Deprivation and Freedom

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My doctor has slowly been removing things from my diet.  No more gluten, dairy, or sugar.  Last week my assessment showed I was still consuming something that is bad for me.  Nothing hides from her diagnosis system.

“What are you drinking?” she asked.

“Um, water. Coffee.” I was pretty sure I hadn’t had anything else.  I was desperately hoping she wouldn’t take my coffee away!

“What else? You had something else… four days ago.  Sunday.  What did you drink on Sunday?”

Sunday?  Um.  Water in the morning. Coffee at church. Water at the birthday party. “OH! I had an iced coffee with soymilk in the afternoon.”

“Yes, that’s it. Soy.  No more soy.”

– – –

I immediately felt bad.  I felt like I’d been caught misbehaving.  Called out. Reprimanded. Condemned.

But this is not what my doctor was doing.  She wasn’t searching for something “bad” I’d done.  She was looking for things that are making me sick.  She was scanning my body for things that are hindering my healing.

Why was my gut response to feel condemned? Shouldn’t I feel happy to identify harmful behaviours, attitudes, and consumptions?  Shouldn’t I be excited to have the problem areas revealed?

These diet restrictions are keys to freedom and life and health and energy.  They are not a punishment of deprivation.

And I find myself asking:  Is this how we humans view God?  When He points out a problem, do we feel bad?  Like we’ve been caught misbehaving?  Called out, reprimanded, condemned?  Shouldn’t we feel happy to identify harmful behaviours, attitudes, and consumptions?  Should we be excited to have our problems revealed?

God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.
This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.  (John 3:17 & 16 The Message)

Why do we humans feel so condemned by God? The things He points out are things that are keeping us caged.  His Ways are keys to freedom and life and health and energy.

I’m thinking about a friend who doesn’t want to know God.  She says the Bible is judgemental.  She says she loves her life and doesn’t want a higher power or people who serve a higher power to condemn the way she lives.  I understand what she’s saying.  I hate being judged too.  But what she is feeling is not Truth.  And because she can’t get past feeling condemned, she has become totally resistant to the gentleness, goodness, and love of God.

And I’m thinking about me.  I react terribly to people who point out my problem areas.  I rebel against judgement and condemnation…. whether it exists or not.  I take it as a personal attack.

Somewhere alone the way I adopted a false belief… that love = warts and all.  There is a piece of Truth in that statement… because love does see past problems.  But real love doesn’t love the problems.  It doesn’t love the things that keep its loved-one bound up.

We humans are holding on to things that are hurting us.  And we get defensive and hurt whenever anyone points at those things.

It is no good for me to keep having soy products.  No soy milk and also no tofu, soy sauce, edamame, or any soy products.  Soy is affecting my health.  It’s time to let it go.

In the same way, there are some things in our spiritual and emotional lives that are affecting our health.  It’s time to let them go.

He has Freedom for us.

Father God open my ears to hear you point out the things that need to go.  Give me the courage and confidence to let go of those things and fully embrace the good things you have for me.

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. (John 10:10 NLT)

What is your reaction to criticism?  How do you allow God and people to speak into your life about things that are not good?  I’d love to hear your story.

Want to read through the Bible with me? Today’s readings are   Psalm 63, 64; John 7:32-53

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2 responses »

  1. We are His children and it’s a blessing to be treated as such!! Our rebellion only leads to self-destruction, but His correction leads to a fulfilling life!!

    Hebrews 12:5-11 AMP

    5And have you [completely] forgotten the divine word of appeal and encouragement in which you are reasoned with and addressed as sons? My son, do not think lightly or scorn to submit to the correction and discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage and give up and faint when you are reproved or corrected by Him;

    6For the Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves, and He punishes, even scourges, every son whom He accepts and welcomes to His heart and cherishes.

    7You must submit to and endure [correction] for discipline; God is dealing with you as with sons. For what son is there whom his father does not [thus] train and correct and discipline?

    8Now if you are exempt from correction and left without discipline in which all [of God’s children] share, then you are illegitimate offspring and not true sons [at all].

    9Moreover, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we yielded [to them] and respected [them for training us]. Shall we not much more cheerfully submit to the Father of spirits and so [truly] live?

    10For [our earthly fathers] disciplined us for only a short period of time and chastised us as seemed proper and good to them; but He disciplines us for our certain good, that we may become sharers in His own holiness.

    11For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it [a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness–in conformity to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God].

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