Monday, June 12, 2017

Liar! Li-errr!!!

I've been doing a lot of lying to myself lately.

Mainly, about how "no one likes me and no one tells the truth."

I dealt with a lot of bullying growing up, and even now, it's very easy for me to project onto people what I think they're thinking about me.  It is so easy for me to think that "no one likes me" when the truth is, plenty of people like me and the vast majority of the world's population doesn't even know or care that I exist. 😊  It is true that there are probably people who don't like me.  In saying that, I'm just stating a fact:  there's no one in this world who is liked by everyone.  Even Jesus was hated by a lot of people.  He still is.

It's also not true that everyone lies.  I do think it's more difficult in this day and age of "fake news" and information overload to determine exactly what truth is.  And while I don't want to be paranoid, I do think that a healthy skepticism is called for.

I asked the question "Am I wrong?" in this last blog entry.  There's things I don't think I'm wrong about.  I believe there is a God, and I believe the Bible reveals Him.  And I do believe Jesus when he says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father except through me."  (Just a few verses later, Pilate asked, "What is truth?"  He didn't realize truth was standing in front of him.)

In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul calls on Timothy to, among other things, "correctly handle" the word of truth.  I grew up with the King James Version, which translated this verse as "rightly dividing the word of truth".  Much of my frustration with "who's right?" revolves around whether or not the Bible is "correctly handled".  This is what I mean when I talk about everyone being able to "prove" they are right by Scripture, but coming out with diametrically opposed conclusions.

In Acts 17, a group of people in Berea were called "noble" because they examined the Scriptures to see if a fellow named Paul was handling them accurately.  It's possible, since we are different people, to come to differing opinions on matters.  Even Paul, in the books of Romans and I Corinthians, addressed matters such as whether or not to marry and eating meat offered to idols, acknowledging that different believers would believe different things on such matters, and that believers should respect the opinions of others.

He did, however, hold firm to certain bedrock truths:  that Jesus was the Son of God, that salvation was not by works of the law but through faith, that Christ had indeed been raised from the dead.  And plenty of people hated him, too.

I am such a people-pleaser at times that it's not even funny.  I care a great deal about "what people think of me" and too many times, that just leads me to a lot of turmoil.  I don't want to use "not being a people-pleaser" as an excuse to be rude, arrogant, and uncaring.  But I don't want to be so wound up in "what people think" that I have no convictions about anything.

Right now, I think the best course of action is to recognize where I've been lying to myself and ask God to steer me towards the truth.

In the meantime, here's a funny note to end on, from The Princess Bride:

Just my .04, adjusted for inflation.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Am I wrong?

It's probably no secret to the small handful of readers of this blog that I'm dealing with a crisis.

So I'll just make it public:

I'm dealing with a crisis.

I'm not doing too well in this "brave new world" of sexual fluidity, fake news, alternative facts, and other things.  In this blog entry, and in this blog entry, I've shared plenty of my frustrations, especially about religion.

I am just officially stuck.  I think it would be bad enough if I were only dealing with faith issues, or if I were only dealing with current events, or if I were only dealing with past bullying issues, or if I were only dealing with a young adult with autism, or if I were only dealing with my mother's health.  (And she lives in another state, in assisted living, and it's my sister that does the hands-on stuff with her.  I just sit and worry.  My sister has much more on her plate concerning our mother than I do.)

But I am dealing with them all at once.

For the well-meaning people that advise me to "stop listening to the news":  I don't sit in front of the TV and binge out on Fox or CNN or our local news stations.  I DO check headlines, and I DO listen to "three things to know to get your day started" from Kevin & Taylor of 104.7 The Fish.  I DO get news updates from news apps, which consist of two local TV stations, one local radio station, CNN, Associated Press, and BBC.  I read the comics and glance at the headlines from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  I keep the local news mainly for traffic (and in Atlanta, knowing the traffic at any given moment is an absolute necessity.)  I think it's very naive to totally ignore the news.

The frustration I have is when news is discussed.  I have a filter on Facebook, FB Purity, which filters out certain words I tell it to filter.  And even that doesn't catch everything.

I've just about given up pointing out false or satirical links on Facebook that people think are true, because people usually don't listen.  They WANT their fake news to be true, whether it be Obama being born in Kenya or FEMA building camps to put dissenters into.

As much as I would like to support this current President, I worry that he doesn't know what he's doing.  On the other hand, I also believe there are some in the media that WANT him to fail.  They WANT him to resign.  Then they will want President Pence to resign.  They will not stop until they get the people THEY want in the White House and in Congress, and they do not care if it hurts people.

I'm white.  I'm mostly conservative.  I'm female.  I'm Christian.  I'm straight.  And I feel like a criminal.  No matter what opinions I may hold on a particular subject, if someone disagrees with me, I feel as if I am the one who has to change.  I am the one that has to listen and understand, but I don't often feel as if I get the same courtesy.

With the Bible, it seems that everyone can "prove" through Scripture that they are right.  And when conclusions from the Bible are diametrically opposed to each other, they cannot all be right.

So am I wrong?  Am I wrong about what I believe?

I did believe, as a child, that one could "pray the prayer" and ask Jesus to come into my heart.  I even did that when I was about seven or eight years old.  Then I ran into people who showed me Scripture about the necessity of baptism.  I'd been baptized when I was about eight, but "according to Scripture" I hadn't done it for the right reasons.  So I did it again.

I understand that baptism is by immersion for the forgiveness of sins.

Am I wrong?

I understood the definition of "sexual immorality" as being "you do not have sex with anyone until the minister pronounces you man and wife.  Then, you only have sex with the person you are married to."

Am I wrong?

I understood that having sex with anyone of the same sex is a sin, and that marriage is only between one man and one woman.

Am I wrong?

I'm starting to think that people who believe women can preach may have a valid point.

Am I wrong?

I thought that there was such a thing as the rapture (see the Left Behind series).  Then I learned that that particular doctrine may not necessarily be true, that while there will be a Second Coming and a judgment, the belief of a seven-year tribulation may not be true.  Then, I heard of people who believe, and can "prove" from Scripture, that the Second Coming happened in 70 AD with the destruction of the Jewish temple.

Am I wrong?

I have been told to "forget what the Bible says and just look at the teachings of Jesus."  These days, though, that's often code for "Jesus didn't say anything about homosexuality, so he must be okay with it or at least not really care about it."

Am I wrong?

I was under the impression that the news media was supposed to report the facts and let people make up their own minds about the story they are reporting, and if they are offering their opinion, it was supposed to be clearly labeled "opinion".

Am I wrong?

I truly and honestly do not know what I believe anymore.

Or what I am supposed to believe.

Just my .04, adjusted for inflation.