May 25, 2005

Freedom from users and abusers

In our world today, we are surrounded by people who are seeking to use and abuse those who are willing to be controlled.

Exploiting others is second nature to these people. The good and kind people that surround them are seen as easy prey.

These people are always wanting something from us. The list is long and the grief is great from us being seen as a means to get their desires and needs met.

What type of people are we to watch out for? Why is it that their needs are always seen to be greater and more important than our own?
Selfishness drives people to do outlandish things. Selflessness in a person, although a good thing, can also drive them to do too much for others.

How to spot them:

Your previous experience with people often serves to give you the best knowledge of their future actions. We learn from our past experiences with people what we will be in for in the future when dealing with them.

These people can be family members, friends and even strangers. Their needs are always greater than your own and they won't think twice about relating that fact to you in a roundabout way. Do you fall for their plight and pitiful stories? Or instead, do you question them and then listen to see if their pity filled life might be that of their own making? Most usually you can spot them by the pity play. Many of those who are using you have their consciences seared just as the Bible speaks of:

1 Timothy 4 1&2

1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

I am not speaking of those who have proven that they have genuine needs that you may be able to meet. I am speaking of those who by their past actions and by habit, have proven that they cannot be relied upon to do the right and godly thing with what they have been given by you or others, whether it is money, your time or other resources you have given them.

Did God place us on this earth in order to be used by others?
I think not. The very character of Christ was that of love, compassion and merciful service to others, yet Christ never allowed himself to be used as a tool by anyone in any way. The only one who Christ subjected himself to was God, in order that man might be saved and delivered from this sin-filled world. To enable another in their godless and destructive lifestyle is doing them an injustice.

During his time on this earth, Christ encountered those who wanted to make him King.

John 6:15

When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

Jesus got away from those people and retreated to a private place and did not allow those people to have control over him or his mission on this earth. These people wanted to place him as King of this earth, an earthly kingship is NOT what Christ was to receive and not what he was sent to this earth for. Remember what he said before his Crucifixion? My Kingdom is NOT of this world. In this same respect, God does not intend for us, his people to be used and manipulated by others. Yet in our world today, many can see this all too often being done on a grand scale.

Just as a battery is depleted of it's power, we can have our power taken from us and be run down by those who seek to accomplish their own goals by our usefulness to them. You are NOT doing God's will by being all things at all times for everyone else. We are to be all things to all men, but the Apostle Paul didn't address this to us in order that we be spent and used up by anyone, rather he was meaning that we must be able to RELATE to others in the situations of life. We are not to be wrapped up another's neediness when they will do nothing to help themselves and instead never choose to live a responsible and godly life. Paul was concerned first and foremost with these people's need for a Savior.

This is what those who use and abuse others never care to realize, they glaze right over their greatest need of all

1 Corinthians 9:19

19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.

20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.

22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

23 And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

Whenever we encounter another who is in need, we are to RELATE and share common ground with his plight. But Paul was not saying to do for people what they are fully capable and should be doing for themselves. The essence of living a fulfilling and productive life is taking responsibility for one's life and not using another person to accomplish what only they themselves are to accomplish.

The power to control

The power to have control over another person is a great one. The devil sought to have control over Christ when he was tempting him. He tried it three times on our Lord while tempting him in the wilderness. Satan wanted:

1. For Christ to use his power for good to make a stone into bread.

2. For Christ to use his power for good to throw himself from the pinnacle and have God's angels save him.

3. For Christ to use his power for good to bow down and worship him, and he said after that He would GIVE him anything in the WORLD, for it was his to give..

Christ did not give Satan what he wanted.. He instead used the word, the Bible on him after each temptation.

Co Dependents World

It is a co-dependent world we live in. On every side we are being pressed to feel pity for those who do not need nor deserve our pity.

What they truly need is to stand up, stop blaming others, and take responsibility for their own lives and actions. They need to get honest with themselves concerning their abilities and shortcomings. Those of us who feel used and abused need to get real about the extent we are allowing ourselves to used by others and put an end to it now.

It is very important that you do not allow others to control you. This is just as important for those who seek to use and exploit you, because the line must be drawn by someone and it will not be drawn by the users and abusers that surround you. As long as they are getting what they need from you, they will not stop using you, remember about that depleted battery? Ever wonder why those of us who are used and manipulated by those we love feel so depleted and drained all the time? It's no wonder, for we are being depleted by those who should be ashamed of what they are doing, but as I said, many of these people have little or no conscience.

So action must be taken by you. A fact of life is that selfishness is rampant in our society and among those we live around and see every day.

I have had much experience with Co Dependent family members and friends who would go so far as to enlist me in their service, but I don't give in.

Instead, I get real with myself about what their abilities truly are and do not allow unjust pity and undue sympathy to control me.

It would be all too easy to go overboard and give into their pressure if I chose, but I cannot because such action taken by me would be a sin.

Jesus put forth the question to the lame man by the pool "Wilt thou be Made Whole"?
I have often pondered this passage of scripture.

The people who are trapped in a co dependent life of woe would do well to read the following passage :

John 5:

2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.

3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.

4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.

5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.

6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?

7 The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.

8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.

9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.

Why would our Lord ASK this man if he wanted to be whole and healed? Wasn't it obvious that he wanted to be healed?
Not necessarily, you see, he could have been just laying by that pool to garner pity and sympathy from others with no real desire to get better!

That is why Jesus asked him, I truly believe this.
Because unless the person desired to be healed, Jesus was not going to take action to help him in ANY way whatsoever.

The impotent man explained to Jesus that there was NO man to place him in the pool and that while he was in the process of getting someone to place him in the pool, another beat him to it!

Jesus listened to the man's reaction to his question and Jesus SAW that the man had a valid need to be made whole and be healed. Jesus heard the explanation the man gave as to why he couldn't get whole, because someone else always got there before he could.

Their needs are always urgent and more important than anyone else's

In my own experience with manipulative people, I have noted that in their opinion, their needs are so much greater than my own or anyone else's that are in similar situations. This is a tip off as to whether you are dealing with someone who has chosen to rely on you rather than take responsibility for their own needs and actions.

It doesn't bother them much at all to ask you to drop anything you have going that's important to you in order to fulfill their needs. This is plain old selfishness.

When you continually take care of them and run to their aid, they will learn they can turn to you in the future. These people are like small children who are used to getting their way and can get very angry when you start doing the right and godly thing by holding them accountable for their actions and responsible for their own life choices.

In closing, just remember that It is more important for you to do as God would have you to do rather than continually offering yourself up, only to be used as a tool by those who manipulate and use you.

May 24, 2005

Drug Addiction : Shattered Dreams, Wasted Lives Part 3

Empty Promises
One of the things the addict offers his loved one when they urge him to stop using drugs is promises.

If you are the spouse or loved one of an addict, chances are you are only too familiar with the promises he makes you. Most of the time the addict knows full well that he doesn't intend to keep the promises he makes to you of stopping his addiction but he makes those promises nonetheless. He knows that promises, empty though they may be, will buy him TIME. He needs this TIME in order to get you and everyone else that nags and hassles him off his back.

If you call this manipulation, you are on the right track. *more on manipulation later*

In order to continue his chosen lifestyle he will promise you the moon, only don't hold him to it. You will find out later the promise he made to you was nothing more than a passing gesture meant to pacify you at the time he made it. The promise is one with ZERO substance.
The next time he disappears from home or is seen by you under the influence of his drug of choice, the cold reality of his empty promise will be evident to you.

At this time, when you are once again faced with his lies, this infuriates you and annoys him. You are infuriated because he lied to you, He is annoyed because you're on his back again!

Now notice what I just said: He is only annoyed because you are on his back again, not necessarily annoyed at himself for having lied to you! Why would he not primarily be bothered by having lied to you? Because an addicts chief concern is NEVER about you or your feelings, nor is it their dishonest conduct towards anyone else, their main concern is always FEEDING THEIR ADDICTION.
This is not to say that they have no conscience. I believe that addicts have random, yet seldom times in which they reflect on their actions and are sorry for them, but as I said, these are few and far between for most addicts in my experience. You may have thought that those crocodile tears meant something every time you saw them fall. I wish that were the case, but most times it is not.

Even if the addict regrets having lied to you once again, it does not overpower his desire for drugs - his first love.
It would be better if you stopped the addict in his tracks while he is in the process of making his latest promise to you and tell him, "Don't make me any promises because they mean
nothing to me." You always break them". When the addict comes to the end of himself by plunging himself far enough down in the gutter by his own hand, then and only then will you see positive actions on his part that will confirm any promise he could make to you and will as well confirm that he has changed. Until that time, any promises are empty and worthless.
Think of it this way: The drug addict wants something - To continue to use. You want something - Him to stop.

He will continue to use until his use causes him to suffer great hardship and sorrow!

You will continue wanting him to stop until he does stop.

You are saying NO while he is saying YES.

This is opposition that will continue until one of you gives in or gives out! In this dance of desperation, what if I told you of the only way to win this struggle?


Listen carefully because this is a surefire way for you to win this battle:

1. Just as the addict must get sick and tired of the life he leads and must suffer pain and loss before he gets clean, you, the loved one of the addict must get sick and tired of issuing ultimatums, threats and having empty promises tossed at you.

2. You must get sick and tired of leading a life that is engulfed and wrapped up in the addict and his selfish actions.

3. You must see that to continue enabling his addiction in any way is going to lead to his ultimate ruin.

If you are still thinking/ believing there is something YOU can do to control HIM, you are wrong. You might have great intentions, but those won't get the job done, they won't free your loved one either. Enabling shows that you believe that you somehow hold the key to his freedom-- But I assure you that's not true.

Have you been told that you're the problem?

One reason why you refuse to remove yourself from the situation is because the addict has told you that you are the problem! This may make you doubt yourself and wonder if he is right. So you may be attempting to change yourself and your actions in order to make HIM happy with you. This is often the case. He may tell you that your depression is causing him to use drugs. It is most likely true that you are depressed, who would not be living with the likes of an addict such as him, but your depression and actions are NOT the reason why his is using! The truth is: You only become a problem in the life of an addict from God's perspective if you are enabling his lifestyle and bad behavior.
The danger of enabling

You must realize that God has plans for you as well as your addicted loved one. He has a will for your life and his. The thing is, if you are enabling his drug use, you are standing in God's way and shutting down any plan he has for your loved one's freedom. The first step toward his freedom is taking yourself OUT of the situation and making sure the enabling stops.

Those who are loved ones of addicts will bail them out of jail, give them money and do other things which BLOCKS the addict from taking responsibility for his own bad choices and dangerous lifestyle. This is enabling. The drug addict, MUST SUFFER CONSEQUENCES before he will even desire to change his ways and his life. It is these consequences that the enabler is shielding their addicted loved one from and that is why the devastation of drug addiction seems like a roller coaster ride. Those who enable drug addicts should realize this.

Enabling the lifestyle of the addict is dangerous to him. In fact, enabling the addict is many times more dangerous than allowing him or her to own up to their own destructive lifestyle and take responsibility for their own actions.

If you enable the addict, they will stay trapped in their addiction and many times with your help, (if you enable them by giving them money, paying their bills and generally doing for them what they should be doing for themselves) their addictions usually escalate. I have experience with the addicts drug use escalating and spirally out of control due to a spouse or parent's enabling. Though these loved ones intentions are always well meaning, the addict takes advantage of their "Help" and his use will escalate almost every time. Tell an addict NO after he has only known you to tell him YES and you will quickly see him turn on you. This is why many spouses and parents of addicts choose to deny them nothing.

Those who enable: Tools of the addict

The addict uses those he or she loves. It is very hard to accept, but it is this very truth that many of us must realize. Just as tools are used to "fix" an inanimate object, their loved ones are tools that the addict will use to "fix" them. In other words, to help them maintain their addictive lifestyle. If you refuse to be used by them any longer and are not being their tool, you will most likely be left alone by them, but it will not be an easy adjustment. Most times, the addict will go on to find others who will enable him, but that is not your problem. You are not responsible for the actions of others, only yourself. Perhaps given enough time in the pit of despair, your loved one will emerge a changed person, having beaten their addiction through a prodigal son experience that has humbled him greatly and left him with the chance, the only chance at a fulfilling and real life.

May 7, 2005

False Shepherds and Scattered Sheep

Psalms 100:3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Try to visualize the scene below:

An open field, with sheep of all sizes freely grazing. The sheep seem comfortable and safe. All of the sudden you notice the shepherd of this fold enter the scene with a whip in his hand. You watch in horror as each sheep is singled out and whipped mercilessly.

This scene is a fictional one, but few realize that this fictional scene is all too reminiscent of the reality being played out in many so-called "Christian" churches in record numbers.

The fictional shepherd in the above illustration would not last long in the business of shepherding if you or I were owners of the fold. But in the real world, this type of Shepherd often abuses and destroys the sheep he has oversight of, all in order to satisfy his selfish and covetous desires.

The false shepherds of today in charge of many Christian churches do not whip the sheep physically, they whip them Spiritually. They have left off following God in order to follow their own selfish agendas.

What is even more unbelievable is that a vast number of sheep that are being abused put up with this abuse. They tolerate the abuse and cruelty of the false shepherds because the shepherd is seen to have a "special place with God".

These false shepherds use fear and intimidation to control their congregations. These are the tools they use to threaten the sheep into submission.

Of course, there are many good shepherds who seek to do God's will and strive to take good care of the sheep God has left in their care. But the idle and false shepherds tell their congregations to submit to God, but what they truly are aiming at is getting the sheep to submit to them. These false shepherds use God's name in vain because in their hearts, they are using his name to gain personal profit and to achieve their own selfish agendas.

Keep in mind who I am referring to here:

I am speaking of violent and control freak shepherds (pastors and those in authority) over many Christian churches in the world today.

And why do they do this?

1 John 2:19 & 2 Peter 1,2, and 3

19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

We can see by this verse that it WILL be made known to us exactly who is false and who is holding the truth of God and living by it.

A false shepherd: This is exactly what you must look to for understanding them and their character and what their agenda is:

2 Peter

1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned *false* words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

We see (because of their covetousness) by using false words, these false shepherds will make merchandise of us. Or rather, they will attempt to make merchandise of us. To me, this means they will view us as a method of gain. Does this sound familiar of some of today's mega preachers and teachers?

The motives of today's Christian teachers and preachers are many times in question. A shepherd who is prideful, covetous and useless will do much to destroy the sheep he is supposed to be protecting.

And what happens to the sheep that are scattered through no fault of their own? Those who are led astray by a foolish and selfish shepherd? Anything and Everything. From their horrible experiences with false and abusive shepherds, many of them are hardened and turn away from the God who truly loves them.

Religion and God's Truth

Jeremiah 23;2

Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.

These spiritually abused, beaten and abandoned sheep are scattered and vulnerable to every false belief system this world has to offer them

Many of them end up cursing god and man but most of all, religion. Notice how I separated God from religion? The reason is that God is as far from religion (man made rules that hold no cohesiveness with the true gospel of Jesus Christ) as the east is from the west. We are given a definition of pure religion from James.

James 1:27

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Compassion that springs forth from our hearts to help others in need, coupled with keeping ourselves unspotted, untainted from this world and the effects of the sin and evil that is loose in this world is what we are to strive for.

We are not to be unavailable to those who are in their darkest hour and need help. We are to be completely THERE for those who have needs. Jesus while in this earth, did not join himself with the RELIGIOUS.

He was, as he still is today, near those who were humble and contrite in spirit. Those who were meek and lowly.

Those who could ADMIT that they were sinful and in need of a shepherd. The Pharisees of Jesus's day would not admit that they needed a shepherd. They saw themselves as the ultimate "leaders" to the people. They were in reality the blind leading the blind.

Religion, in it's form mainly practiced today, is any doctrine comprised of man made rules and obligations, many of which are never commanded by God.

The true Gospel of Jesus Christ is never about man made rules, one is only able to gain the true Gospel of Christ through God's Word.

God's truth to mankind is made known only through the Bible .

To control others is very beneficial to these false shepherds and pastors. Their thoughts are continually resting on the type of force/control that can best be utilized in order to extract gain of some type that would benefit them. Their thoughts are not geared toward the best interests of the sheep.

There is an advantage some sheep have when they come up against a false shepherd. But it relies solely on whether they have knowledge given them by the Word of God. We are told in the Bible how important knowledge is when we read in Hosea 4;6

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge

Now if you take a person who lacks knowledge of the truth of God's word, that suffers spiritual abuse at the hand of a false shepherd, the outcome is bleak and severe because he has no base of truth to call upon in order to judge the matter clearly.

That truth will always be God's Word.

God's Word is able to separate lies from truth. Deception can then be shown for what it truly is. There is no other weapon in God's spiritual arsenal like his truth. His word will penetrate every error in doctrine. It will separate a false gospel from the true gospel.

The result of a lack of knowledge when dealing with spiritual affairs is devastating, destructive and dangerous.

You are open prey to those who have a personal agenda.

Many are taking advantage of the spiritually ignorant.

But we have an advantage over those who would try to abuse us spiritually if we have the knowledge that comes from God. Those who have no root of truth in them are continually subjecting themselves to other's views and other's truth, not God's.

Here is what we are to strive for:

Ephesians 4:14

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

His word is light and makes us capable of discerning right from wrong, truth from lies, man's thoughts from God's commands.

But without this weapon, God's truth, we sheep stand defenseless against the ever increasing number of false shepherds and their devices.

On our own, we cannot protect ourselves from the onslaught of deception that comes at us from all sides, every day of our lives. New insights, new theories, new gospels that those who have left God are constantly bombarding us with. This is why it is absolutely necessary to study to show ourselves approved unto God by taking in his truth above any other form of instruction.

The hurting and wounded sheep (those who God calls his own) are surely on God's mind and in his heart in their distress. God says that even HE will seek out all of the scattered hurting and wounded sheep that the false shepherds have scattered!

Ezekiel 34:11&12

For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.

As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.

These false shepherds have fed themselves and not the sheep of God's pasture. They have grown fat and the sheep have grown lean. They have neglected and abused the sheep that Jesus was sacrificed for and loves so, but rest assured that they will be held accountable for their abuse one day.

They are already judged by God

2 Peter 3

3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.