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"God didn't send me out to collect a following for myself, but to preach the Message of what He has done, collecting a following for Him" (1 Corinthians 1:17)

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

I Know Who I Am in Christ

memo board in Christ

My father loves to remind me on a continual basis of what a horrible person he thinks I am. Much like the Accuser, I am always standing in judgment, being accused of something I usually have not done to offend him. All the while, I take the guilt and shame as my own, knowing full well I’m not what I’m accused of.

Thursday I took my mother to have four tumors removed from her brain, and when I got home I was welcomed by an incredibly vicious email from my dad. Throughout my life, this has always been the bait that I usually took. I’d react and respond, and things would spiral out of control.

I shouldn’t have been surprised. I saw this coming. I know him. Know what he’s capable of. He’s been baiting me for weeks and instead of responding and reacting, like he’d like me to, I just ignored it. Only this time he threw my faith in my face, by telling me that he hopes God forgives me, while insisting that he never would. 

At that, I began to write a long blasted email back, mostly in ALL CAPS! Then I stepped away from the computer before clicking “Send.” I later went back to it and decided I would respond in a more appropriate, civilized manner.

After writing these blogs this week, I was keenly aware in my reaction to my father that I was forgetting who I am in Christ. So I stopped. Stepped back. Meditated on Christ and soon realized the truth about who I am. I concluded: “I know who I am in Christ, and what my father accuses me of is NOT who I am, and I KNOW that.” So I deleted the entire email and simply replied, “Well, if that’s how you see me, and if that’s how you feel about me, and if you feel you can’t forgive me, then it’s probably wise you don’t contact me anymore.”

There are many of us out there who are victims of this kind of verbal and mental abuse by our fathers, which has always led us to the point of self-destruction. The Accuser uses them to accuse us, and we fall for it every time because we forget in that moment who we are in Christ. And when we do that, we “react.”

All my life I believed the lies my father has spewed at me in his anger, and I often found myself in despair, anger and utter heartache over it. Here’s my comfort, though:

“For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves” (1 John 3:20 MSG).

I’m often very confused about who I am because of the way my father has treated me my entire life. One minute he’s proud of me, and the next minute he’s disgusted with me. It’s always one extreme or the other.

I find myself in constant prayer over my father. Everyday is a new battle to forgive him (again!) for the way he treats me. But at least I try. (I received five more ridiculous emails from my father upon waking up this morning!)

God knows me. He knows the truth of who I am, and that’s thanks to Christ. I’m not perfect, but I’m surely not the person my father accuses me to be. When I’m feeling confused or lost, God says, “But I know you…even better than you know yourself. You are my child and I love you, therefore, I do not condemn you.”

We may never be exactly where we want to be. Many of us will still struggle with this issue no matter how many books or blogs we read, because life will continue to throw mind bombs at us. We may feel confident one day, and discouraged the next. But it gets better. We just have to meditate on Christ in our need or desire to react to the world’s treatments against us. We were forewarned:

“So don’t be surprised, friends, when the world hates you” (1 John 3:13).

And while I truly felt I had every right to lash out at my father, we should always remember this in those situations:

“He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step…They called him every name in the book, and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right” (1 Peter 2:21, 23).

You’ll notice the word, “content,” has been mentioned many times throughout this week, and Christ Himself was “content” (satisfied) that God would set things right, so He remained true to Himself instead of taking the bait to react. And so should we.

{When we are being baited by the world to react to accusations against us, remember that Christ said nothing back. The world wants and expects us to react negatively so they can justify their accusations. We should be wise to resist.}

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