Thursday, April 7, 2011

Barney God? (Yes the big purple dinosaur!)

How do we see God? Do we see him as the big purple dinosaur singing, "I love you, you love me, we're a happy family, with a great big hug and a kiss from me to you, won't you say you love me too."? God is love, but there is so much more to God. Many people view God as this big soft dinosaur who just loves and loves. Why? Because this is a secure, low-risk way to view God, it's the characteristic we want to see. But we can't push aside the other characteristics of God! No, we must view Him in His entirety. This means viewing God as the just God, the God who tells us to fear Him, and El Qanna, the jealous God! These characteristic are not safe at all, but quite dangerous. As C.S. Lewis says in The Chronicles of Narnia, "He is not a safe Lion, but He is good!" We all try to get this level of comfort, but God does not want us to be comfortable, because then we stop pursuing and reaching out for Him. We get stuck in a rut. And God calls us to know Him, He wants to reveal Himself to us. But like any relationship, we must really seek and spend time with Him to know Him, and we must seek and ask for wisdom and knowledge of who He is. Sure God is Love, but have you spent time knowing all of God, the jealous God, the just God, the God who calls on you to do BIG things?

Love without Respect?

How do we love when we as men don't feel respect? It's a difficult task, one that tears apart friendships and marriages. I read the book Love and Respect for my Marriage and Family class at FLI and it was extremely challenging and a little intimidating when looking ahead to marriage. How will I always show love to those I care about when I don't feel the love from them or, even more importantly for men, respect from them? Oh how I have failed several times this semester in this area. My instant response is to shut down and pull away from these people. I tell myself in my mind, "Hey, they aren't showing you respect, so why should you love them, obviously they don't care about you!" Oh the lies of Satan, so deceitful and dangerous, filling our minds with assumptions that are rarely true and tearing apart something beautiful. As soon as we buy into this assumption, this relationship goes into a crazy spinning downfall. Instead of responding instantly, we must pray! Pray for strength, courage, and wisdom that we may put away our selfishness and respond in love, even in the hardest of times. What does this do? It shows your true care for this person and is the beginning of getting back on the right track. Sure, there may be work to do, problems to work out, but it will keep you from falling into this crazy downfall. And men, don't shut down going silent, be the leader, step up and tell the other person, "I still love you no matter what, but that was hurtful. I have been feeling disrespected and I just want to know why." Be open and honest. Shutting down does not do any good, but may be the start of the cycle. Expressing your feelings and hurt shows care for the friendship and demonstrates your love, wanting to solve the issue. But men, also take a look at yourself. Have you been expressing love, or are you the start of the problem. It may take an apology from you to start things off, and if this is the case, don't hesitate. Men, we have become so passive to expressing ourselves, thinking that we should not have emotions but that somehow by being silent and acting like it is not affecting us is demonstrating strength. That is bull-crap!!! Men it is time to step up and be the leader, to be the one who steps forward when problems arise, taking initiative and thus demonstrating our strength. The world is hurting for men like this, for real men who know what it means to be a leader! And women, don't give up hope, but challenge the men around you to be the man you desire. Allow them to lead, force them to lead, and be active in their growth in development by giving them respect and thus in return receiving love! I love you all very much, and ask you all to challenge me in this area as well, because God is still working on me!