A Believer’s Disobedience

One of the hardest lines to walk—as a believer, as a follower of Jesus, as a child of God—is the path of obedience. We are at constant war with what God desires for our lives and what we feel is best for us.

The Bible says, in Galatians 5:17, “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”

We, for some reason, have convinced ourselves that God is out to ruin our lives and is out to control us with a bunch of rules and laws. We’ve convinced ourselves that God is waiting at every chance He gets to condemn us the moment we disobey.

Yet, the Bible tells us that the Laws of God actually free us from the very condemnation we assume God initiates. In fact, the judgement that we feel from God is really Him trying to redirect us toward right living.

God wants nothing more than for us to realize the best versions of ourselves. And it’s in the realization and the living out of that we truly become who God creates us to be.

What we often fail to realize, unfortunately, is that, amidst us choosing our own path and living in disobedience to God, our choices negatively affect others.

This is true, especially, with our loved ones.

When we ignore God’s direction and go toward the destructive path of disobedience, those around us suffer too. Our disobedience usually leads to frustration; which we end up taking out our frustrations on others. Our disobedience leads to anger; which we become angry with our circle of friends and family. Our disobedience to God catalyzes us toward paralysis; which we end up slowing others down from pursuing God’s call on their lives.

A believer’s disobedience not only affects him or her, but it affects others as well.

But when a believer chooses to walk in obedience, freedom is released for everyone around.

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Not the Home I Once Knew

I used to love you.

Adored you.

Wanted to be just like you.

You let me into your home.
Your home became my home.
Beautiful.
Craftsman Victorian.
Polished.
The kind draped on the covers of magazines across the world.

You taught me about your food.
Your clothing.
Your music.
Your slang.
You gave me a chance.
You taught me how to live.

But you eventually left me hanging like rosary necklaces wrapped around generations of innocence left longing for hope.

You majored in sin and you didn’t even know it.

You became a modern day Caesar,
convincing Christians
to fight for king and country,
all the while degrading basic human decency.

God in me weeps uncontrollably.

He floods cities to bring people together,
but your entitlement floods division into the cities
already torn apart.

Your screeches slip looser than serpentine belts.

Your religious hypocrisy is just a regurgitated oratorical form of colonialism.

Your name…
Your name used to sweet talk
even the hardest of felons,
but the way you shackle my freedom
feels like rusted braces
scratching the insides of my mouth.

Your canker soars past sidewalk chalk outlines of dandelion dreams.

Crushed.

Blown in the wind.

The flag that waves above your mantle points to the secret rooms hidden behind your bookcases.

Your barrels still smell of burnt metal.
And you caress them tightly
every time I mourn another
And another
And another

I don’t want to ban your guns.
I just want to ban your ability to take away our sons
And our daughters.
He…
He wanted to write captivating words just like me.
She…
She wanted to paint succulents in teacups because they lasted longer that way.

And his cousin,
She just wanted to play too.
She wanted to taste your food
and learn your slang
just like you once taught me.
She wanted a home.
She wanted to be home.
She wanted her own room
and a place to play dolls
with her make believe friends.
But you locked her away in your basement,
while her parents peered,
in horror,
through your front porch window.

You’re more Herod than you are Christian,
misquoting Scriptures to justify your separation.

And you have the audacity to claim my God?

My God…
who came to preach good news to the poor.
My God who came to heal the brokenhearted,
My God…
who came to proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
My God who came to free the oppressed.
My God…
whose name you’ve taken in vain.

Your empty praises
are centuries of Molotov cocktails,
getting drunk on religious idolatry.

Sometimes it feels more like I’m being locked in
than you keeping people out.
And who puts barbed wire
on white picket fences anyway?

It was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who once said,
“The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.”

No wonder I don’t recognize this Craftsman anymore.
This Victorian, draping its rusted pipes around the necks of little boys and little girls, has become a mansion haunting tourists for its own pleasure.

This home isn’t what I once knew.

But it’s not like I can just pick up and leave.
It’s not that easy.
So, I’m here.
Standing firm on your front porch.
And, yes, I am not going anywhere.
So, go ahead.
Take your best shot.