It’s been a while.

We’ve grown enmeshed like two trees rooted in the same earth

inseparable unless we leave some part of ourselves in each other

I keep telling myself that I need to write something about the past two years.  I have, in a way.  I wrote becoming.  It was about parts of my passage, some of it so heavily coded that you would only decipher the details if you knew me very well.  But becoming was also about far more than just the past two years, it was really about the past eleven years and my fears for the next twenty.  Am I a good mother?  Do I love my mom?  Do I love my husband?  Am I becoming something better or worse than who I used to be?  Becoming is a rite of passage, a collection of battle scars.  I feel like I need to tell the truth directly because while I am repentant about some things and conflicted about others I don’t want to feel ashamed about any of it, and there are people in my life that know a lot about what exactly happened but have very little to hold on to about why.

Here’s the thing:  my husband and I spent almost a year separated.  It was a very dark time in my life.  I felt completely wrecked.  I knew we couldn’t go on living in the same house together.  I was suffering from what I later found out may have been a mild kind of post-traumatic-stress disorder.  I was constantly hyper-aware of everything, couldn’t sleep, and felt panicked every time I was in the same room with my husband.  It felt like every time we talked about what was wrong it made things worse.  I was starting to question my sanity and I was starting to get darkly suspicious of him.  I worried that he might really, truly, physically hurt me.  I worried that I might completely break down even if he didn’t.  I felt so completely lost.  So I left.  I didn’t know what else to do.

Then, the internal questions.  Does this mean I’m a failure as a wife?  Am I a bad Christian?  What do I say to the kids?  What will become of me?  How will I make it through the next few years?  The years after that?  Will there ever be a time that I feel whole and happy?  It was the best and worst year of my life.  It was the worst in that I was working 36 hour work weeks and going to school full time.  I had to schedule my time with my own children so that I didn’t forget to interact with them.  And my home got to be the kind of home I wanted it to be.  The TV wasn’t on all the time, we ate dinner at the table, we felt happy and safe together.  (Aside from the big gaping wound just beneath the surface inside of me, that always seemed to split the stitches at the least opportune times.)  It wasn’t fun to have to struggle for a GPA I could be proud of; like the time I forgot to print my homework because I’d worked two twelve hour night shifts over the weekend and only got about four hours of sleep before coming in to school, massive migraine in tow, and had to go beg my teacher for full credit.  Thankfully the instructor understood, but I’ll never forget the look on her face when I confessed to being a single mom with an infant and two kids in school, that I was so unsure of my own capability to get through school.  She just said, “you’re getting through,” and left it at that.

My husband and I ended up reconciling, and that in and of itself has led to a lot of difficult questions.  He continues to do the work that is needed for our relationship to get better, but as in all things it waxes and wains and I have to stomach my doubts.  I have to wonder if I’ve made the right choices.  I have to wonder if our relationship will ever be what we both dream and believe it could be.  I have to wonder how we’ll put that year behind us, how we’ll ever fit back together now that we’ve lived and grown separately.

Is this cold flesh moving once again until rot corrupts and the stitches no longer hold the form together?

Or is it soft and sacred as a newborn baby’s face with the scent of fresh birth still lingering in it’s hair?

What do we call ourselves?

And then I look at all of the growing and changing that has happened, and even with all of the scars I realize that I would not give up this experience.  When I was first considering the reconciliation a friend of mine asked me what I would say to the 19 year me if I could find her and talk to her.  Would I say run?  Would I say go for it?  Whatever I would say to myself then should be what I say to myself now, that friend said.  But I realized that if I could find the 19 year old me and talk to her I would tell her to never stop believing that love can change everything, and I don’t want to stop believing that now.  It’s completely foolish to believe that the changes are always what we want, that the love is always perfect, that the end result is always purely good.  We’re human, and sometimes humans hurt each other.  We’re made of flesh and that flesh can scar.  We have our own motives and sometimes we’re blinded by them.

But even in the moments where we kill each other, kill ourselves, in our selfishness there is still beauty that can be born there.  The stories of the Bible are stories of corruption and renewal, death and rebirth, slavery and exodus, captivity and freedom.  It comes in a cycle as people live and forget, lose and remember.  And those stories in the end are what all humanity shares.  We’re all on the same journey.  And I look at my husband and realize that he can love me despite never fully understanding what went wrong, and I can love him without knowing what changed, and we can both live with our past without believing it has cursed our future, and then I trust God.

I barely remember parts of the past two years, especially the almost-year I spent alone.  Huge parts of it are already lost to me, probably because the immense amount of stress I was under.  My brain would go on autopilot.  I’d drive home and put the car in park and not remember driving there.  I’d look at the clock at work and realize four hours had passed that I could barely remember, but when I panicked and double checked I’d been doing my job.  I’d wake up in the morning and not remember having gone to bed, but there I was.  And throughout that whole process I learned to relax because I just knew that someone out there must really love me, and want me safe.

I can remember the moment I realized it would be okay.  And it was, it has been.  It will continue to be.  And my biggest question, the one I’ve struggled with the most?  You know the one, I’m sure.  “What am I becoming?  It is better, or worse?”  It makes me smile, because the one thing I’ve learned more than anything else is that if you move towards God you could never become worse.  Little things happen to remind me of how I used to react, what I used to think and feel.  I realize that I am not who I used to be, and as I trust myself more I can learn better how to trust others.

I think I died, somewhere in that year alone.  Not my physical body, obviously, but somewhere deep inside of myself some version of who I was died.  Sometime in one of those moments where my conscious brain just shut itself off and hid, some part of me died.  And I’m okay with that, because it’s part of the journey.  I think it was the part of me that doubted the most, that wanted to hold on to its hate, that wanted revenge, that thought that I shouldn’t have to share the blame in what went wrong.

But when I snapped out of it, late at night, and wondered how I’d ended up in bed safe and warm with my daughter in my arms, I heard a voice tell me it would be okay now.

And it has been.

Every tree knows it was once a seed covered by earth,

Dead and then not dead, not undying.

*Pieces of poetry from a larger work called “you wouldn’t call a tree a zombie”, written a month after the reconciliation.

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Humane Anger

There are many verses in the Bible that caution against anger, some of which simply call it evil.  But there are also scads of verses dedicated to talking about God and His anger.  This has always interested me, because if we’re made in God’s image and He at times gets angry, then anger in and of itself can’t be evil.  Jesus got angry from time to time, too.  He cursed the fig tree, he overturned the tables of the money lenders, and he reprimanded his disciples and the Pharisees.  So what is is that we, as Christians, are supposed to do with our anger?  As I already said, the Bible seems clear that we ought to be abandoning it:

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret —it leads only to evil.  (Psalm 37:8)

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.  Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.  (James 1:19-21)

I’ve actually heard that verse from James quoted in a very different context, one that said that we should be getting rid of the sinners in our churches because we have to get rid of moral filth.  This is interesting, of course, because the verse is directed at the individual.  At the end of the day, aren’t we all a little filthy?  Don’t we all have to cope with things like anger and jealousy and ingratitude?

One thing that I have had to confront over the past few years in a rather harrowing way is my own anger.  Like many Christians, I felt like getting angry was a bad thing and it showed a fundamental flaw in my moral fiber.  As my marriage became more strained, I fought harder and harder to subvert my anger.  I became caught in an endless loop of feeling anger and frustration with my spouse but hating myself as a result of it, and that bitterness which I then self-directed became one of the leading causes in my losing a sense of my own worthiness as a human being and even, in a very dark period of my life, almost completely losing faith in God’s love for me.  Let me explain:  anger, in and of itself, is not evil.  Anger is an attribute of God which He Himself talks about.  Anger can be, in the right situation, a good thing.  The problem is understanding anger and it’s role in our becoming more righteous.  Anger is, essentially, a warning system.  When God becomes angry in the Bible it is a warning to sinners that they have moved too far away from His plan for their life.  Similarly, when we as people become angry it’s a sign that something is wrong.  The problem is using our anger in a righteous way.  Anger isn’t a tool which should be used to destroy others, but instead a tool which should be used to cut through the bull in our own lives and allow us to see ourselves more wholly.

Let’s go back to the problems in my marriage:  my anger was a natural response to the fact that something wasn’t right.  If I used my anger to attack my spouse I became a part of the problem.  So, in that sense, I was right to not want to be angry, because it was right to not want our relationship to be harmed.  But, on the other hand, by subverting my anger and pretending nothing was wrong I also became a part of the problem, because I destroyed the possibility of pinpointing what was wrong and using that knowledge to deepen my relationship with my spouse.  By denying my anger I ultimately put our marriage as close to ending as I would have by giving in to it, although it just took a little longer and I destroyed more of myself along the way.

Our anger is another part of how God made us, how He is made and how His Son is made.

Another problem with Anger is that if we try to ignore it, it tends to come out of us in unpleasant ways.  I can’t tell you how many times my son has exploded in anger at his sister, only to later confess that it was me he was angry with.  I’ve seen the same thing in the church when one person has been wrung out on the rack for sinning, and it turns out that the person who started the inquisition was guilty of the same thing.  I’ve seen it the most for pornography.  We need to learn that we can’t iradicate our own sin by attacking others.  Even if we beat the gay and the porn addictions out of every other person on the planet, if we ended the day still mired in our own filth we wouldn’t have won our way into God’s good graces.

So that anger you feel, from time to time?  That anger I feel?  We need to deal with it.  We need to sit in silence and let it work like a knife, cutting through all of the lies we tell ourselves to make it okay.  We need to ask, what is the real problem here?  What is it that I need to acknowledge?

Then, my friends, open your eyes.  Turn away from the anger knowing you can leave it behind, because you’re going to deal with your issues.  Make a resolution with yourself that you will not ignore your anger.  You will control it, you will command it.  You will not let it rule you, consciously or unconsciously.  You will set aside your anger and confront the problems in your life through love.

Not least of all on those days when our anger shows us that we are the problem, not our enemy.

Sin on a Sliding Scale

So this verse was recently quoted in a comment on my blog:

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Actually, I added verse eleven for affect, because I feel it points out something important.  Such were some of them, just as such were some of us.  I find it interesting that the only time I really see these verses quoted are when people are rejecting someone.  When they are rejecting homosexuals and using it as a justification, rejecting a couple known to be having premarital sex, rejecting a drunk.  But what is this verse really talking about?  Not just a few specific kinds of sins, but of sins which all show the same thread: self indulgence.   People who prayed to idols wanted something.  “Fornicators” in that era didn’t think of the cost to their family’s social standing (and the same is sadly true of homosexuality at the time- you couldn’t be fulfilled without leaving the marriage that every man would have had).   The covetous?  Selfish.  Drunkards and Extortioners?  Selfish.

So what’s this verse really saying?  “Selfish people won’t inherit the kingdom?”  Why?  Because they aren’t looking out for the kingdom, they are looking out for themselves.

And yet that verse is generally brought up for a selfish means: to reject someone.

Now, let’s look at a few more sets of verses:

1 Peter 3:9-10

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

1 Corinthians 7:13-15

And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.  For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.

These verses, along with other verses, have been used for centuries to command wives to know their place and stay with abusive men.  Let me tell you a story.  I know of one church where a man was emotionally abusive to his wife consistently and physically abusive to her on occasion.  He would not take a reprimand about his behavior towards her.  He only showed an attitude of apology when she left- but as soon as she returned, HE returned to his manipulative and cruel ways.  Eventually she tired of the cycle, and she left him for good.  But what was the end of that?  Her church left HER, they rejected HER, because she wasn’t a good Christian.  Well, what about him?  What is Christlike in telling your wife she is worthless, in slapping her around and demeaning her in front of your children?  And yet, the verses that could (and perhaps in some situations SHOULD) be used against the abusive husband, the man who suffers from fits of jealous rage, are reserved for use with the homosexuals.

And the wife, the victim, is the one who is sent away

Please, someone, explain this to me.

Because I certainly don’t understand it.

Rape, and why I think submission in “all” things is a dangerous concept to handle.

I do believe in the existence of good doctrine.  And from time to time I write about those beliefs on this blog.  Not in the sort of vague “it has to start with us loving each other” terms, but in terms of real verses that make real commands of us, and what I think of them.

And every time I write about these things, it gets uncomfortable.  You see, for the last couple of days I’ve been involved in (and then following) a conversation on another blog about wives submitting to their husbands.  The topic was breached in the absence of talking about the husbands role, and inevitably turned to the question of the wife submitting when she disagreed with her husband about something that would have long term repercussions, like family being sent to boarding school.  And I tried to respond and did a poor job of vocalizing myself.  So I tried to write about it here, and again did a poor job of vocalizing myself.

The idea of submission still holds a great deal of fear for all women.  The idea that my husband could make any demand of me, and I would be expected to offer myself up to him as to Christ.  That’s terrifying.  And anyone who doesn’t find that terrifying and respect the power that such fear holds for women obviously knows very little history.  There was a time when women were seen as less than men- as property, as pawns in a game of chess, as a method through which to gain an heir and keep the house clean and often little more.  We all should know this fact because that time was roughly when Ephesians would have been written in the first place.  And the thought of women as lesser continued for some time.  Daughters were the property of their fathers while sons gained autonomy, wives were possessions, women were thought of to gain a soul later in life then men, to be more prone to witchcraft and evil, to need this evil purged from them by a heavy hand as much as possible.

Women were on a level above cattle, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like much of one.  Honestly.  The right to vote and hold property is still a historically recent one.

And the idea that a husband “can’t” rape his wife is still one being debated in some circles.

So let’s talk about submission, in frank terms, and let’s not mince words.  Does anyone reading this believe that I should submit to my husband if he allocates money that needs to go to feeding my children to buy himself a gaming system?  Does anyone believe that Ephesians five requires me to submit myself to his will when he demands sex and I’m ill, or tired, or otherwise not compliantly disposed to the idea?  Does anyone believe that if my husband heard a word that he should take a second wife, that I should say, “yes dear?”  I’m hoping most would say no, because these are extreme examples.

But what about less extreme examples?  What if I am sick, and exhausted, and don’t have the energy to cook a meal, and my husband complains that he’s been working all day and shouldn’t have to work at home?  Or what if I haven’t seen my family in over half a year and he demands that we spend Christmas with his, meaning that I won’t get to see mine?  Or what if I feel God is calling me to a position in my local church body and my husband says that he will not have his wife teaching other men, and forbids me to do it?

Do I really submit to him in all things, to the cost of my body, my family, my calling?

Or by submitting to my husband, would I in some things draw myself further away from God?  In order for both my husband and I to follow God and serve him with all our hearts, my submission to him MUST follow, CANNOT be without his submission to God and his loving me as his own body.  These things are NOT seperable.  Likewise his loving me as his own body and cleansing me as Christ cleansed the church MUST be, CANNOT be without my submission to him.

Both parties must obey God in their commands, or one will get hurt.  That is the beauty of the arrangement- the two become one, or they don’t function, period.

Now, in case I haven’t made myself clear:

  • The wife does not, by submitting, become her husband’s possession or subordinate.  She is his servant, but by choice alone.
  • The husband, should he demonstrate a pattern of making unfair demands or abusing his wife’s submissive position, is not acting in a holy manner and should be called on it- first by his wife, then by his church.
  • Both partners serve God first and each other second- if either one interferes with the other’s servitude to God, something is wrong.
  • Children come first.  If either one places demands on the other that interferes with the raising of their children, something is wrong.
  • If something is wrong, both need to go before God and their local spiritual leaders and sort it all out.

I’ve seen numerous books on the subject which talk about how women can win over their husbands through loving submission.  And at it’s root it’s not a bad thing.  It’s in the Bible! The problem comes when it’s taken to far.  Anything, no matter how good, no matter how holy, becomes bad when not delt with in reason and moderation.  When a woman stays with a drunk who is abusing her kids to win him over in loving submission, it’s not good.  When a wife does nothing about her husband overpowering and raping her to win him over in loving submission, I am sure that is not what God intended.

These concepts must be handled with the respect they deserve, because mishandling them takes advantage of weakness and can lead to real damage.

And I guess that’s what I needed to say.

Husbands, Love your Wives

*drumroll*

Ephesians 5: 25-33 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.  In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body.   “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.  However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Much ado has been made about wives “submitting” to their husbands.  I feel the need to point out that the passage about submission starts out with a blanket statement to all, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”  It’s not just WIVES submitting to HUSBANDS, people, it’s ALL of us, submitting to EACH OTHER.  As I am called to submit to my husband I am also called to submit to my pastor, my fellow believers, my employers, everyone.  Obviously, given this case, we all seem to misunderstand what submission in this context means.  It does NOT mean subordination, it does NOT mean becoming an extension of someone else’s will.  By submission it means what in other contexts is called meekness, humility, cooperation.  It means allowing ourselves to become servants.

How many times did Christ command us to become servants?

Now, as for the husbands: they carry, by far, the greater weight in this passage.  Three verses are devoted to the women as opposed to eight reserved for the men.  Women are told (paraphrased) “submit to your husbands as before God, for Christ is the head of the church, so submit to your husband as you would to Christ in everything.”  This only truly makes sense when followed by the verses devoted to the husband.  And, in fact, Paul’s command to the women can only truly be followed in the letter of the law should the husband do as he was commanded.  I, as a woman, cannot submit to my husband AS I would to God unless he is acting on God’s behalf towards me.  For when I serve God I can obey him with pleasure in everything, knowing that his will for my life is for my own benefit and all of his commands are good, that his burden is light, and so on.  My husband, on the other hand, is fallible.  I do not know that all of his plans for my life are solely for my benefit, that obeying him would not be burdensome, and so on.  So the only way I can treat my husbands wishes with the same weight I would God’s is if I know that my husband is following God when making his wishes.

Thus, the commandment to wives hinges on the following to husbands: that they give themselves up for her, that they cleanse her with washing in the word, that they present her to themselves as pure and radiant, without wrinkle or blemish, holy and blameless. This command is not all, though!  They must love her AS THEY LOVE THEIR OWN BODIES.  I love my body a lot.  A do a lot to serve it throughout the day: I sleep, I eat, I exercise, I bathe.  If my body is sick I have to drop everything to care for it.  If my body is in pain I am keenly aware of it and do everything I can to assuage that pain until it is gone.  I am inseperable from my body, I cease to be if my body ceases to be, to fight my body’s will is incredibly difficult, as my body is my self.

And that, my friends, is how husbands are asked to view their wives.

Let’s talk about submission.  Submission being to put one’s self under the authority of, to serve the will of.  Now let’s compare that to the two becoming one, to the will of one being inseperable from the needs of another, to all pain being one and all needs being equal.  What is easier to do?  To say yes dear, or to feel the pain of the other as keenly as your own, to truly give up your life for the benefit of the other?

My father teaches that all things in a marriage hinge on the husband doing his job well.  If the husband is a good husband, the wife would have to be crazy not to want to serve him.  If he is doing all things while taking into account her needs as if they were his own, then by serving him the wife is actually serving herself.  Obviously in function this is nearly impossible, but in theory it works.

Which is why Paul points out that what he is REALLY talking about isn’t husbands and wives, it’s Christ and his followers.  He isn’t talking about marriage as a societal structure, but as a way to demonstrate the breadth and beauty of Christ’s love for his bride.

But the advice works.  Husbands, love your wives.  But more than that: both spouses need to become each others servants.  If he serves her needs as if they were his own and she serves him as if she were serving herself, both are made whole.  If either one becomes a lesser partner, someone goes needy.

It’s really that simple.

Wives, Submit to your Husbands

Ephesians 5:22– 24  Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

These verses make a lot of women uncomfortable, and even more women angry.  (And, don’t worry, girls- I’ll be poking the husbands later in “husbands, love your wives.”)

I think that a lot of the frustration with Ephesians 5- not just with these verses, but with the entire chapter- is that we misunderstand what the end goal is.  It’s not in defining lines of who is above whom and who matters most.  It’s about helping us to lead happy, healthy lives.  We are told as believers to submit to ONE ANOTHER in Christ.  Children are to honor their parents, slaves their masters, masters to treat their slaves well, and thusly.

People usually cherry pick the verses about marriage.  Why?  Well, because the other ones can get sticky.  Why?  Because no one likes thinking too much about submitting and honoring.  Why?  Because of that inevitable question: “What about when the other person is WRONG?”

So let’s talk about that, briefly.  What if I, as a wife, am unsettled about a choice my husband has made?  Or if I, as a parent, make a choice for my child’s life that they feel is wrong?  Or if my husband’s employer makes a demand of him that he feels is unfair or harmful?  What does a good Christian do?

We should do the uncomfortable thing- we honor each other as before God, and trust God to be a good mediator and the lifter of our heads.  Yeah, I know, it’s painful.  No one likes reading those words because it means that we will inevitably have to endure hardship in our relationships.  It means we’re going to have to go places we don’t want to go.  It means we don’t get to have our way. Let me ask you all a question that may not be taken well:

What, exactly, makes us feel like we have the right to have our way?

I’m not being tongue in cheek or sarcastic.  I am sincerely asking that question.  Where, in the Bible, does it ever uphold someone’s right to be selfish?  Where does it say that the wife has a right to demand that her financial security come first?  That she ought to undermine the way her husband wants to discipline the children?  That if she wants him at home and there’s a boys night out she actually should call him selfish and throw a public snit that embarrasses him?  Women can be selfish.  (I know, I know, I’ll get to the men tomorrow, I promise!)

God commands us to submit for a reason.  Because we, as Christians, need to learn to set ourselves aside.  We need to learn to treasure our spouses as we treasure ourselves.  And God knows that if the shoe were on the other foot, if we were the ones making a bad financial decision, if we were the ones laying the lines of discipline, if it was a GIRL’S night out that would be missed, we’d want our husbands to put us first.  We’d want to feel him honoring us.

And why would he, if we didn’t honor him first?

Submission isn’t subordination.  It isn’t saying that we are beneath him by default.  It’s not saying that we are less valuable or important.  It is our gift to our spouses, our way of affirming our love for them and displaying our trust in them and in God.  We submit to show that we trust that they are taking care of us, that they will continue to do it.  We submit to honor.  We honor to show that we ourselves are worthy of being honored.

Think of each act of putting yourself aside (be it with your husband, your family, or your boss) as a speech.  What you are saying isn’t “I am less valuable than you”, but instead:

I love you more than I love myself.  And I am strong enough to not always need to get my way.

Trusting God to Convict

“But if someone you love is living in Sin, shouldn’t you hold them accountable?”

This argument is most often used against homosexuals- but it applies to all kind of sins.  My answer to the above question is both yes, and no.  Yes- if someone you love is living in sin, it should matter to you.  And you should talk to them about your concerns.  But you should never do it in a “you must change or ELSE” tone, you should do it in an “I worry what the consequences of this could be for you because I love you” tone, and then you should let go.

Let GO, and trust God to do the rest.

Let’s look at this simply:

  • All sin goes contrary to God’s desires for our lives.  God wishes to move us into a less sinful state.
  • If someone loves God and wishes to have a relationship with God, and they open their heart towards God they will hear God speaking to them.
  • If God is speaking to someone who is in a sinful state, God will inevitably pull them towards a less sinful state so they can know him more fully.

Thus, if God is desirous of someone leaving a homosexual lifestyle, and this person is devoted towards God and allowing themselves to be pulled by him, eventually he WILL speak to them about their lifestyle.  By this point I would assume that you, reader, if you are concerned about their choices, will have already told them your opinion.

At this point they can choose to have you be the one to hold them accountable.  And at this point there may be real, solid consequences for them choosing to remain in something which God has asked them to leave.

But it can’t go the other way.  Conviction HAS to come from God, it can’t come from people.  Let me tell you a story.  For most of my marriage there was a behavior pattern towards me from my husband that I felt was sinful.  And for most of my marriage (six years) I would confront my husband, he would get defensive, and we’d eventually start arguing about who was the better spouse.  Stalemate.  Useless.  About a year ago I started to feel convicted about my judgmental attitude towards my spouse.  Now, let’s be clear, this pattern in his behavior towards me was ABSOLUTELY wrong and ABSOLUTELY contrary to what God wanted towards our marriage, but God VERY clearly told me to shut up about it and to work on my own heart.  So I did.  And after several months of struggling and me holding my tongue, God convicted my husband.

God was never going to let me get away with doing his job.  It may have been right for me to say, “I’m concerned about the consequences this may have on our marriage”, but it was absolutely wrong for me to try to force my husband to change.  But when God brought the conviction, change happened almost instantly.

That’s why we need to trust God.  Should we let people know when we are concerned for them?  Absolutely.  But we should absolutely not hand out ultimatums unless it is about a behavior that someone has asked us to help them change, or we are in a position of authority where it is our responsibility to protect the body at large.

Trust God.

Offer the situation up to him.

Pray for the body of believers.

Exhort what is good.

Guard your own hearts.

This is the path to righteousness.