I am releasing this message unedited and in it’s entirety. It bears some repeating which is not too severe. I have been at it for hours and it is very therapeutic, but I fear losing the content so I will publish for now and come back and edit later-maybe. :).
These past few months have been so good in so many ways, and then there have been a few things happen that I am sure I had a part in, but how they ended up a complete mess, I thought needed to be addressed for both sides of the issue. I’m sure I am the only one who has less than perfect experiences with other believers online. I’m sure I am the only one who has ever offended someone else online in some kind of group or another. And of course I am the only one who has ever been offended. So this message is a waste of time, right? Wrong. lol. God put it on my heart, has convicted me of my part, and this all needs to come to the surface and be dealt with. Like the saying goes, it takes two to tango. And to those who have an ear to hear, hear what he is saying to the churches. Except for the church of Philadelphia, you guys get a hall pass because by your very name and nature, you are doing it right and we can all learn from you! So lend a hand, Philly!
The way people carry on, one would think that it is true- I am the only one. But you and I know I am not. We all encounter unresolved conflict. We have all offended and been offended. It’s how we handle it which is determining how much we truly love each other and whether we are sinning further in our stubbornness or resentment of such. It will determine whether we are abiding with God or going astray. God’s word does not lie. But I think people don’t see the internet as being real, or mattering, so they reason this does not apply online….or to them. They can just block or unfriend and it won’t count. I mean, it’s not like they are in person or anything, right? Wrong. We are not to carry on like the world and be Christians in name only, like we are some sit-com, and detach from it all. The body is connected-we can’t just detach. The eye cannot say to the head, I don’t need you, because it would be just floating around with no where to be connected to. Same with the church. Same concept.
We run away and nurse our little offense not realizing that little offenses become the nasty little bitter foxes that spoil the spiritual vine, and thereby many become defiled. Defiled does not sound like anything I want to become….first sign of that and I want help for sure. I am sure you can agree with the word of God? I know I can! That’s why I am being obedient in writing this. I need to hear it just as much as it needs to be heard.
Remember, we are all connected, for he is the vine and we are the branches. So, what happens to one part of the body affects the whole. So, the longer we let things fester, the worse it becomes and the more poison that is released into the vine, or the body of Christ. Face it, we are sick and need a Doctor! Would any of us knowingly allow poison in our own body? No. Then why are we allowing it in the body of Christ through unforgiveness, slander, pursuing each other with hatred, and holding resentments? When roots of bitterness spring up, many can become defiled. I have seen this in me. I felt bitterness that the person I sought to make amends to would not hear it at all! Not only did the person not hear it, the individual did direct damage to me which was obviously some kind of vindictive retaliation (I have proof). And then the individual went on their merry way acting like they are an upstanding ministry leader! This is not right. For before we bring our gift to the altar we are to first go to our brother and make peace. Others began to be affected being around me who have a spiritual connection with me.
This hurt my heart terribly to be treated with such disdain and to be outright attacked passive-aggressively, and to see all the people who got poisoned. And the pain turns to cranky for sure. So, I offended someone (but I don’t know how even-I can only guess-the individual will not say!), and then the individual decided to offend me (rather vindictively, obviously for all to see, which I can only interpret as pursuing me with hatred). (and no response from the individual try after try-online messages, phone calls, etc…makes me wonder if this person is not even a Christian but some saboteur sent in? I mean, it’s so irrational, baffling. They pretty much preach they are perfect and yet this and others keep posting their teachings yet they remain unrepentant). I started off blessing the individual who did me wrong but then the more I was around the ‘watering hole’ the more I saw the effect of what the individual has done and the resentment started to creep in as the individual was obviously in the victim mode and stuck and enjoying and nursing the injury- (as I too was now doing but in reverse!) even though irreparable damage was done to ME by the individual who now owned ME an apology! “They are getting away with it!” I was saying to myself. And the devil was sure glad to help me nurse a resentment even after I forgave them! I was suffering the effects of their action to me, which was the gift that kept on giving with no sign of relief! But God….has given us a remedy in Matthew 18: 15-17. And to the end of vs. 20 is very fitting and edifying in all of this. Relationships between believers must be important enough for Christ to have given us an outline of how to handle them, no? I’m not into throwing relationships away…not easily anyway. I don’t fancy histrionic traits to be something to attain to, but perseverance instead, to work things out…because….love.
Are we all seeing now why unity is so important? Not just on our day of worship or loving the people of our Men’s and Women’s group once a week. It’s everyday. Every hour. Every minute. It’s anytime a human is present and we are relating to them. This is what the Kingdom comes down to, especially one of the same household of faith! If we can’t love those we have seen, how are we even going to love him who we have not (God). And if we are to do good especially to the household of faith, then what do we even have to offer those who persecute us and seek our demise? Jesus does save the least of us, and some of us are rough around the edges. But I am sure no one reading this is. You are perfect right? I am here to tell you that it does matter if we believe we have not faults becase the world watches, the devil watches, our enemies watch, and most importantly, God sees and is addressing it now.
I am right there with you with the correction and the resolution. It’s not a competition. We are all equal opportunity offenders and the offended, so let’s get off our high horse and put our money where our mouth is. No one will get away with anything in the end. Jesus has it on replay! (Mom’s training is shining through).
Offense. Jesus speaks a lot about offense. In the book of Matthew chapter 18 and verses 15-17 NLT we have it clearly laid out how we are to address offense between members of the body of Christ. Vs. 15: “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. 16. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. 17. If the person still refuses to listen, then take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan, or a corrupt tax collector. ” Now, I have done step one in relation to this. And literally NO response after trying three different ways to contact the individual. So, I am next to go to someone and take them with me to the individual. I only know one person this person knows and that person is not interested, said, “let it go and move on”. Now had I tried the whole remedy then I can see letting go. But the whole remedy was not applied so how can I in good conscience “let it go and move on”? I care about the relationship that started. That is the most hurtful part of all. Just letting it go seems to say instead, “just don’t correct the person or care about your relationship, the bonds of peace. Get over it and forget about the person”. And I think Jesus wants more than that-for the body of Christ anyway. I don’t condemn the individual who gave this advice. I think it’s good advice for worldly relationships outside the body of Christ, but we are not to be like the world. In it but not of it. It’s not a work relationship or a stranger I am dealing with, it’s supposed to be someone I consider being in God’s family.
So, what remedy am I left with? How would I proceed to work something out with someone if I can find no one to take with me as a witness? I don’t. The individual has made their decision, as have the people I asked who have not been willing to walk along side me in this scripture. All I can do is pray, forgive them all, bless them and turn the whole thing over to Jesus knowing his ways are higher and that maybe in time, the person will come to their senses.
Jesus saw this coming and he left a remedy for us. All scripture is divinely inspired. Unity is mentioned a lot in the new testament. Do a search and you will see. And that goes for anything written in this message. Search and see. Studying the scriptures makes us stronger. I know I have hidden the word in my heart, and when I refer to it without quoting chapter and verse, it’s because I am confident in it. It lives on it’s own in my heart, the center of my being, where God dwells, where my spirit is joined to his spirit. And the holy spirit brings it to my remembrance when needed. For out of the belly shall flow living water. It stands on it’s own. Google it (better to use Start page for privacy) and you will see. But I am pretty sure this message is intended for the already existing body, who know these truths by and large. If you don’t, I encourage you to look up the truths presented here and see they line up with scripture. I know the writing of this message is God’s will for me right now, right this moment. For he only lets me have peace once I started writing it. He smoked me out. And he wins as usual. lol. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. His rod and staff they are a comfort to me. (correction).
And now a word about the ‘online Christian community’ as I hear it referred to. It is loose knit at best, at least for me it would seem. It’s not in keeping with the five fold ministry laid out in the new testament. It’s not set up the same. We have people starting little chat groups, video watchers club, websites, and on and on. Seldom do I see structure and discipline that is in keeping with scripture. It’s more about ‘personal policy’ or the room is for this or that purpose. So, when conflict happens, oh well. Whatever will be will be. No responsibility, no leadership, no protecting the bonds of peace or respect for the body or God’s word is how I see it. Or there are sponsors like a tv show, yet it acts like a ministry and often tells you it is, despite denying his power, especially by volunteer moderators and their questionable censorship of scripture or any opinion different than the channel owner! They often run rogue like a gang while the page is supposed to be Christian. They take people out and laugh about it. Us vs. them mentality. That’s divisive. It’s sad, really, especially if the person is trying to ‘play by the rules’ and still gets the axe, which I have had happen as well. It’s a mad world.
I bet Jesus’ heart really hurts that this is the way we carry on. And I have had my share of mistakes, trust me. But I improved, and want better, more Godly, not the world’s standards. The moderators usually don’t even make money while the channel or group owner rakes in the cash. (typical for most worldly churches that take advantage of member’s good will and willingness to serve) Well, youtube has taken care of that by demonetizing, but still you get the idea. And nothing wrong with being financially blessed if one labors for the gospel. I think imho where folks go wrong is making a truther page kind of like a ministry then managing it with worldly principles while calling themselves God’s elite and elect. Laughable. And if we have come out saying we are a believer, we should be quick to apply those beliefs in whatever venture in which we have so feverishly claimed we are Christian in! It’s all or nothing in this case. Obedience to his word and ways is better than sacrifice. And imho, any believer worth their weight in whatever will follow God’s ways, not the world’s. Just sayin. God even told me through a couple people to get that paypal button because people wanted to bless me. I have not done it yet, but it is soon coming. A workman is worthy of his wage. (and I work from home as much as I can-he knows this. He knows my struggle, he knows I press on and do the best I can, so he will provide. He always has).
Hired servants or real Shepherds? That’s a matter of the heart that only God can judge. The test is to see if the Shepherd scatters if the sheep are attacked by the wolf. Unfortunately, I see mostly wolves on youtube and elsewhere. When these accounts are put to the fire, it comes up melted dross with little precious metal on top, if any. That’s what scares me anymore. And that is not the answer. It’s a mess, frankly. And I am tired of it. I want out by and large, yet so many people “are online” that I invariably have to go online to speak to them! Because the churches are not discussing the same things in person! It’s all so frustrating! And as a watchperson on the wall, I feel an obligation to keep up on the deception and expose the fruitless works of darkness, chasing golden tickets and spending hours just doing that.
And I’m lonely from being a lone so much! So I seek out people online for fellowship, prayer, a shoulder to lean on or to offer one to lean on….but they take themselves out like trash on a regular basis at the slightest offense. I have never seen anything like it! They can’t seem to endure any sound relationship, let alone doctrine. And God forbid any conflict! Meanwhile I am screaming, “we can fix this!” yet they don’t care. Why should they, they reason. I can get another with the click of a button. I’ll place my order and in no time I’ll be swimming with other conspiracy nuts. They treat themselves like trash by not valuing relationships or the bonds of peace. And I am so willing to teach these skills but so few are interested to learn.
I could research it from scratch but that feels so impersonal, and I want to ‘talk’ to others, right? So I go to the same well-worn cults of personality espousing their own views into things. God forbid I have a question or actually disagree. Out come the claws because people are so fear based and full of useless knowledge they are straining out gnats but incidentally swallow the whole camel! Then there goes the love-my community-unfriended, blocked, etc…for usually next to nothing. Most don’t even allow time to patch things up…you know, like humans used to do! And over and over and over have I weathered this nonsense. Enough! I want something better and something different. I don’t see people running out of churches after slamming their bibles closed and vowing to never return if they don’t agree with all of their brothers and sisters! Not like I do online. They act more adult like. So, I think I am going to find a place to fellowship. I think it will take away most of the problem, anyway. I’ll still have to say I’m sorry sometimes, or tell someone they have offended me. And maybe I will get the same result, or maybe I won’t. But I can try.
And why is it my real friends are online and always out of state? maybe they are not real friends at all if push comes to shove? maybe it’s all part of the online world of make believe for so many. Maybe it’s a novelty to know someone from over there or over here? For me, it was desperate fellowship, a hungry and wounded soul. And I made my way and grew in spite all of it. . It was supposed to be the cream of the crop-at least that is how it was presented! “Stay out of the churches, the 501c3’s, Satanists are in the church, blah, blah, blah…” and yet online is better? That has not been my experience. Maybe I am doing it wrong? Maybe the five fold ministry needs to be in operation for it to be biblical as a church would be? maybe the wheat is supposed to grow up with the chaff? In person could not be any worse I am thinking, so what am I doing online? Or should I say the 33rd lay lines that demons travel? Then again, if the head is damaged, so goes the body and I will not submit to a brick and mortar church that is in grave error, either. For what good would that do? So, then one is left with catch- as- catch- can- fellowship or to somehow anonymously become part of an at home fellowship so that ‘they’ don’t ‘get me’ when it hits the fan. More and more I see that the ‘they’ are other so called Christians who think their job is judge, jury, and executioner, even though Jesus has not even come back yet let alone passed some ruling and reigning baton in their direction! That’s scary stuff. Mental illness and cult-like characteristics abound online. Coming from a frequent therapy flier, you should take notice at my words! It’s the same silly drama and ending over and over in the same way with people taking their ball and their narcissistic case it came in and going home- so to speak-unfriending and blocking one another.
Now, if the remedy in Matt. 18 has been applied to the end of an issue, then stopping fellowship with an individual or toxic group is right on and you have every right biblically to do so. I have done this several times this last year as there are so many narcissistic places void of correction but rich with ego and cult characteristics. Stop the highway, I want off!
They don’t want to play anymore. They got hurt and off they went. I guess actions do speak louder than words. The whole thing is just not healthy. I think the online world is actually harming the body of Christ at this point. By it’s very detached,’ not-in-person-way’ it is tearing down and cheapening true Godly fellowship. Christians have become consumers who have so many choices they can just click off or on if something does not tickle their ears, make them feel good, agree with them (not enduring sound doctrine). We have become a very divided body of believers and I think we are nearing life support and that is why this message is so timely! I know for me and my house (which means my cat!) that we will serve the Lord! If that means starting a home based study group then I will. Or finding an established church that does not compromise and is inherently healthy, then I will obey now and do this. For all this flippant, subscription based ‘church-like’ stuff is starting to take a back seat to me. It’s not an effective replacement for the church and fellowship. It is without oversight (which is biblical to have).
And don’t worry, I have been on both sides of this lesson. It’s not fun either way. And not healthy. It’s not his best for us. I mean, does it bear repeating? Unity is the goal for the body. Love. What’s love? Look at I Cor. 13 to see. And to love our neighbor as ourself. It takes two to tango, as the expression goes. We each have a part.
No matter where we know other believers from, we are still members of the body of Christ even if we don’t attend the same ‘church’ or worship and fellowship services. We don’t get a free pass around accountability and unity because we “only know the person” through some online facebook group, ministry, or chat. That’s not the way it works. The temple is not built with human hands. It’s each of us. The Kingdom of God is within each of us if he is within us. We are connected in the spirit. And wherever two or more are gathered (in spirit) in his name, there is he in the midst of them. We don’t get to do our body of Christ relationships as the world does their relationships. As if we are some sit-com and nothing really matters until we show up to the building where we all meet and then we are our best behavior. That’s doing it wrong. And that is why I wanted to bring this message forward, this teaching. God is present everywhere (omnipresent). He sees. What we have done to each other, we have done to him!
We have a great cloud of witnesses. The world still looks on when we are with each other in these groups. All the silent members watch and see whether we have unity in the body. There is no place like the internet where people can just mosey on in and leave on a whim and no one really knows who they are, but for the discernment of the spirit (when we are listening!). I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had some manic internet times switching back and forth between groups, shows, etc…in our pursuit of the next golden ticket delivered through a well-manicured youtube video or superior spiritual gathering. And during these times, focus can be muddled and discernment can take a back seat to the quest for knowledge. But at this point I am here to talk about the tree of life. More importantly, our bread is Christ. He is the bread of life. This life was the light of men, and the darkness could not comprehend it. All who come to him will not be hungry-in more ways than one. When we do a couple things at once-and it’s easy to lose that belly discernment. Regardless of who is in the group, we have a great crowd of witnesses who see how we treat each other. Now, that alone should not be our motivator for treating each other with love-the fact that others are looking on. No, our motive to love one another should spring forth naturally by our abiding in the vine and treating other people the way Christ treats us, by his power working in and through us through prayer, scripture reading, worship. But occasionally we humans are known not to be perfect. That’s how we got into this mess in the first place. That is when we go on automatic and know we are doing the right thing by continuing to treat each other with respect regardless of our own personal trials or struggles, or our emotions. Sadly, we don’t always make the right choices. So, when we don’t, we apologize. It’s what happens with the apology that has everything to do with the individual who has been offended. We can say sorry til we are blue in the face and pray up one side and down the other–but God is still a gentleman and will not impose his will on the offended. It’s their job to seek their own heart and relationship with God about this offense, and to open the lines of communication with the offender. If they are not doing this, then they, too, are out of order.
Not only do some people not receive and apology when someone has humbled him or herself to come and apologize, they turn and attack the individual! And this is supposed to help unity in the body how? how is this Christ like? how can someone justify attacking someone who has offended them and boldly go before the throne of grace with no conscience?