Painfully Real

 

And Jesus spoke to them a parable… A certain man planted a vineyard. He set a hedge about it, dug a place for the winepress, and built a tower. He then let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country. When the time of harvest came, he sent to the husbandmen a servant to receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard. But the husbandmen caught him, beat him, and sent him away empty. Again, he sent unto them another servant, and at him they cast stones and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled. And he sent another and him they killed, and many others were sent only to receive beatings or death at the hands of the husbandmen. The lord of the vineyard, having yet therefore one son, his well-beloved, sent him also last unto them, saying, “They will reverence my son.” But those husbandmen said among themselves, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.” And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. “What will therefore the lord of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others.” (Mark 12:1-9)

If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own, but because you are not of the world, because I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: “A servant is not greater than his master.” If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of My name, because they do not know Him who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both Me and My Father. But this comes to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, “They hated Me without a cause.” (John 15:18-23)

The righteous cry, and the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saves such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones: not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate. The LORD redeems the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in Him shall be desolate. (Psalm 34:17-22)

Never could I claim to be the Son. He is perfect in all His ways, and I am far from such a state. Only in eternity will I reach the perfection of my King of grace. But I will claim this; I am a servant of the Most High, a daughter of the King, and fellow heir with Jesus Christ, the Lord of the vineyard. Knowing who I am and who God is, it should be no surprise then that, as the husbandmen did not reverence the Lord of the vineyard, so too would they not reverence me. A servant is not greater than his Master.

A couple Saturdays back, I traveled a long distance, hoping to see fruit in the life of someone I love and bring back news of good fruit with me. But my hopes were thrown in my face. I was treated with hatred and distaste; I found no fruits of faith in Christ. Whoever hates me hates my Father also stands out as a chilling and condemning verse. It seems that Jesus is saying that hatred for the Son, for servants or children of God, is the same as hatred for the Father. The husbandmen may say that they love God, but how can they love God and hate His children? Is that even possible?

If I had traveled such a distance to reprimand and show hatred, then perhaps there wouldIMG_20160124_225054 have been reason to be received coldly, but I came with neither reprimand nor hatred. I came with excitement and tears of joy, and a deep desire to see fruit and be encouraged by the fruit that comes from following Jesus. I came to show love and to receive the fruit I would expect from a follower of Christ, but what I found was fruit that had been spoiled rotten. Instead of seeing evidence of growth from reproof and correction, I saw only bitterness and hardness of heart; she obeyed not the voice; she received not correction. (Zeph. 3:2a) What I found only confirmed what some already knew, and that knowledge became painfully real to me.

If a person cannot take rebuke even once, can they be called, wise? No. A reproof enters more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool. An evil man seeks only rebellion… (Proverbs 17:10-11a) Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. (Proverbs 9:8-9) If a reproof, spoken out of love, has drawn a person to hatred, then they must examine their heart: Am I wise? Then I must love the one who loves me enough to reprove and/or instruct me and I must grow wiser with instruction.

Instead of finding a wise man or a wise woman, I found children who have not yet grown into the full grace of the Savior they claim to follow. Yes, that is a harsh statement, but I now reprimand in hope that the next time we meet, I will not be greeted with bitter hatred, but with brokenness, tears, love, and deep joy.

It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools. (Ecclesiastes 7:5) For too long, you have been content with songs of fools that serve to only feed your bitterness and hatred. And you have further written and sung those songs to those having itching ears, so they, too, may join you in your bitterness and hatred. But I cannot say that your actions, your fruit, or the fruit of those who are now closest to you can be seen as a surprise; For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4) I chose to step toward you in good faith, hoping that the previous verses did not apply to you, but I was wrong. But I know this; you did not learn hatred, bitterness, or anger from Christ. You have learned those things from a world that is devoid of Christ.

But you have not so learned Christ, if so be that you have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your wrath, neither give place to the devil… Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be you kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:20-27, 29-32)

You say that you have been hurt and that blood has not been kind to you. I know that you were reproved, and you often felt injured by reproof, but you were not reproved out of hatred or distaste, but out of love and deep concern for your eternity. Reproof is not equal to hatred; in God’s eyes, it is a sign of love: And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks unto you as unto children, “My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked of Him. For whom the Lord loves, He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not? But if you be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are you fatherless, and not sons. (Hebrews 12:5-8) At first, reproof or chastening may not make sense, and it is painful, but God uses harsh things to drive out what is not needed, like pride and selfishness. And He often uses His servants and children to lovingly carry out reproof and chastisement. The one by whom you were reproved was not lost in sin, but seeking God’s glory, and desiring for you to be holy in the sight of God. Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence. Shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure, but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness. Now, no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous. Nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. (Hebrews 12:9-11) But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord that we should not be condemned with the world. (1 Corinthians 11:32) “The Lord disciplines (chastens) those Whom He loves so that we would not be condemned with the world, just as a father disciplines (chastens) his child whom he loves to keep them from being condemned with the world.” (as written by my mom)

If only you open your eyes and open your heart, you would see how much you are loved, but you have chosen to believe the lie that you are not loved and have never been loved. Even when love spanned the distance of miles and hurt to stand right in front of you, you closed your eyes to it; you were shown love, but you did not respond in kind. They hated me without a cause.

I am truly sorry for what I saw with my own eyes and felt with my own hands, how you have become blind, deaf, and have lost all senses. Your heart has been twisted up within you and locked in that sad state, but I still hope and pray that your heart may be softened someday, along with all of the hearts that have been hardened through your counsel. If you claim to love your heavenly Father, then do not hate His children or spit upon the sacrifices they have made for you.

For now, I sit with the Lord of the vineyard. He sends no more servants and no more children, but waits for the husbandmen to come broken. Though I am broken by the painful reality of your coldness, it was this brokenness that made God’s love so painfully real to me. For that, I thank you. Though you did not intend it or think of it, your response to me showed me a greater depth of the Father’s love for me and for all of His creation. He built this place for us to care for, and traveled so far to see fruit and to call His children to Himself. But instead of love and adoration, He received hatred and, eventually, death. But death was not the end. Death was only a stepping stone to defeat sin, and His resurrection sealed His power to forgive even those who took His life.

The verses I quoted at the beginning of this post spoke of destruction and desolation coming upon those who hate the servants and the children of God, but I earnestly pray that those things will not come to you before repentance. God is patient and longsuffering to His Creation, but I cannot control the Lord of the vineyard or His timing, I only submit to Him. He is the one who decides the fate of those who hate His children, even if those who hate are, themselves, children of the Lord of the vineyard. So, please, do not wait.

I must confess that my heart is not the one most damaged by your betrayal. I am still young and have seen enough good in my life and in the world to not lose all hope. But some have been deeply hurt by your betrayal, because your betrayal has been heaped on top of multiple betrayals and curses from those who claim to follow Christ. I say, “claim,” because I cannot give judgment upon the eternal destination of a soul, I can only look at that soul and life through the lens of Scripture and through the Holy Spirit within me:

For a good tree brings not forth corrupt fruit; neither does a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:43-45) The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-25)

Every soul struggles with sin, and I know that truth intimately, but grace is not an excuse to continue in sin and betray or curse God’s children. Our struggles should draw us to repentance; to fall at the feet of Christ, broken and contrite. If you feel condemned because of the verses quoted in this post, then please read them in context, and let it be known that condemnation or discomfort is not caused by me, but by the Holy Spirit within you; and let it also be known that grace is greater than all our sin.

For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not again, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth. It shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10-11)

I love you and I will never stop loving you. Though every convention in the world would tell me to give up and give into hatred and bitterness, I cannot. The tears that have been shed for you cannot be unshed, for the love of God is more than Words, it is flesh and blood poured out for those who spat in His face and nailed Him to a cross. Unconditional love is simple; it is sacrifice. Though it is simple, it costs our whole lives. For some reason, God considered us, considered me, worth the sacrifice. I am in awe at the mystery of God’s grace and love, but my awe draws me to love my Abba and love others as He loves them. No matter what, God will bless the blood poured out, even when the ground refuses to soften. The painful reality is that God’s love was shown through death, but death of the flesh is only momentary. There is a life beyond this one that is worth the loss of this body.

Wherefore, lift up the hands which hang down and the feeble knees. And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. (Hebrews 12:12-13)

Though my fear is that you will not read this or be allowed to read it, I still post it, knowing that God is faithful to bring to pass what some may think impossible. If I am hated more for quoting God’s Word, and all of these words are thrown aside, I will still praise the Lord, for the truth of His Word stands. It is hard to rejoice in suffering, but the fellowship of His sufferings shows me His love that much more deeply and intimately, and that fellowship further reminds me that my Abba is always so good to me. Amen.

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Published by: Sarah Jo

Growing up is a taxing process (sometimes, literally), but I have chosen to grow in Christ and in His grace. He is so faithful to me and I have no room to complain, so I seek to show my gratitude through writing blog posts and songs, and speaking forth my gratitude in front of coworkers, friends, family, and total strangers. I am a little lost, but completely found; a child in the faith, and taking huge steps. I have so much to learn, but the point is that I will get there by the grace of my Abba.

Categories Blind Insanity, Victorious StrugglesTags, , , 4 Comments

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