i've heard it said that the Word and those who speak it should afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. Truth and Grace.
i think i've pretty well established which one i'm better at.
Sadly, it's also pretty well established that there are folks who will use the Word as a weapon for their own purposes. Twist its meaning to fit their agendas. Justify themselves with indulgent edits. Often the Word gets blamed for this. As if God should have been more careful with the words He chose. Or put some kind of disclaimer on the Holy Scriptures. (There is one, and we'll get to that.) Often the church, Christ's very Bride gets blamed en masse for the corruption of some who claim membership in her. Make no mistake, all are sinners so there is no perfect church nor perfect church goer but taken as a whole, the Church is Christ's Body and therefore good. To speak ill of her is to speak ill of her husband who loves her.
That said, Christ warned us wolves would sneak in from the Synagogue of Satan to corrupt her from within if they could as they always have. They lure away those whose faith and knowledge are incomplete. They are thieves who steal for power, for material gain or just for the hell of it. Read the Word and you will see the over arching story of the Son of Man wooing and wanting His wayward wife. From Serpent in the Garden to the Scarlet Dragon in final act, Satan hates God so he hates His Bride too. He cannot touch God, so he attacks mercilessly and with cunning the one God loves. He has been a liar and murderer from the beginning and we are the prey.
Many have been hurt in this war. Many have real wounds. i acknowledge this. Do you, afflicted beloved, acknowledge that none of this happened without the express knowledge and approval and even ordination of your loving Husband God?
"Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tried you in the furnace of affliction." (Is 48)
That's just one verse. If i were to post all the ones that state this, express or implied, i would pretty much have to repost the Bible here. Don't take my word for it, just do a quick search for "affliction", take The Word for it. Affliction is not random. It, like all of creation, serves a purpose, His. To refine, to burn away what is not good, to turn us back to our source of Life and away from the Death we were choosing instead.
To bring us home, to bring us to our senses, to bring us back to our loving husband and Father.
But that's not the way we use it anymore. We use it now to justify our therapeutic self-indulgence. We weave our hurts and our wounds into a stifling comforter from under which we hide from the outside world, from the monsters, from the scariness, from our responsibility, from the Light. We muffle the words we don't want to hear. We think ourselves warm and safe and untouchable and all we are is smothered. We have buried the Talent of God for we have found him a hard man who reaps where he does not sow and gathering where he did not scatter seed. 'i have been hurt so i am only protecting myself.' We justify silencing those who speak truth, we slap sentimental bumperstickers all over the hard parts of the Word so we don't have to use or hear words like "obey" and "listen" and "sin" and "confess" and "commandment." God loves me, this i know, for the Bible tells me so and God is love so he doesn't want me to do anything hard or scary or where i might possibly get hurt. He cannot possibly ask me to forgive because of what happened to me. He cannot ask me to obey because of what i've been through. i know i shouldn't do this but you don't know where i've been. i need this!
We are justified. Righteous. Not even God can ask us to do anything anymore because we have been afflicted! We are the Comfortable IN our Affliction.
That's enough for today. Please pray and listen and let's just see where that takes us for a while.