Am I the only one who is tired of hearing what a hero Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner is for having the courage to have transgender surgery? In this country, which prides itself on its tolerance, I’m sure that many will be offended by this post, and that some may even accuse me of being intolerant. However, before you accuse me of intolerance, allow me to confess that I am indeed intolerant, as are my accusers. Those who are offended and accuse me of being intolerant are intolerant of my intolerance, while I am indeed intolerant of sin, which steals, kills and destroys mankind.
How, pray tell, can Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner be called a hero, for undergoing a surgery and transformation that has won him/her more fame and fortune than he had before having this procedure? Jenner’s transformation was for purely selfish reasons, to fulfill his own sinful desires, not to rescue or help other human beings. Jenner never allowed his children’s feelings about this transformation to stop him from doing so, because this was what he desired, and that was more important to him than anything else. Indeed, Jenner is the antithesis of what a hero really is, according to dictionary.com…
Self-serving deeds are not and have never been heroic, no matter what Hollywood or the media may say. Most certainly, sin is not, nor has it ever been heroic. Perhaps people have forgotten what true heroism is, and that’s why they call people such as Jenner and other movie and television stars, as well as professional sports men and women heroes, even though in reality, most haven’t done anything heroic, unless you call earning exhorbitant wages for jobs that don’t even require a full year’s work heroic.
Shall I tell you what a true hero is? You need look no further than our men and women in uniform, who selflessly serve their country (you and me), for relatively low wages, considering their lives are at stake, all for the sake of the freedom that you and I enjoy. Do you still wonder what a real hero is? Then look no farther than the men and women in our cities, states, towns and counties, who selflessly enforce the law, so that you and I can live safely.
Heroes are the lifeguards at the pools and the beaches, who save countless lives, because that’s just how they roll. Let’s not forget the men and women who provide medical services in order to keep us healthy and well. Also, let’s not forget about the paramedics and EMT’s, who race to rescue people’s lives on a regular basis.
Are you still unsure about what a hero is? Look at the many volunteer firemen and women all across this great nation, who at the sound of the siren, leave whatever they are doing, in order to run to the firehall, and try to put the fire out. These men and women risk their lives in order to rescue people who may be trapped in a fire, and also to save their homes. All of this is done selflessly, not for their own benefit, but for yours and mine.
Still confused? Take a look at all of the fathers and mothers, who struggle to make their marriage work, not just for their own sake, but also for the sake of their children. Look at the daddies and mommies, who work hard to provide for and care for their children’s needs. Look at the many parents who would rather do without, in order to ensure their children have what they need.
There are many more examples of heroes, but let me leave you with just one more. He was born with nothing, and raised by His mother and a man who wasn’t really His father. Yet, He didn’t complain about it. In fact, He went out of His way to be obedient to both His mother and His stepfather. When He grew up, He hung out with alcoholics, prostitutes and derelects, and taught them a better way to live. He was a radical, known as the Son of Man and the Son of God.
He was despised and rejected by many, and most people thought it was His own fault. It never occured to them that He suffered for their sake. They didn’t know that the sins of all mankind were put on Him, and that He was bruised for our transgressions and chastised for our iniquities. He never told a lie, never stole anything, and never cheated or hated anyone. Instead, He spoke truth and life, He gave His life for all of mankind, and He loved each and every person He ever met, with an all-consuming, never ending love. He paid the price for the sins of all mankind, including Caitlyn/Bruce Jenner, so that all who believed in Him could live. The price for sin is death, and so, He was tortured mercilessly and died a most painful death on a cross, after being whipped with a cat-o’-nine tails. Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man was and is the ultimate hero, because He gave Himself entirely, so that we might live. He is a hero, because He loved us and died for us, when we were His enemies and still lost in our sins.
He is MY hero, because He saved ME.
When you put Caitlyn/Bruce Jenner beside the heroes I listed, you quickly realize that he/she is most certainly NOT a hero in any way, shape or form. No pun intended.
3 Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings promote a godly life.4 Anyone who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding. Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions.5 These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy.
I absolutely refuse to watch TBN and many of the other “Christian” television stations. Does this shock you? At first, I thought there was something wrong with me, because many other believers love televangelists like Creflo Dollar, Jesse Duplantis, Benny Hinn, T.D. Jakes, Paula White, Joyce Meyer and so many others. Therefore, something has to be wrong with me, right?
However, as I searched the scriptures and compared the gospel preached by these people, to the Gospel of Christ, I discovered that they were preaching a false gospel. Not only that, but in addition to deceiving many good men and women who are seeking the truth, these false teachers and false prophets also fleece their followers.
5 These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy.
These men and women make the proud and boastful claim that they need your money in order to save a lost and dying world. However, when Jesus walked this earth as a man, He touched the hearts of a lost and dying world, without pilfering anyone for money. Furthermore, when the apostles went to Jerusalem, Judea, and the uttermost parts of the world, they did so without begging for money. Indeed, the gospel was shared by many of them, as they fled from persecution. Not only that, the Apostle Paul, who traveled through many countries, sharing the gospel to a lost and dying world, was careful not to be a financial burden on the people that he served…
17 If I were doing this on my own initiative, I would deserve payment. But I have no choice, for God has given me this sacred trust.18 What then is my pay? It is the opportunity to preach the Good News without charging anyone. That’s why I never demand my rights when I preach the Good News.
12 When I was with you, I certainly gave you proof that I am an apostle. For I patiently did many signs and wonders and miracles among you.13 The only thing I failed to do, which I do in the other churches, was to become a financial burden to you. Please forgive me for this wrong!
14 Now I am coming to you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you. I don’t want what you have—I want you. After all, children don’t provide for their parents. Rather, parents provide for their children.15 I will gladly spend myself and all I have for you, even though it seems that the more I love you, the less you love me.
9 Don’t you remember, dear brothers and sisters, how hard we worked among you? Night and day we toiled to earn a living so that we would not be a burden to any of you as we preached God’s Good News to you.
You see, Paul wasn’t interested in how much money he could get out of believers; he wanted to win their hearts. Paul truly sought to save a lost and dying world. Today’s televangelists, evangelists, teachers and various other ministries could learn from his example. For though many of these ministries claim they want to seek and save the lost, their lifestyles paint a different picture.
Let’s look at Creflo Dollar, whose website, on Friday, March 13. 2015, announced a new project entitled, Project G650.
According to this video, the ministry’s current jet is over 30 years old and is now out of service. Therefore, they now need a new one, which will cost $65 million dollars. Really??? He and his ministry team aren’t able to fly commercial flights, like the rest of us???
In doing research on Dollar’s life and ministry, I discovered that his church began in the Kathleen Mitchell Elementary School cafeteria in 1986, to a congregation of eight. In the years following that, his ministry began to grow, and eventually moved to a chapel. Around this time, Creflo Dollar began preaching on the radio, and he began having four services on Sundays. The church continued to grow, from the tithes, offerings and donations they received from parishoners and people around the world, and World Changers Church International (WCCI) eventually built moved into the World Dome, a sanctuary that seats 8500 people, located in College Park, GA. This $18 million dollar church was built from the donations of many men and women, with no bank financing. WCCI also has a church in New York as well.
The ministry isn’t all that has prospered since its humble beginning; Creflo and wife, Taffi Dollar have also prospered. Though he has refused to disclose his salary for many years, it is estimated that Mr. and Mrs. Dollar’s net worth is $27 million dollars, much of which has come from the tithes and donations of many men and women like you and me.
When giving to a ministry, I want to be a good steward. I want to know that my offerings are going to help the needy, widows and orphans, as well as the disabled. I want to know that the money is being used wisely, according to God’s will, and not the will of a greedy man. I would be very angry to think that I have given money to bring the gospel of Christ to those who have never heard Jesus’ name, and to help those who in need of food, money and shelter, according to God’s will, only to find it has been used to line the pastors’ pockets.
2 Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful.
Pardon me, but I have to ask, how much of the money that is donated to the ministry, for the salvation of souls and to help those in need, is actually going to the needy? Dollar and his wife not only have a net worth of $27 million dollars, as I stated earlier, but he also owns two Rolls Royces, a $1 million dollar home in Atlanta, and a $2.5 million dollar home in Manhattan.
With all of this wealth, I find it very brazen for Dollar to ask 200,000 members to donate $300 so that he can get a new jet! After all, his wealth has come from the donations of many people who have a net worth of little or nothing, because he preaches a false prosperity message and claims that if his congregants will give at least ten percent of their income, they too will prosper. Frankly, with his wealth, Dollar can either purchase his own jet, or he can do as the rest of us do, and fly the friendly skies on a commercial airline!
Beloved reader, true ministry begins with you and me, not with some preacher, who is more interested in what you can give him, instead of how he can help you. Do you want to reach a lost and dying world with the gospel? Then share the Good News with your neighbors, your coworkers, and the people you see on a day to day basis. Pray for them. Love them. Talk to them about Jesus, not about your church. This is how souls are won, not by sending your hard earned money to a charlatan who preaches a false gospel.
Finally, since I have shared my concerns about Creflo Dollar and his ministries and net worth, I would be remiss if I did not address one other scandal that was in the news in 2012. On June 8, 2012, Creflo Dollar was arrested for Simple Battery Family Violence and Cruelty to Children for allegedly throwing his fifteen year old daughter on the ground, choking her, punching her and hitting her with a shoe. The girl’s nineteen year old sister witnessed the alleged assault and told the same story her sister did, when questioned. Below is his daughter’s 911 call.
Dollar told a different story, stating that he and his daughter were arguing over a party that he said she couldn’t attend because of her bad grades. He stated that after entering the kitchen and asking why she was upset, his daughter was disrespectful to him, and he tried to restrain her. After restraining her, he said that she began hitting him, and he wrestled her to the floor and spanked her. Below is a copy of the actual police report for Creflo Dollar’s arrest:
On the Sunday following his arrest, Creflo Dollar spoke to his congregation, and listeners all over the world, about his arrest. Below is the video of his address.
Now, here is the issue I have with Mr. Dollar’s address… Firstly, I want to address the congregation’s response, when Dollar entered the pulpit. I was greatly disturbed by the standing ovation and the cheers and whistles that arose in support of him. With absolutely no evidence of his guilt or innocence, the congregation loudly cheered this man, who had been accused of abusing his daughter. The congregation gave no thought for the troubled teen. Now, please understand, when I refer to Dollar’s fifteen year old daughter as a troubled teen, I am in no way implying her guilt or innocence in telling the truth. Either way, this was a traumatic event, and anyone would be troubled by what allegedly happened. On the other hand, if she did indeed lie, as Dollar’s statements implied, she would still be considered troubled, for contriving a lie. In their loud cheers for her father, who was potentially her abuser, the congregation made it clear that she and her feelings were unimportant.
Secondly, I want to address the following statement by Creflo Dollar, by sharing his own words from this address… “I will never put any fault on my children as Jesus would never put any fault on me. I love her with all of my heart. Amen?”That statement, sounds as though it comes from a benevolent and loving father, doesn’t it? However, in keeping it in context with this very same address to his congregation, and all, throughout the world, who view this statement, I have to ask, who, then, if not his daughters, is he faulting? Certainly not himself!
“As everyone knows, raising children in our culture of disrespect, is a challenge and a responsibility for all of us who are parents.”
Isn’t this just another way of saying that his daughter was disrespectful, and in so doing, isn’t he putting the fault on her, something he said he would “never do”?
“The truth is, she was not choked. She was not punched. There were not any scratches on her neck, but the only thing on her neck was a prior skin abrasion from eczema. Anything else is an exaggeration and sensationalism.”
It was his daughter who called 911 and also reported to the deputy that she had been choked and punched. Therefore, isn’t this just another way of saying his daughter exaggerated and resorted to sensationalism (another way for calling her a liar)? Again, wasn’t this something he said he would “never do”?
“I mean, I can’t imagine. If I punched my kid, (emphasizes by punching open palm) I would hurt her. If I choked my kid, you would see visible signs on her neck. But to come and take a picture of a mark that’s been there for ten years, and not have enough intelligence to at least ask the parent what it is, is appalling.”
Let’s remember that Creflo Dollar had been accused, by his fifteen year old daughter of choking and attacking her. Don’t you think the officer asked the girl what the mark was from? Why would he ask the alleged perpetrator of a crime how she got the mark? How likely would he be to tell the truth? I wonder, how likely was he telling the truth in this statement? Also, let’s not forget that her nineteen year old sister corroborated her statement.
“Again, I would never approach one of my children to inflict bodily harm. I love my children enough to establish proper boundaries and help them make right choices.”
Again, he is implying that his daughters are lying about what happened. I do believe that he was trying to establish proper boundaries and help them make right choices, but I also believe that it is entirely possible he lost his self-control in the heat of the moment, and threw his daughter to the floor, choking, hitting, and punching her.
“I will never put any fault on my children as Jesus would never put any fault on me. I love her with all of my heart. Amen?”
His entire statement has one goal… to deflect the blame off himself, by placing the blame onto his daughter.
“I want to say this very emphatically: I should have never been arrested. Never! And when the facts of this come out, you will be appalled.”
Again, though he doesn’t actually say the words, his statement implies that his daughter lied about his assault on her.
“You’ve got to understand something. It’s not as much against me as it is against this message of grace. The devil knows in order to discredit the message, you have to first of all discredit the messenger…”
Here, Dollar implied that his daughter was used by the devil.
“… I want to close and I’ll have nothing else to say about this. I want to close in the book of Psalms, chapter thirty-five, and it’ll describe to you, what is going on. Verse eleven, Psalms thirty-five…
11 Malicious witnesses testify against me. They accuse me of crimes I know nothing about. 12 They repay me evil for good. I am sick with despair. 13 Yet when they were ill, I grieved for them. I denied myself by fasting for them, but my prayers returned unanswered. 14 I was sad, as though they were my friends or family, as if I were grieving for my own mother. 15 But they are glad now that I am in trouble; they gleefully join together against me. I am attacked by people I don’t even know; they slander me constantly. 16 They mock me and call me names; they snarl at me.
17 How long, O Lord, will you look on and do nothing? Rescue me from their fierce attacks. Protect my life from these lions! 18 Then I will thank you in front of the great assembly. I will praise you before all the people. 19 Don’t let my treacherous enemies rejoice over my defeat. Don’t let those who hate me without cause gloat over my sorrow. 20 They don’t talk of peace; they plot against innocent people who mind their own business. 21 They shout, “Aha! Aha! With our own eyes we saw him do it!”
22 O Lord, you know all about this. Do not stay silent. Do not abandon me now, O Lord. 23 Wake up! Rise to my defense! Take up my case, my God and my Lord. 24 Declare me not guilty, O Lord my God, for you give justice. Don’t let my enemies laugh about me in my troubles. 25 Don’t let them say, “Look, we got what we wanted! Now we will eat him alive!”
26 May those who rejoice at my troubles be humiliated and disgraced. May those who triumph over me be covered with shame and dishonor. 27 But give great joy to those who came to my defense. Let them continually say, “Great is the Lord, who delights in blessing his servant with peace!” 28 Then I will proclaim your justice, and I will praise you all day long. (Psalm 35:11-28 NLT)
Creflo Dollar continued, as though this next passage was a part of Psalm 35, but it wasn’t….
10 Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you; give justice to those with honest hearts. 11 Don’t let the proud trample me or the wicked push me around. 12 Look! Those who do evil have fallen! They are thrown down, never to rise again. (Psalm 36:10-12 NLT)
Now, as you read the scripture above, imagine that you are Dollar’s fifteen and nineteen year old daughters, who signed a witness statement against him. Certainly the pastor’s word, this “man of God” carries more weight than a disrespectful fifteen year old and her nineteen year old sister, who are both indirectly referred to as “malicious witnesses” accusing him of crimes he knows nothing about. After all, he has always taken care of them, even when they were sick, and he’s fasted and prayed for them, and look how they have repaid evil for his good. See how gleefully they have joined together attacking him? Because of their behavior, they have caused people he doesn’t even know to slander him…
Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever had a pastor preach a message against you personally, but I have. I pray this has never happened to you, because there is nothing more painful than to have the word of God aimed as a weapon of destruction against you. It doesn’t matter whether you are truly in the wrong or not. It is painful to be exposed, and know that there are others who are listening to the sermon, who also know that the pastor is using you as an example. God’s word is not intended to be taken out of context to condemn or destroy someone else. As you read the scripture in the way Mr. Dollar presents it, he is the victim of a terrible injustice.
Finally, after praying for God’s intervention, just as David prayed against those who treated him injustly, Dollar curses his attackers (in this case, his fifteen year old and nineteen year old daughters, who called the police and signed the report against him) asking God to humiliate and disgrace them, and cover them with shame and dishonor. Regardless of who was speaking the truth, or who was lying, how do you think Dollar’s daughters felt as they listened to their father’s speech that morning? Do you think they were drawn to God? Or did they feel shamed and humiliated by Him?
The assault charges against Mr. Dollar were eventually dropped in January, 2013, in exchange for him attending a pre-trial intervention program, which included him attending an anger management program. In addition, Dollar had to pay $1,072 dollars in fees and court costs.
There are many reasons to be wary of this man’s teachings. His sermons usually revolve around a prosperity message with money and personal wealth as the focus. It’s the kind of message that people want to hear; the kind of message that makes them happy, but is it true?
3 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.4 They will reject the truth and chase after myths.
This is why I strongly urge you, beloved reader, to seek God’s face. Study His word for yourselves. When someone preaches or writes a post (including me), read the scriptures to see if what this person is preaching or teaching lines up with what God says. Then, if it doesn’t, find someone who speaks truth, while you continue to study God’s word.
Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.
15 Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.
Finally, beloved reader, pay attention to the way leaders conduct themselves, when preaching, and when they’re not in front of a group. What does he/she like to talk about most frequently? If the person talks mostly about money, that’s because this is what is most important in his/her heart. How does he/she treat his/her followers? Does this person like to serve, or does he/she expect to be served? For a true leader will lovingly and joyfully serve his/her followers, expecting nothing in return.
18 But whatever comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this is what makes a man unclean and defiles [him].
43 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else.45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many.
The scriptures above are the qualifications of a true leader, given to us by the King of all other kings, and the Lord of every lord. If the minister you have been following does not meet these qualifications, prayerfully seek one who does. This person should be willing to give to his/her followers, not to take. In light of this, where does Creflo Dollar fall in the spectrum? You decide.
I watched the news Friday night, and as I watched, I wept. Since then, I haven’t been able to get the news out of my mind or my heart. An old Beatles song came to mind as well, and I just couldn’t shake it, so take a listen to the song, before you read on or listen while you read.
Please bear with me as I share what I saw and heard on Friday night, that caused me to weep… On Friday, Corporal Nathan Cirillo, the twenty-four year old soldier who was needlessly slain Wednesday, was taken home, to be laid to rest. He was driven home along the Highway of Heroes, while hundreds of Canadians gathered to pay tribute to him, as he made his way to his home and final resting place.
On Wednesday, after ruthlessly shooting Corporal Cirillo, his assassin, thirty-two year old, Islamic convert, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, then charged through Canada’s parliament, before being fatally shot by Sargeant-at-Arms, Kevin Vickers. Not only did an innocent young man lose his life, but also, his assassin, their lives cut terribly short.
The following day, when parliament reconvened, Sargeant-at-Arms, Kevin Vickers, was hailed as a hero for killing Zehaf-Bibeau before he could murder or harm anyone else. You could see tears rolling down the staunch officer’s cheeks, as he stood otherwise composed, while the members of parliament gave him a standing ovation, and I couldn’t help but cry for this brave man too, for though he had done the right thing by killing the killer before he could kill anyone else, he would have to live and come to terms with the knowledge that he had taken a human life.
This whole story is heartbreaking. An innocent twenty-four year old, with his whole life ahead of him, including a wife and a six year old son, who will now grow up fatherless, not to mention a brother and parents, was senselessly slain. As a parent of two grown children, I can’t imagine losing one of my children. In the natural scheme of things, parents are usually the first to pass on, and I can’t even begin to imagine how devastating this loss must be to Corporal Cirillo’s family. How could I not weep over this story?
Another story covered, was the ebola epidemic, and the nurses who cared for Liberian national, Thomas Eric Duncan, who was forty-two years old, when he died of the deadly ebola virus in the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. The nurses who spoke to reporters seemed to be genuinely compassionate, as they shared what it was like to care for the dying man. One nurse in particular said that he held Mr. Duncan’s hand, staying by his bedside, in the place of his family members, who were not allowed to be there, because of the danger of catching the highly infectious disease.
Other nurses shared how their community has responded to them. One said that her niece was asked not to return to school for twenty-one days, even though they don’t even live together. Still others said they were being shunned by various friends and businesses, who were fearful of the medical team contaminating them with the virus, even though the virus is transmitted by body fluids, and is not airborne.
Again, I couldn’t help but weep, for Mr. Duncan, who caught the deadly disease when he buried his pregnant daughter, who died from it. In the aftermath of his falling ill with the dreaded disease, both the Liberian government and the Dallas County prosecutor considered filing criminal charges against the dying man for bringing the disease to the United States.
How ironic this is, when it was the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital that failed to test and treat Mr. Duncan immediately, when he arrived in the Emergency Room on September 24, 2014. When Thomas Duncan told the ER staff he had just returned to the United States from Africa, they should have questioned him more closely about where in Africa he had come from. He should also have been tested for ebola, based simply on the knowledge that he had come from Africa, where the ebola epidemic rages on, yet instead of admitting him to an isolated unit and testing him for the disease, they dropped the ball, sending him home with antibiotics, which could not fight the disease; and to his family, thereby putting them at risk of catching the ebola virus.
When Thomas Duncan returned four days later, on September 28, 2014, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital dropped the ball yet again, with this very sick patient. Yes, they admitted him to an isolated room, but they failed to treat the disease until six days later, on October 4, 2014, when they treated him with an experimental drug. Sadly, it was too little, too late, and Mr. Thomas Duncan died on October 8, 2014. Had he been tested and treated immediately, there is every reason to believe that Thomas Duncan would have survived the disease, like every other patient who has been treated here in the United States. Again, how could I not weep over the injustice of this?
Also in the news was a recap of the unprovoked attack by a man armed with a hatchet on Thursday, who struck two police officers, one on his arm, and other on his head, before he was shot and killed by the two other officers who were there. Sadly, an innocent bystander, a twenty-nine year old woman, was shot in her lower back. Yet again, I couldn’t help but cry, and still, the news continued.
Friday, during the early lunch at a high school in the state of Washington, Jaylen Fryberg, a fourteen year old freshman, shot and killed a female student, and wounded four others, before shooting and killing himself. It was said that he shot both family members and friends. What could be so wrong, that he would do something so terrible? I couldn’t seem to help myself, as I sat in my recliner, weeping for the lost souls, who placed no value on human lives.
The final story was an uplifting story, yet it, too, broke my heart. Lauren Hill, nineteen years old, and a Freshman at Mount St. Joseph University, near Cincinnati, Ohio, is also a basketball player. After discovering she had a malignant brain tumor that was terminal, Lauren’s response was, “Can I at least still play basketball?”
Wearing jersey number 22, Lauren gets up early every morning to practice with her team. Though the tumor has weakened her coordination and energy, Lauren still pushes herself to come to practice. Her goal has been to play NCAA basketball for Mount St. Joseph University since she first found out about her tumor, but because it is likely that she has only a couple of weeks left to live, the NCAA did something unprecedented. Because Lauren’s situation is so urgent, the NCAA made a special exception to change the Division III school’s opener against Hiram College to Nov. 2, despite its rules that require seasons to start later in November.
Lauren’s hopefulness is inspiring. Her goal isn’t just to live to play that one game. She has stated that she hopes Sunday’s game will just be her first basketball game with her team, and that many others will follow. Again, how could I not weep as I witnessed this young woman’s courage in the face of certain death?
As I sat in my recliner weeping, I wondered what was wrong with me. After all, it’s not as though I knew any of the people in these stories personally, but then, just as quickly, another thought ran through my mind. “There’s nothing wrong with you for weeping for those who are suffering. Instead, you should ask, “What’s wrong with the people who are not as affected by these stories?”
Sadly, far too many people have become desensitized to the pain of others, Even Christians have become hardened to the pain of strangers. Many adults and young people watch horror films and murder shows, not to mention the nightly news, with all of the violence going on throughout the world, while still others play violent games, and search out violent websites. After viewing so much violence and killing, many people have become desensitized to these things.
However, for those of us who are Christians, this should not be. It’s easy not to feel personally affected by the suffering of someone we don’t know, and have never seen, yet, as followers of Christ, we are to love even those we don’t know, and when you love someone, you care about what happens to them, even if you haven’t seen him/her for a long time. In fact, look at this command for Christians…
Beloved reader, when is the last time you wept because of the plight of people you may not even know? When you hear of human trafficking; of children being sold as sex slaves; of men, women and children dying of dreadful diseases like ebola; of tragedies like hurricanes and tornadoes destroying people’s homes and even killing them, do you feel the weight of their pain? Does your heart ache for the abused and misused? The prophets wept for the people of Judea and Israel, especially Jeremiah. Jesus wept for Mary when He saw her weeping over the death of her brother, Lazarus…
33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and [h]was troubled,34 and said,“Where have you laid him?” They *said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”35 Jesus wept.~ John 11:33-35 NASB ~
Beloved reader, if you find yourself unmoved by the pain and suffering of others, then you need to pray for God to change your heart of stone…
26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.~ Ezekiel 36:26 NASB ~
Ask the Lord to fill you with His love for others. Ask Him to help you to love others the same way that He loves them. Ask Him to help you to weep with those who weep, and to rejoice with those who rejoice, in Jesus’ name. For this is God’s will for His children. In fact, Jesus commands us to love even our enemies…
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?47 If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?48 Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” ~ Matthew 5:43-48 NASB ~
Finally, beloved readers, ask your heavenly Father to help you to weep with those who weep and to rejoice with those who rejoice, in Jesus’ name. For He is faithful to His children, and if we delight ourselves in Him, and ask for anything according to His will, He will give us the desires of our heart…
14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.~ 1 John 5:14-15 NASB ~
Beloved reader, don’t become desensitized (hard of heart). Rather, weep for those who are hurting and struggling. Weep for those who are lost. Weep for the many nations, including our own, who are bent on going to hell.
Everyone is talking about Justin Ross Harris, who left his twenty-two month old son, Cooper, in his hot SUV for seven hours, while working his job at Home Depot. This horrible incident has been all over the news media, and a couple of days ago, I watched his probable cause hearing online. By the end of that day, Mr. Harris’ motion to be released on bond was denied, so he must remain in jail until his trial.
In the aftermath of this terrible occurrence, one thing is certain; everyone has an opinion about it. Did Ross Harris deliberately murder his only son, or was it really a dreadful accident, like he says? As I watched the court proceedings the other day, I was struck by a sad thought…
Suppose this really was an accident? Haven’t you ever gotten in your car, planning to go to one destination, and then, while you’re on your way, you suddenly realize that you’ve driven somewhere else, almost as though you were on auto-pilot? Haven’t you ever gone into a room with a specific task in mind, only to get there and realize that you’ve forgotten what you had gone in there for?
I realize that a child was involved in this incident that turned very deadly, but the fact is that each one of us are human beings, with finite minds, and we do sometimes forget very important people and things. Several years ago, I remember promising to pick up an elderly woman for bible study at the church we attended together. On the evening of the bible study, I arrived around fifteen minutes early, because I am a very punctual person. After arriving so early, I spent the next several minutes chatting with other friends before class started. At one point, I remember looking at one of my friends, asking, “Where’s Miss Betty? She’s usually here by now.”
My friend gave me an incredulous look, then stated, “I was going to ask you where she is. Weren’t you supposed to pick her up tonight?” I was totally embarrassed, because as soon as she said that, I remembered telling Miss Betty that I would pick her up. How embarrassing it was, as I quickly exited and went to get Miss Betty and bring her to the bible study.
That’s why I don’t think it is totally implausible that a father or mother could go to work and forget his/her child is in the back seat, especially if the child falls asleep. Before we pass judgment on this father, let’s remember that he is every bit as human as we are, and it is truly possible that he did indeed, forget his son was in the backseat of his SUV.
And if he truly did forget his child, can you imagine how traumatic it would be to come to the realization that your forgetfulness killed your only son? Imagine how horrific that must be for him. If he truly did forget his son, this young man (who looks like a boy to me), must find a way to live with the knowledge that his stupid error killed his beloved son. If it was indeed an accident, he will have to live with all of the ramifications caused by his memory lapse… Think of it, while his wife and family are grieving the loss of this adorable little boy, Ross Harris must be carrying a crushing load of guilt, knowing that his son would be alive if only…
he had taken Cooper to daycare…
he had remembered Cooper was there, in his car seat, in the SUV, beforehe got out…
he had thought about his little boy, instead of allowing his mind to wander to sexual fantasies with six different women (none of whom were his wife), and wasting precious minutes, (which could have saved his son’s life) by sending sexual messages to these women (one of whom was an underage, sixteen year old girl)…
he had remembered his son before he went to lunch with his friends…
he had looked in the backseat of the SUV, when he dropped the light bulbs off in the front seat of his car, after lunch…
The list of “if only’s” goes on and on, but sadly, they mean nothing, for Cooper Harris is gone now.
Meanwhile, Ross Harris now finds himself in a battle for his freedom, and possibly even for his life, since Georgia is one of the states, which still enforces the death penalty. While watching Mr. Harris’ defense attorney questioning Detective Phil Stoddard (who seemed to have convicted Justin Ross Harris already, before the investigation and a trial have been completed) that I began to think about how a situation like this would have been handled in biblical times…
During biblical times, the people of Israel had six cities that were designated to be Cities of Refuge…
These cities are for the protection of Israelites, foreigners living among you, and traveling merchants. Anyone who accidentally kills someone may flee there for safety.~ Numbers 35:15 NLT ~
Were these cities of refuge available to everyone? As you can see fromNumbers 35:15, these cities of refuge were available to foreigners and traveling merchants, as well as the Israelites, who found themselves in a situation much like the one Ross Harris is now involved in. Also, because the Lord is a merciful and just God, He made sure that the cities of refuge were available to all, no matter where they lived in Israel…
6 “If the distance to the nearest city of refuge is too far, an enraged avenger might be able to chase down and kill the person who caused the death. Then the slayer would die unfairly, since he had never shown hostility toward the person who died.7 That is why I am commanding you to set aside three cities of refuge.~ Deuteronomy 19:6-7 NLT ~
Now, this place of refuge was not a place for someone to stay to escape justice. Nor was it a prison. The cities of refuge were there so that the person who accidentally killed someone could live without fear of reprisal before being tried by the community.
These cities will be places of protection from a dead person’s relatives who want to avenge the death. The slayer must not be put to death before being tried by the community.~ Numbers 35:12 NLT ~
God did not command these cities of refuge be created to help the slayer escape justice. He called for these cities of refuge to be built in order to ensure that justice was served. Indeed, the Lord didn’t appoint only three cities of refuge, but six, so there would be enough to make them equally accessible for people to escape to.
13 Designate six cities of refuge for yourselves,14 three on the east side of the Jordan River and three on the west in the land of Canaan.15 These cities are for the protection of Israelites, foreigners living among you, and traveling merchants. Anyone who accidentally kills someone may flee there for safety.~ Numbers 35:13-15 NLT ~
To be clear about this, murderers would not be allowed to find haven in any of the cities of refuge. These cities were only to protect those who accidentally killed someone, and they, like anyone else accused of a crime would face a trial by their community.
Those who were found guilty of murder were sentenced to die by the hand of their victim’s nearest relative. However, if the person accidentally kills someone, the community must protect the slayer (the one who accidentally kills someone) from the victim’s avenger (the closest relative of the victim), and escort him/her to the city of refuge, where the person must remain until the death of the high priest.(Numbers 35:24-25 NLT)
As long as the slayer remains within the city of refuge, until the high priest dies, thus ending his sentence, he will live in safety, protected from the victim’s avenger. However, if the slayer is discovered by the victim’s avenger outside of the city of refuge before the high priest dies, and the avenger kills him/her, this will not be counted as a crime by the avenger…
26 “But if the slayer ever leaves the limits of the city of refuge,27 and the avenger finds him outside the city and kills him, it will not be considered murder.28 The slayer should have stayed inside the city of refuge until the death of the high priest. But after the death of the high priest, the slayer may return to his own property.29 These are legal requirements for you to observe from generation to generation, wherever you may live.~ Numbers 35:26-29 NLT ~
Now, let’s go back and examine the scriptures inNumbers 35again, and see how they explain the difference in an accidental killing and murder. As we study this, let’s keep in mind what we know about the death of Justin Ross Harris’ son, Cooper Harris… The following scriptures describe exactly what a murder is…
16-21 If someone picks up an instrument—iron, stone, wood,whatever—and batters somebody else so badly that the victim dies, or if he otherwise kills with intent (fatally pushes with hatred or throws an object from some hidden place that kills its target), the perpetrator is guilty of murder. His punishment is death in return, and someone shall be assigned to kill him. The one to carry out this death penalty is called the “blood avenger.” Whenever the avenger has a chance to kill the murderer, he should do so.~ Numbers 35:16-21 VOICE ~
As you can see from the description, it is murder if someone picks up an instrument and batters someone with it so badly, that the person dies. Further, it is also murder if someone intentionally kills someone either by using a weapon, or by some other means. As we follow the case against Justin Ross Harris in the coming months, let’s keep this biblical description in mind when determining whether the man murdered his son, or whether the child’s tragic death was an accident.
22-24 Sometimes it happens, though, that a person pushes his friend or acquaintance, throws an object, or happens to drop a heavy stone on someone else without any intention of hurting (much less killing) the person, but the other person happens to die from it. The guilty person should be able to take refuge in one of the six designated cities, safe from the one who would avenge the death he caused. Then people from among the greater community shall judge whether it was indeed an accident or not.~ Numbers 35:22-24 VOICE ~
In the coming weeks and months, I imagine we’re going to hear many different things about Justin Ross Harris, as he is tried for murder in both the courtroom, and in the news. Many people have already formed an opinion regarding his guilt or innocence, without even knowing all of the facts. However, I would encourage all believers to pray especially for Justin Ross Harris, and his wife, Leanne Harris, for if this was an accident as Mr. Harris claims that it is, I can’t even begin to fathom the pain he and his wife must be experiencing. On the other hand, if it was murder, let’s pray that justice is served, and that the Lord would comfort Leanne Harris, who loved and trusted her husband with their child. Let’s also pray for their marriage, which has very likely suffered from this tragedy.
After reading the scriptures that tell how to know the difference between murder and accidental death, we understand how to determine the difference between the two. However, if we are members of God’s jury, in the case of Justin Ross Harris, how can we judge whether he is guilty of murdering his son, or if the death was accidental? Let’s turn toNumbers 35once again to help us…
“All murderers must be put to death, but only if evidence is presented by more than one witness. No one may be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.~ Numbers 35:30 NLT ~
As you can see, to convict a person of murder, there must be evidence presented by more than one witness. If only one witness testifies against the accused, then there is not enough evidence to convict him/her.
There is one more noteworthy thing about this chapter on the Cities of Refuge that I would like to mention. If the person accused of murder was found guilty, he/she would be sentenced to death by the victim’s avenger. However, if the death is found to be accidental, the person does not get off scot-free. He/She must remain within the city of refuge until the high priest dies.
You see, God values the life of mankind, most certainly, more than humans do. Therefore, if someone is killed by the hand of another, his/her death must be paid for by the one who killed him/her. Of course, if the person was murdered, his/her killer must be killed to pay for his/her death.
However, if a person was accidentally killed by the hand of another, that person’s death must also be atoned for by his/her killer. Therefore, though the killer does not deserve to die for the accidental death caused by him/her, he/she must still pay for the death with his/her own life. Hence, the killer must spend his life living within the confines of the city of refuge until the death of the high priest, whereupon he/she will then be free to return to his/her own land to live in freedom once again.
I think this consequence for causing the accidental death of someone is fair. By sentencing the accidental killer to live in one of the cities of refuge, several clear messages are sent to everyone involved…
First and foremost, the sentence acknowledges the value of the life that was lost, and though his/her death was accidental, it must still be atoned for.
This sentence makes it clear that the death was unintentional and accidental, therefore, the killer does not deserve to die for it.
Only God, (who knew when and how the victim would die), knows when the high priest will die, thus ending the killer’s sentence.
It seems that God’s plan for determining whether a death is the result of murder or accidental is the best plan. Although most of us will never sit on the jury in Justin Ross Harris’ trial, there is still a great probability that we will all form our own opinions about whether little Cooper Harris died an accidental death, or whether he was the victim of his father’s heinous murder plot. Therefore, I encourage all of us to use God’s way of determining whether Cooper’s death was an accident or murder. What a shame we don’t have cities of refuge here in the United States!
Meanwhile, please join me in praying for Cooper Harris’ family…
Praise the Lord, I am now up to date with the letters from our sister in Jerusalem. As always, I want to encourage you to pray for Israel. It is so important for us to understand that even though the Lord has saved many of us and delivered us from sin, and adopting us as sons and daughters, His love for Israel is not diminished. Israel still remains His chosen people. Therefore, we must cry out for His people in these last days.
This week, as you read the letter from our sister in Israel, let the following scripture passage be your prayer for God’s chosen people…
14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to Him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
And now, without further ado, I introduce to some of you, and present to those of you who follow our letters from our sister in Israel…
Blessings and love to you dear sisters and brothers. May The Lord of glory be blessed and glorified!
Although most of us picture doves as white, the doves of Jerusalem are that beautiful ‘doe’ color…like a deer. Perhaps you wonder why I write so much concerning nature. Today I believe I understood the reason (besides the fact that I have always loved nature).
When we first made arrived, we found that our new reality demanded that we find work as soon as possible. Not being able to handle my new language yet at all, (and NOT having many qualifying skills…AND being 49 years old at the time) I was happy to be offered a job with a rather well known international ministry here. Being in this intense area, there are probably more large, international ministries functioning here then anywhere else on earth, and not just ‘English speaking ones’ either. It is the same with news media outlets; there are more world news media groups stationed here then anywhere else on the earth (that is a fact). That should say something. Those of you who know Jerusalem know what a tiny city this is. When I was offered work with this ministry I asked them to pray with me as there were some doctrinal issues that they held that I could not stand in agreement with (not foundational ones of course). They prayed and assured me that I was the one for the job and it would be fine. I was so thankful for the work as the main part of my job was answering many of the letters that they received and I loved that. We began each day with Bible reading and prayer and I loved the fellowship, in spite of our differences. But the area that I was not in agreement with allowed them to embrace a false prophecy, which led them to the verge of bankruptcy and most of the staff had to be immediately dismissed, including me. It was then that I found out that they had not been paying into our form of ‘social security’ for me (as a citizen it was required for the boss to do that) and that left me, after a year and a half, without the ability to receive unemployment.
The Lord certainly works everything to the good and for His glory, for it was the beginning of an intensive course in learning to REALLY trust Him and walk by faith in a new dimension. I was without work for two years after that (my husband was not in the country at the time…another story that glorifies Him in the end) and I felt firmly that He was directing me to work in secular work immersed in my new ‘culture’ rather then to work again with a ministry and He surely has directed my path. But what in the world does this all have to do with ‘nature’ and ‘doves’?!?
Just this: Because we are such a small body here and so dispersed, I now have very little opportunity for fellowship outside of our weekly meeting, but today I realized just how much He speaks to me through His creation! I understood that I daily ‘fellowship’ with Him in this manner (as well, of course, in His Word and in prayer) and am edified! No, it does NOT take the place of ‘fellowship’ with the body (HIS perfect design) but He always provides when we want His will, and this is part of my current provision.
And now, back to our doe colored doves!
Jerusalem is literally covered with doves. I have learned that if they are near to me as I walk and I don’t look directly at them or speak to them (yes…I do that! :-[ I admit it) they will stay where they are, but if I look at them or speak they will fly away. Now we all know that The Holy Spirit came as a dove so as I learned this I have thought about how The Holy Spirit did not come to speak of Himself, but to point to Yeshua…to bring to remembrance everything that He said and to magnify Him…not to draw attention to Himself.
But yesterday my attention was drawn directly to a dove sitting on the ground next to a wooden fence along my path. He looked at me and I sensed that he was injured. I went toward him and he did not move, but kept watching me. I saw that his gentle breast had been harmed, most likely by a cat. I reached down to pick him up, but stopped: Where would I bring him? There was no place around that would make him to be less prey for another cat attack, nor could I bring him to work…he would be petrified. I know enough that if I were to touch him, he would carry my ‘scent’ and that might be worse…so…I stood and prayed simply that The Lord, Who cares for all creatures, would care for him mercifully, and went to walk on. A bit further I felt just bothered to leave him like that so I turned to go back and then I saw a most unusual sight. Another dove flew down and began to peck at him and flap his wings angrily. I felt so bad, thinking that he was being attacked…UNTIL…I saw him reluctantly move and then, after some more pecking and harassment move again, and suddenly, hesitantly, he took off in unsteady flight, but up into a tree. The second bird had come to rescue him and had likely been watching when I stooped down! Immediately I thought of so many of the painful and harsh things that seem to come into our lives when we feel most vulnerable and I wondered at the goodness of God to ‘afflict us in His faithfulness’ (as is repeated over and over in Psalm 119, that marvelous teaching Psalm!) for example 67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word.And verse 71 It is good for me that I was afflicted,That I may learn Your statutes.
Do my ‘parables’ drive you crazy? I hope not! I gather strength as mana to go through my days as He blesses me with these encouragements! I actually thought about it as I was faced with my daily train ride. Two days in a row I arrived halfway to my destination when the loud speaker announced a ‘hefetz ha’shood’ or an ‘unidentified object’ that the bomb squad was being called out to investigate. We are usually advised to ‘walk’ or ‘possibly wait up to half an hour’, but this week, the first time, we were told that we would all have to get off of the train as the driver was being told to turn around and go in the other direction. The lady-older-then-myself with some 20 kilos of cherries that she had just bought at the shuk began to grumble loudly, as did the very old man with a walker. Soon there was quite a rebellion taking place as it was noon and the sun was hot and the train was crowded with elderly people with packages or young mothers with babies. I decided to walk rather then listen to the rage. Thankfully today we were allowed to sit and wait. As we did I looked around and it hit me for the first time that our trains carry perhaps an pretty odd assortment. They are full of baby carriages and strollers, often twin strollers. There are lots of shopping carts (mine included) and then there are walkers, canes, crutches, wheel chairs, Seeing Eye dogs, shopping bags, suitcases and myriads of backpacks, not to mention weapons. More then occasionally there are also the ‘tools of the trade’; a mop and bucket, large tool box, computers or assorted furniture being brought home. Sitting next to me today was a woman with a portable oxygen tank attached to her nose. In front of us stood a young girl with BOTH a rocking horse and a plastic push ‘bike’. And then there are all of those pregnant women! No wonder the train is always so crowed!
As many of you realize (although it IS summer where you are as well as here, and I know that many of you are up to your ears in activities…God BLESS your summer with joy and blessing in Him!)(along with work and children home, more difficult for some then for others. MUCH GRACE to those of you who have difficulty!) things here are more volatile and tense then ever, if that is possible! I think back to the beginnings of the ‘revolution’ in Egypt that began very shortly after the US President visited there, and how ‘revolt’ has been sparked in almost the entire region. The nations on all of our borders are shaking and smoldering and the world is so foolishly trying to ‘solve the problems’ with embarrassing rhetoric and shallow human reasoning that knows almost nothing of the ancient roots of the problems…nor The Maker Who is watching over His Word. The latest moves to ‘arm the rebels’ in Syria while screaming and crying about all of the people dying is so pathetic but can not be seen as funny. More weapons will NOT stop the bloodshed. I look at my Bible and see so many circumstances for which there was NO HUMAN SOLUTION. Take, for example: the Sea in front and the Egyptians behind as the Israelites came out of Egypt. Perhaps it was thousands in the wilderness without food in both the ancient days during the 40 years in the wilderness and the nearer days when Yeshua said ‘How many loaves have you?…Bring it to Me!’ What about Legion howling in the tombs or the lame man waiting for the stirring of the waters? AND…how about Yeshua…dead in the tomb? Oh my, there is no end to examples….in fact the Bible is FULL of situations that there was NO human solution for. But we live in an age of ‘humanism’ and seem to actually have a foot in the door of the one world system that will carry the mark for buying and selling. I can see much more clearly how that could be possible now. When our value added tax went up 1% I somehow thought that my bills would also go up 1%, but (as I have admitted before) I have NO understanding of economics and basically bills (especially grocery bills) have shot up a whopping 25%! Since wages don’t increase, I think of how young families who are not prepared by The Word mixed with faith and the fear of God will withstand taking such a mark. From my vantage point the world appears to be spinning faster and faster out of the control of the nations and their leaders.
And there are those of you who pray for our nation (I am aware that there are many also who might read some of these letters who don’t find the time to pray. PLEASE don’t take ANY condemnation from me when I mention those who do! It is ALL unto The Lord and we ALL do what we can and believe we are called to do. Please be released from any condemnation over this.) I would like to ask for specific prayer for a 60 year old problem that I believe our nation is poised to impose a solution into that is perhaps unjust and I am very concerned. As you know we have a Bedouin population. The Bedouins are a fascinating people. They are nomads (I suspect that they are the people described in Jeremiah 35:1-12) and live mostly in the Negev where they move their goats and camels from place to place living in tent like structures with large extended families. (google Bedouin if you are unfamiliar with them) Over the years efforts have been made to settle them in villages and extend all the benefits to them of education, health care, sanitation etc. They are currently listed as the most rapidly growing population in the world. Their land claims are not written down. Israel is a small nation and wants to establish its borders. Legislation has just passed to establish the Bedouin in villages against their will and this strikes me a lot like ‘American Indian Reservations’. I have a long and personal history with Indian Reservations and my heart breaks at the thought that the same awful injury might be done here. Please pray that this legislation is somehow overturned and that some just solution is found. The Druze population in the North was also nomadic and they were peacefully settled into villages, but I have a very bad feeling about this Bedouin decision. Thank you for praying if The Holy Spirit brings it to mind.
But in the midst of all of the ‘distressing news’, you likely haven’t heard of the more then 30 wounded Syrians from both sides of the conflict that have been treated in Israeli hospitals as friends or family bring them to our borders. Also, a lovely ‘peace prize’ was just awarded to our fast response health motorcycle paramedic service which was founded by an ultra religious man and an Israeli Arab working together. They have no political agenda; they simply share a passion for saving lives and have formed a nationwide service that rushes to all emergencies. In this context, a Jewish man with a kippa (skull cap) has delivered a Moslem baby and a bearded Moslem man has delivered an orthodox Jewish baby. Lives are saved, and the result is trusting friendships…the same as I have found in my daily walk…’peace’ is made through kindness, one on one in the small ways that we can. He is our Peace…He HAS broken down every wall.
It is I who enjoy sharing, so I thank you for making time to read. Come and visit??? God bless and encourage you ever nearer to His Heart beat.
Thank you for continued prayer for our younger daughter at this time.
*** Warning – This post contains some graphic descriptions which may be offensive. My purpose in including the descriptions is not to offend, but to inform, so that the reader may know how to pray for and help “Jane Doe” and others like her. I place this warning at the beginning of the post, so that you have the option of closing this post before being offended. May the Lord bless each of you readers with His divine wisdom and understanding so that you can help those who have been broken by the evil acts of others. ***
Since hearing about the cruel and senseless rape of sixteen year old, “Jane Doe,” in Steubenville, Ohio, my heart has burned with anguish for the victim, who suffered this inexcusable rape. As if the pain of the rape wasn’t enough for this sixteen year old girl to bear, she has been shamed and blamed by her rapists, by the community of Steubenville, Ohio, and even by the news journalists as they mourned over the “two promising young men” whose lives were ruined by their guilty verdict. Since watching ABC’s 20/20 episode entitled, Steubenville: After the Party’s Over, my heart burned with the following questions, which I’ve addressed in individual posts for each of the first six:
What made the boys, who committed this crime against the victim, think that it was their right to treat another human being with such degradation and disrespect?
What would make teenaged boys, who witnessed the cruelty and shame forced upon this girl, think that it was entertaining and funny — so much so, that they took videos and pictures of her and posted them online?
Why would teenaged girls, who obviously feared for the victim’s safety, advising her not to go with her abusers, do nothing else to protect her — by calling the police or at the very least, a trusted adult to step in?
Where were the parents of all of those teenagers involved in the parties that night?
When parents and coaches learned what had happened, why were those who participated in the parties, pictures and tweets, still allowed to play football, undisciplined?
How did this girl find herself in such a dangerous position?
How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?
Tonight, I’d like to address the final question…
How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with her life?
One of the reasons the Steubenville Horror has aroused such anguish from me is not merely a matter of sympathy, but empathy instead. You see, it’s easy for me to imagine how this girlmust feel, because I know how I felt when I was a little girl between eleven and thirteen and my stepfather, the man I called Daddy, did the same to me as those boys did to “Jane Doe.” I remember the fear and the horror, followed by the shame and embarrassment that followed, when I awoke from a nap to find my daddy sitting on the edge of my bed, with his fingers penetrating me beneath my robe. At first, I tried to pretend that I was asleep, hoping and praying that he would stop, but he continued his unwanted and uninvited probing, and as he leaned forward kissing my mouth, I opened my eyes and said, “No Daddy. Please stop.”
I praise God that He stopped my dad that day, before it went any farther, as he got up without a word, and walked out of my bedroom. I heard the garage door slam shut a few minutes later, and ran to peek out the window in time to see his little red Ford Falcon drive off. With my heart thumping wildly, I ran from the living room into Mommy and Daddy’s bedroom, quickly grabbing their blue princess phone from the nightstand on the right of their bed, and listening carefully to make sure I didn’t hear him coming back, my shaking fingers dialed my mother’s number at work. My sister and I weren’t supposed to call Mommy at work unless it was an emergency, but I figured this was an emergency. What if he came back and killed me or something?
What happened to me was in a different time and place, but with some similar results. The blame for what happened was placed on my shoulders… If I had worn clothing under my robe, this wouldn’t have happened… If I told anyone, I would destroy the family… If I talked about it to my sister, it would hurt her, and I wouldn’t want to do that, would I?
There were all sorts of lies and cover-ups to protect the perpetrator, while I was left unprotected so that he could attack me again and again. Not only that, but all of the shame and the blame was placed squarely on my shoulders, much like “Jane Doe’s” perpetrators and the citizens of Steubenville have tried to do to her. I share this with you not to gain your pity, because praise God, I’ve overcome the shame and the pain of my past. I merely shared a piece of my past with you so that you will understand that when I answer the question, How does “Jane Doe” pick up the pieces and move on with herlife?, I am speaking from my own personal experience, and I know what works and what doesn’t work.
One of the ways for “Jane Doe” to pick up the pieces is to know the truth.
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
~ John 8:32 NLT ~
There have been a lot of rumors and lies circulating about “Jane Doe” since the night of her attack. She’s heard lies from her rapists, lies from other teens who attended the parties and lies from adults who have placed the blame for the attack on her shoulders. She’s heard people speculating that if she hadn’t done this, then her attackers wouldn’t have done that. She’s heard others speculate that if she had only done this, then her attackers would have done something else. And here’s the sad fact about most victims of crimes like this:
Victims tend to blame themselves for the crimes committed against them.
When you combine this natural tendency to blame yourself for an attack against your person, along with the accusations from her attackers, friends and adults, the weight of that blame becomes a heavy burden for anyone to bear — let alone a sixteen year old girl. That’s why it’s so important for this girl to know the truth, so that she won’t begin to self-destruct, as so many victims do. She needs to know the truth not only about what happened that night, but she also needs to know the truth about who she really is.
You’ve heard the lies and the names people have labeled her with. She already feels terrible about what happened, and like I said before, she’s probably blaming herself for what happened to her. This is why it is vital for her to know the truth about who she really is.
I’ve been to Christian counselors, psychiatrists and psychologists, and my recommendation for “Jane Doe” would be to receive counseling from a Christian counselor, who can assist her in knowing who she is in Christ. You see, in Christ, people like “Jane Doe” and me are no longer victims, and we’re not merely survivors just hanging on. In Christ, we are victorious. In Christ, we are overcomers. In Christ, we are blameless. In Christ, we are no longer rejected, we are chosen. These are important truths that “Jane Doe” needs to know in order to pick up the pieces and move on with her life.
Another reason for “Jane Doe” to receive Christian counseling is so that she can talk about what happened to her. Too often, people try to hide what happened by ignoring it. This will lead to nothing but anxiety and emotional pain for “Jane Doe,” and she’s already suffered enough. Her perpetrators tried to silence “Jane Doe” to hide their own sin, and it only caused her more pain. She needs to talk about what happened. She needs to talk about her role in what happened, and the roles of everyone else involved. It is only when she is able to speak the truth openly, out loud, that she will begin to overcome the lies and the pain.
“But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything will be revealed; all that is secret will be made public. What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ears, shout from the housetops for all to hear! Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill you. They can only kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Not even a sparrow, worth only half a penny, can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to Him than a whole flock of sparrows.”
~ Matthew 10:26-31 NLT ~
By speaking the truth about what was done to her out loud, she will overcome her tormentors, who tried to destroy her.
Lord, I cry out to You for “Jane Doe.” Father, continue to minister to her, and draw her close into Your loving arms. Father, please set her free from the sin and the pain that have come together to destroy her. Lord, Your word says that the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, and I pray, in Jesus’ name, that You would give “Jane Doe” life more abundantly. Save her, Lord and heal her in Jesus’ name, amen.