Already Included #60 – Bad People

By Sarah Nyhan

Maybe it’s not right theology that changes people as much as right love. Maybe we make it too complicated. Maybe we overthink things. Maybe the reason Jesus lets us fumble around in our denominations is party because that isn’t the main point. That perfect knowledge is not an end unto itself. That perfect knowledge is maybe only really as useful if it contributes to more perfect love. And as such, maybe for the more intellectual among us, the undoing of “knowledge” would maybe be more helpful than gorging ourselves on even more information.

Am I too heavenly minded to be any earthly good?

There is an avoidance of vulnerability when I live in my mind. Safely tucked away in the sanitized security of control and certainty. Very much alone. Nobody measures up. Nobody challenges me. As I hold people hostage to my expectations.

And then something outside of yourself wrecks your little castle. It’s on fire. Maybe you lose everything. And you feel very ashamed. Now you need others. And where are they? You have run them all off.

But what about what they did to me? True. But maybe there is something between the do-all and the do-nothing? Maybe there is a middle ground. Maybe the only person I have control over is myself. Maybe good people, people that love us, fumble up and mess things up and hurt us sometimes.

Maybe we hurt people also. Maybe we mess up. Maybe most others don’t know what we’re going through. Maybe we can give them the same grace that we need. I’m not saying excuse actions. I’m talking about how all of us need healing.

I think when you have lived in a paradigm that dismissed you as a person and your feelings for so long then once you wake up everything is sensitive and everything hurts. It’s like the brightest light was turned on and pierced the deepest wounds in your mind and heart. Maybe even in your spirit. Like you lived your whole life in the sewers of the slums and then one day were taken to the richest King’s castle and you look at yourself and your life and suddenly all this filth and poverty you previously settled for just overwhelms you. You suddenly see all the scars, all the dirt. And now that you are able you just want to scrub and scrub until you are clean. You want to stay far away from all that previous pain.

And maybe that time is needed. To heal, to recover our strength, to clear and rebuild our minds.

But to what end? To then forever sit in judgement on all who are behind? I think I am learning that is not at all Jesus’ heart. I think He proved it as He associated with all the broken during His time on earth. Not to judge them. Not to push them away. Not to sanitize Himself from their mess. No. He was all about healing.

Maybe there will be an expansion of our hearts. Maybe that’s the only way out of this. To see ourselves altogether as one. Maybe your healing is also my healing. Maybe I am only as whole as your brokenness?

The phrase that keeps haunting me is “forgiveness leads to repentance”. Not the other way around.

Before I used to do things with an agenda. I called it love, but I don’t think it was true love. It may have been sometimes “nice” or “friendly” at the most. But love is a whole other ballgame. Love is not safe. Love is not sanitized. Love doesn’t have a formula. Love doesn’t work when we keep score.

But the good news is that love is bigger than our failures. And love is always available for us to choose. Love heals. Love restores. Love is an irresistible force. Love gets in even as they fight or rage against it.

I’m obviously not the expert here. But I know Who is. And Holy Spirit’s wrath for our total healing will never waver.

Maybe my hell is driving me towards my redemption. Maybe I’ve been fighting the very things that will be my salvation. And not only mine, but the salvation of all those that I have driven off along the way.

Lord help us, we need a Savior. Who came to earth as a baby. Not a soldier.

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Already Included #49 – Judgement

By Sarah Nyhan

Interesting that God says to not even judge ourselves. If we judge others then it might not be God, but our own judgement that will come back and haunt us so to speak. What if I stopped judging myself? What would that even look like? Maybe it would involve giving Jesus every bit of shame, disappointment, and even anger towards myself. Asking Him what He thinks of it all.

Sometimes when I ask God for forgiveness, I feel like He says, “Stop”; that it never was, never is, and never will be about appeasing Him. He is the kind of parent who knew what He was getting into before we even showed up. He is not disappointed. He does not operate out of ego. He has nothing to prove. He knows who we are. His love for us is never in question. He never has a doubt. It has only ever been our perception of Him and ourselves that Trinity is ever healing. Collectively and individually.

Our hearts know when we see true love. We feel it in the part of us that sings apart from knowledge and arguments. The part of us that rejoices when a baby is born, a dog is rescued, or a long-awaited loved one returns home.

Will we forgive ourselves? I wager we don’t even know how. Again, Jesus says we are welcome to bring Him everything. He will sort it out. He will open our eyes and hearts. He will wash us clean of all the mess we and others have put upon us. He will show us how to receive His love. As we allow ourselves to rest, others will feel the difference without our having to force them to submit to any postured authority.

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Already Included #47 – Unveiling

By Sarah Nyhan

Will I give people more power than God? Will I let the opinions of others keep me small and silent?

What if God says I am loved versus just being tolerated or appeased? What if God says I am accepted and included? What if God is proud of me?

How much more weight will I give to the words of others versus God’s heart for me?

I’d gladly speak without showing myself for all to scrutinize. For all to judge and pick apart. I don’t want to bear the attention. But I feel like that is the easy way out. My version of Moses saying, “But they won’t listen to me, Lord.”

What if it is our perceived flaws that God is so eager to celebrate? Not to shame us. But that through us others may see and feel real hope? What gospel would it be if it only offers hope to those who already seem to have it all together? What gospel would it be if it is only for those who have enough strength?

I have prayed way more than three times to come to you as a different person. A more sanitized socially-acceptable version of myself. But He changed my heart. He showed me a different perspective. And so here I am.

If God is for us, is that enough? If the Creator of the entire universe is for us then is that enough? It was enough for David. It was enough for Joseph. It was enough for Gideon. It was enough for Ruth. It was enough for Esther. Is it enough for us?

How much wasted time have I spent agonizing over trying to fit in when maybe God absolutely wants me to stand out?

And so here I am. Vulnerable, but not alone. Giving all my fears and feelings to God. Who better to speak to my heart? To penetrate the years of discouragement?

What shame will we ask Jesus about today? What shame will we bring to Holy Spirit for healing today? God already knows. He assures us that we are welcome. That we are His kids and He does not do abandonment. He will never leave us alone.

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