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All are welcome…

I had a couple of lovely folks ask me if I minded them reading my blog and the question was asked because their beliefs do not necessarily match my own. In fact, some beliefs do not line up with mine at all. To which my response is; all are welcome here.  If you can handle how much I love God and talk about Him, all are welcome and, by all means, keep reading!

Then, a well-meaning person pointed out that I needed to be careful of the ‘company I keep’ while also throwing a bunch of doctrine into the mix to point out how I am ‘doing it wrong’.  Well, nuts to that is what I have to say. I was simultaneously doing some deep breathing exercises and biting my tongue (my tongue really, really hurts today).

I felt I needed to put it out there and announce my doctrine, which is taken straight from Matthew 22:37-39 (and is repeated in other parts of scripture):

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

Do you know who our neighbors are? Our neighbors may have differing belief systems, differing lifestyles, differing opinions, and differing principals.  Our neighbors may also be the wounded alcoholics, the withdrawn depressives, and the ones wearing cranky pants all day. Or, if you have lived in some of the big cities like I have, your neighbors might be from extremely differing walks of life for a wide variety of reasons. There are prostitutes, gang members, homeless people, people stuck in a cycle of addiction, and those suffering mental illness.

Does this mean we don’t install healthy boundaries for ourselves and use wisdom and discernment? No, not at all.  It does not matter what our belief systems are, we all need to be wise and use our ability to reason when it comes to our safety and security. Beyond that, though, what good is my light if I keep it hidden and only share it with people who are burning the same type of candle I burn?  It is the same idea in Luke 11:33:

No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.

While I believe we all need to be aware and have boundaries for ourselves, I do not adhere to the idea that believers need to distance themselves from unbelievers. In fact, it might be a bit of the opposite.

I cannot help but wonder what would have happened to us all if Jesus Christ had allowed that woman to be stoned to death, if he refused to touch the leper, or if he threw Mary Magdalene out of the house during his fellowship with the Pharisees. What if He never called Lazarus out of the tomb, allowed the blind man to see, or reached out to the despised tax collectors? What if He sent all of those people away and refused to feed them because He was annoyed that they were mooching off of Him and the disciples? What if He refused to speak to the woman at the well because of her bad reputation?

Or, what if David, a man after God’s own heart, had been rebuked mightily by God and rejected as a servant or a king? Whew, I don’t know what Bible some people read, but my Bible is chock full of some seriously screwed up people who went on to do amazing things simply because they held fast to their faith.

And, you know what? I am a seriously screwed up human being myself and I am holding fast to my faith.

There was a time when I was thrashing it out to death metal music, wearing Doc Martens and leather jackets, flipping people off, cursing like a sailor, and flipping cigarette butts out the window. I had an attitude, I am telling you. I even tried to rage it all out with a guitar in my hands. I wore a very tough exterior as a mask in an attempt to hide my soft insides, deep wounds, and protect myself. I thought if I drove people away, I wouldn’t get hurt again. I thought if I could look tough and act tough, I just might scare away anyone who wanted to violate me as badly as a group of people had already done. Sometimes, I actually wanted to hurt others as much as I myself was hurting. So, I cranked up the music and put a scowl on my face. I was young, I was wounded, and I was trying so badly to just hide somewhere. I have said it before and it is truth: broken people do broken things.

Thankfully, I grew out of those days, but I was still walking around with deep, festering wounds that were getting more infected by the day. I had a soft heart and my tough exterior no longer worked for me. I sincerely began to seek God in my twenties and I sincerely longed to have a path set out before me that would be completely different than the path that was behind me.

I reached out in churches and I was rejected.  I reached out to people I cared about and I was rejected. I have spent numerous holidays without others to celebrate with; it was a silent phone and an empty mailbox during those times. I taught Sunday school, I volunteered for numerous organizations, I took care of the homeless, and I poured myself out into things that I thought were important.  Yet, I was still alone and very lonely.

Where does a person go and what does a person do when everyone just wants to dismiss and discard them?

Well, they go the Lamb.

The Yeshua I know is the man who welcomes the rejects, the discarded, the lonely, the widows, the rebels, the misfits, the dark poets, the orphans, the sick, the demented, and the deeply wounded. And, He welcomes them with open arms. That is why He was born, that is why He had a ministry, and that is why the Pharisees wanted to see Him nailed to the cross.

I am here to share my story and my story includes what the Lord Himself has done with the ‘likes of me’.

My job here is not to convert, condemn, judge, or throw doctrine at anyone.

This is me, just a girl and a wounded soul, burning my candle on a stand for others to see.

 

Matthew 11:28-30

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Parts of this post appear in the book: Shattered in Him  © 2016 JD Mays

102 thoughts on “All are welcome…”

      1. Yes we would. The people keep leaving Jesus out of the picture. He is the only ONE that can give the peace we so desire in a very turbulent world like us. If only we can all go back to Him am positive He will welcome us all.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I was thinking of having a chocolate fountain, because everyone feels better with some chocolate. But, roasted carrots and other vegetables are a plus, too. I also like Indian food and Middle Eastern cuisine, so we need some people to cook up some authentic dishes. Oh, dear, I am getting hungry now…

      Your avatar is awesome! Love the happy sketch! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I will accept the challenge! I have received so much encouragement and support that it is such a precious gift to the heart. I was just reading about it and I was going to address why I started all of this anyway. Thank you so much!!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I am not super religious and it doesn’t matter. I am so appreciative of your open, loving and beautiful spirit. Thank you for this piece. It opens us to connection, at its core your religious beliefs align with my moral ones, no matter what church we may attend. We must find the humanity that binds us, and not focus on the superficial ideas or beliefs that may differ.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. That’s exactly it! We’ve got to walk that love out! Thank you so much for all of the support and encouragement. I feel blessed to have been afforded the opportunity to meet so many different people, so many lovely folks, and so many sweet and gentle spirits (such as yourself!). 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Shattered in Him,
    This is a great site since you give more information about Christianity. I teach the rise of Christianity to middle schoolers. Congratulations on the award you were nominated for.
    I’m here to thank you for “liking” a comment I made on the DawnLizJones blog. I wanted to come and thank you and introduce myself.
    Janice

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I agree with you. For if we do not walk beside others, how will they see our light? Do not be discouraged by others, for only One will be the judge. Likewise, we cannot judge those who tell us we are in the wrong. Oh life…so complex, yet so beautiful.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. You have a very powerful personal story, thank you for sharing it with anyone who cares to read
    You are right believers should never distance themselves from unbelievers, as we need to shine our light not to give hope to those lost
    But also to light our way to save us from becoming engulfed in the darkness that surrounds them
    May you continue to grow in faith, bless you

    Liked by 3 people

  5. This is beautiful! Thanks for sharing the story of your struggles and your unique point of view. Sorry you had to go through those things alone but I have mad respect for how you’ve turned trials into triumph to help others.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Hi there! I stumbled across your blog and read this and completely saw myself in there…I, too, was a tough exterior, doc marten wearing (still have them too), leather jacket goth/techno chic, smoking, swearing, push ’em away kind of girl, hiding deep wounds of a lifetime, calloused and jaded and hopeless. I just wrote today about how I cannot any longer pretend that there’s nothing wrong and hide because the wounds will never heal. I am grateful for Jesus and His love and sacrifice so that I can be made whole and that I can go and love others who are broken, too, and show them the way to the Savior who laid down His life for us and give them that message of hope. God bless.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Yes so true. So much fear has crept into the Church today. Being filled with the Spirit is not to fear. Yes I know the Filling takes place according to surrender, according to the space made by the mind and heart. But the more we surrender, which comes about according to our Faith, our growth, our understanding. The more that that trauma we inherit from Adam is healed, the more God can fill and the less of fear will lead us about by the nose. But Doctrine, it is one thing good to study that we learn how to instruct the mind and heart in reference to what helps the believer, but not to create societies, divisions in the Kingdom of God. And yes Christians have been trained to do this.
    Wonderful testimony, so proud of you guys. Follow your heart, trust conviction.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I quote (you), “The Yeshua I know is the man who welcomes the rejects, the discarded, the lonely, the widows, the rebels, the misfits, the dark poets, the orphans, the sick, the demented, and the deeply wounded. And, He welcomes them with open arms.”

    It is time we stop with the religion of Christianity and return to Jesus.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. WoW!! i love your attitude…….people are so bent on forcing their beliefs on others……..makes others question their whole belief system altogether…….
    and you may have stopped flipping people……but this so eloquently written voice of reason is like a putting up a big cement sculpture of the finger……….. 😀
    and why should we discriminate against others, different from us……we co share this universe…..we own nothing! So love thy neighbor and let them love you!
    pleasure reading you!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I am just blown away by the courageous women I am meeting (by reading blogs) tonight! Jesus is amazing! May the LORD give you more and more strength as you journey with Him. Blessings on your family. Will come back and start reading everything. Thank you for checking out my blog, the likes and the comments.
    Sisters in Christ,
    J.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I have no idea how I have crossed paths with so many fine people, but this format has been a blessing! Your writing has been going down like soothing milk and honey tonight. I am so, so thankful that there are people like you just putting out so much encouragement for the rest of us to see. I needed a little milk and honey just now!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it is sad. There are some churches that want the status quo and do not wish to be involved with the congregation. The pastor said, “Look, if you need me, do not expect me to be the one to show up.” Well, I found a different church! So many people have been hurt by various churches. I would like to see compassionate ministries rise up. There are a lot of broken families and people that need intercession.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Shattered in Him, this was by far one of the best things I have read in a long time! Thank you so much for your beautiful, transparent and truthful words. I have no clue who you are but I can see what a beautiful person you are through your words. May God continue to bless your life

    Liked by 1 person

  12. “…broken people do broken things”. That is perfectly put. I was pretty rough around the edges compared to how I am now when I came to Jesus’ protection.

    I feel already that your blog has the warmth and light of God, those who know His Son’s voice will feel comfortable here, no matter where their relationship with Him is at this moment.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Loving thy neighbour is often the hardest thing to do. Invariably our neighbours may not see the world as we do, and they cannot objectively be deemed wrong for what they see.. Merely different in their truths.

    On a fundamental basis, I do not believe what you believe. But that’s my journey, and I can assure you that my journey is one driven by the pursuit of pure love, lasting, powerful and cosmic love, what I believe to be the only important thing in the universe.

    My faith and your faith may not be facing the same way, but if we simply learnt to live in harmony.. Each living out their own faith.. We would certainly all move closer to the truth.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Eli

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Reblogged this on A Blog About Healing From PTSD and commented:
    This is so beautiful, I came back here to read it again this morning, before getting ready for church.

    This post, and the one I reblogged four days ago, which was written by this blogger’s husband, are the two best blog articles that I have ever read. And I have read hundreds, probably thousands, since I discovered blogs more than six years ago.

    My favorite part of this wonderful post are the words “broken people do broken things” and the following three paragraphs:

    “I cannot help but wonder what would have happened to us all if Jesus Christ had allowed that woman to be stoned to death, if he refused to touch the leper, or if he threw Mary Magdalene out of the house during his fellowship with the Pharisees. What if He never called Lazarus out of the tomb, allowed the blind man to see, or reached out to the despised tax collectors? What if He sent all of those people away and refused to feed them because He was annoyed that they were mooching off of Him and the disciples? What if He refused to speak to the woman at the well because of her bad reputation?

    Or, what if David, a man after God’s own heart, had been rebuked mightily by God and rejected as a servant or a king? Whew, I don’t know what Bible some people read, but my Bible is chock full of some seriously screwed up people who went on to do amazing things simply because they held fast to their faith.

    And, you know what? I am a seriously screwed up human being myself and I am holding fast to my faith.”

    Amen!!!

    Comments are closed here, please visit the original blog. Thank you for stopping by, and God bless. ❤

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you for this and for giving me a bit of an attitude check in the process, whether you realized that is what you were doing or not! 😀 This has turned my mind toward the beatitudes in Matthew 5 and I really think there is something to that, especially to those of us who have been down in some filthy pits of hurt.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I get what you are saying here. Jesus shined the Father’s Light for saints and sinners alike. We are to be an example to the world of the love we follow in the body of Christ. May I suggest a great book called “Muscle and a Shovel” by Michael Shank? You can find out more about it at “muscleandashovel.com.”

    Steve 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Really resonated with me. I hope you have discovered a church body which accepts you right where you are; warts and all. I would like to reblog all or part of this with your permission on purpleprincessreflections.wordpress.com. Be blessed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sound doctrine certainly has its place, no doubt about that. I think many of us forget, however, that to an unbeliever all of that doctrine will probably not mean a lot and we can lose people if we try to toss too much of it around. We can complicate things so easily (I am guilty! Ha!). Sticking to loving God and loving your neighbor is the best doctrine of light to shine for those in the dark. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, especially those with a fiery, passionate nature for Jesus! It is what causes my dissertations and manifestos, even when I mean well. But, working on turning one of those dissertations into prayers. I might have gotten a wee triggered in the midst. I thank you for the inquiry.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. I like St Francis’ words:” Preach the Gospel; use words if necessary.” We are to live our faith, not take on the task of browbeating others. Of course we are in the world, not isolated in little Christian pockets. Keep writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thanks so much for stopping by The Ruminant Scribe and for liking, and sharing, the post on The Silent Night. I am humbled by your sharing it and I pray that the site was of encouragement to you. The second part of the thoughts on Silent Night will be posted tomorrow. Again, thanks for stopping by the blog. I appreciate your feedback. Linda

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Keep shining that light! Those who can’t stand the light can stay away. Perhaps eventually they will see their need and come back. Even Jesus touched ten lepers and only one came back to thank Him. Can we expect anything more?

    Liked by 1 person

  20. This is a powerful message, and I wished more would understand this. I’ve seen people fighting over their beliefs on social media threads, and it breaks my heart. If only more would have this kind of thinking as you do, maybe the world would be a much better place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I see that fighting, too, and it breaks my heart as well. Jesus gave us simple commands in Mark 12:30-31 and in Matthew 7:12. Then, He let us know we would recognize His followers by their fruit (fruits of the Spirit). It gets discouraging when you aren’t seeing a lot of that fruit come out of the Church.

      Liked by 1 person

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