Tuesday, January 17, 2017

I Don't Speak to Dead People

2 Timothy 4:1-5 talks about false teachers and hearing the truth. Matthew 7:20-23 basically speaks about those who teach contrary to His word.

I know that the world will persecute me for His sake. Matthew 5:11 says they will. So because of that, I know many will not like this post or me. But that's okay.

My post is about the dead do not hear the living and why I should not talk to a dead person. Here's my thoughts on this.

2 Samuel 12:18-23
David's son died, but while the son lived David fasted and prayed. When the son died, David rose, bathed, and ate. When asked about this, he stated: "But now he is dead, wherefore [why] should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me." (KJV)
This showed me that even if he went to "talk" to his son, he will not hear him or be with him. Instead David, a man after God's own heart, turned his eyes on the Lord, going to the house of the Lord and worshipping.

Ecclesiastes 9:5 showed me the futility of talking to my dad or grandma.
"For the living know that they shall die, but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward, for the memory of them is forgotten." To me this is true. No matter how hard you try to remember, the love remains but the face or voice of a loved one fades away. 

Even though this passage in Jeremiah 16:5-7 talks about the ending of Israel and God's relationship, to me it was a good passage that showed a nation (me) that would not rely upon God and then gladness and peace were taken away.
In the same book, verse 22:10a, "Weep ye not for the dead, neither bemoan him", helped me realize that those who are dead and knew Christ are happy.

In Luke 24:5b, "...why seek ye the living among the dead?", it reminded me that those who are in heaven are alive, not dead. I should not seek them among the dead, in other words, at graveyards. Even though this is about Jesus' resurrection, it is relevant about those who die.

So why do I not talk to the dead? Is there more to show my reasoning? Yeah, there is.

If I talk to my dad or my grandmother, or even my late husband (who will not be my husband in heaven--Luke 20:35), then I am placing the conversation with them above Jesus. That would be a form of idolatry.

If I spoke to my dad, "What would you do in this situation, Dad?", is it not better that I ask the Lord, "Lord, what should I do?" Who is more deserving of my question? If I say "Happy Birthday, Dad" on November 1st, who am I doing this for? Not my dad, because he no longers ages. But for me, which is seen as pride, lover of self, and again, idolatry.
Galatians 5:19-6:18 helps me to understand this in detail.

And my ultimate favorite about the dead, Luke 16:19-31, the story of the rich man and Lazarus.
Verse 26 states: "And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot, neither can they pass to us, that world come from thence."
Meaning, the dead neither see nor hear those still on earth or those in Hell.

So I do not speak to the dead because 1) They cannot hear me, and 2) it would be putting myself and the conversation with the dead above Jesus.

Jesus knows my pain and He knows how much I miss my loved ones who have died, but I talk to only Him. He is more to me than a conversation with thin air.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Those Nasty Little Grudges

I used to think I didn't hold grudges for that long, until today. At times I find myself plucking that little dark morsel from my heart and reexamining it. Usually this happens after reading an article or seeing a post.
When I was 9 I had a teacher call me a liar in front of my classmates. She also treated the "richer" kids nicer than those of us who were poor. She made me feel dumb and mortified when I was presenting a project in front of my classmates about my father's job. I worked so hard to build a shadow box about him. She belittled my ignorance between "construction" and "steel construction". I was given an "F"; but after my mother met with the principle, all the "poor" kids who received "Fs" received an "A". There was only two grades: 100 for a completed project and 50 for no project. I held a grudge against her. And find myself still disliking her for the damage she did to the other children.
When I was 17 I had a teacher that didn't like what I wrote in English class because it scored higher than her favorite students. She changed the wording in my submission and made it sound horrible. (Of course I changed it back for the final submission). She also tried to keep from joining her class, but after my recommendations and scores she had to allow me. She treated the poorer students like they were beneath her. I've seen her scoff at other students for what they wore. I've seen her label them as unworthy. I held a grudge against her for her harmful actions against others, and for making them feel less.

When I was in my 20s, my son's grandmother made life difficult. She went to any and all lengths to tear my son away from me. In the end she lost, thanks to my wonderful family. I've seen her cheat cleaners on a bill. I've seen her treat the working class as less than she (even though she was a blue collar worker herself). I still dislike her and see her as nothing but evil. That grudge still seems to stick around.
When I was in my 30s I had a boyfriend who owed me lots of money, and when I got it back he stole it back from me (literally taking it out of my account or out of the books I kept my rainy day funds in). Plus, I had believed his lies. That's on me. But it's knowing his true self that I hold a grudge against.
I'm in my early 40s now and I still have one more grudge that I don't like to talk about, but nevertheless it is there. It bothers me most of all, but I am learning to deal it with.

So when I look at the grudges, I see them for what they are. Not grudges at all. But memories and lessons learned about the injustice and harmful ways of others. Lessons that I can reexamine to insure that I don't make the same mistakes or treat someone as badly as the person treated me. It makes me empathetic to others. Lessons that help me understand the motives or reasoning behind the person's actions.

And I realize, I no longer dislike the person. I dislike their actions and the harm it did. We may forgive, but we don't forget. That is how we prevent ourselves from falling into the same trap of the past. 
Maybe those grudges aren't so nasty after all. If we don't let them eat at us, they can stay around to help us grow. And every once in a while, when I pluck that little grudge from the darkest corner of my heart, I can then decide, "does this grudge help or hinder?". I will keep those that help and cast away those that hinder. 
Like a piece of dandelion fluff, I can blow it into the wind and let it be carried far away from me.