Friday, May 22, 2009

Ever Wished You Were a Robot?

I know that's a very odd question. Hear me out! I've been enjoying one of the features on my Ipod Touch - which is the ability to watch TV programmes in high definition and one of them is the "Sarah Connor Chronicles". One of the key characters is a female robot (pictured) and I found myself musing on the benefits of having absolute control over emotions. Being able to make clinical judgements and not being affected by emotions or affections. Funnily enough another film I quite enjoy focuses on a world that has alienated emotions called "Equilibrium". The intentions of such alienation are that emotions are dangerous and create war - which of course is true. But the film graphically highlights how boring and dull a world is without the benefits of emotions - love, romance, joy, tears.

I have been having a rubbish week to put it mildly. Maybe some of you remember I hinted at some serious problems with my former employers - Acorns Children's Hospice. I had to leave due to homophobia among the staff and am currently enduring an extremely prolonged grievance process which inevitably is looking like it will have to be followed by an employment tribunal. It's particularly difficult because as a Christian (still struggling with Old Covenant legalism) I feel guilty for having those feelings anyway and in some strange sense - almost like the homophobic members of staff are justified in treating me as they did. Those set free 100% by grace won't understand a word I just said there - but maybe those still struggling like me will!

Anyhow the first part of the internal investigation arrived earlier this week and a key piece of evidence was based on the final meeting I had with the Head Nurse (my line manager) back in January. She tried to persuade me that this meeting was an "informal, nice" meeting and one that was designed to get me back to work after I had been off ill. Fortunately I took along representation but the meeting was not minuted. As she had no strategies or ideas to deal with my difficulties at Acorns and due to some other information she gave me I felt I had no alternative but to resign. I told the grievance hearing this.

I found to my dismay and shock that the Head Nurse had blatently lied in her meeting and said that she had said something totally different and this could be "substantiated by minutes". Minutes I should add most certainly were not taken during the meeting! So my only conclusion is that she wrote these minutes sometime after my meeting and to which I was never sent a copy. Sadly the so-called Investigating Officer didn't bother to interview my representation to verify the difference of opinion and took the Head Nurse's word for it. So a decision has been made against me - based on a lie.

My point in all this - I have been scared once again by the anger and the rage that I got consumed with by the fact that this woman (a manager allegedly responsible for her staff) lied to protect her own back. I understood why Jesus said in the New Testament that if you felt anger towards someone that much (under Old Covenant law) you as good as murdered them already.

And here's the point where I truly wished that I could be a robot and switch that anger off! It reminded me unhappily of a few years ago when I felt the same anger and rage towards my parent's SGM pastors for the lies and the behaviour they exhibited.

So where does the message of grace fit into all this? How does allowing the gospel of grace to reign in my life change this? As regular followers of my blog know it took me 2-3 years to even come close to forgiving the SGM pastors (and I still won't go near that church). That can't be God's ultimate design or His best surely! To be consumed by anger! This time I want to learn! I texted Pete Day this morning and said pretty much the same thing. I can't and won't afford another 2-3 years of hating Acorns and the lying management there. I have got better things to do with my life!

So here's a few reflections on how grace changes utterly EVERYTHING!

1. I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (!!!).

So I shouldn't feel guilty and condemned for feeling angry whatsoever. God sees me as 100% ++ clothed, robed and in the righteousness of His one and only Son so therefore He does not hold my anger against me! I have not murdered anyone because of my rage - I am free, innocent, loved and accepted!

2. I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (!!!).

So it doesn't matter that the Acorns management lied to make themselves look better and myself look worse. The only opinion that matters is God. He knew the truth while I was an employee there. He knows the truth now. I won't try and pretend that I have "forgiven and forgotten" when I haven't - because even though I may deceive you the readers of this blog - I am typing it in the Presence of the Holy Spirit! I live for the Audience of One!

It was being accused by a so-called friend of immoral behaviour that made me realise that actually there is no benefit to trying to make myself look good in the eyes of Christians. It was that accusation that actually made me write my testimony thus far! So I am not about to change now and pretend I am not angry! Because God knows and accepts me despite!

3. I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (!!!).

It is the very fact that I am seated on high with Jesus Christ that gives me hope that I do not have to resign myself to another 2-3 years of trying to swallow bitterness and pretend that everything is "fine" when it is not. No! The very awesome truth and revelation that I am totally 100% accepted in heaven and the unfolding revelation and realisation of what that actually means is going to change me and is going to transform me without me having to lift a finger!

I used to be very much in the Puritan tradition of "mortifying sin" - but clearly I wasn't very good at it. Because I don't think anyone actually really knows "how-to" mortify sin! And now I realise that actually there's a far better way.

"Holiness has got NOTHING to do with sinning or not sinning! If that is what we think, then we think WE are the cause of our holiness and I am telling you there is only ONE Person who is the cause of our holiness and His Name is Jesus Christ!

If you are in Him, then YOU ARE HOLY! You don't have to try and be holy or get holy - you ARE holy!"

Once we start realising that fact - that we are holy, we are accepted and can come boldly into the throne room of heaven then suddenly EVERYTHING changes! Not only did I feel guilty before that I had this uncontrollable rage against these people but I felt doubly guilty that I was doing such a bad job of mortifying that rage! And then I felt angry that I was so useless at mortifying anger and felt guilty at that anger against that anger! And so on! The perils of living under law!

Now I can release them. And even as I type this I feel actually quite sorry for these individuals. This woman who felt she had to lie to protect herself, her reputation runs in fear clearly. Because she knows that the truth will come out one day.

4. I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (!!!).

And lastly because I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus I can feel angry at what they have done just as it was okay to feel angry at the SGM pastors for what they did. They were all individuals in places of responsibility and were responsible for people and they all abused that trust. And that was wrong! But that's where my anger can finish and I can let it go! Because as Rob Rufus said in his sermon last Sunday;

"Don't give these people the power over your life to make you angry!".

They aren't worth it! To be angry is to admit that these people matter whereas indifference is surely the more appropriate response! And (I may be wrong here) but I also feel that because I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus I should not feel guilty for allowing the employment tribunal process to go ahead. It doesn't matter what the issue was - employers don't have the right to treat any employees as they did and that should be addressed. Externally if they will not admit it internally.

So I praise God for my emotions! I praise God for joy and laughter and angry and crying and sadness. They are God-given and given for a purpose for His glory and for His praise! And because I am clothed and robed in His righteousness I can sit and rest absolutely secure this morning that He will mould and form and make my life into what He wants in His timing. There is no ridiculous talk of "just get over it" from Heaven this morning! Just love and acceptance!

Do I want to be a robot? I did last night - but now? No way!


lydia joy said...

..........and God doesn't want robots either!! He created us with a free will and emotions - had he made robots, we wouldn't have been made in His image - God is full of passion and emotion as well!! Anyway, how could robots be in relationship and fellowship and intimacy with God anyway! Ha!

You are fearfully and wonderfully made my friend!!!


"Who can bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies, who is he that condemns.........."

Be blessed, be free, you are safe in Him!!!!

Peter Day said...

Four points and exactly the same heading "I am the righteousness of God in Christ!" Awesome, that is the foundation of complete release. Thank you for sharing this.

Chris Welch - 07000INTUNE said...

My friend Michael is going through amazing stuff in the courts. Local government effectively dismissed him for wanting Friday afternoon off to prepare for meetings he was leading.As they later knew they'd made a big error, as Muslims routinely ask for similar things. They have spent 5 years disappearing up their own backside fighting their corner in ever more devious ways. Through it all Michael has stood on scriptures in a very precarious position because he is a Ghanaian who felt called of God to come over here to share the gospel. Last year he even lost his wife to divorce, as she even sided with some of these people. But at his very lowest point God opened up a radio programme for him on an internet African London station.
It seems to teach these things.
1.We don't fight flesh and blood
2. If all else appears to fail we have authority to stand in the truth of what we know.
3. It prepares us to confront human authorities...but not in the declare what we see as the truth, whether heard or not
4. It prepares us for 3rd level intercession which is where we allow ourselves to be made a "drink offering" poured out before God in order to work an intercession of some magnitude. Our lives are so so so precious to God....He more than rewards.
5. It is a manifestation of what Ed Miller describes in his Prince and the Bride parable...which talks of the intercessory process involved in setting nations free.
and 6. It eventually leads to great victory in us and through us in the manner of Joseph taking full control of restoring his relationship with his brothers. Or Jeremiah being released from jail at the very instant that all those he warned prophetically were led off to Babylon captive.
or Paul using every Divinely inspired ruse to detonate Rome with the gospel.....even using prison as a Book writing institute!Which is why we are the wiser!!

Michael's situation is now rising to the European Courts!!!God is not mocked!We are thinking of reprinting his book "Claiming the Promises" at this time. But we will need some money. The last print was too small, they missed their deadline for the booklaunch, the thing kind of fizzled and the printers were never paid. Michael hopes to make enough to more than settle this debt.

janelle said...

Just day your employers will answer for what they have done. How true it is when scripture says "The anger of man does not bring about the righteousness of God." He will give you all the grace you need to forgive, Dan, because ultimately YOU have been forgiven!

As a side note, I don't think that "forgive and forget" is necessarily a biblical concept. Forgiveness certainly is but I think that "forgetting" is taken so out of proportion that we think just because we can't forget something means we have not forgiven. We are called to forgive our enemies, and pray for them, but are not commanded to reconcile with them. Sometimes reconciliation is simply not possible. This alone is an incredible concept...we are forgiven AND reconciled to God when our offenses against Him are far greater than anyone's offenses against us! Yet God does not equate forgiveness with reconciliation...simply that forgiving means we do not hold someone's sin against them.

I had a conversation recently in class that "forgetting" an offense is often unrealistic. You don't forget things that influenced you deeply, especially when it resulted in harm. But "forgiving" can still come from the heart even if the episode was painful and still in memory! Instead of bitterness filling our hearts when we recall it, we can honestly say that we do not hold any wrong against said offender. I used to think that forgiveness somehow meant that I had to like the person, or still be "friends". It was quite a breakthrough when my dad told me that it was not necessarily true...and made forgiveness that much easier! YAY! Anyways, sorry for the rambling. It is actually shocking to me that you would be labeled in such a way that you would lose your job. I will be praying for you, friend!