Thursday, November 5, 2015

3H: 8th Commandment

The eighth commandment: You shall not steal.  The negative meaning is that you should not take what is not yours.

But the Westminster Shorter Catechism is great in that it tells you what you should do instead.

Question and Answer 74 say that you should lawfully procure and further the outward wealth and estate of yourself and others.

Basically, if you work and buy something, that is good and even required by the commandment to not steal.  Also, if someone gives you a gift, you accept it graciously.  That is also lawful gain for yourself and your estate.

When someone is co-dependent, they want to give everything away, never accept gifts, and they not only rob themselves of their own rightful possession of things, but they also rob their families as well. 

The answer to question 75 affirms this sentiment:
The eighth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever doth or may unjustly hinder our own1 or our neighbour's wealth or outward estate.2

Those footnotes link to the Scripture references.  But even if you steal from yourself it is still theft just like suicide is still murder.

Overall, Commandment 8 discourages believers in Jesus to simply not be preoccupied with possessions.  If you don't have something, then work to get it.  If someone gives you something, then rejoice and use it to God's glory.  If you do have something, then be content.  If somebody needs something, then give them something, of course making sure first that it is yours to give.  God wants us to not obsess over our possessions but to simply live and not rob ourselves of the graces he has given us either directly or through someone else.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

3H: 7th Commandment

You shall not commit adultery.  It mostly means that if you follow the God who revealed himself to Moses and Abraham and then revealed himself ultimately in Jesus Christ, then you will not have a sexual relationship with somebody that you are not married to.  As a woman, I am only allowed to have sex with my husband.  Before I married him, I was allowed sex with no one.

But adultery goes deeper than that.  Jesus said in Matthew 5 that I only think sexual thoughts about anybody other than Tim, then that is the same as committing adultery.  Long before I knew Tim, I had those thoughts.  I am an adulteress on the inside.  It is the same as being an adulteress on the outside.

How does this tie in to co-dependency?  How do love affairs start?  If I was to try to help another person with her marriage or child-raising and it was destroying my relationship with Tim, would that not be an emotional affair?  I believe so.  I remember when I was a teenager and AOL instant messenger was still the thing, a married man would sometimes confide in me about his struggling marriage.  I had a penpal relationship with him before he met his wife at the time and married her, but I was too young to realize, that that is kind of an emotional affair.  Sure I want to help him and give him advice and pray for him, but to let a married man confide in me about his personal life is a kind of affair.

Women especially need to be careful when they try to help people, whether men or women, outside of their family.  God calls us to be witnesses and to love our neighbors, but we also must love God first and our husbands second.  I love other people, but I cannot help them in such a way that it would endanger my relationship with Tim or with God.  It's just something to think about.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

3H: 6th commandment

The sixth commandment is to not commit murder. 

The Westminster Shorter catechism is best to define this. 

Question 69
Q: What is forbidden in the sixth commandment? 
A: The sixth commandment forbiddeth the taking away of our own life,1 or the life of our neighbour unjustly,2 or whatsoever tendeth thereunto.3  

Question 68
Q: What is required in the sixth commandment? 
A: The sixth commandment requireth all lawful endeavours to preserve our own life,1 and the life of others.2 

How can this commandment apply to a codependent, someone who wants to fix everything and everybody?

I know I have not taken anyone's life.  I know according to Jesus, simply hating someone is the same as murder, and I have done that.  I have had anger toward people.

I suppose the best example of this is when you want to protect someone, that you would do anything to destroy whoever harms that someone.  Do I want to protect all the unborn children snuffed out in abortion legally every second in this country?  Yes.  However, I also oppose someone bombing abortion clinics or trying to assassinate our blood-thirsty president.

But I also will not hesitate to email YouTube if they run some ad from Planned Parenthood or other websites who have Hillary campaign ads.  I may sound like a fundamentalist, and I am one, but you don't need religion to know that killing unborn children is at least questionable when there are so many other and better options.

Did I support the execution of Saddam Hussein?  Yes.  I also support capital punishment.  Is that inconsistent?  I don't think so.  Was I dancing in the street when it happened?  No.  All death is horrible.  Especially for some fellow human created in God's image.  But I believe if someone takes a life then his life should be taken to prevent further murders.  And Genesis 9 practically commands it.  If you shed man's blood, by man shall your blood be shed.  But I am also grateful for God's mercy that he can save the souls of even those people and even their current lives.  I also believe that one day my Redeemer will come and bring all justice to fruition.  He's already done that through Jesus Christ's death on the cross.  He will do that for those who have not received that gracious gift and still insist on atoning for their own mistakes even though that is impossible for anyone other than Christ.  The cross was enough.

But back to my point.  Have I murdered in my heart recently?  Am I too willing to quickly sever relations with someone over one disagreement?  Is distancing myself from someone for fear of trying to be codependent the same thing?  I don't know.  If someone answers, I will be glad for it.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

3H: Honoring my Father

In CR, I got a blue chip in trying to honor my earthly father.  I think I can probably boil all my problems to not honoring my Dad properly and not forgiving his shortcomings.  This is not written to try to fix my Dad.  It's to fix me.  It's also to acknowledge that my Dad is human, but he raised me to be a Christian, still provides the roof over my head, paid for my vacation back in July/August, usually pays for my prescriptions, will give money if I ask him.

He's human, but he does care for me, my brother, and my husband.  Any flaw I see in him, I certainly see in myself.

So, yeah, I need to honor my dad and forgive him his flaws.  I find that whenever I have made a resolution to do so, it has stuck for the most part.  I have relapsed.  But the thing is, I need rely on God's grace poured out through Jesus to heal my sins.  Not a resolution that I made.  Praise God, he uses resolutions, too, but the true answers are not through meeting God halfway; if we had to do that we'd never make the first step.  No, the Holy Spirit has to come all the way, pick me up, and walk me to my goal.  The goal is not me honoring Dad.  It's His Glory alone.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

3H Club: Commandment 4

The fourth of the ten commandments is the one that commands believers to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.

Christians are all over the place when it comes to this commandment.  Is the Sabbath still Saturday, or is it alright to take Sunday off?  Should we rest on Saturday and worship on Sunday?  Do we now have two Sabbaths?  Is one of those days meant for simply housework for those busy the other five days?

The way I see it, Christians need to take one day off to rest.  The whole day.  Have I done this?  I don't know.  I've tried. 

But also, Christians need to physically meet with a local church once a week that sees Christ as the head of the church, and they need to sit through the sermon as God uses the preaching of the Word to awaken people to following Jesus.  If you do not sit in the sermon, then you are not being fed and are spiritually starved.

I have the worship aspect down.  The resting, I still do not know how to do.  Like Martha in Luke 10, I need something to do with my hands while listening to Jesus.  On Sundays, usually my hands play a guitar.  Some Sundays, I teach Sunday School to kids.  Still, am I resting?

On a typical Sunday, Tim and I wake up at 6:30, get dressed, leave our house in Conyers around 7:30, get to church so I can start practice with the worship band at 8:15 or 20.  During that hour, I'm on guitar and Tim is in the sound booth running sound and Power Point slides.  9:30 starts the first service.  After the music is over, I go to the sound booth and sit with Tim and listen to the sermon.  11:00 starts the second service.  During the sermon, I sit with Tim in the atrium and read.  Then we eat lunch with Tim's family and spend the afternoon at his grandparents' house.  I think if I was not at his grandparents house, I probably would not relax.  I'd be thinking of things I need to do to prepare for Monday.  Although, Sundays are an all day thing, it has both hectic and restful aspects.

I think the thing for a co-dependent on Sunday is that I must not try to do everything at one time.  At Community, everything is at the same time, so it is not possible.  God has gifted me with musical abilities.  God has also called me to Children's ministry which I do mostly during the week at CCS.  Sometimes, if I do Children's ministry on Sunday, it conflicts with my ability to play guitar for the service aspect.  But God has called me to both, and it humbles me because I have to realize that things will go on without me.  God simply privileges me to be a part of it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

3H club: 3rd Commandment

Before I move on to commandment three, I have one last thing to say about commandment two and how it connects to co-dependency.  Basically, if I should today get a picture of Jesus when I am convicted that such a thing does indeed paint a graven image of him, then it would be another example of me thinking that I know what I'm doing better than God does.  That is classic co-dependent.

Okay, commandment three: You shall not take the Lord's name in vain.

The most common example is when someone at school or work or on TV says, "O my God!" and has no plan on talking to God about this.  She uses his name without really meaning it.  This is a serious offense to our Lord.  It's even worse when people move on from God to Jesus's name.  Seriously, why do people think it is alright to take the name of the man who left his glorious throne, lived as a human, and died to take away your deserved punishment for your sins as if it is the name of your dog or as if it's a curse word or as if it is his fault that you had to say whatever you said?  Jesus has done everything for you and deserves only your complete praise.

How can misuse of God's name tie into co-dependency?  Let's look at my job.  I play music for the kids at the CCS afterschool.  I do a mix of old songs, new songs, cool songs, odd song.  I mostly do Christian songs so that there is no mistake that I love Jesus.  The kids on the other hand, react in as many different ways.  Some sing along and love the songs.  Some sing in a mocking manner.  Some simply lay their heads on the desk and look bored.

One time, one kid was there who normally loves Jesus but also likes to try to fit in with the cool culture.  I'm singing some of the best songs, and she has her head on the desk like I'm the incarnation of Barney the Dinosaur.  I tell her, "Get over yourself!"  Now, that is advice many people, including myself need.  But at the same time, I have no idea of her home situation, whether her parents are going through anything, if she's faced some tragedy, etc.  And as a representative of Jesus, saying words like that can tarnish his name.  I took God's name in vain.  And I still have not been able to amend for that.

Praise God for his endless mercy and grace because I am much more careful in what I say to these kids.  I must not lose my temper.  I must not work as if I'm the only one that can fix hearts and attitudes.  Only Jesus can do that.  And he continues to change my heart so that I can represent him better.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

3H club: Second Commandment rights

It's been over a year since I worked at the LifeWay in Atlanta that used to be the Berean Store.  In that brief time, I have many memories of conversations with people that I will probably talk about the rest of my life.

One time I was at the Point of Sale counter checking a woman out of the store when she said, "I think we need a picture of a black Jesus."

Keeping the conversation going, I said, "If you want a more accurate picture of Jesus, you would paint him as a middle eastern man since he was Jewish and from Israel."

As the conversation progressed, she said, "Well, Jesus was a spirit anyway."
"No he wasn't," I said, " he was a man with a body."
"But we're not supposed to have graven images."  Then we ended the talk and she left.

Then one of my co-workers said, "I agree about Jesus being portrayed as Israeli."  Then she gave the example of someone painting a picture of Martin Luther King, Jr. as a white man.  It's just not accurate.

But beyond all this, nobody knows what exactly God the Son looked like when he came to earth.
And there are people who blasphemously accuse God the Father of breaching the second commandment to not make graven images by sending Jesus.  But these same people think it's okay to paint a picture of him when they don't know what he looked like.

Then it also just brings up the issue of whether making a painting of Jesus is a breaking of the second commandment.  I actually think it is.  Not that I enforce it much.  I have a picture of a "Laughing Jesus" in my old bedroom that is now Tim's office/man cave which I also use, too.  It does portray him as a middle-eastern looking guy.  And I would never bow down to it or worship it.

I do agree with Calvin that to portray God in any way is breaking the commandment when God is invisible.  And agree with me or not, it is plain that if you do attempt to draw Jesus, it won't look like him as we don't know what he looked like.  Am I going to get on the case of people that do have them, knowing that I myself have a picture?  Or get rid of my picture?  Probably not, but it is good to know.  I also rejoice that God the Spirit always leads me to righteousness whether gradually or even painfully.  And in the end, I'm happier knowing that he has made me right with himself.

What does this have to do with CR or me trying to recover from co-dependency?  Not sure yet.  Any suggestions?  I've been pondering it all week.  It's in the Ten Commandments.  And ultimately, God wants us to follow them for his glory.  Our recovery is a result of that glory.  Recovery from us and back into his Paradise.