Let’s Get It – Season 2

This anxiety in my chest,

Just trying to catch my breath.

Why am I such a mess?

Wanna get my life in check,

But there I was bouncing checks.

Figured that one out but have other problems,

Might take a couple seminars to solve them.

Am I a puzzle that needs put together?

Or should I be tanned like leather?

And there I was running,

Tripping and stumbling,

Feet pound the pavement,

While fists punch the air;

I gotta get out of there.

So I listen to music,

Think that’ll do it.

Run faster, run harder.

Last longer, get stronger.

Trying to channel the artist’s energy

Into me.

So I listen to that anthem-rap;

DJ Khaled, Thi’sl and other trap.

Problem is, I was born to create;

Their music’s great and sure I relate;

But none of it demonstrates

What’s on my dinner-plate.

So here I am writing,

Breathing, conniving;

Sitting here crying.

Wrestling with identity,

Wish I had a friend in me,

But view myself a frenemy.

One step forward,

Then sprinting back.

Can’t stay on track,

What do I lack?

Beauty’s mine,

Her love’s divine;

Patient and shimmering;

Her eyes are glimmering.

Family loves me deep,

So why can’t I sleep?

I’ve seen myself come alive;

I know what it’s like;

But I’ve yet to arrive;

Barely put in drive.

Yet here I am;

I’m standing.

Stare-down with the man in the mirror,

Calling him out to face his fear,

Praying for a whisper in his ear;

Missing the prophetic gift;

Heart’s been adrift.

Can’t stand the reflection,

My vanity, a misdirection.

So Jesus come back,

Don’t turn my soul black.

Heal my broken back,

Stitch my heart in-tact.

Keep me on these tracks.

Help my unbelief,

Because I believe in you.

But I don’t believe in myself,

Yet you’re in me and I’m in you.

Holy Spirit’s available for everything I do.

And help me with these emotions,

Turbulent like the oceans;

Dark waters and still deeps;

Crashing waves and breaking seas;

Some days it’s crushing me.

Give me the strength to face it;

Give me the perseverance to chase it;

Let’s Get It – Season 2.

We’ve got some believing to do.

stormy_seas_by_bkhook-d60s7o9

 

 

Answered Prayer

“Be the friend you are to me to yourself,” said a long-lost friend from college as we wrapped up our conversation about how God had dramatically changed her life overseas and mentioned that I may have been one of the seeds that brought her to faith.

God’s been doing something weird lately – he’s been answering my prayers. It’s kind of scaring me actually. Like I mentioned in my blog a couple weeks ago, the supernatural confuses and scares us away. But I’m leaning in.

I had been praying for words of encouragement as my tank was running empty and I thought I hadn’t made much of an impact with my life that’s likely already a third of the way over. And then my coworker said something was different; that I had this inner joy about me and my eyes had that fierceness back. I said it was Jesus and that I was in love.

Over the last month or two, I’ve had at least a handful of colleagues or friends ask me why I’m not a pastor. Something along the lines of “it’s not my time yet” was my answer. (Also this guy’s got loans to pay off. But maybe I should be praying about those too?) I said, “But I want to be a New York Times Bestselling author someday,” and they said, “You will be.”

Chills. Absolute chills. I had been feeling abandoned by my inner-circle for a while. (I wasn’t. They’re all super busy chasing their own dreams and making things happen in their marriages and I’m super grateful and proud of them.) But I received texts/letters back and set dates to grab beers. And I’m just like, “Thank you, Lord. Thank you. Thank you, sweet Jesus.”

Allie and I have this journal where we’ve started writing letters back and forth to each other in. And I lost it. It was terrible. Anyways, I’ve been looking for about a week for it around the house, in my car, stopping by my hangout spots like Starbucks and Johnny’s and leaving my number with them in case I left it there on accident. Nothing. It was nowhere. Then I prayed. “Lord, would you help me find that journal? I really don’t want to have to rewrite all of those letters…” was my honest, goofy prayer. I got home, parked my car, looked down to my right and there it was. Tucked right in between my drivers-seat and the middle console of my Camry. It hadn’t been light enough for me to notice it when I looked frantically the night before. But I prayed and he opened my eyes.

I opened it up and read the most recent letter (it had been her turn to write me and I hadn’t even had a chance to read it yet). A smile came over my face and my heart skipped a beat or two. That woman loves me.

God answers prayers. So start praying. I have and it’s awesome. He may leave a few unanswered and you may wrestle with bitterness, but be honest with Him then. “God, I’m immensely frustrated that such-and-such isn’t happening yet, but would you please calm my heart and ease the stormy seas of my thoughts so I can sleep tonight?”

As my friend discovered in France. When you engage with God and allow the Holy Spirit to enter your life, you become that much more aware of the spiritual. Darkness and Light can seem like overwhelming forces. But as my pastor said this last Sunday. “Just remember the devil today is much different than the devil before Christ. Now he’s the A.D. devil. The Already. Defeated. devil. He’s only got as much power as you let him.” Light casts him out. And perfect Love (Jesus) casts out all fear.

Back to the quote that opened up the blog. What my friend was saying is, “You’re enough.” The exact message that Jesus and Allie have been speaking into my heart. But I prayed and asked for outside sources, a gentle answer, a kind word, a story of fruit, a glimpse of light. So God sent coworkers, old friends, dreams, and then he helped me find a journal I thought had been lost forever.

If the God of the Universe has enough time to listen to my achy, anxious, sometimes needy heart – then surely He’s got enough time for yours.

answered prayers

Permission To Be

Permission is a weird word. Anyone else remember having to get those permission-slips from school to go on the field trip at school? “Is it gonna cost me anything?” was usually the fair response of the parent as they signed it and sent you off with $30 to do x, y, z – because that’s the way the world works.

When we’re younger, we have to ask permission to go over to a friend’s house – or to watch certain movies. While we’re dating, we may ask permission for the first kiss. And so on.

However, it seems that as we get older, we become more and more scared to ask permission. It’s harder now.

I’m not sure why.

But what would happen if we gave each other permission?

Not the kind of aforementioned permission for anything in particular, but how about the simple permission to be ourselves? How about the permission to simply be?

There comes a moment in a deep friendship of any kind, where you’re finally able to just be with that person. And those are the best kinds of relationships. When you can sit in the silence, doing nothing, with no stress over entertaining the other.

Joseph and myself have been friends for a lifetime. It’s been close to 20 years of friendship. Today after grabbing coffee with him, he said “I love how ‘oursevles’ we can be with each other.” And it’s true. That’s the best aspect of our friendship.

But what if we gave everyone in our lives the permission to BE?

What would the world look like? What would our day-to-day relationships look like? What if we stopped trying to be the Funny Guy, or the Organized Lady, or the Righteous Randy – and we were just simply honest, real, tangible human-beings with one another?

What if we loved? What if we danced? What if we were simply there?

You have my permission – to be.

Forever and Always,

Flame.

permission slip

“I’m Fine”

I was having a particularly bad Friday. Things weren’t going my way; I was tired and the world was at odds with me in every direction; I was suffering from deep, paralyzing anxiety, and yet I found myself answering a peer’s question – “How are you?” – with “I’m fine.” Why?

Why is it so socially acceptable to lie about our mental state? Why is it that we’ve been taught to repress feelings?

Why are we so afraid of real?

I’ve been a wrestler my whole life. Challenging the status-quo of belief and wondering – asking questions – digging deeper – seeking out and discovering things for myself, not always taking no for an answer. And the social landscape through which we view and filter our feelings has always baffled me. I’m always scratching my head, off in the corner by myself and thought that it’s simply wrong. There is no way in heaven or hell or earth, land, and sky that everyone is doing just “fine.”

And are we okay with fine?

Sitting in a coffee-shop the other day with a friend, we discussed some of our deeper fears in life. One of the fears that we both had was that we were alone. It was an interesting fear, as we both have large social-circles, girlfriends, and families that are beyond loving. Yet we believed we were alone sometimes.

First off – that’s obviously a “lie” from the enemy that we are “alone” and alienated. And that we can’t partake in community.

But secondly – I think we’re to blame, as we’ve accepted the culture that says hiding your feelings is acceptable, the norm, and what you should pursue. And so I’ve had rough days and wanted to reach out to a close friend like him and I didn’t let myself because I thought it would be frowned upon, or worse – an inconvenience – I thought I’d disrupt his day.

Well newsflash, world! People have feelings and those feelings are going to disrupt your day sometimes. And my friend would have taken my call. And he would have let me cry or shout or worry, and then everything would have been just fine.

So why are we so afraid to make a wave? To drop our rock of feeling into the standstill pool of the world, afraid that it might disrupt the crystal-clear water of numbness.

You can be fine. You can be happy. You can be sad. But if you’re not fine, you’re not fine – and that’s fine. No – I mean, that’s alright.

Are you messy? I’m messy. Do you love hard and get hurt? Hey, me too. Do you give all you can and wonder if you’ll ever get back? Surprise! Me, as well. Do you dream and wonder and get confused? Is the world a surge of joy one day and a dark storm the next? Do you wonder where God is sometimes? Guess what? Me too.

So, how are you?

Keep it real.

Justin

Unveiled

Is it truly living if only half

Of who you are sees the light?

The other half sits in darkness on behalf

Of the hideousness associated with it, what a fright!

 

If people knew you struggled with this

And have a history with that.

How could you possibly be His?

You are repulsive like fat.

 

Blemishes and scars appear

People run and people hide

Cannot stand what they see in the mirror

As they struggle with too much pride.

 

It’s not true, it couldn’t possibly be

That these imperfections and things unseen

Could possibly belong to one like me.

 

Unable to comprehend the notion

That He would love you unconditionally

Leads to empty hearts and lack of emotion

As your lives continue dysfunctional.

 

Imprisoned by fear of being found out

You hide behind walls of busyness

While the Evil One pounds out

Every ounce of strength you have in business.

 

Around “churchy-folk” you’re righteous,

Outside that circle you’re restless

Uncertain whether or not Christ is

Worth all the effort and investments…

 

Folks, it’s time to wipe off the makeup,

Let things unknown come to light,

Remove yourselves from darkness, wake up!

Haven’t your teachers taught you left from right?

 

The Lover is concerned with your heart,

Do not concern yourselves with outer things,

They will only distract and tear your apart,

From the One who gives flight to your wings.

 

Child, are you not tired of running and hiding?

Run to the Father and allow yourself to seek refuge,

No need to remain independent and continue backsliding,

I hear His Love for you and me is rather HUGE!

 

Here’s the deal, the time has come

For you and I, alike and different

To remove our veils and give Him all, not some.

 

Father is not interested in half of your cup,

He already drank it all.

Lay down your pride and lift up

Your faults to the One who delivers us from the fall!

 

Daily you’ll need Him, as do I

Discontinue pretending it is possible alone

Don’t even begin to try

The task is an absolutely colossal one.

 

It is time; we’ve reached the conclusion,

Remove religious makeup, tear away veils,

Authentic hearts and Jesus Christ is the solution,

He is the one to bring momentum to your sails!

Confessions

What good is teaching if the teacher himself is disobedient? If my view is that all should share the Gospel with exuberant joy and unbridled fervor, then shouldn’t I act upon that view? Absolutely! If a politician takes a stance on an issue of political interest, but does not act upon that stance, they are immediately slammed with being hypocritical and lose a decent amount of support and influence.

Last night I laid awake way after I had wanted to be asleep and felt God challenging me in a number of ways. I’d like to share them with you and I pray that this would benefit the Body of Christ, regardless of whether or not I lose face. The following passage from Micah is my prayer as I share these confessions…

“Do not gloat over me, my enemy!
Though I have fallen, I will rise.
Though I sit in darkness,
the LORD will be my light.
9 Because I have sinned against him,
I will bear the LORD’s wrath,
until he pleads my case
and upholds my cause.
He will bring me out into the light;
I will see his righteousness.
10 Then my enemy will see it
and will be covered with shame,
she who said to me,
“Where is the LORD your God?”
My eyes will see her downfall;
even now she will be trampled underfoot
like mire in the streets.” (Micah 7:8-10)

My Confessions

Confession #1: Let’s talk about the number one sin that men struggle with: LUST

If you’re a guy, then you understand entirely. If you’re a woman, then I’ve learned recently that this struggle is real for you as well. Although, truly, I can’t bring myself to believe that it would be to the same degree. Regardless, it is prevalent. It is real. And it is something that I struggle with. I have been taught well, resourced well, and given some of the best counters that Christian society has to offer: “Bounce your eyes…memorize Scripture….use accountability software….” Yet, even with all of these excellent tools and resources, the Evil One still manages to make me fall.

Confession #2: Evangelism

If you’ve been a reader of mine over the last month or two, you will have read “Shock and Awe”, a powerful story about God at work within Starbucks. I was presented with an opportunity to pray for and share my faith with a random stranger who desperately needed Jesus. Many of you responded with enthusiasm and excitement over my service of the Lord. However, I am saddened to inform you that other than a few minor encounters with friends, I haven’t shared my faith within anyone outside my comfort-zone since then. Today, I boldly stated on social media the following:

“What is the worst thing that could happen if you shared your faith in Christ with the next person you saw? Rejection? Why would that matter? You are ACCEPTED in the Kingdom of God! Christ reigns!…Also, the Great Commission is a command from God, the One whom we proclaim (right?), so you AND I need to stop treating it like a suggestion.” (My Facebook, March 12th)

The above statement is 100% true. Yet, I have not lived in light of it. I, myself, am scared and see myself as incapable of effectively presenting the good news to my peers. How ridiculously hypocritical of me…So, I will be working on sharing the love of Christ with others this week, so please pray for God’s grace and sovereignty over this aspect of my walk with Him. I cannot be selfish and with-hold such a valuable and precious revelation from those God brings me into interaction with!

Confession #3: Lacking Faith in Grace

The title of my blog is “Embracing God’s Grace”. I fully believe the grace of the Lord is REAL. Very real. I am a strong advocate of its’ power to wash over and redeem the lives of those I encounter each day. In fact, I do everything in my power to accurately teach on and encourage my friends in this area. As I know the LORD’s love, forgiveness, and ability to redeem and heal is so evidently available to them.

I bring your attention, however, to the fact that I often believe it is not available to me. There are days when I am convinced by The Accuser that I am unworthy of such a beautiful and divine gift. “How could someone like you, Justin, still be used by the LORD? Your efforts to shine light upon His Kingdom are worthless.” Are these lies? Certainly. Do I still buy into them sometimes? Unfortunately, yes.

Concluding Remarks

I felt led by the LORD to confess these things to my peers. Why? I am not sure. It certainly removes pride from my heart, as I am NOT proud of what I’ve told you. Also, bringing things into the light removes the darkness, and can be used to strengthen the Body of Christ. Which is my end goal, certainly.

Also, by bringing these things to the light, I hope to strengthen my walk with the Lord and take further steps toward obedience that I may be a more effective servant of His!

I request that you would all consider lifting me up in prayer as I seek the LORD’s will on my life over many things. And of course, over the redemption from the aforementioned confessions. And finally, feel free to bless me with any insight that you may have, or share with me how I can join in praying over your current struggles.

Humbled By His Sovereignty,

Justin Meyer

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)

Won’t You?

Won’t you come find me at the bottom of the well?

Won’t you search for me and break the spell?

Won’t you rescue me from this hell?

Won’t you restore me to where you dwell?

Won’t you make my heart beat once again?

Won’t you remind Satan it’s you that wins?

Won’t you take my hand and walk with me?

Won’t you take my soul and set it free?

Won’t you renew a shattered spirit?

Won’t you allow the broken hearts to hear it?

Won’t you use me to share the news?

Won’t you use me to break old views?

Won’t you come back now, mighty to save?

Won’t you snatch hearts out of the grave?

Won’t you answer prayers from the weak?

Won’t you restore my friends that are meek?

Won’t you remember the promises you made?

Won’t you give us rest under your angel wing’s shade?

Won’t you meet me, here where I stand?

Won’t you save Abraham’s descendants; as grains of sand?

Won’t you answer these questions that fright?

Won’t you open our eyes and give them sight?

Won’t you quiet my soul and give me rest?

Won’t you hear the cries of my heaving chest?

Heartbreak’s Redemption

I wrote this poem toward the beginning of the academic year and haven’t yet published it for the blogging world and/or peers who perhaps do not follow my Facebook page as frequently as I post things. Many of us are burdened with broken hearts, but I assure you that there is redemption; “Heartbreak’s Redemption”:

You start cursing and hating

While your heart starts debatin’

With your friends ya start tradin’

Stories of men you’re hatin’

 

Da boys have done it again

Slept with other women for the ‘win’…

But they lost you! And your hearts crushed.

Ya still remember when he made ya blush

The physicality was sorta rushed

He kept your heart’s shame hushed.

 

Do you know if you keep it bottled,

Then one day unquenchable rage will follow?

 

Your hearts been betrayed,

Mind and soul dismayed.

“Am I too unattractive…

Is that why he was distracted?”

 

Your heart wants to be accepted

But once again ya feel rejected.

 

Trampled under arrogance…

They’ll receive their inheritance…

 

Shall their lives remain unchanged

And their loveless heart’s lust inflamed,

Then there’s no doubt in my mind

That Hell’s fire will swallow them from behind!

 

God’s wrath won’t satisfy

Nor will it rectify

The you that was dropped…

In a relationship that was stopped

At a pin-drop/ tick tock

 

Time’s running out to keep your attention

I’m aware this creates a lotta tension.

 

So here’s the truth…

 

You’re shattered.

The words he said never mattered

Used you and your battered

Your heart’s garments tattered.

 

But haven’t you heard?

I know it’s absurd!

Your Father died for you!

He created and adores you!

 

Knows your heart best

So please sit down and rest

Take the burdens on your chest

And place them at Jesus’ feet!

He’ll protect your heart with His fleet!

 

His vessels abound

And ready to surround

Your heart with undying love

Bought by Christ’s blood.

 

Walk towards His light…

And watch your dark days turn bright.

Well I hope that you were able to find the message within and that your heart’s were touched by the beautiful truth that there is redemption to be found in Christ’s love for us. I also pray and hope that this artistic way of demonstrating God’s unfathomable love for us will truly penetrate your hearts to the core and that you will consider allowing Him the chance to turn your dark days bright. Blessings friends!

Frustration: Let’s Get REAL!

One of the many difficulties I had grasping the concept of following Christ with EVERYTHING that I had early in my college-career was the fact that all of the so-called Christians seemed to have everything together. There was NO WAY that I could be like them. Not a chance…I mean, I had problems. And they all seemed to hold their own. They attended their campus ministries, had regular church attendance, had Scripture memorized, knew all the wise things to say in various situations, and were even looked up to by a decent portion of the student body.

Well, as an upperclassmen within the body of believers on the K-State campus, I refuse to be viewed as that Christian that has it all together. In my own opinion, the body of believers must remain authentic and real in all they do. There is an unstated pressure to be perfect; to constantly model the values of Christ without fault and if we do come to fault, then we better brush it under the rug and keep smiling. Let me make something clear before continuing…I love Jesus Christ! There is not a single doubt about that. Without Him as my LORD and Savior there is nothing worth living passionately for; at all. Nothing else will satisfy like His undying, unconditional, perfect, unconditional; love, grace, and mercy. BUT just because I am a follower of the Most High God does NOT mean that life suddenly becomes perfect. Nor does it require that even as an individual that is now slightly older and “more experienced/wise” than my classmates, that I pretend to be perfect.

So, let’s get REAL! You’ll notice that an undying theme within my writing, speech, and person as a whole is the concept that being authentic is the more valuable asset an individual can have. If you’re doubting; then tell your friends that you are! If you don’t believe you’re saved; then why put a front like you are? If you don’t have a conviction on a certain set of “Christian values” (drinking, smoking, movies, etc); then don’t pretend that you do (I’m not currently stating my position on any of the aforementioned; just saying that we should be REAL. Don’t PRETEND). So let’s do this thing! Let’s get real.

I am currently very frustrated. For those of you that have been around me the past few days; I’m NOT frustrated with you. But I am frustrated with myself. Oh so very frustrated. Romans 7:19-21 says, “For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.” I would say this verse does an excellent job portraying the current state of my mind and life. I am well-aware of what I need to be doing, the steps to take to defeat sin, and to live free from the bondage of my own hurtful thoughts but the battle against my flesh is never-ending.

Does this mean that I am doomed to a life of failure? No…Peter, who is revered as the rock that the church was built on, struggled. In fact, he denied knowing Jesus three times in one day! Before the Holy Spirit revealed Himself to Simon (Peter), he was a slanderous, envious, murder of Christians. How on earth could a man of his nature be considered worth of building the church in which we now worship Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior? And then to add the cherry on top, as a son of the Most High God, Peter DENIES His Savior, denying ANY association with the man whatsoever. He’s still saved.

It is BY GRACE that I have been saved. It is BY GRACE that Peter was saved; along with the rest of the 12 disciples, the majority of which became martyrs for their belief in Jesus Christ. I pray that someday my faith will be that strong. Similar to the faith of the young high school students at Columbine High School that stood up for what they believed in at gun-point. That’s faith!

Okay, back to my point, I am not perfect and I am frustrated. I’ve been poured into by countless people, I’ve been raised in a household that took me to church, furnished each of us with a Bible, displayed biblical values, etc and I am still NOT perfect and I am still frustrated. Why?

I’ll tell you why: My GPA is pathetic compared to what I am potentially capable of from observing my high school GPA and my previous comprehension capability. My weight is dreadful. At 6’3”, I have some room to be big, but I shouldn’t be the monstrous 270 lbs that I am. I’m EASILY 60 lbs heavier than I was as a 6’2” high school graduate almost 4 years ago. I know the detrimental effects of sin; yet I still go there. I’m convicted and have even written and taught that you either love God and hate sin or you love sin and hate God. But there are still days that I decide that I love sin more than I love my Savior!!!! If there were ever a time I’d like to cuss myself out due to frustration, it’d be now. One more reason, would be that I’m SURROUNDED by people that love and care about me but I will often choose to isolate myself, which leads to depression and far too much time to remember my own flaws.

So there ya have it…Friends, family, followers, readers, and whatever other audience I am potentially forgetting. I am not perfect. I am frustrated, but I am a believer in Jesus Christ as my LORD and Savior. I cry. I love. I sin. I fear. I struggle. I fight. I lose.

This leads to the next chapter of my learning process as a believer though…as mentioned in “The Battle: Dying to Yourself”, I mentioned that the personal pronouns such as “I”, “Me,”, “Mine,” etc were detrimental to us dying to ourselves and allowing Christ to dwell and live within us. So, I will close with a request. Pray that Justin Meyer dies to himself.

Jesus Christ of Nazareth was crucified, buried, and pronounced dead, but He conquered death and was victorious over sin when He rose from the grave!!! If Christ has the reigns, if Christ takes the flesh that I have and uses it for the glory of His Kingdom, then Christ WILL be victorious and I will have been saved from myself. THAT is salvation. That is the truth of the Gospel. That is what makes 2 Corinthians 5:17 possible.

Blessings Family!

P.S. I encourage you to join me in this battle of dying to yourself and allowing Christ to live within you. It truly is a never-ending battle until the day that we are sanctified with Christ upon His second coming, BUT we can experience, freedom, and victory within our lives. It won’t be glamorous, perfect, or pretty. There will be pain, bumps, bruises, and the occasional extra 50 lbs of flesh that needs to be lost. But ask yourself…have you find anything better? Has sex fulfilled you? Has alcoholism made you happy? Do drugs make your life better? Are you saved by self-infliction or self-glorification?

Pain

Life is easy. No one sheds a tear or has self-image issues. There isn’t any hurt or bitterness, right? Actually, that couldn’t be more WRONG! One is blessed with certain gifts when they have a relationship with Christ as their Lord and Savior. Some are gifted with evangelism; a heart that is driven by sharing the Gospel with the lost and bringing new brothers and sisters into the Kingdom of God. Others are gifted with understanding and relating to others. I believe one of my gifts is being able to understand others and lately a side effect of that has been empathy. In plain English that means I am well aware of what others are feeling, whether it is joy, sadness, fear, etc. The sad truth though is that as I’ve looked into the eyes of my friends, coworkers, and strangers, and as I’ve heard their stories the emotional quality that is most common is pain and sorrow.

 

This simple truth is plaguing my heart right now. If pain is so common and if sorrow and feelings of emptiness trouble so many of us then why do many of us pretend that everything is alright? American culture has taught us that we must have everything together. To appear broken and contrite is to lose your dignity and any chance of finding success, right? Well, that is certainly what the world has taught us.

 

Friends, I want to plea with you to change your heart on this. We do NOT have it all together, nor do we have to pretend that this world is all sunshine and rainbows. The reality is that the grass is not always greener on the other side and unfortunately there is never a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. (Sorry if I just broke the hearts of some of you who believe in fairy-tales) Real people who have real relationships and are going through real life WILL experience pain. So, with this in mind, let’s have a conversation on being hurt and broken…

 

A primary example of this that almost everyone can relate to would be the pain one feels when their parents tell them that they are disappointed in them. Within the mere seconds that those words leave the lips of one’s Mom or Dad, the heart of the child is immediately ripped to pieces. I don’t care how tough you are or how callused your heart is toward hurtful words; few words will hurt you more than these.

 

On a deeper level though; pain is more often brought to us by the terrible things that others have done to or against us. There was that one kid in elementary school that would just not let you have a good day. When I was in the third grade, I was diagnosed with Scoliosis (a curvature of the spine) and in order to correct it an orthopedic doctor prescribed a back-brace. From that day on, I was known by many of my peers as “Brace Boy”. And at the age of 21, I still have that seared into my memory. There are some days when my 8 year old sister comes home from school in tears. When I ask her what’s wrong, she explains through sobs that one of her peers told her that her dress was ugly and made her look fat…My sister is EIGHT! As the older brother and having the protective nature that I do; one can imagine how I wanted to react in that situation. With fists clenched, I reassured Brianna that she was incredibly gorgeous and created in God’s image and that she couldn’t ever be more beautiful than she already is.

 

I’ve been reading Mark Driscoll’s book, “Death by Love”, which is essentially a series of letters that Pastor Mark has written to various members of his congregation. There are FEW books that have ever elicited an emotional response from me as much as this one has. Turning the pages through the various situations some of them have been in has literally made me cry. Hearing how some of these women have been forced into sexual relationships with men they didn’t want to. Learning of the prideful arrogance of some men; reading about how a woman was unfaithful to her husband during their engagement and then didn’t tell him until after they were married. All of these stories are filled to the brim with pain. But that’s real life…

 

As I’ve studied these stories and as I’ve looked at my own life; the root of at least 80% of the pain I’ve been through is caused by sin. Sin that I’ve either committed personally or sin that others have done against me.

 

Brothers…Sisters….Friends, please turn from sin! There are so many of you that claim to be believers, yet your private life is filled to the brim with sin. Some of you spend so much time making yourself appear righteous and holy on the outside by doing all of the right things, reading all of the right books, but on the inside your heart is filled with sin! Maybe that sin is adultery of the heart. Maybe it is pride. Perhaps you hate your brother and therefore are guilty of murder but regardless your heart is sinful!

 

 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.  Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” (Matthew 23:25-28)

 

As this passage in Matthew makes crystal clear; the way that one appears on the outside is not important. It is the heart God concerns Himself with and by the heart you will be righteously judged one day. One of the most humbling realizations I’ve made is that the honest truth is that we either love sin or love God. You simply cannot love both, nor can you serve two masters.

 

This is certainly heavy stuff. It should be of no surprise if this sort of conversation makes you weak to your stomach or elicits an emotional response. In fact, my prayer as I write this is that many of you are driven to tears of repentance. I pray that the Holy Spirit convicts and reminds you of the injustice you’ve done against others and the heartbreak you’ve caused them. And I pray that the message of the Gospel and the healing that it brings is able to rebuild your hearts; that God will change hearts of stone to hearts of flesh as Ezekiel 11:19 states.

 

Family, I love you very much and am deeply aware of the real pain and suffering you are going through. I assure you that the only thing you have to hold onto is Jesus Christ. His unconditional love, overwhelming grace, and underserved mercy is the only thing that will bring your heart and spirit true healing. Only God has the power to change hearts. So pray that he changes yours my friends. I desire nothing more than to see your hearts radically transformed by the message of Jesus Christ and to one day walk with you and rejoice in the streets of Heaven. My heart simply cannot bear the thought of a single one of you being devoured by the fire of Hell. However, I love you too much to not remind you that if you do not turn from your sin and if you choose to live in disobedience to the LORD, then you WILL be subject to the righteous wrath of God.

 

Sincerely,

Justin Meyer