to date! I felt him deliver that line down to the core of my being. I felt that line run through my blood. Those words are engraved in my psyche, “well He (The Lord) can have it (revenge) back when I’m done.” I do believe many a crime and heartbreak has been committed under the umbrella of this reasoning. It is (perhaps) a combination of my upbringing and my Christian faith that has prevented me from acting on this very premise. I have walked across the embers of betrayal in 3 degree weather multiple times. I’ve sweat out so many toxins along that trail that it appears as if I’ve discovered the fountain of youth. And though the route is quite worn, and I know the way, I’m not always up for the journey. I gaze upon the unbeaten side roads of revenge pretty often along the way. I wonder how different the grass would feel under my feet. I’m curious as to whether the route is a shortcut to my reward or if it’s a dead end. I even wonder if the fruits along the way taste sweeter than the bitter ones I have grown accustomed to.
(Job 2:3): “Then the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on Earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause’.” Unfortunately for me my name isn’t Job and even if it were, THAT Job is long dead and buried, right along with His perfect propensity towards perfection (say that 3 times fast without fail). And yet, I’m still concerned with the condition of my soul. What will Jesus say about me? Many will fall in the face of adversity, some will redeem themselves, some will not, but few will remain standing. If the enemy is allowed (by my own hand) to weaken my mind, body and heart, I will be one of the fallen. Even though Job’s body and mind were under attack by Satan, he knew all authority still belonged to God. Contrary to what we may believe, Satan has been attacking mankind since our existence on the Earth, using the same tricks.
The stories of the Bible have been repeating themselves from Genesis to present day. The only variations are in how individual persons handle their situations. There were a plethora of inhabitants on Earth besides those depicted in the Bible but there is significance in the stories of those that we now read about. Therefore I question, “will God find my testimony worthy to be added to His next written work?” When the world turns against me and those I trusted slander my name, will God praise my journey of integrity? Or will I become an example of what NOT to do?
“If the world hates you, you know that it hate Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love it’s own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you (John 15:18-19).” Well now, while that’s solid wisdom, it still SUCKS! How is it possible to maintain self confidence in a world that certain to hate you for one reason or another? Will Jesus confidently revere my journey as one of strong faith? I don’t know, my best guess is no. I mean this entire blog is dedicated to overcoming my fears which means I have more than a few of them. God doesn’t expect perfection of me, otherwise Jesus would have died in vain. But, we should at least show respect for the sacrifices made for our right to choose. What a blessing it would be if God could say that, in both your youth and old age, from Him you neither parted nor doubted. As great as that concept is, my humanity is what God truly loves about me. There have been those that have tried to pull me down by maliciously reminding me (and others) of my past; yet I remained faithful. I resisted my urges and placed my humanity under submission for the sake of my soul…and it SUCKED.
“But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by its cunning, your thoughts will be lead astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you submit to it readily enough (2 Corinthians 11:3-4).” We are all the next book of the Bible, waiting to be written, for Earth’s next life cycle. Our books are in the form of blogs, hard/soft copies, text messages and spoken word. Is your book going to be used as an example to on how to love unconditionally? How much blessing would you receive if Jesus could tell His Father in Heaven that you showed love to enemies, friends and family in the same manner without hesitation? Will you let God judge and determine the outcome of all things, without intervening? Will your story be a love story?
‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 22: 36-40).” While it’s admittedly hard to love through the pain, it’s an action you’ll never regret. I revert back to scriptures like this to keep me focused on the positive and to aid in navigating the complex emotions of humanity in when trials come. The consequence of burning bridges when angry or hurt can cut far deeper than the cause of your emotions. An invaluable lesson I learned long ago is that a burned bridge is only capable of repair when the bridge’s integrity has not been compromised, if that happens, the whole thing must come down. New bridges are only built in places where they are needed so we don’t always get the opportunity to reconnect with those we’ve hurt (or those that have hurt us). The term “fighting fair” was first introduced to me when I was in college, it’s the best way to disagree with integrity and in love. Like most people, my wall of pride comes up when the fear of protecting my vulnerability is activated. What good is fear if it does not exist to serve God?
We only fear what we do not understand (when it comes to life and decisions). Once I understood what was holding me back served me no benefit I was able to change my perspective. Those who do not understand my intimate relationship with God have feared me and passed unworthy judgement on me, but has not broken my resolve. To adopt their fear would have denied the lessons that God has taught me, so I continued to allow my light to shine, in hopes it will ignite theirs. I believe God’s promises to the detriment of my social and personal relationships. When it seems all hope is lost and the devil is turning the tide, revenge is tempting but I choose to lean on God’s Word. This doesn’t mean I won’t continue to be confronted with the illusion that vengeance would be more satisfying, but I know that fear is capable of preventing me from confidently following God’s plan(s) for my life. I want my book of life to be filled with wisdom, corrected mistakes, and examples of courage in the face of my fears. Applying God’s wisdom as I explore my humanity is my way of authenticating my story. What will your story be about?