N.W.BOYER…Christian Author

Posts tagged “difficult thoughts

Hard Things to Understand

We don’t usually like things we don’t understand…especially when those things become personal.  We want things to make sense, especially in our thinking about faith and beliefs.

The fact is that some parts of the Holy Scripture that hit a raw nerve and seem to be totally against the loving, compassionate God that we believe in, we recoil and would rather be like Scarlett O’Hara and think about it another day.

As an example, priests and ministers of most Christian churches have a Lectionary of Holy Scriptures that are followed weekly when preparing for the message given to the congregation. It is often difficult for a minister to follow faithfully these Scriptures and to find something to tell the people sitting in the pews that might have an inspirational meaning.  Some are quite difficult, such as this one: Luke 14:26

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”

Hate is a very strong word.  Did He really say that or did the translators of the Greek get it wrong?  We’d like to think someone flubbed up somewhere or is there an underlining meaning to these hard sayings that we are missing? Family people I know would do anything for their children, spouses and parents. Turning the back on any of them would be out of the question. Yes, there are family divisions, but it usually is not in order to serve Christ.  To say that this particular Scripture is a “hard one” is putting it mildly.

Stephen Dass, a priest and his wife are missionaries to the street children, teens and young adults of Sao Paulo, Brazil. He writes in part these words about this difficult teaching of Jesus:

“Jesus demands that we give up everything that we possess including our families. It sounds like Jesus is going against everything that the modern church has termed as “family values.” Jesus tells us that they are a hindrance to our salvation. No one in their right mind would think that these so-called “family values” are wrong, even the Pagans would agree with us. They (families) are the fabric of every society.

Nevertheless, Jesus always swam against the current of cultural norms. He challenged whatever our culture told us was right and good. Almost every saint in our church calendar took these words of Jesus literally and seriously. We can try to make it more amenable in order to deal with it. This attempt would only serve to dilute the intensity of the gospel. These words are what they are. Therefore, we have to do something about it.

Most of us are just common people. We are not saints like those in the past. We sense a responsibility to our family. We need to have possessions in order to survive in this world. Yet, we want to follow Jesus and take His words seriously. There are no easy answers… We need to think and struggle with these difficult issues. There are no easy answers. Perhaps, there are no answers at all.”

I think that this last sentence might hit the nail on the head.  There are some things that we will not understand.  Perhaps, the most simplistic way to phrase it is that Jesus doesn’t want anything…wealth, friends, family, vocations, or…ANYTHING to get in the way of a person following Him and the Gospel of love and salvation for which He died to redeem man.  If we are drawn away from Him by even the most treasured thing, we must rethink our relationship to it.

Christ was clear that “Where your treasure is…your heart will be also.”  Matthew 6:19-24 is not only the chapter of the Bible with “The Lord’s Prayer” but gives some stern warnings that also use the word “hate” which is a word so abhorred today.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,  your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (or any other thing that comes between you and Christ)

Ultimately we decide what and Whom we will serve. We choose the road we will follow. One of my favorite poems is by Robert Frost. His choice made a difference to him…and so will ours.  Give this some thought. 

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves, no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

 

Video:  Turn up sound


Suicide…the act of Simply Giving Up

This writing does not propose to have the answers to that problem or hurt that you have …whether emotional, mental  or physical…. that may be planting the thoughts of suicide in your mind.   My life has been given to Christ, with its ups and downs…disappointments and joys…but I know that not all have found this rest.

I write because I am led to write.  Who knows why I awake at 3:00 am and know that for some reason I need to write about this subject. It is the last thing that I would want to tackle.  Nevertheless, I write today, not as a counselor or a psychiatrist, but as a person who cares.

Someone will read this who needs to know that their particular pain has an answer. The answer is not in suicide.    The answer may be as close to you as your breath.    If one simply gives up…they will never know what would have  or could have been.  One does not know what is around the corner.  You must live to find out.

There are two stories  that I know of that may help:   A man had decided he did not want to go on.   He went up stairs and looked out the window.   Across the top of the houses was a steeple of a church.   It was that cross rising high into the sky that made him stop and truly think about what he was thinking of doing.  A simple thing….but it was his turning moment.

Another man felt that he had lost everything.   His wife was leaving him and taking his life flashed across his mind.   The thing that made him stop was the thought of what would his death do to his son.    He had not actually lost everything for he had his son.

When things seem the darkest….when you just want to go to sleep forever….forget the word “forever” and just go to sleep.    Rest the mind….rest the heart….and after the rest, look for a new beginning.      Focus on the little things that matter and reach for something bigger than you have known.

Simply ask for God to give you that one ounce of strength that you do not think you have.     Psalm 139:8  “If I go up to heaven, you are there. If I make my bed in hell, you are there.”     No matter what we do, we will face God.   This may be a terrible thought…but one worth thinking.

I am not going to “preach” to you, but here are THOUGHTS TO CONSIDER:

(Nehemiah 8:10 )Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
This verse did not say “your joy” for you may not feel any joy at all.   It said, “…the joy of the Lord” which will be your strength in anything that is in your life too difficult to handle.

Colossians 1:11-14  May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

My suggestion would be to go to a quiet place…maybe the shower….or another spot…and call to God to help you to know that you are loved by Him.   Ask Him for peace.  Ask Him for grace and forgiveness.  Ask Him to give you the strength you need.   He will hear you….and then rest.   Harming yourself is not the answer.  Giving up is not the answer.  It never will be.