Friday, December 7, 2007

"Godly Council"...??????

........I am taking a leap of boldness here and am including below a portion of an email my husband and I received this past summer, as council. We were going through a season of pure hell in our life and our marriage. We had hit rock bottom. Everything in our life was in chaos, job, living situation, house in another state not selling, no money, just had a baby, no love between us and the list goes on. We were fighting, screaming at each other, freaking out, losing our minds....this had been building and building for years. We sought help from many people.....but to no avail, all the council we received only made things worse.( council over the years for us included, read "this" book together, or this article, or take this seminar I am giving, or try this one method, or find a more mature couple you can meet with, usually was someone we didn't already have a relationship with and there was no genuine love and trust built.....have accountablity with other ladies, other men...and the list goes on.) It seemed the more we counciled the worse things became. I must say God was hunting us down and seeking us out, like the lost sheep, he was seeking to be gracious to us and let all the floodgates of heaven pour out on us!! We just didn't fully know it, yet! (now might I add we both are genuine professing Christians that both had a genuine encounter of salvation!) .......I kept seeing glimmers of hope flickering in and out of our life, I kept getting brief glimpses of His grace and Love, but all the voices of council crowded Him out. You would think the church would be where we found our help and restoration, would you not???? I was growing increasingly frustrated as time continued on and there were no breakthroughs. All I could see was my husband seemed to be going insane, and I was following suit. What would become of our marriage, was there any hope? I believed deep in my heart God would never leave me or forsake me, and that he held me firm by his grace, but I saw no way out of the pit we were in. But God in His awesome Love for us put his loving hand down into that pit and lifted us up and out into the full brightness of His Love and Grace! I will write soon about His revelation to me specifically, but for now I just want to expose a small portion of an email we received in the heat of our trial this past summer!

".........Let me say it simply: I believe the primary problem in your marriage is a profound absence of the fear of God. On both your parts. As I have observed the way you have dealt with each other and this situation this week in particular, I would be hard pressed to see any significant difference in the way you have interacted or what you have sought to get, than what I would expect to see in people who have have no claim to be Christian at all. There is an alarming lack of awareness that everything you say and do is being done before a holy God, who does not wink at sin and is not fooled by token words. While I think it is a good thing that you are seeking counsel from Christians, and that you are looking to the church for help, I’m not aware of anyone who could say about either of you – ‘more than anything Keith and Lydia want to honor God and do his will’.

The consequences of not fearing God are bearing down on your lives in increasing ways – pride, chaos, bitterness, foolish decisions, self deception. When God is not righfully feared, other things are elevated in his place. These false gods, whether they be alcholol, leisure, respect, affection, peace, etc., will be the undoing of your marriage, family and the shipwreck of your faith if left as the ruling authorities in your lives. I am speaking frankly because I must call you both to repentance before the Lord. Please see your present situation as God’s gracious hand of discipline in your lives, and seek to benefit from it in your response. I don’t have wisdom for you apart from the cross of Christ. No one can sort out your marriage and family problems if the fundamental goal you retain is anything less than submission of your whole hearts and lives to the Lord, who is your Savior. I want to meet with you and help you. You don’t have to prove anything to me in order to meet. But I simply can’t help you if you try to fix any problem or resolve any dispute without being resolved to glorify God above all else. And it would be sinfully unloving of me to try to fix your present situation with with pastoral skills and and personal attention, while leaving your fundamental needs unaddressed.

What do I ask you to do?

First, take the next week to individually consider before the Lord what I have said here. Consider the question this way, “Am I willing to do what ever it takes and give up whatever it costs to glorify God in my marriage?”

Second, send this email to those with whom you have been talking over the past couple of weeks. I will be glad to interact with anyone who believes my perspective to be out of line.

Third, recognize that I bring this because I’m willing to risk your respect for me for the hope of helping you see afresh the power of the Gospel to change lives. If this email disqualifies me in your minds from helping you I will not hold that against you. I ask you not to see it as a blanket judgement of who you are, but as a plea to see what the real problem is. I believe it is sound biblical warning. I am like you a sinner in need of grace and a battler of false gods. Those around me are faithful friends when they use their words to sting my self-reliance and false worship. I am simply doing for you what I need done for myself.

One way to begin to glorify God this week is to remember that every word you communicate to each other is being weighed by God, who judges the heart and actions rightly. Fear God in the way you communicate and in the content of your whatever communication you have. Wisdom comes from the fear of God and you both desperately need wisdom.

May the Lord meet you by his mercy this week. May his holiness be your greatest concern."...........(Please understand I share this to help explain what we are coming away from and I do not judge the person who wrote this, however I do wonder why they chose the words they did!)

I have to say when I read this, my heart sunk deeply and I felt very condemned, I felt judged and honestly couldn't believe what I was reading! (Despite the statement, do not take this as a blanket judgement.) I threw up my hands and said if the church can't help me, where do I go from here? Well, needless to say, I decided to get away from it all and left town and went to our house in NY until it sold, without my husband. This was the third time I had left him in the course of a year and a half. Anyway, I am only painting a small portion of the picture here for now....I plan to, over the next few posts, dig into this all a bit......that's all for now!!!


Grace said...

Hi Lydia

Wow. Thank you for being honest and vounerable with us.

I would like to say that I rebuke in the name of Jesus Christ any negative words uttered over your marriage. No weapons formed against you.

Secondly I believe we have no right to judge God's children (Rom 8v33. Seems like who ever wrote that letter did.

Have you been able to forgive these people?

I pray all goes well.

Bless you

Daelon said...

Don't ever feel condemned when someone tears you down like that when you came to them for help. I wouldn't listen to any of it. It was false humility throughout the e-mail.

This person is obviously under a lot of anxiety themselves being under the pressure to perform. I'm guessing they do believe they're helping, but they aren't. Don't listen to a word of it. It's a bunch of false humility and an effort to change your situation by fear and shame based behavior modification. But in my experience, making yourself afraid of God won't change one thing in your life.

Bino B. Manjasseril said...

Perfect love casts away fear. Both cannot exist together. If there is fear, there is no perfect love. And God's desire for us is to be perfected in His love.
When the church and other can't help you, Jesus can help you. He is the one who said, do not be anxious about tomorrow.
Thank you for sharing this with us.

lydia joy said...

Thanks to all! Thanks for your care and concern and for sharing your thoughts, I am so blessed!!
I am glad I failed, I am glad the church failed (ultimately speaking) -I am glad to know with my heart all that I need is found in Him!!

Joel Brueseke said...


What you need to do is pull yourself up by the bootstraps and start working out your salvation with fear and anxiety, read your bible for 2 1/2 hours each day (after praying for 3 1/2 hours), fast 2 or 3 times a week, witness to everyone you see, read the book "The Performance Driven Life," follow the "142 Steps to Spiritual Victory, pray for a hedge of protection around your enemies so your sad, sorry spiritual life won't drive them even farther away from the Lord, start giving 20% of your gross income, plus a love offering on top of that, to your local church (you know, the "storehouse") and then drop and do infinity push-ups. Then maybe you'll be good enough to present yourself back into the good graces of the church. Oh, but don't forget to submit to the authority of the leadership, because the bible plainly states (in someone's side notes somewhere) that your pastor and elders are your earthly lord and master, and if you just do everything they tell you to do without questioning any of it in the slightest way, you might, just might make it to heaven, if only by the skin of your teeth.

It's that simple!

In fun,

(This is just an attempt to have some fun with this... but I do of course realize like everyone else here that the email you shared is a sad, sad commentary on the state of many who are in the legalistic church today. I'm praying that you continue to revel in the true freedom you've found in the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! As it says on Grace in Flood's blog today... we're all in this together and by the grace of God we'll continue to build one another up in Him).

Galatians 5:1 "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."

wayno said...

I've been thinking about this sentance for a long time, and have decided to base my ministry on it is...i think it's deeply profound.

Love and Faith are better than fear and reward.

You dont need more of the fear of God. What we need is a deepining revalation of who God is and how much he loves us. Thats what releases Gods powerful spirt, and were are changed as a result. Fear pushes us away.

Stay strong sister!!
grace and peace to you

jul said...

Joel, I didn't know you went to our old church! Obviously you sat on the other Didn't you know that God gives grace to those who humbly follow their leaders? That's in 2 snuffalupogus 7:1. Nobody knows theirs Bibles thes days!

lydia joy said...

Joel, Thanks for adding some humor:)
Great verse!
Oh and yeah, I was wondering if you went to my old church as well?? Amazing coincidence!

Wayne, excellent one and love!!


Pucky said...

Yip.... Love God Love People(your husband).

Ellie said...

How do they all write like this?? My heart started beating fast and I felt guilty, even though this email wasn't even sent to me.It's such a swirl of confusion & fear.

lydia joy said...

Wow, I am so sorry you felt this way, it grieves my heart that so many folks have been pushed away from joy and confidence in Christ by the fear and guilt induced by "words of council" from men who should be telling them of the victory they can have in Christ! I pray you will move away from these feelings and experience true freedom and joy in Christ - for his is inheritance is ours!!