The Empowerment of Truth

John 8:32 – Then you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Is it scary to hear the truth? Often it is. If you’re praying and asking for the truth in your circumstances, be prepared that the truth might be tough to take. Nobody wants to realize truths like:

  • The person you love is using you.
  • Your spouse is cheating on you.
  • That woman posing as a friend intends to steal from you.
  • The person you fully trust is committing fraud and extortion against you.
  • A person you thought was above that level of cruelty, lied to turn your children against you.
  • A trusted friend or family member abused your children.
  • Your loved one is racist, or militant, or deceitful, and they feel no guilt about it.
  • Your friend or family member is blindly and wrongly loyal, and an accomplice in harming others.
  • The person you trusted is a manipulator.
  • You have been fooled; you have been manipulated.

Truths are not always good news. But if it’s true, staying blissfully ignorant is not in your best interests. Being a pawn of some thing, or some person with selfish intents is not a good place to be.

Whether we like the truth or not, it is empowering to know it. With the bad news, you need a strategy. You need to look out for you, as well as others involved. If a thing or a person you trusted will throw you under the bus — if they will use and abuse you — you have some big decisions to make. Wise decisions.

To learn truths like that is a blow. God knows how much it hurts. But it’s best for your well-being that you know the truth. If he has shared it with you, he knows it is bearable. And don’t forget the silver lining, that empowerment I mentioned before. This is the point when the power is shifted from your “user and abuser” to you. Be patient, restrained, righteous, and wise with that power.

Brace yourself for the unexpected. God may disclose the source of your trouble as spiritual.

Ephesians 6:12 – For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

1 Peter 5:8 – Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

If that’s the case, stop accepting your circumstances and start resisting.

James 4:7 – Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

You need to take action instead of acquiescing to evil circumstances—you have God’s blessing and direction to resist the current that swept you away. You can get out of the harmful river and be free of it.

raging river, for blog, cropped

Once you get yourself to safety on the riverbank, study that river and see that it didn’t really hold you in it. You just thought you were captive there. Knowing the truth made a monumental difference. You are not a victim. You are free. It is the river that is powerless to keep you in it, or to force you back in.

Let’s go back over this. When you’re in the cruel current, it tells you that you can’t get out. You think, “It’s fate. It’s from God. It’s in my DNA. I am powerless.” You believe that. It pulls and threatens and overpowers you till you are swallowing water and gasping for air.

But once you are out of its pull — often it only takes a mental shift — you see it doesn’t have the power it appeared to.

You are on solid ground with a gentle breeze and warm sun on your head, free of the raging water. It isn’t drowning you anymore. You can’t believe you ever fell for the philosophy that it was your lot in life to be in that horrible river.

Now you know the truth. You are free, and standing on solid ground.

As the old hymn goes, On Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand.”

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.com

Restoring the Pearl of You

What determines a person’s unique identity? What is constant about him? What changes about him? Has he morphed to the climate, attitudes, perceptions and expectations of certain groups of people?

Most of us have experienced this morphing sometime in our life. We kick ourselves after taking on the group attitude when a discussion erupted. We voice or nod agreement, when it’s not what we agree with at all. We vow to not let ourselves become what others have pegged us, then go to a gathering and act exactly as they expected. It’s a strange power.

Is it possible to be consistent in our identity? Is this what integrity is? Who can hold their own amid the pressures of society, influential people, loved ones, or even the corrupted theologies of some churches, and not flex so much that we sell our souls?

When we compromise our integrity, is it worth it? Who gains from our loss? Often we morph to be agreeable, and the person or group demanding it takes. And takes. And takes. And takes some more. They aren’t appreciative or respectful of our sacrifice, only glad to have it go their way.

How far have we sold out our identities? Do we know anymore who we are, or who we would have been had we not morphed for others? Have we become stained and disfigured when we were meant to be perfect pearls?

God offers to help us regain our intended identities. He will quarantine us (metaphorically or literally) to keep pressures to conform at bay, then educate how the outside influences wrongfully shaped us. If we truly want him to, he will restore the identities we lost.

But we must recognize our opportunity for restoration. It’s common for people to reject his intervention. We can be so indoctrinated that we remain bound to imaginary chains, chains that don’t have to restrict us. We too often continue our old thinking. We go through the motions, unmindful. We fail to pause, question, ponder, debate, and resist our status quo.

If we never ponder what others ponder, does that capture our attention? Are we often robotic, hollow, or “Stepford wife-ish” to others? Do we consider ourselves the ones to change, or do we stand firm as being “right”, and dismiss thinkers as “too analytic, too deep, too philosophical”? Sure, it saves time and energy to continue as is, but only for the short term. In the long run, our failure to alter our thinking wastes immeasurable time.

Consider this: Are there people in your life denying your right to pause, think, resist, ponder, question, and struggle with concepts? Who has a right to do that? Should any individual or group claim sovereignty over your mind?

God doesn’t operate that way. He grants us full freedom of will. He is an educator, not a manipulator. He engages in healthy relationships, offering ideas, not imposing them. He encourages dialogue and honest expression of self. He knows our thoughts regardless, it’s illogical to believe he would forbid or reprimand us for being honest with him.

mirror for blogSo let me ask:

Who are you?  What do you think? What is your innate personality?

Are you afraid to express your honest thoughts or true personality, convinced they are unacceptable in your sphere of society? Do you ever wonder why some people get away with authentic self-expression and have no repercussions for it? Have you noticed people like that get their freedom and groups tend to step back with respect to that person? Yet, the more compliant and agreeable you are, the more the group moves in closer and further restricts your rights and individuality. Give them an inch, and they take a mile.

When did it happen, this slow, subtle, giving way to group think? How do you get it back? Can you get yourself back?

You can. If you’ve lost your identity, may God fill you with wisdom and courage for the cause of regaining it.

You must be wise if you’re in unsafe surroundings. Even then, your thoughts are yours and yours alone. Do what you must to stay safe, but don’t let your mind be stolen.

Matthew 7:6 – “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

May you have clarity, wisdom, and courage to reach safety. May you reach a haven where people are like God, where there is no rejection, where you are free to express yourself honestly.

When you do, be prepared to be well-received. The world is thirsty for trustworthy, grounded, independent thinking. Those who suffer under stifling demands to conform to their unrighteous environments are losing hope. They need to see role models living their callings. When you are able to express yourself consistent with your God-given, God-approved, true identity, you will not turn others off; you will draw others to you.

The power of evil to slowly, imperceptibly rob us of our identities is real in all settings. We are unlikely to be a threat to evil as long as we remain subjugated to ungodly people. Satan knows what he’s dealing with as long as we are predictable. He knows the rules of religions, the demands on underlings to conform. If we swallow the pill of mindless compliance, he is assured of our passivity. We will be passive to injustice. We won’t learn of our God-given rights. We won’t express our true personalities and develop our God-given insights, gifts, talents, and strengths. We won’t be capable of overcoming evil with good.

If you’re suppressed and your identity is muddled, let’s do something about it. Let’s flip-flop the situation, and free you to be capable of overcoming evil with good.

Pray. Expect and listen to the Holy Spirit’s perfect counsel. Reflect: What is your true personality? Is it spirited? Is it strong? Does it debate with majority thinking? Does it fight against untruths? Does it seek ultimate harmony? Does it rise to defend victims? Does it rise to defend yourself, if you are the victim?

Do you fear that your independent thinking will break the rules? What rules? Whose rules? 

Did Martin Luther King turn people off? Did Abraham Lincoln? What if they had been shortsighted, and given up their right to think, debate, and resist common public opinion, because they feared being considered disruptive? So they temporarily ruffled some feathers, they disturbed some people — who said we are born to make unrighteous people comfortable? Who created you for that destiny?

Where is the person God created you to be? You can throw off every demand and expectation that hinders, and be that person.

Will you be accepted? Were Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln accepted?

Look beyond the nearest faces of disapproval as you defy their unrighteousness, and look to the purpose and goals for which Christ calls you. Get past the forceful people in your face spouting their policies, and discover it’s very different away from those people. There is a world beyond your immediate world. Just beyond the few disapproving faces is a world of people who will accept you.

Be bold. Be strong. Be wise. When you are acceptable to God, you are also acceptable to a whole lot of people.

2 Corinthians 10:18 (NIV) – For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.