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“LOVE OTHER PEOPLE AS YOURSELF!” - BUT… I MUST CRUCIFY MYSELF, NOT ‘LOVE’ MYSELF!
The root of the problem: heaven converted to earth
Here are only a few of the facts; you be the judge whether they are telling you the truth according to the context of the New Testament. A generation ago, preacher Jim Reeves sang according to Jesus' Gospel and Biblical discipleship in Christ, “I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold; I’d rather be His, than have riches untold. I’d rather have Jesus than houses or land; yes, I’d rather be led by His nail-pieced hand, than to be the king of a vast domain; and be held in sin’s dread sway… I’d rather have Jesus than worldly applause; I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause. I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame; yes, I’d rather be true to His Holy Name!" And: “This world is not my home; I’m just a-passing through. My treasures are lined up, somewhere beyond the blue… and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore! Oh Lord, You know, I have no friend like You. If heaven’s not my home, then Lord, what will I do…” Old Slim Whitman sang, “Come home, come home, it’s Supper Time! We’re going home at last…” Then, he rejoiced, “Just a few more weary days and then, I’ll fly away… To my home on God’s celestial shore, I’ll fly away!” He also confessed, “…I’m satisfied with… a little silver and a little gold… I’ve got a mansion, just over the hilltop, in that bright land, where we’ll never grow old. And someday yonder, we’ll never more wonder, and walk on streets that’s as pure as gold!”
Today, the Kingdom-Now theology, the prosperity dogma, and pure satanic humanism have combined forces to turn these Bible-truths upside down. Charismatic teachers must allegedly ‘bring the glory down from outside the born again, [empty?] spiritual temple of the Holy Spirit.’ (See 1 Jn. 2:2-27.) Instead of longing for the crystal river in heaven, their occult ‘river of anointing’ is bewitching souls to turn to their false teachings. Instead of preaching eternal life on the streets of gold in heaven, Benny Hinn aggressively shouts, “I want my gold now! If I hear one more time how it will be and how it was in heaven, I’m gonna kick somebody… Just give me a Holy Ghost machine gun and I’ll blow your head off!” Morris Cerullo prophesies, “Would you surrender your pocketbooks unto Me, saith God, and let me be the Lord of your pocketbooks....Yea, so be thou obedient unto my voice!” Joyce Meyer demands, “Go to the phone and give $1,000, $5,000, $10,000 and $1,000,000… God has a miracle waiting on your response… I just love to talk about your money. Let me be very clear. I want your money. I deserve it. This church deserves it, [An Empire Of Souls, Page 35.] Rodney H. Brown actually declares, “Revival is not a work of God. Revival can be planned… scheduled… People can be saved without the preaching of the Gospel! You can’t put God in a box. Not everything God does is in the Bible!” Paul Crouch screeches, “...We’re god, yes, I am a little god!” John Avanzini lies, “Your word is not heard if you’re not rich!” And Rhema church and her companions such as Angus Buchan bellow, "Arise! Claim South Africa… Claim the world! We’ll drag heaven to earth by our authority! The river of anointing is here; every kingdom and person on earth are coming to Christ right now!”
However, Jesus Himself said that this world is destined for the fire after He had taken His true, believing bride to heaven; and His Kingdom is NOT from here; it has no such origin, source, or Kingdom-Now aspirations, (2 Pt. 3:10-14; Jn. 18:36.)
Robert Schuler’s ‘high self-esteem’
Instead of teaching Jesus’ commandment to agape our neighbors as ourselves, and ‘be pilgrims in search of a heavenly city,’ believers focus on ‘wealth, health, happiness, and prosperity here on earth!’ Sinful self-promotion and ‘high’ self-esteem, which promise popularity and financial success, make bestsellers of Christian books.
These witches even teach their followers to deify themselves. And so, mason Robert Schuler preached, “One is in hell when he has lost his self-esteem… Jesus knew His worth, His success fed His self-esteem… (He said Jesus was a narcissist!) He suffered the cross to sanctify His self-esteem. He bore the cross to sanctify your self-esteem… Nothing was… more counterproductive to the evangelism enterprise than the often crude… unchristian strategy of attempting to make people aware of their lost and sinful condition!” Instead of doing so much harm to the body of Christ, this satanic preacher should have read the Bible!
Ascetics teaches the opposite of ‘high self-esteem:’ “Believers must be nobodies!”
While humanist teachings focus on promoting the sinful ‘self,’ some denominations tend to forget that Jesus did indeed command us to love (philautia) ourselves ‘as,’ (not more or less,) than our neighbors. Still, self-mutilating cults such as Roman Catholicism believe that sin is seated in the physical body, “the flesh.” Thus, the body itself is evil. (Read the truth in the so-called “evil bloodline that must be cut off.”) That is why they ‘punish’ their bodies by flogging themselves as ‘penance’ to pay for their sin, and so on. But where Paul spoke of the ‘sinful flesh,’ he referred to the sinful thoughts and beliefs, which must be ‘crucified’ or symbolically ‘put to death’ to transform our “minds” through the truth of Scripture, so we may “know [and do] the perfect will of God,” (Romans Chapter 8; 12:1-3; 2 Cor. 10:3-5.)
While the Roman papacy lives in utmost luxury, they teach their lower ranking priesthoods that Jesus commanded asceticism, or self-denial as a religious discipline, which supposedly earns their ‘salvation and holiness.’ Thus, well-known Christian ascetics like Theresa of Calcutta, (just as in raw paganism,) lived with minimal material necessities.
This teaching, which virtually nullifies Jesus’ full atonement in the place of all believing humanity, also polluted many other denominations with the belief that He commanded His disciples to view themselves as ‘nobodies.’ These adherents of Christianized paganism subtly teach their followers to ‘hate’ themselves. They materialize verses like, “He who loves his life will lose it… he who hates his life will keep it… I have been crucified with Christ… I [literally] no longer live… We must [physically] lay down our lives for the brethren…”
Those commandments are allegories of important Moral-Law principles that govern Jesus’ spiritual Kingdom. In the context of Scriptural Truth, it is not we ourselves, (our physical bodies,) the world itself, or our physical lives on earth that we must hate. We must hate our sinful ways without Christ, our selfish lusts for the sinful pleasures of the world, and focus on eternal life in heaven. Practically, we must allegorically “crucify” our sinful emotions, (storge,) our sinful lusts, and the sinful enticements of the world! Practically, this means, we must be humbly submitted to God in everything Scriptural, to serve Him in Holy-Spirit leading. Then, we must ‘lay down our lives for our neighbors’ by serving them sincerely and wholeheartedly according to the Moral Law.
Jesus’ command to agape others “as” ourselves actually means, we must place the interest of others next to our own interests in all that glorifies God and promotes His Kingdom, because to agape God in spirit and in truth, He must always be our highest priority, (Jn. 4:21-24.) Therefore, we must “do unto others ‘as’ we want them to do unto us,” (Mt. 7:12.)
Jesus forbade us to accommodate our neighbor’s sin
All of the above, which refer to our agape for God, other people, and philautia for ourselves, also mean we must shun all idolatry and witchcraft against God — including the witches who pull us away from His freedom to enslave us to the rule of Satan, (Rom. 6:5-6; 1 Pt. 2:19-22.) We cannot, through our ‘love’ for other people, allow them to bring us down to their sinful level, rob us of our agape for, or obedience to God, and take our eternal lives.
Jesus did not say we must lay down our lives for our unrepentant neighbors and suffer under their sin, as only Jesus is the Savior of sinners, (Mt. 18:15-20.) If they continually reject the Perfect Sacrifice of the Lord Jesus in their place, surely, all our tainted, human sacrifices would be worthless, as we can never contribute to the salvation and redemption of anyone. None of us are christs. Similarly, we cannot convince them of sin, salvation, and God’s judgment, (Jn. 16:7-11.) We are not the Holy Spirit. We can warn, teach, and pray, but if unrepentant sinners decide to reject the blood of Jesus and the conviction of the Spirit, none of our tears, pleas and sacrifices will change them. God changes us by convincing us that we must submit to Him in totality. Then, we must willingly work with Him in obedience to His Word in the leading of His Spirit. We can do the possible; only Jesus can do the impossible.
That is why Jesus’ commandment to agape our neighbors does not suggest that God protects and promotes our neighbor by excluding us, or by ignoring our personal needs. Jesus never suggested that His disciples must love their neighbors ‘more’ than themselves in the sense that our neighbors are everything and we are nothing but their servants and slaves, whom they can use and abuse as they please.
Jesus forbade us to accommodate our neighbors’ unrepentant sin, (Lev. 19:17-18.) He also forbade us to believe that we must suffer so that they can flourish in laziness, love of ease, and disrespect for God and our personhood, (1 Cor. 7:23.) That is not ‘laying down our lives for our brothers!’ Those who selfishly block and hinder our well-being are endangering our emotional growth in Christ and our eternal lives in heaven, (Rom. 12:1-3.) For example, Jesus commanded us to give freely for the extension of His true Kingdom and to help where we can glorify God, but Paul expressly declared in 2 Ths. 3:2, 11-15, “[May we] be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men… We command you in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ that you withdraw from everyone who lives disorderly and not according to the [Word…] If anyone will not work [and/or squander your hard-earned money because he is a lazy sponger, gambler, or drug-addict exploiter,] neither shall he eat!”
So, if we are feeding, serving, harboring and waiting upon lazy, love of ease spongers and other abusers of God, His people, and His Word, we are helping them to commit idolatry and witchcraft, and we are thereby also committing witchcraft! The Matthew Henry Commentary says, “Christ is to be served and obeyed without limitation or reserve. [Besides God,] the servant of Christ should be at the absolute command of no other master besides himself, and should serve no man any further than is consistent with their duty to him. No man can serve two masters. You have been bought with a price, (the blood of Jesus,) out of slavery. Do not again become enslaved, (Rom. 6:16-23!)”
“WHY COMPLAIN - SIMPLY FORGIVE AND FORGET!” - “WHAAAT?”
This reeks of legalism
It is a fact that we must forgive those who sin against us. However, God has given us clear Scriptural guidelines to resolve serious matters as far as it depends on us, before we reach this final point of resolve, which means to “let go” and surrender unrepentant abusers to the judgment of God. It is totally unscriptural to advise the abused to “simply forgive and forget” – and then to add, “You must not even think about what others have done to you ever again; for if you do, God will not forgive your sin and you will lose your salvation!” This reeks of loveless legalism and selfish disinterest! In fact, this is abusing those who desperately need Jesus by turning the truth of His Word into a decimating lie.
How can any seriously wounded mortal ever attain such a high religious, unscriptural standard? Without fostering self-pity and self-destructive self-absorption, one may ask, “What happened to the other statutes of the Moral Law, such as, ‘Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ?’ ‘Weep with those who weep…’ ‘Abhor what is evil…’
After all, how do meager humans, whom God had created with emotions, memory, thoughts, reason, and a sense of self-preservation, not mourn, weep, and cry out for help and deliverance from their constant oppressors? How do they ‘simply forgive and forget’ all inhumane abuse, when it escalates from weeks into months – years; and even continues for a whole lifetime? These questions, left unanswered, (and we are going to find the answers,) would confuse and discourage even the most sincere disciples of Christ, and cause them to doubt the saving, healing ‘love’ or agape of God.
If we were able to ‘earn’ our unmerited forgiveness through our supposed ability to simply forgive and forget even the worst abuse against us without ever thinking about it again, our salvation wouldn’t be free at all, would it?
The danger of ‘foolish faith’
Some “passive” victims of abuse believe they have to do nothing at all to escape their abusers and to call them to account for their crimes against humanity. They think once they have petitioned God to deal with their abusers, they may ignore the abuse because they ‘will trust God’ to save their abusers’ souls and stop the abuse supernaturally. Of course God can do all this, but He has given us the intelligence and common sense to assess our situations, and then, as far as humanly possible, to understand, obey, and follow His Scriptural directives to resolution!
‘God gives His Holy Spirit to those who obey Him [or do His will,]” (Acts 5:32.) Again, to make up our own ‘solutions of faith’ is idolatry and witchcraft, (1 Sam. 15:22-23.) Our disobedience in following God’s ‘Staff’ and ‘Rod,’ (the leading of His Spirit and the commandments of His Word,) may result in prolonged and unresolved issues in our lives. God will always be the God of miracles. However, to expect Him to do His part in dealing with abuse supernaturally, while we refuse to do our part and follow His commandments on a physical level, is foolish faith, (James 2:19-20.)
Jesus commanded in Mt. 10:23, “When they persecute [endanger, harm or abuse] you in this city, [house, marriage, family, fellowship…] flee to another… [if at all possible.]” If Jesus’ commandments were not functional, He would not have given them. So, while believing and trusting in God’s guidance and wisdom, let us be practical. Yes, we will have to suffer for the truth of God’s Word, and we will be oppressed for His sake. However, Jesus did not command us to endure unrelenting abuse and forgive our abusers ‘unconditionally’ for a whole lifetime, while they continue their unrepentant destruction on our souls, bodies, and lives. Our lives and souls are precious to Jesus and to us. While we must focus on eternal life in heaven and live our lives to glorify God, we must remember we have only this one life on earth.
If you are not suffering to glorify God and to further the truth of His Word, then flee! Jesus commanded in Mt. 10:14; 23-26, “Whoever will not receive you nor hear [My] words, when you depart from that house, [family, church] or city, shake off the dust from your feet [as a testimony against them that they will have no excuse on Judgment Day...]”
Always remember that our submission to unrepentant abusers and their sinful tactics can never be God’s directive. We must never willingly become the slaves of men, as true believers are the blood-bought saints of Christ! (Rom. 6:16-23.)
Here is what Melinda Fish wrote in ‘Restoring the Wounded Woman,’ “Jesus laid down His life at Calvary; no man took it from Him. [But when the Pharisees tried to stone Him beforehand,] He ‘hid Himself’ and ‘eluded their grasp,’ (Jn. 8:59; 10:39.) Jesus would not allow Himself to be needlessly abused… [When in untimely persecution,] do what Jesus did: Hide yourself. Elude your abuser’s grasp...”
Fight back; say “No!”
Why is it so hard to say “no” when people use, abuse, openly manipulate, mistreat, and defraud us? Psychologists reckon it’s because ‘no’ is the first word we hear from our parents, and we ‘process that negativity’ by never using it in our vocabulary. [What garbage!] I believe we were indoctrinated by abusing parents, teachers, and clergy not to ‘hurt’ anyone’s feelings by saying “no” to maltreatment, misuse, enticement, and unreasonable demands. Our inability to say ‘no’ to abuse centers on an inflated ego, (image is everything: no one should think ‘bad’ of us,) and our inherent desire for human acceptance — even at any price. All forms of manipulation, peer pressure, and sale tactics exploit our ‘inability’ to say “no!” Thus, abusers of all kinds do not take ‘no’ for an answer. Among these are drug addicts, beggars, conmen, manipulative spouses, lazy and sponging relatives and neighbors, spoilt children, controlling parents, fake friends, false clergymen, and other dangerous perverts. They know that the well-mannered public does not want to ‘offend’ anyone.
However, to submit to harassment and other ungodly demands goes beyond reason and morality. Why would anyone remain polite and submissive to, for instance, a beggar who refuses a job but harasses you, underestimates your intelligence, disrespects your personal space, and tries to con you out of your hard-earned money? After all, God sternly commanded, “If anyone will not work [because of drug addiction, laziness, and love of ease,] then neither shall he eat!”
Those who say “no” to misuse, molestation, and other forms of abuse are often labeled as ‘stingy’ or ‘nasty.’ Yet, even some children at an accountable age can and do say “no,” and flee from abuse if circumstance permits! The reason why most people allow harassment and exploitation, is because they do not want others to think ‘less’ of them, and so, they find it extremely embarrassing to say “no.” Many fear conflict and rejection to the point where they would submit to almost anything. (I.e.: We wouldn’t have had friends at kindergarten if we didn’t allow them to break our crayons, would we?) God commanded us to say “no!” to evil. Jesus warned, “Take heed, [watch out,] that no man deceives you!” (1 Cor. 15:33; Mt. 24:4; Rom. 6:6-23.) So, do not believe, follow, obey, fear, or pity immoral family, friends, and other abusers, (Isa. 8:19-20.) Believe and obey Jesus. Say “no!” to false doctrine, lies, false authority, and manipulation. Say “no!”’ to misuse, humiliation, hurt, slander, violence, and verbal and physical abuse. Say “no!”’ to those who defraud you of your money and human dignity. Say “no!” to those who assault you and make you their servant while they never move a finger to help anyone else. And above all, say “no!” to those who ensnare you in sin and draw you away from the Lord!
“FORGIVE THAT ABUSER FROM THE HEART!” “WOW, THAT SOUNDS IMPOSSIBLE!”
The meaning of ‘forgiving from the heart’
Forgiveness is a misunderstood command of God and sadly also twisted by churches to abuse the abused. Our life in Christ is not merely a passive "let go and let God have His wonderful way," but active discipleship in the Holy Spirit through obedience to His Moral Law. True, Scriptural forgiveness is a fundamental and active part of our life in Christ. There are many components in the Moral Law that lead us in the truth and depth of God’s forgiveness. Our disobedience and ignorance will rob us of His forgiveness; our willingness to follow His Moral Law and Spirit will bring us to healing and inner peace. “The opening of God’s Word [surely] brings Light… [forgiveness, and healing.]” (Ps. 119:130.)
Jesus commanded us to turn the other cheek when someone insults us in a trivial way. We must simply forgive and forget such ‘minor’ offenses. Yet, He did not command us to “simply forgive and forget” serious, reoccurring offenses without first trying to resolve them God’s Way. Jesus’ explained His commandment in Mt. 18:21-35 to “forgive from the heart,” by focusing on the moral principle of “giving and receiving,” which guides all morality and civilization. This is a humble willingness; a personal choice to completely ‘let go’ of the idolatrous sin of revenge or unforgiveness.
Godly interaction with other people centers on the inner ‘heart change,’ which all should experience through a personal spiritual rebirth in Jesus. That is why we must “forgive from the heart,” or sincerely. True believers have a newborn human spirit or ‘heart,’ which “does not sin.” (1 Jn. 3:9.) After the cross and Pentecost, as believers are completely “cleansed” or delivered by the blood of Jesus, sin comes from our ‘unrenewed minds,’ (Rom. 12:1-3; Col. 2:9-10.)
Jesus demonstrated this principle by telling us of an unforgiving man, who wants everything from God and other people but refuses to give an inch. He expected (and freely received) God’s forgiveness, but decided to go for revenge instead of forgiveness against his ‘fellow servant,’ who owed him little in comparison. He did not have compassion on his remorseful debtor; and would not grant him the mercy of forgiveness, even when he “fell down at his feet and begged him for his release.” This shows that forgiveness is not a mere feeling (storge) but a choice to “release” or let go of our control over people; to surrender even those who never forgive to the righteous judgment of God. “Vengeance is Mine,” said the Lord. “I will repay… (Rom. 12:19.) We were called to preach the Gospel, not to send people to hell.
Such merciless abusers often have the audacity to declare that they are “children of God,” and they are very sensitive to sin against them. Yet, they never acknowledge any of their sins - never mind beg their victims’ forgiveness; making statements like, “God forgives, I don’t!” It doesn’t take much to offend them, and then they will not so much as listen to those who try to reconcile with them. Yet, they never consider the possibility of relinquishing their onslaughts on the abused either. As a result, God will withdraw His forgiveness from such self-justified people, and “deliver them to the tortures until they paid all that was due,” (Mt. 18:34.) The Spirit Filled Bible comments, “This is not legalism or a scare tactic. Rather, it states the seriousness of responsible forgiving and demonstrates how [the choice of] unforgiveness clogs the channel of communication and sanctification between God and believers.” Biblical sanctification means, living in a holy position as a redeemed, saved, blessed, Scripturally born again child of Christ; adhering to His Moral Law.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ASK GOD TO “FORGIVE US AS WE FORGIVE OTHERS?”
In Mt. 6:12, Jesus taught us to pray, “Father, forgive us our sin AS we forgive those who sin against us.” This might sound as if Jesus commanded us to forgive even the worst sins against us instantly and unconditionally or lose our salvation. However, in the contextual truth of His Word, this interpretation is a dangerous deception.
To clarify this commandment to forgive “like” God does, we may first ask, “Exactly how does God forgive us?”
¨ The Holy Spirit convicts and convinces everyone on earth of sin, salvation, and judgment. He always works according to His Moral Law, (Jn. 16:7-14; 13:34-35, KJV.) If people reject His inward conviction of sin, they can never be saved.
¨ God’s forgiveness can only be found in and through His grace in Jesus Christ, (Eph. 1:7; 12-14.)
¨ Jesus made complete atonement for everyone on earth, but only those who personally “believe,” and choose to accept and follow Him as their personal Lord and Savior, can be forgiven and cleansed from sin, (Jn. 1:12-13; 1 Jn. 1:8-10.) God’s forgiveness IS cleansing from sin. His forgiveness IS total redemption or deliverance from darkness, etcetera.
¨ What’s more, we can only receive God’s forgiveness if we willingly and ‘from the heart,’ regret our sins by Holy-Spirit conviction, sincerely confess our sins by name, humbly ask God’s forgiveness, repent from our sin, and do restitution as far as possible for the harm we have done to other people, (1 Jn. 1:8-9; Prov. 28:13; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Lev. 6:2-5.)
¨ As seen under the previous heading that explains “forgiveness form the [born again] heart,” we will only remain in His forgiveness if we demonstrate the same attitude of forgiveness (or mercy) towards those who sin against us; thus living in obedience to His Moral Law of “Love” or Agape. (Mt. 18:21-35; 25:31-45.)
¨ If we want God’s forgiveness, then we must also be willing to forgive according to these principles. Jesus’ guidelines form the process of God’s forgiveness as well as our forgiveness towards one another; there exist no other.