Is This Who We Are? Addressing Cruelty in Cultural “Christianity”

Quote by Ghandi

This year has brought out the gold in some people and exceptional cruelty/the worst in others. I call it an unveiling year. We always had issues in my nation; now they are more visible. 

I understand there has been stress, uncertainty, life changes, and for some they are living on the edge. We all need grace, kindness, the benefit of the doubt, and mercy is greater than judgement. Then there is a time to stand up, speak out, and set boundaries with people who are way out of line. 

I do not know about you, yet I have witnessed things in cultural “Christianity” that do not align with God love (unselfish, sacrificial love). 

Face Mask Mania: 

I have witnessed grown adults having 2 year old tantrums over face masks. Some have cursed out store employees, destroyed property, and given others COVID. Wearing a mask to demonstrate to your neighbor you care about them is not being weak. It’s actually loving to consider other people. 

I have heard people say, “Well, I am not afraid, and this is violating my rights.” Yet the same people wear clothes and shoes into the stores. Those are mandatory. The same people wear seat belts. Those are mandatory. The same people yield to traffic signs. 

Sometimes loving our neighbors costs us something. I know of people who have died from COVID. My parents are much older (I came later in life). If someone could have prevented them from getting COVID and chose not to attesting their rights, and my parents died, I would be furious! Yes, God heals. Yes, God protects. God also considers people who are afraid, hurting, not healed, have no health insurance, etc.

I want to make a t-shirt for my merch site that says, “It’s not just about you. I looked at the center of the Universe and found God, not your photo.”

Jesus stated, “Love your neighbor AS you love yourself.” I know this is challenging and can only be done by abiding in Jesus. I have to ask God to help me love some people and to walk in love. I am not perfect. I am still being refined. I try to let Him love through me. 

Jesus could have been the biggest ego maniac as the Son of God. Meaning His status was and is King of kings. He chose humility. Humility involves lowering ourselves and considering others.

Degrading and Mocking: 

I have been talked down to, mocked, and treated poorly by “Christians” because of my stance against racist things and posting about racism this year. I am accustomed to churchy people attacking me because I do not just go along with the crowd. 

There are people degrading and mocking other human beings while claiming to be pro-life. I have seen “Christians” stand up and support a murderer aligned with their political party, yet claim to be pro-life. Some have celebrated the death of someone who was pro-choice. I have seen people using another person’s tragedy to promote their political agenda (using a miscarriage to drag a pro-choice person through the mud). I have heard racist comments from professing “Christians”, leaders, pastors, people claiming to represent Jesus. I have seen levels of dishonor from professing believers that was and is absolutely demonic. It’s not how Jesus behaves nor how He behaved. It is from the pit. 

I want to say this clearly. The world watches the way Christians behave. They often see the hypocrisy of the church better than anyone in the church. I have spoken to quite a few people about their gross disappointment with the church especially in the areas of justice, addressing racism, politics (turning a blind eye to gross sin in their chosen political party or political leader while screaming “You’re evil,” at them, for not caring about those terrified about COVID, and noticing extreme arrogance in people claiming to be a Christian especially those who are in a leadership or government role. 

I may lose followers for posts like these, yet my loyalty is to Jesus. Despite behaviors of pastors, leaders, other Christians, politicians, and even the President-we answer to God for ourselves! If we claim to be a Christian, Jesus is the standard. God looks at how we live, notes everything we say, and we will give an account for how we represented Him on earth. 

I hear people say they would die for Jesus. No you wouldn’t if you won’t even put on a face mask to help those around you. I hear people say they want to lead millions into knowing Jesus. Well, that involves sacrifice and dying to self. Would anyone want to know Jesus by the lifestyle we live in front of them? I see people running away from God due to political and rude professing Christians. 

This whole notion that we are the center of the Universe and not God, is not only unbiblical, it’s dangerous. It is dangerous because we can think we are following Jesus when we are actually not following Jesus at all. 

I am reading through the entire bible and right now I am in Matthew. The things Jesus said were radical. “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out,” meaning we are responsible for our actions. He did not say, “Blame the other person and scream about your rights.” 

Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” I could hear Jesus preaching this today and people screaming, “No Jesus! Blessed are ALL people. All people are blessed!!” There is something wrong when we make everything about us. 

Something is wrong in a culture where there is zero consideration for others. Something is wrong when Christians are linked to cruelty rather than compassion. Something is wrong when the behavior of the church looks more like the world than Jesus. 

I have ceased looking at my personal Facebook until I can clean it out due to the conflict “Christians” have caused on my page. No person should feel hostage or bullied on their own page. Why is this happening? People think my page is their territory to say whatever they like and quite a few love to make posts about them, especially the posts addressing racism. It’s funny the most vocal have not been recipients of racism. However, they show up to debate me or offer opinions regarding things they do not understand. They are harmful!!! I had to start a private, unseen group to discuss racism safely with people of color. 

Who have been the ones causing strife on my page? Professing Christians. I ask this question, “Is this who we are?” Do we truly want to be lumped in the category of cruel, selfish, lacking compassion, mean spirited, narcissistic, uncaring, apathetic, mockers? I know Jesus is none of those things. 

My encouragement to the world is “Let’s do better!” My encouragement to Christians is, “Please consider Jesus as the standard, not leaders of our time. Choose Jesus. Follow Jesus.” The same Jesus who flipped over tables and rebuked people to their faces was willing to die on a cross for them. I meet people who will not even endure 10 minutes of being uncomfortable to show love to someone else. 

My hopes are people are pointed at the real Jesus! The Jesus who washed feet even though He was king. The Jesus who denied Himself and chose death to give us life. He put Himself in harms way to save our lives. Jesus who went out of His way to demonstrate unselfish, sacrificial love. Are we? Do people seen any hint of Jesus in us? Because we are walking billboards for Him. He wants the world to know Him. Jesus came to point the world to the Father. We have an incredible opportunity to do the same. 

God gave the church copious opportunities in 2020 to demonstrate His love, compassion, selflessness, helping hand, and work for justice. Are we adding value anywhere other than our comfy Christian bubbles? The world around us is hurting. 

Church buildings may have closed. Street corners did not. I have gone out on the streets almost every month this year; feeding people, clothing people, praying for people, sharing the Gospel, going to protest sites to love people, etc…Operation God is love paid for groceries for families laid off by COVID. One month we had a line of hungry people because no one was coming to feed them. Jesus does not stop being Jesus in a crisis. Jesus shows up with solutions. He invites His followers to do the same. 

Taking Supplies to the Streets

May we sink into Jesus, follow Jesus, and represent Him well. 

Warmly, 

Erin

Racism Thrives on a Lack of Genuine Relationships with People of Color

Photo: Noxio (Found on Pinterest) 

Proximity & intentional relating can help heal a racist viewpoint.

I studied chemical engineering. Yes, I am a nerd. Yes, I love math, science, physics, and my highest grades were in math. I even took more math classes than needed. I digress. My first roommate at college had never seen a “colored” person before. She assumed because we chatted on the phone that I was white (it is a false stereotype that all people of color use broken English). Her mom thought I was the first person from my family to go to college and I was a charity case. My mother corrected her and let her know she had 5 college degrees. That was an awkward moment. The mother believed a stereotype that all people of color are charity cases, unlearned/uneducated.

My roommate’s prejudice was amplified over the first few months. She would say things that were racist and be corrected. She tried to boss me around like I was her live in servant, this too was not tolerated. It was taxing to keep educating her on how to treat people. It was also challenging for her to unlearn all the garbage she had learned about non white people.

One of her biggest fears was I would steal from her. Another stereotype is people of color are poor or steal. I told her I was not poor, did not want her stuff.

Over time her views began to shift some. She stopped acting like I wanted to steal from her. She did say, “You are okay, I just do not want any of ‘those people,’ alone with my stuff.” She was referring to my black and hispanic friends. Many of them had more money than she did. She was corrected.

What I learned from Jane (not her real name) is that it is easy to be ignorant in a bubble. If you have no real connections with people not like you, it’s easy to believe the lies of the media and culturally passed down stereotypes. If anyone should have been afraid in that situation, it should have been me. Historically racists have killed and persecuted more people of color than the reverse. A recent story popped up of a black woman poisoned by her white roommate.

I have encouraged my Bible study to GO connect with people not like you. Try to get to know them. Listen to their stories. Learn about their culture. Read. Study. Learn. Reach out. Listen to understand, not debate.

Did Jane walk away with less prejudice? I think so. I also noted there were ideas of superiority that she refused to let go. We parted ways unamicably. Instead of being able to just focus on study I was teaching my roommate how not to be racist. ChemE is challenging even if you love math, chemistry, etc…I spent a portion of my freshman year dealing with racism and bringing truth to stereotypes.

It changed me a bit. I grew up in a family where everyone was welcome and we did not do the racial stuff. I had experienced racism when we moved to another city and when my mom enrolled me in a school for the gifted. I hated that school. There was plenty of racism at that school. Yet now I was living with someone who had been raised in an environment of racism, bigotry, and white superiority. I learned racism is taught. It can be unlearned.

Though Jane and her parents may have thought she (they) were superior based on race, Jane flunked a year and I am not sure if she graduated.
Ethnic background has nothing to do with value, worth, intellect. We all were created in the image of God and have divine potential.

My encouragement is get to know people and understand every person in the man made groups is not identical. I cannot speak for every person who looks like me. Nor can you. People are people. We all come with our own stories, experiences, etc…invest some time in getting to know people.

Warmly, 

Erin Lamb 

Founder & CEO 

Empowered-Free.com

Empoweredandfreemerch.com

OperationGodisLove.org

Which Jesus Are You Following?

I do not know the Jesus who does not care about the poor, injustice, the immigrant. That Jesus is not in the Bible.

I do not know racist/white supremacist Jesus because He is not in the Bible nor was Jesus white. He was brown, a middle eastern Jew.

I do not know political Jesus, who was pushing politics on people and in the ear of the political elite. Jesus focused on the Kingdom of heaven, an eternal Kingdom. Political Jesus is also not found in the Bible.

I do not know greedy Jesus who sought for people to give Him all their money and exploited the people. He came to serve, not be served.

I do not know dictator Jesus, nor law & order Jesus (the way humans portray law and order). Jesus sacrificed Himself to save us. He fulfilled the law and invited us into relationship to therefore help us gain righteousness with God through faith. When the Pharisees wanted to stone people, Jesus wanted to offer redemption.

I do not know snobbish Jesus who separated Himself from those society hated. That Jesus is not in the Bible.

I do not know bully or rude Jesus. His harshest words were for the self righteous religious people.

I do not know hypocrite Jesus who let the disciples get away with gross sin while chastising the world. Jesus was fair.

I do not know Jesus who lacked compassion and only cared about Himself and those who agreed with Him. He met with the most sinful and hated of society and offered them life.

I do not know sexist Jesus who mistreated, looked down upon, or displaced women. Sexist Jesus is not biblical. Jesus of the Bible was radical in His love, support, and protection of women.

I do not know the Jesus only interested in filling buildings or seeking to gain a fan club. That Jesus cannot be found in the Bible. Jesus went out to the people. He fed them spiritually and naturally. He preached repentance, and how to have everlasting life. He healed the sick, delivered the oppressed, and demonstrated how to have a relationship with the Father.

I do not know “Christian” Jesus. Jesus was a Jew. He was not Catholic nor Protestant. He was a Jew.

I do not know this Jesus that so many claim to follow. I do know Jesus of Nazareth. He is not like cultural Christianity Jesus at all. My encouragement is open a Bible and get to know the real Jesus.

Love in Christ, 

Erin Lamb

Keys to Understanding the Racist & Racism

Things to Note About the Racist/Racism:

  1. That person is deeply insecure. You are not looking at a confident person. You are looking at someone who subconsciously struggles with self esteem, love, compassion, and truly liking themself. Therefore, racism is a tool of self preservation and ways to mitigate subconscious feelings of inferiority. Someone must be inferior to feel good about oneself. It is rooted in insecurity, not confidence.
  2. It’s been indoctrinated into many people and they may speak out racist things without even realizing it’s racist. I have seen this in relationships with people. They have to tell you the ethnicity of a non white person who does something, especially if it’s a crime. If the person is white, the race is ommitted. You see this quite a bit on the news.

I was at an art museum with a lady once and there was a painting of a somber black man. She mocked him, “Oh the plight of the black man.” She also later remarked how so many minorities starting coming to her church and now it wasn’t like her church anymore. She saw no issue with making these statements, yet they were manifestations of her being taught racism. 

This person was not a confident person. She was insecure. She would not label herself racist, yet her words demonstrated how she saw non white people as “other”. She also expressed fear of reverse racism.

She had been indoctrinated to believe all the negative stats about people of color. I have gone through this my entire life. People say they are not racist, yet because of media and education, they say things that are rooted in racism. 

One big fat lie is that all minorities are poor or ignorant. So when they run into minorities who are not poor and highly intelligent, that person must be the anomoly. Well no, the successes in science, engineering, math, medicine, education, and advanced fields are normally hidden about minorities. Crime stats from poor neighborhoods are amplified, not the stories of those changing the world for the better. The movie Hidden Figures shows how contributions of highly intelligent non white people are buried.

I have been this skin color my entire life and know an abundance of non white people who are not poor, come from two parent homes, own businesses, have money, are not beggars on the street, are successful, and intelligent. These types of people do not make the news nor are they talked about much or at all. American history focuses on Harriet Tubman, Dr. Martin Luther King, and Rosa Parks. The inventors, scientists, engineers, artists, world record breakers, millionaires, business owners, etc….are ignored unless it’s Oprah or a sports person.

  1. The racist fears retaliation. This has shown up the past few weeks with my posts on history. There are people who think the goal of non white people is to seek revenge. When you do people dirty, there is a fear they will do it to you. I have heard numerous people say, “We cannot let ‘those people’ have power, they will do horrible things to us.” Well, last I checked none of our Presidents have been assasinated by people of color, our mass shooters of white people have not been people of color, our serial killers and perpetrators of genocide have not primarily been people of color. Brown and black people have been the targets of mass murder.
  2. Racism is about bullying and pushing others down to prop oneself up.

I saw a video of a lady shove a Native American lady and tell her to go back to her country. The native woman looked at her like she was crazy. She said, “My ancestors were here before yours.” The woman got slapped for starting a fight, then played the victim.

Another lady verbally assaulted a 15 year old girl and yelled, “My ancestors owned yours.” She kept yelling racial slurs. Since when is being a human trafficker something to be proud of at all? It’s shameful, NOT a badge of honor. I think I may have responded, “You are proud your ancestors were kidnappers, rapists, brutalizers, and human traffickers. Wow! I am going to pray for you. That is not an insult to me. That speaks of the depravity of your ancestors.” 

  1. Those who feel guilt or shame about racism do not want to talk about it or it’s impact. The goal is to pretend it is not an issue and move on from there. You will be encouraged to forgive and not talk about racism. This is not how healing works. Therefore, I find it best to chat with people who have experienced racism and discrimination. I liked one protest sign that read, “Justice, then reconciliation.” God is not just the God of forgiveness, and mercy, He is the God of justice.
  2. People know racism is wrong, because they do not want to be treated that way. Jane Elliot is a hero in the area of being anti racist. She asked a group of non people of color if they wanted to be treated the way society treats black people. No one raised their hands. She said, “So you know they are treated differently and wrong. You cannot claim ignorance. You just do not want to be responsible for changing the way people are treated.”
  3. There are degrees of racism. A person with racist ideas can have friends or a spouse of a different ethnicity. They can claim to be a Christian. The lady I mentioned above with the art museum claimed to be my friend for years. I have had people who claimed to love me and all people say quite racist things.
  4. Though it can be challenging not to take it super personal, understand many people do NOT know history. Since there is ignorance on what truly transpired or parts of history taught in schools are lies, people are responding to what they know. They do not know America promised certain Native tribes land, then took it back once gold was found there. They do not know many American presidents owned slaves and frequently raped them. They do not know about Sunday lynchings. They do not know America had concentration camps like Germany. They do not know the government sent rioters into black neighborhoods to burn them to the ground. They do not know how many natives were scalped and killed for land. They do not know about Jim Crow, mass incarceration, gentrification, red lining neighborhoods, voter suppression, wealthy black neighborhoods burned to the ground and looted by the Klan and angry racists. They do not know people of color have fought for every single right, some even to the death. They do not know Lincoln did not truly want to free the slaves. He wanted to ship them to other nations with nothing. Nor do they know slave owners were compensated for their loss of slaves, while slaves were given nothing. After hundreds of years of free hard labor, breaking of families, forced sexual acts even with men and children, being brutalized, terrorized, and forced submission to horrendous treatment-they were told to just make it on their own. Many were chased down once freed and put in a concentration camp. Being black, alive, and sane in America is a freaking miracle!!! It is a miracle to not be in a corner rocking somewhere. Praise to God.

Understand the history books do NOT tell the whole story and in many cases minimizes the severity of the treatment of people of color.

Lastly…

Racism fuels the ideas that there are separate races, whites are superior to everyone else, white is innocent/normal/the standard, and black people are at the bottom. These are all lies. These lies were all made up to justify killing people, taking land, and to support human trafficking. Their roots are evil and greed based.

There is only one race, human. God pulled all the colors and groups out of the African. Scientists have proven that the black African woman has the only DNA that is capable of producing every single skin color we see. She is also the oldest found human remains. To hate the black African is to hate oneself, for we all got our start in Africa.

Racism came first, then race categories. It was set up that way to perpetuate slavery and taking land. The history books are written with a racist slant, media and stats are set up to reinforce the lies, and culture is built upon the lie. The judicial system is set up to give harsher sentences to minorities. Even the repainting of brown Jesus as white helped to build the lie. We have all been told lies and unless we fight against them, then they will keep being passed from generation to generation.

Resources:

Watch the documentary 13th
Read White Fragility & White Rage
Read How to Be Anti Racist
Read They Came Before Columbus
Read The Color of Law
Read The Battle on Wounded Knee

I hope something here helps someone. I highly recommend studying history. I have angered people for telling them what truly happened. I asked my 96 year old relative about his experiences. We need to know what truly transpired to not only heal, so we do not end up there in the future. 

Warmly, 

Erin Lamb

The Parable of the Four Sons

The Parable of the 4 Sons (What we see depends on where we are standing)

There were 4 sons who lived on a farm with their dad. They each loved to play and could get quite rowdy at times. They loved adventure, climbing trees, and throwing rocks down by the creek. Sometimes they would get dirty and their clothing would demonstrate how elaborate their adventure was for the day.

They would come home at days with dirt filled grins. Their father was a firm believer in cleanliness. He would stop them at the door and demand they take off their mud marked shoes before entering the house.

The one son he would brush the dirt off his face, give him at atta boy for being his son, offer him extra soap and towels and send to the shower.

The second son he send to the shower with no praise, no affection, and no extra soap.

The third son he completely ignored. That son was accustombed to simply following his brothers and showering after them.

The fourth son he took out back and beat him, called him names, and then sent him to shower.

Over the years the boys noticed that their joy in play diminished. Two of the brothers (the ones mistreated) did not enjoy their adventures as much any more. The fourth son seemed stressed, depressed, and had been slipping at school. He eventually skipped out on play all together to go be alone. He knew his punishment for play would be severe. He would slip into the house unnoticed. He simply wanted to survive his childhood.

As time moved on the boys grew up and left home. The fourth son was eager to leave. His body and his heart still had scars from the abuse he suffered as a child. He found there were safe places out in the world, yet there was still trauma in his soul.

He met a young lady who was a writer at university. She explained to him that writing was therapeutic. She encouraged writing his story. The fourth son knew his story would paint his father in a bad light. He pondered for months what to do. He decided telling the truth was the way to go. He wrote his book A Fractured Lens and it became a national best seller.

His family became enraged! How could he do such a thing. His father worked so hard to provide for them!! His father was an upstanding Christian man!!! His other brothers had no complaints. He had to be making it up and just venegful and ungrateful. If his father did whip him, he must have deserved it. The town turned on the fourth son and told him to never return. The first and second son came to their father’s defense. They said their father was the kindest man they knew. They tried to find stories to discredit their brother. The third son remained quiet. While he did not know the benevolent father the other two sons knew, he also did not know the extreme abuse the fourth son knew. So, he slid into his corner to bypass any confrontation.

Fortunately for the fourth son one neighbor saw his brutal whippings. She would sneak out of her home to tend to him with first aid. She saw the rage, the anger, the pain the fourth son suffered. She stood as an ally for him. The fourth son still had marks on his body from the abuse.

Teachers in the town after reading the book felt great sorrow because they failed to see the writing on the wall. The fourth son lost interest in play, constantly looked down, came to school sometimes bruised/looking defeated, and never liked going home. They could not fathom just one of four being abused and the father was so charming with everyone else. They did nothing to help.

The father read the book, knew what he had done, yet wanted to have the story removed from every bookstore. He should be forgiven and not have his dirty laundry out there. He wanted stories told of how he treated his other sons, the ones he loved. He wanted his church attendance on record. He wanted to be painted as a hero.

The fourth son refused to remove his book from shelves. He received countless letters from people with similar experiences finding healing in the book. They were too afraid to tell their stories, yet the fourth son told his. He began to fight against abuse of children.

When asked if he regretted telling his story, he replied, “No. I suffered greatly as a child and bearing my untold story has caused greater suffering. I am healing. Others are healing too because they recognize they are not alone.”

My take/why I wrote this:

The moral of the story is people can live in the same house or the same country and have different experiences. It is challenging to see a different perspective. I meet people who cannot see nor refuse to listen to someone else’s experiences. Especially if those experiences paint their beloved ideals or a person/place they love in a bad light.

Our vantage point and experiences matter. The neighbor who helped the fourth son saw the violence, she had a different response/perspective. The first and second brothers did not see the violence and because they were treated far better they were upset for any complaints. The father knew he was abusive, yet wanted to hide his sins instead of confess them and address them. The fourth son carried the story, scars, and the trauma. The third son did not see the abuse, yet knew his father treated the first and second son better than him. He remained silent.

I meet with clients who have been severely abused by people others put on a pedestal. They go to church and abuse their family. They have great jobs and abuse their family. You cannot tell an abuser just by looking at them and looking at how often they go to church.

There are people in America who are treated differently based on whether they are poor or rich, black or white, belong to certain groups or not. When I meet with the homeless, they are treated FAR worse than other people.

Pointing out issues in an area also does not mean that all is bad. It means there can be improvement. The neighbor could have reported the abuse, the father got help, and the family healed. The father could have read the book, confessed his sins, and reconciled with his son. He refused due to pride. The third son could have stepped up to say, “I am not an eye witness for abuse, yet my dad did not treat me well either.”

It’s hard to walk in another person’s shoes. It’s an honor if God gives us the opportunity to do so.

Photo: bthornephotos (Flikr)

Warmly,

Erin Lamb

Losing My Religion…

2020 has pushed me even further away from cultural Chrisianity, yet deeper into Jesus. I do not fit in the religious/political crowd that cares little to nothing about the poor, and more about things than people. I do not fit into the grid that ignores suffering, while judging experiences that they do not have to live. I do not fit there. I do not belong there. While I love people, we are not on the same page.

I see Jesus out in the world meeting with people some church people have said, “I do not agree with that, so I want no part of ‘those’ people.” Well, Jesus came to the world that was totally out of alignment with God. They thought they were righteous. They were clueless and on their way to hell. Jesus called the religious/political crowd white washed tombs. They looked good on the outside; they were mess on the inside. What if He said, “I do not agree with ‘those’ people, I refuse to go hang on a cross for them.”

Jesus speaks to the Pharisees (Matthew 23: 23-28)

“Great sorrow awaits you religious scholars and Pharisees—frauds and pretenders! For you are obsessed with peripheral issues, like insisting on paying meticulous tithes on the smallest herbs that grow in your gardens. These matters are fine, yet you ignore the most important duty of all: to walk in the love of God, to display mercy to others, and to live with integrity. Readjust your values and place first things first. What blind guides! Nitpickers! You will spoon out a gnat from your drink, yet at the same time you’ve gulped down a camel without realizing it!

“Great sorrow awaits you religious scholars and Pharisees—frauds and imposters! You are like one who will only wipe clean the outside of a cup or bowl, leaving the inside filthy. You are foolish to ignore the greed and self-indulgence that live like germs within you. You are blind and deaf to your evil. Shouldn’t the one who cleans the outside also be concerned with cleaning the inside? You need to have more than clean dishes; you need clean hearts!

“Great sorrow awaits you religious scholars and Pharisees—frauds and imposters! You are nothing more than tombs painted with fresh coats of white paint—tombs that look shining and beautiful on the outside, but within are found decaying corpses full of nothing but corruption. Outwardly you masquerade as righteous people, but inside your hearts you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

I do not know where I fit in the grand scheme of what people call Christianity. I do know I love Jesus and want to follow Him, not the crowd. Maybe I will tap into my Jewish roots (it’s part of my ethnic identity) and choose to identify as a Messianic Jew. All I know for sure at this moment is I love Jesus, Jesus is Lord, Jesus cares about the poor/hurting/marginalized/outcasts of society/justice, and I want to follow Him. 

Sincerely, 

Erin Lamb

When People Want to Argue Over Your Experiences (A Letter to Professing Christians)

Our current times have stirred up so many people. I think social media aggravates it, makes people emboldened in their responses, and some are quite mean spirited. 

Along with the stirring comes the troops of denial. “There is not a problem. I don’t see it.” Or “It does not affect me, therefore it’s not a problem!” Deniers come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. 

Some do not deny, they deflect. They are quick to pull some stat that is negative about people being oppressed, “See, look what they do wrong!” They change the subject to something that could possibly shift the narrative to, “There must be something this person did to deserve this.” 

Dylan Roof flat out confessed he murdered 9 black people in their own church to start a race war. Those weren’t criminals. They were in their own church, worshipping Jesus, and welcomed him with open arms. He admitted to being racist and there are still people who deny or deflect from the issue of racism in America. 

Both the denier and the deflector gain something. They do not have to express compassion, listen, love, humble themselves, learn, assess any prejudice in their own heart, or assume any responsibility for a solution. It’s perfect for the person who wants no skin in the game. 

I had a Christian lady tell me recently, “This is not my fight.” So, as a Christian we can chant against abortion, throw tantrums if we feel sensored by anyone for our religious beliefs, say we follow Jesus, yet completely ignore what He came to do. He came to bring justice to the world. 

If we are only pro unborn lives, let’s change the chant to “We care about the unborn. Once you are born, we don’t care. If you are marginalized, poor, a different ethnicity, don’t think like us, or don’t vote like us we really don’t care. Don’t ask us for help. We don’t care about you! Yet you should really get saved. Jesus loves you, but I don’t!” WTHeck is that line of thinking?! 

My encouragement to the church world is do not complain or critique how people respond to a crisis you don’t care about enough to be involved. If you do not care about black people, don’t judge how they respond to hundreds of years of trauma; years of injustice, horrific treatment, being brutalized, the government bringing drugs into their neighborhoods, wrongful incarceration, being treated like garbage, your successes outside of athletics/music mostly hidden and any negative stat amplified. 

I was traumatized watching George Floyd die and double traumatized by the insensitive or bigoted responses of some people. I saw my dad lying there (he has brown skin). I saw Jesus. Not saying George is saintly. Stating people watched Jesus (a brown man) be murdered and it was okay to publicly crucify him. People stood by and watched Jesus suffer and die. No fair trial, just execution. In America they used to have Sunday afternoon lynchings. They would go to church, afterwards lynch a black man, all while eating lunch. That my friends is INJUSTICE. They probably considered themselves good Christians. It’s funny how our ideas of what is good don’t always match God. 

It reminds of the story of the Good Samaritan. The two religious people crossed the street to avoid helping the hurt man. The Samaritan was the only one to stop. Jesus said, “Be like the Good Samaritan.” And not in an arrogant, “I am here to prove my superiority and fulfill my messiah complex.” In a humbling oneself to help your neighbor. Who is our neighbor? All of humanity! 

Be silent or pray if there is no desire to love. If there is no desire to love as the church, can we hang our hats and go home? Take off our WWJD bracelets and just admit we do not care. 

Can we stop talking about Planned Parenthood? Because racism planted PP in communities of color and encouraged abortion. Black people did not form it, fight to abort babies, nor ask for abortion rights. White women fought for abortion rights and to put them eventually in minority communities. Until the 1980s/90s the majority of babies aborted were white. 

Imagine living in a society where the history is to hate you, blame you, make you the butt of the joke, and you see how people who look like are treated. Imagine the message sent (if it were an honest conversation based on what I have witnessed), “Keep the baby, now if they are killed once they are 5 years old or older society will not care. Your child will become a hashtag for a season, yet overall society does not care about your dead child once it’s born. Even if it’s an unjust murder, your community will be blamed. Oh, and please do not say black lives matter, that’s offensive to us!”

Sometimes in cultural Christianity it feels like people are saying Jesus loves everybody and giving you the middle finger at the same time. At least I have felt this way at times. 

I saw a young black female protestor say, “I am afraid to have black children. I do not want them treated this way.”

Someone sent me a “prophetic” word to white people from a white prophet and it said, “Though most of us think they (black people) are just getting what they deserve we should mentor them…” I was floored. It was outright racist and using God told me this. God is not racist. God pulled all people out of Africa. The oldest remains are a black woman. Jesus was not white. He was brown. He would not have even been welcomed in His own church for hundreds of years. He would have been in the colored church. Slave owners would not even allow their hostages to worship God. So Jesus probably would have been out in the fields being beat up too! 

If you study American history it outlines in clear English why there have been economic disparities. Everything from slavery, Jim Crow, Black Codes, Red Lining, Scorched Earth, Mass Incarceration for crimes not committed or receiving massive sentences for petty crimes, Devil’s Punchbowl Concentration Camp (freed hostages from the human trafficking of Africans) were put in concentration camps and killed by the thousands, Tulsa & Rosewood Massacres (when black people built wealth, their cities were burned to the ground and hundreds murdered). The system of racism was set up to prevent black advancement. 

We never want to forget 9/11 or the Holocaust, yet hid Concentration Camps for black people and torturing/killing millions of them. We cannot hide from the skeletons in the closet. 

President Hoover stated he would never allow a Negro (not the word he used) to rise to power like Malcom X or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr unless the government formed that man. During the Black Panther Party era, government officials were sent into black neighborhoods to loot, start riots, and hurt people and blame it on the black community. 

I have had my own experiences with racism even the past few weeks. 

I believe racism stole parts of my childhood. My mom pushed me to study more, do more, achieve more because she stated, “People think we are ignorant. You are brilliant, yet must work twice as hard.” I did not get as much play time. I did college level work in secondary school. I was moved into a school for the gifted and I hated that school. Parents did not want their kids to be with me or come to my house. I am not that old people! This is recent stuff.

I recall going to an all white church and the lady telling me, “This used to be a white church.” She grabbed her purse and moved. She turned to me and said, “I am not moving because you are black.” Racism seems to find comfort next to religion, this should not be. I think it’s because sometimes in circles of faith excuses are made for sin and Sunday mornings are typically the most segregated day of the week. People are not forced to relate to anyone who does not look or think just like them.

Kudos to pastors trying to diversify their church! Heaven is a multiethnic place. If you don’t like brown people, just wait til you see Jesus and most saved people in the Bible. They were brown, dark brown. 

I recall my years working in a laboratory where white people, especially white men would take credit for my work. Sometimes their names were put on reports I wrote. Sometimes those with far less qualifications would complain when I was promoted and work against efforts. One lady told me, “Well, at least your job is secure because you are a minority.” Obviously it was affirmative action. There was sometimes resentment, pushback, lying, and some nasty parts too. You learn to suck it up because companies usually do not favor the person who reports issues. It’s a misunderstanding or you get shunned.

I have overheard and been the target of racist comments. I have listened to the ignorant stereotypes. “They all are poor. They all have kinky or frizzy hair. They don’t have dads at home. They are angry. They steal. Oh she’s pretty or educated, she must be mixed.” 

Even with studying chemical/civil/environmental engineering, running businesses, running not for profits initiatives, serving the community, and a gifted level I.Q, I still face racism and racist mindsets. I have worked twice, if not three times harder than some of my peers and have faced dishonor for the way God created me to be. I thank God for who I am. I am not seeking any sympathy. I do want people to understand racism did not die just because we had a black President! 

There are more black men in college than in jail, which is a miracle considering racism and profiling. There are more black women getting advanced degrees than any ethnic group. There are 107 historically black universities in America. There is a group on Instagram called the Dad Gang, they showcase black fathers caring for their kids. I was raised by an upstanding black man. We are not ignorant, poor, thieves, violent, nor fit any of the stereotypes. We are also not the anomaly. 

Media paints the pictures it wants society to believe. I had a friend who’s mom became racist after watching the news daily. She now hates black people. I do not trust all things shared in media. 

Racism is woven into all 7 mountains of influence, including the church. Every time you see white Jesus, you see a denial of who He is-a repainting of His ethnicity that fueled white supremacy. 

I do not care what people say about it’s a thing of the past. I saw all the nasty posts about President Obama by people. Some called his wife an ape or monkey. Racism did not die. It’s now being filmed and posted on social media. America was built on the foundations of racism. No one was blowing up my feed, emails, or phone to pray for Obama. No one was shouting “God appoints leaders let’s honor them,” to me during his presidency. They were tearing him to shreds. Now people tear me to shreds if they even think I am questioning Trump. I have been called horrible names by professing Christians thinking I am saying something negative regarding Trump, 

I saw how professing Christians have bullied others online, threatened ministers who supported black lives matter, and black out Tuesday. I have watched threatening of businesses too. One platform minister told me she lost thousands of followers. Just for saying black lives matter. Threats, tantrums, name calling…all in the name of Jesus. I have been called some colorful names and threatened too!! What do you do with the angry, entitled, racist in your church? I rebuked one last week. She deleted me. God bless you, yet not apologizing for calling sin what it is. Narcissism must be addressed in church and thinking the world revolves around us. The Gospel revolves around Jesus. 

Whether we recognize it or not, the world sees our hypocrisy. The world sees the disparity regarding the causes of injustice we support. The world sees when we don’t seem to care. The world sees racism in the church even if Christians bury their heads in the sand. 

The excuse cannot be “I don’t understand injustice,” because I saw Christians going crazy online when they said their religious posts were taken off Twitter, FB, or Instagram. People marched our statehouse and several other states to protest the shut downs due to COVID19. They were not tear gassed, to my knowledge, nor slandered online by any Christians I saw. I believe some of the protestors in Michigan had guns. They had the right to protest during the stay at home orders. But those protestors about the recent murders, that is just George Soros, ANTIFA, and terrorists. I wonder if we are blind to our double standards or see them and just want to pretend we don’t. I can imagine a black person showing up at a BLM event with a gun and being killed immediately, “They looked like threat.” 

In this racial unrest, some professing Christians have not demonstrated the heart of a Good Samaritan. I met with protestors, let some cry on me, listened to stories. While some of the Christians I knew watched from their comfy homes passing judgement and denouncing Black Lives Matter, focused on looters/rioters, they missed the whole point. 

It took protests and unrest to get the two men who murdered Ahmud Aubrey and filmed it arrested. He was not a criminal. He was jogging down the street. They blocked him with their truck and murdered him in broad daylight. It took protests and unrest to get the cop arrested who knelt on George Floyd for 8 minutes and 46 seconds arrested. Many others have never been prosecuted. If Dylan Roof can kill 9 black people in a church and get walked out nicely, why do black people have to be gunned down?! The autistic boy who played violin was just walking home. Dead. Why are people so upset? Why are they rioting? Why are people crying? We don’t have a racism problem in America! The system is just.

If the system is just, how did Dylan Roof go into a black church, sit through their bible study, confess he killed them for being black and get walked out calmly? The police even took him to get food. Yet George Floyd supposedly had a fake 20 dollar bill and was lynched on film. If you think this is a just system, tell me the last time you saw a white person lynched and it broadcasted? Our white serial killers and rapists are treated with greater dignity. 

I grow weary from deleting abrasive, prejudice, and racist comments on my social media. People have been combative, angry, refusing love if they do not agree politically. It’s made me sad to be labeled a Christian. Yet who am I to judge. My job is to roll up my sleeves and keep jumping in the ring. I keep trying to educate people online even when they call me mames or call me racist (they do not know what that word means). I do know because I have lived it! Oh my I have lived it. My parents lived it. My grandparents lived it. My Native and Jewish ancestors lived it. 

We keep getting back up even if the world or church seemingly chants, “We don’t truly care about you! You don’t matter. If you say you matter, then you are excluding others and racist.” I keep getting back up when exposed to some of the worst of humanity. That will be our legacy! Overcomers. We have come a long way, yet we still have a long way to go. 

I hope something said here helps someone. If you have been an ally and genuinely care, thank you! God bless you. I am thankful for anyone willing to stand up against injustice. 

Before I go, I do care about the injustice to police who are doing their jobs or businesses owners looted. I also recognize the catalyst for all the unrest. I do not know how I would respond to all this if I did not know Jesus. 

We can deny it, deflect from it, look away, or ask what we can do about the problem. It is a problem. Cities should not have to be burned to get a murder on film taken care of…and for those who say, “Why can’t they just pray or peaceful protest.” The football players tried that; they were called unpatriotic and by our leadership sons of $&!”?’s. Dr. King peacefully protested and he was violently beaten, water hosed, his friends beaten/murdered, dogs let loose on him, threatened, and he was murdered. Can we stop pretending that the protest is the issue and look at racism/rageagainst people of color. If we do not pay attention, I believe history will keep trying to repeat itself. 

Civil Unrest & God’s Heart on Justice (What Got Us Here?)

There were no mass riots/mass looting/mass protests before America had to watch George Floyd lynched on film.

I am against looting/destruction of property/uncalled for violence.

I am also not sure people see the series of events that got us here. 400 years of fighting for equal rights which benefited all people of color, not just African Americans and we still have some major problems. It was a “whites only” society for hundreds of years. I am stating history, not trying to blame a current generation for what was done.

Without many African American and non-African American people willing to risk their lives for equality, only whites of European ancestry would have access to great schools, freedom, drinking from the same water fountains, the right to vote for people of color and for women, jobs rights, access to the same facilities, and protection under the law from discrimination. Their sacrifices benefit the Latino community, immigrants not from Europe, Asian community, and other marginalized groups.

People thought the Civil Rights movement put an end to inequalty. It did not. Dr. Martin Luther King peacefully protested and was jailed 30 times, then murdered. Recently football players peacefully took a knee to protest police brutality. They were publically condemned and called thugs. People peacefully protested so many deaths that were ignored. People tried to raise their voices in civility to say, “There is a problem.” Many were ignored.

Dr. Martin Luther King taking a knee to pray.

Now that things are being filmed, cities are being burned and looted, people who are not African American are suddenly impacted, shaken by a reality that has been continual, and saying, “Hmmm, maybe there is a problem.” I am quoting the words of others who did not recognize an issue until now.

Even still there are people missing part of the root and catalyst. Sure there are opportunistic people across the color spectrum behaving in ungodly ways. There are far, far more peacefully stating, “Injustice is not okay, not on my watch!”

What gave looters/rioters the opportunity? Were they doing this in mass number prior to death of George, Breonna, Ahmed? No. Breonna was killed in her home. Ahmed was jogging down a public street. Neither were criminals.

People also forget 1 in 5 Americans are unemployed due to COVID19. We are suffering through a pandemic, economic downfall, and racial unrest. Even before race related tensions rose, people were breaking into cars in my neighborhood. I live in an extremely nice neighborhood. My sister’s friend was held at gun point and robbed at the grocery store for money, and groceries. People are hurting, and some are desperate. Does it make crime okay? No!!

I hope to God we see roots and stop trying to deal with just fruit. Why? Because I do NOT want a repeat of this.

Whether people agree with me or not, America’s failure to deal with certain issues thoroughly has created problems later. I will save tackling all the arguments on things people state the black community does wrong for a later post.

I will say media shows the worst, presents the ugliest stats, and often minimizes or hides the major contributions of people of color. The message that can be propagated is, “We love you as entertainers, athletes, musicians, but overall we do not view you as equal. If there is injustice against you, we may remain unmotivated to help or even at times believe you. You must have done something to cause this mistreatment or it’s a misunderstanding. If you peacefully protest injustice, this will be condemned too. America is great, the land of the free! Respect America even if America continually disrespects you.”

Across the world people are now protesting for George Floyd. Yet in America, there are still people who do not get it, or are focused more on the fruit of civil unrest rather than the root. Guess what happens when we refuse to dig up roots? The same fruit keeps popping up. The riots of the 1990s over the beating senseless of Rodney King did not teach America all the lessons needed.

We need to cease pretending we are not sick to be made whole!

I rarely hear sermons on racism unless someone has been murdered. Even then some pastors avoid talking about the sin of racism. People are reacting to George’s death because it was filmed. Normally it’s just, “Oh, another black man died. It must have been his fault. Black people are criminals.” The person becomes a hash tag for a season, and people move on with their lives.

Black people are painted as thieves and violent when some of the most heinous crimes in America have not been done by men of color. The extreme majority of mass shooters and serial killers have not been black men. When it comes to embezzling money and stealing millions from corporations, it has not been black men. If you look at the slavery era and post slavery, extreme violence, lynching, rape of black women, looting, burning down towns, these were crimes that were not prosecuted and committed not by black men. Yet the narrative is consistently “black men are violent and criminals.”

I believe the media is partially to blame for the way stories are told. If we do not tell the whole story, it creates blame shifting and bias. Are all white men mass murders, no. Are all black men criminals, no. Are all police unjust, no.

Across racial spectrums there are sinners. There are people who try to help humanity, and those who try to harm humanity. At the end of the day, we need God’s help. No group of people or person is perfect.

When we do not know history, it repeats itself. Read about the Tulsa Massacre and Rosewood Massacre. On false accusations of rape, entire black cities were looted, burned to the ground, and hundreds of black people killed on a false accusation. Some of the people alive today, were alive during the time of the Rosewood Massacre. If you demonstrate the way to get justice is to do certain things, understand where the model was set. It has only been 52 years since the assassination of Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King. Peaceful protestors of injustice murdered before their time.

What about black on black crime? This always comes up when a black person is murdered and it was racially motivated.

I will say racism fuels self hatred. It is challenging to love people who look like you when you have seen and been told you are the problem, you are bad/violent, your life does not matter. When the images of you were/are often negative, it takes God or a strong will to rise above a system that was set up to keep you from succeeding or even loving yourself.

After the Native Americans, the main recipients of violence were slaves; lynched, murdered, beaten till their flesh came off, women raped, families broken, unable to go to school, unable to marry, unable to vote, refused jobs, towns burned down/looted once you got on your feet. Violence was the language of the slave master. So when people talk about black on black crime, violence was learned. Culture drives behavior. Want a different behavior, change the culture!!

I hate injustice against any people group. I also hate when people look at fruit and not the root. There is tons of judging, criticizing, finger pointing. I think if we want to heal, we must stop simply looking at fruit and look at roots. How do we heal hundreds of years of injustice? I included some steps below:

1. Listen. When people speak up and say, “There is a problem,” don’t dismiss it.

2. Ask God if there is any prejudice in our hearts. I have had “friends” who held some pretty racist beliefs. They slipped out in conversations or times like these. Racism is sin. Attitudes of superiority are sin. Apathy is also sin. Only God can fill us with love for our neighbors. God HATES pride and a sense of superiority (Proverbs 6:16-19).

3. Stop ignoring parts of history that are shameful. Many people did not know about the Tulsa Massacre because it was hidden for 75 years. Watch films like Hidden Figures, Selma, Just Mercy, the Netflix film 13th, Harriet, 12 Years a Slave, Glory.

4. Learn about the contributions of people of color to America. The stop light, refrigerated trucks, automatic elevator doors, electret microphone, light bulb filament, co invention of the color IBM PC monitor and gigahertz chip, laser cataract surgery, the super soaker, identifying explosives spot test, illusion transmitter, peanut butter, numerous medical patents, NASA space calculations (see the movie Hidden Figures) were done by African Americans. Despite severe oppression, there have been countless contributions.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_African-American_inventors_and_scientists.

5. If you feel called, get involved with organizations seeking to fight injustice. Racism is a humanitarian issue. People in Christianity shout, “I am pro-life!” Yet crickets are sometimes heard when you talk about injustice against people of color.

6. Shut down racist conversations and speak up! I unfriended some people online spewing divisive or racist propaganda. One lady had to let people know a black lady hit her car. Well, I have had 3 major car accidents where a white person totaled my car. I did not get online and say, “This white person did this to me.” I have not posted publicly online videos or stories that increase division or have not been fact checked. What we permit, we promote. If we see people who are causing more problems and we go along with it, we help promote that narrative.

I do not want a repeat of this year. I want real change. I desire equality and justice for all people.

I hate that people are being hurt, looted, brutalized, murdered. I also know part of how we got here was because racism has not a big deal until someone dies or a city is burning down. Sin got us here. The numerous cases of injustice ingnored, got us here. Before there was ever black on black violence there was hundreds of years of extreme, sadistic, and horrific violence and injustice against black people.

I have seen some of the best and worst of humanity this past week. I hope we turn to Jesus. I will say being out with protestors I have seen the most amazing acts of kindness. People are giving their hearts to Jesus. He cares WAY more about people than politics, being politically correct, appeasing the masses, and material possessions.

Photo: Circuit Riders (Baptism on the streets in Minneapolis)-Black Lives Matter protest.

Unfortunately we are feeling the reaping of what has been sown for hundreds of years. We can look for ways to stop the cycle!

Here is a video that is educational. Racism does not discriminate. It impacts wealthy and well educated people. https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=b6sF8qivmEo.

Here is a great video from the Bible Project on how God views injustice. It is quite informative and non biased. https://youtu.be/A14THPoc4-4.

Thank you for reading this longer post! God hates racism and injustice. I will continue to stand against what breaks God’s heart.

Sincerely,

A friend of God & all of humanity

Erin Lamb

Arise & Shine (Addressing Injustice with Jesus)

I could not sleep last night so I started writing. Writing is often therapeutic. I hope this post encourages, inspires, and helps someone. 

We rise as light bearers…

Pain and evil surround us. If we are not careful to guard our hearts, we can become reactionary rather than instruments of radical change. There are opportunities in adversity to rise to the occassion as a leader of positive change or to sink into an abyss of evil or an eye for eye. Oh, the eye for an eye; it eventually makes the whole world blind.

In the moment, pain can seem louder than reason. It can scream above the voice of God. It can pursue means that yield destruction. It can temporarily place band aids on broken bones. It can move swiftly to deal with fruit without examing the roots. Trusting God can slip by the wayside, drowned out by disappointment, hopelessness, or even despair. Self effort and self reliance can seek to overshadow God reliance. The heart can exclaim in fatigued cries-God can you hear me? Can you hear us? Crying out again and again. When will your justice reign supreme in our land?

I firmly believe He sees. God hears. God cares.

God is not screaming over the chaos. He is extending a hand, a whisper, an invitation to draw near. He understands more than anyone the pains humanity bears. His own Son was murdered without just cause, persecuted, betrayed, and abandoned. Jesus was an innocent man brutalized and hung on a cross. God does not look onward in pity. God enters into the deepest depths of human suffering. He weeps. God comes overflowing with compassion. God comes to heal the deep places inside that continue to bleed. He bottles the tears no one else sees.

It requires courage and dignity not to stoop to the level of those who have violently opposed you. It requires humility to yield to God and forgive even when people are not repentant nor remorseful. Forgiveness is not condoning evil. It is preventing evil from consuming our own soul. It is not forgiving an innocent person; it is forgiving a guilty person. It is releasing a guilty person to God. Faith in God involves a strong belief that the greatest justice is led from heaven’s throne.

We are the beloved of God…

To be the beloved of God is to hold one’s head high in dignity knowing you (we) are created in the image of God. It is choosing to yield to a Kingdom that is higher, a King far greater, and to abide in the one who is pure agape love. It is choosing to grieve with God, rather than run from God. It is choosing the high road, even though the low road seems far easier.

Let no man bring you so low as to hate him, or to return evil for his evil. For darkness is never extinguished by darkness, it can only be expelled by light.

May we abide in the light of God and shine.

As children of God, we fight with different weapons. We choose a higher way. We choose light over darkness, good over evil, and godly justice over ungodly paths of revenge. We abide in God and we rise. We rise again and again!! We shine like stars amidst the darkest night. We cannot be extinguished by adversity…We RISE!

Addition to this post this morning: 

I truly believe this can be the church’s finest hour. We can rise in love, dignity, and defeat injustice God’s way. We can demonstrate to the world who God is. 

It’s easy to turn a blind eye to things not personally impacting us or our community. Yet I do not believe that is the way of Christ. I told a friend yesterday that if we want to see better relationships with people of various ethnic backgrounds in the world, it must start in the church. 

Sunday morning is still one of the most segregated times of the week. Conferences are still somewhat segregated. Jesus is still depicted as European when we know He was not. Racism, prejudice, and mistreatment of people not like us in ethnicity or another variable is still not addressed enough as sin. When the global church arises as diverse, united across manmade racial lines, then I believe we will see radical revival in the world. 🙂

You are so deeply loved! If you are hurting, please know I am praying and Jesus is praying for you. 

Love in Christ, 

Erin Lamb

Relational Lessons Learned

20 Relational Lessons.

One of the greatest mistakes I’ve made in life involves misunderstanding love. I loved lavishly without wisdom. Gave some people VIP access who should have had outside the window viewing privileges only. Listened more to what people said than watched their behavior. In an effort not to be a relational snob, to be inclusive, I would befriend almost anyone. Not due to loneliness, because I like spending time by myself. I simply thought I was loving.

Here are some hard lessons I learned:

  1. Love and access are two different things. Love everyone (seek to do no harm). Give people who have earned trust access. Love is a gift. Trust is earned. Some people will treat your heart like it has no value, mishandle you. It’s your job to test who should have access. Guard your heart. Build a fence, not a wall. Everyone can see it’s beauty, not everyone has access.
  2. Some people believe they are great and that they have pure motives, and they do not. Ask God. I ask God to reveal who I am and the hearts of others. Not to judge, to assess levels of access. We do background checks and ask for references regarding jobs or child care workers. Why don’t we investigate people who want to be close to us?
  3. People who do not love themselves, or struggle with hating themselves cannot love you! A naked man can not give you a shirt. We give away the love we possess. An insecure person will struggle with your confidence or success. They may struggle with jealousy, envy, comparison, competing, putting you down, being unsupportive, or emotionally needy/entitled.
  4. If you are doing all the giving, initiating, serving, etc…it’s charity/ministry or associate not a friendship.
  5. Take time to get to know people before calling them friend or giving access to your heart/life. Everyone does not need access or to know your business.
  6. It is challenging to truly know who someone is online. Spend time in person if you can. I have met numerous people who appear like Jesus online and in person they are unkind, rude, selfish, and toxic.
  7. Don’t just trust a person because they claim to be a Christian, a minister, etc…goes back to point 6. Take time to get to know a person’s character.
  8. Some people are ministry assignments or associates, not friends. Friendship is a higher level of trust and involves mutual investment. Friends are trustworthy.
  9. Pray over relationships. God sees what we cannot see. Listen to God even if the person is shouting, “I love you so much!”
  10. We are not a great fit for everyone. Sure, be friendly/kind to all. It does not mean every person is a good fit for friendship.
  11. Some people are attracted to what you carry, they do not value you as a person. They are fans not friends. Jesus has tons of fans, far less close friends.
  12. You can eat at the table with Judas, wash his feet, yet not take him up the mount of transfiguration.
  13. God expects us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, not more than we love ourselves.
  14. If you don’t set boundaries, people will run all over you. People treat you how you let them treat you.
  15. God wants His kids to have great relationships just like a natural parent would.
  16. They say you attract who you are. Sometimes you attract who you are not. If you are happy, you may attract negative people. If you are a giver, you may attract takers.
  17. Selfish people can be dangerous. They primarily think about themselves.
  18. Sometimes the person who flatters you the most is the least trustworthy with your heart.
  19. People say loads of things, watch what they do.
  20. Focusing on becoming a wiser person attracts wiser friends. Get wisdom, gain discernment. We don’t owe everyone friendship.

Hope these tips help!

Here is a bonus sermon: https://youtu.be/3kwA9HQ0Zj4

Warmly,

Erin Lamb