By Christy Osterkamp in Bend, Oregon
“When we don't know who to hate, we hate ourselves.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters
When I was a child, I spent an inordinate amount of time grounded. Isolated. Alone. I can’t even remember why. It didn’t seem to take much. During these times of confusion and frustration, wanting to hate the person who put me there, and unable to do so, because everyone knows you can’t hate your own parent….well the natural inclination, as revealed by the author quoted here, is to turn all that negative energy inside. For why else would someone mistreat you, if you were really such a likable person? The seed of the lie was planted.
And so the lie took root. Year after year. Lie upon lie. One of the worst came during my high school days. My older brother was attending a Christian youth group and I asked if I could go along. In a very Un-Christianlike tone, he responded, “You can’t go to church if you’re not BORN AGAIN!” Wow. Now even God didn’t want me coming over to his house. The lies began to grow and attach to my heart.
And so the lie grew and grew. Someone close to me shared his view of women, that they could become rich by mis-using their beautiful bodies. Again, the lie sank in. The lie was growing in strength by the continued feeding.
As an adult, I went to a church, and not really knowing what I was doing, I got baptized. I knew that it would “wipe the slate clean” and that sounded really good to me. But no real change happened until a decade later, when I received Christ as my personal savior, and suddenly I had a new root system! This one was built on a firm foundation of God’s word, and the lies began to fade. But they were like blackberry bushes, they were very difficult to remove completely, and new growth would crop up anytime the new truths didn’t get enough nourishment to override the old.
Though there are times when a person is changed immediately by the power of God, most of us are changed day by day, as the truth of what we were created to by permeates our mind and seeps into our hearts and spirits. As a newborn is not mature at the time of his birth, so also we, as born again believers in Christ, begin a new process of taking on a new view of our world and begin to discern what is truth and what is a lie. Paul tells the Galatians “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
As I grow, day by day, closer to the One who rescued me from a pit of self-loathing, I learn to recognize the source of every thought I think. If it is negative and condemning, it is not from God, but from the accuser, the devil who “roams about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour”. (1 Peter 5:8) There is a difference between condemnation, which offers no escape, and conviction, which is a revealing of a sinful thought or behavior which when brought to the foot of the cross, is covered and forgiven by the blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
God gives us great consolation when He asks us to take those things that hurt us deeply, and use them to glorify Him, sharing with those who are suffering likewise, as Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” I praise God that my life can now be a testimony to the power of God to change, restore, heal, and grow. I am a new creation, as Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new is here!”
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Epikos Community Blog
Welcome to the Epikos Community Blog where you can find and read blog posts from members of Epikos Church in Bend, OR. At Epikos we believe in the value of every member and this is a place for members to share about the work God is doing in their lives.