Light, Darkness, Truth, Lies, BS…

 

My times of meditation and conversation with my Father sometimes go to places some might consider strange.  But my relationship with Jesus is one of knowing and being known and there are few limits.  I love pouring out my heart to Him, processing with Him and listening to Him, especially on my walk/run before the day begins.

 

From the other side of the world, it’s been fascinating recently to observe the biases, manipulation of statistics and disregard for truth in the media coverage of politics and CV19, so perhaps that is why, for this past week, my conversations with my Father and my thoughts revolved around the subject of “bullshit” (BS) and all the misguided, “expert”, “proven” opinions that I hear/read every day.  The “information age” is a uniquely new challenge for us during this season of history in that we have more voices clamoring for our attention than ever before. How do we know who to follow and who to listen to?  How do we discern healthy from unhealthy behavior; truth from lies?  How do we know which actions we will look back on with gladness, and which with regret?

 

We all face challenges in reigning in destructive behavior and choosing healthy behavior, even when we know the difference.  It takes experience (touching the fire to verify it’s hot), heeding wise counsel, practice and time to learn which of our choices will bring light and health and which will result in darkness and harm to us or another.

 

Jesus spoke often of light and darkness and called Himself “The Light”.  Paul spoke with the was-dead-now-alive Jesus and left a successful position as a respected leader, was beaten repeatedly and lost his life because he wouldn’t dismiss Jesus as anyone other than God. Several times in his letters to those he cared for, he listed both healthy and destructive behaviors for their benefit.  All of the apostles (who also saw the once-dead-and-now-alive Jesus) did the same because people who care for people give counsel to them in love (not judgment).  Caring parents, pastors, teachers, friends, brothers and sisters do the same.

 

The below list was compiled after a couple days of meditating on truth and lies and includes, in my brevity-challenged opinion, some of the BS philosophies prevalent in our world today, that can lead us into slavery to our desires and away from a close relationship with our loving Father (the Light).  We are wise to be aware of our enemies, which are never people, but rather principalities and philosophies that can lead us into darkness and slavery.

 

We are called by a Father who created each of us with purpose, who knows what gives life, and who loves us more than we know, to pursue aggressively following, and listening to, Jesus, and not to the voices in the world around us.  I’ve heard all of the below BS (both inside and outside of the “church”), and thinking through this list helps to raise my awareness of the prevalent philosophies of darkness so I can daily recognize them, and prevent them from decreasing my passion to follow the Light.  Perhaps it will stir the same in you.

 

Light overcomes the darkness. We are not to place our focus on the below list, but rather passionately embrace a life of intimacy with Jesus and HIS “philosophy” of love for our Father and love for one another. If we cling to Him, we will be free of darkness, and the philosophies below will lose their influence on us and we will recognize the destructive belief systems (the darkness) that can interfere with our daily intimacy with Jesus (the Light).

 

Embracing the person of Jesus will ensure a simple, difficult life, full of light.  Embracing the lies following will ensure an often more pleasurable life, shrouded in darkness…

 

Prioritize, embrace and enjoy this life. You only live once…

Trust your “instincts”

The ideal job is the one which pays the most and offers the most time off

Behave differently in public than in your home

Trust everyone

Those who disagree with you are judging you

Build your self-esteem and identity via your “goodness” and performance

News agencies and reporters are objective and care for you.

Skepticism is cynical

More leisure and fun make for a better life

Ask God for everything you want.  He wants you to have it

Don’t ask questions. They reveal need. *The wise ask questions, the arrogant have all the answers

If it feels right, it must be right

Listen to, and follow, only those who agree with you

Indiscriminately trust those you follow or listen to

You are a byproduct of generations of chance encounters and genes

Don’t honor your parents.  Their ways are antiquated and they don’t understand

Desire more than what you have

Winning an argument and proving you are right is more important than honoring the other

Money buys happiness

All discrimination is evil

Live independently of other people.  They don’t care for you.  Look out for #1

Retire and be free of work and service as soon as possible

Never apologize.  It reveals vulnerability

Speak more than listen

If it’s natural it is good for you

God is a crutch

If someone doesn’t agree with you, they are wrong

Pursue your wants with disregard for others’ needs.  Each for his own.

Tell others how someone harmed you

If it’s difficult or painful, it isn’t good

The Bible has an answer for every problem

Fear nothing/no one

The world will end in __ years

See yourself as more important than those around you

Highlight your strengths, disregard your weaknesses

Be goal oriented.  Choose and pursue the best goals for you.  *rather than journeying well

Pursue justice.  Mercy is enabling

Impress those who are important to your success

Speak what benefits you rather than what is true

Seek the praise and adoration of others

Everyone really wants what is good

Your desires and attractions identify you

Tolerance is love. Intolerance is hate. *Tolerance sees a cliff ahead and allows you to fall off. Love does/says what is necessary to stop you…

Consider your body and your actions to be your own

Your purpose in life is to better yourself

The wonders of nature, most beyond your understanding, are the result of chance and time. *Or the similarities/patterns are the identifying characteristics of a Designer

Put no one’s welfare before your own

Be “results” and/or “outcome” driven

Those who disagree with you hate you

Fantasize about what could be. *instead of grateful for what is

Your actions and perspectives are irrelevant

Be your own person

Allow your thoughts to include, “I wish…”

Acknowledging that you don’t know is a sign of weakness

Self-confidence is key. See yourself as good and “having arrived” rather than flawed and “in process”

Believe everything you hear/read

Talk and complain about injustice rather than constructively seeking to right it

Don’t converse with the One who made you with purpose and more affection than you’ve ever had for anyone

Never say “Thank you”.  It will honor the other above you

The Bible is made of cute but irrelevant stories and perspectives of men

If it feels good, it is good

“I want” is a healthy thought process

Believe science to be objective and true

Dismiss the counsel of elders who care for you

Keep “should” in your vocabulary

Wound someone who treats you unjustly. Get even

Live independently of consideration for others

Consider another’s opinion of you more relevant than your own,*or your Father’s

Pursue your goals and disregard the agendas of others

Consensual sex harms no one

Quit your job because it’s stressful

Follow no one.  Be your own person

Never make commitments

Never make any judgments about anything or anyone.  *Making judgments is not judging – judging is closing the book, like the LBGT, KKK and Nazis who close the book and place a permanent identity/label on people.  Jesus freed us of all labels other than “his dearly beloved child”!

If you really want something, go for it.  Your desires won’t steer you wrong

Watch someone having sex or doing/revealing what was designed for relational intimacy between a husband and wife

Eliminate a pregnancy because you are not prepared to care for a child

Don’t take risks

Allow yourself to be identified by your attractions/desires

Desire what someone else has – characteristic, experience, relationship, item

Be the “life of the party”

If it was sin (unhealthy behavior or perspective), it wouldn’t feel so good/right

Disregard the forgiveness and unconditional love of your Father as irrelevant

Desire something (for free) without working for it

Create and worship a god whose desire is to meet your every want/need

Live for our own comfort and disregard the comfort/pain of others

A Christian is always nice

Expect/desire/pursue a painless life

Learn nothing from your mistakes/pain.  Push past them

Take revenge when you are hurt.  They deserve to hurt, as well.  Forgiveness is weakness.  *Unforgiveness is like swallowing poison to harm the offender or putting oneself in prison to execute justice. Forgiveness frees the offended far more than it does the offender

Never quit.

You are in control of your destiny

Vulnerability is weakness and unhealthy

Live without regard to consequences for your behavior.  Sowing and reaping is antiquated foolishness that don’t apply to the modern and sophisticated you.

Sleep in and take a “personal day” from work/school.  It will affect no one

Expect others to serve you at no cost to you (*the essence of slavery)

Expect free health care (or anything) and disregard the livelihoods of those who serve you

Pursue pleasure without regard to consequence

Stretch or alter the truth to make yourself look better

Feel instead of think

Dismiss as irrelevant the incredible, timeless wisdom found in the Bible

Never let anyone see your weaknesses/faults

Don’t learn from history. They didn’t know what we know.

It’s ok to hate your work. Live for the weekends

Worship only a god who you understand

Eat what tastes good

Do whatever you desire at the moment

Your past defines you

There is no such thing as evil.  There is only sometimes the absence of good

Ambition is the key to success

Worship/love/admire creation without worship/love/admiration for its Creator

You don’t need to exercise

Convince someone who disagrees with you that they are wrong

Pursue and take what you want

Image is everything.

Crave the attention/affirmation of others

Dismiss history as irrelevant.  We are smarter, more advanced and more progressive than they were

This person is so nice. He/she wouldn’t steer me wrong.

God wants you healed, “whole” and without suffering. * The lives of Jesus and His apostles demonstrate otherwise

You are free to achieve whatever you desire

Make choices regardless of potential risk/cost to others

Tasks and your work are more important than relationships

Seek peace with all men. Avoid conflict

Don’t honor another’s accomplishments

Use alcohol or drugs to feel better.  You deserve it

Expect heaven on earth.

Disagreement and conflict are unhealthy. *How we respond to the same may be healthy or unhealthy

Those who are poor are lazy and suffer only because of their unwise choices and don’t deserve help/assistance.  *Jesus demonstrated otherwise

Those who have success, fame and/or riches have life

You are too busy to consider another’s pain/difficulty

Live for today and disregard tomorrow

Devote yourself to your personal well-being

Disregard Jesus, but some of his teachings have value

Beliefs must be “either, or”, not “both, and”

Less cost to me is always better

Pursue what you want

Character and integrity are irrelevant if you succeed

God isn’t interested in screw-ups like me.  *The whole Bible indicates otherwise, as every person used by God, except Jesus, was a total screw-up

“More” is better

I must have it all together in any situation I face today.  *Life is a journey of learning and discovery. The wise admit with humility, “I don’t know” and “I need help”. The unwise and arrogant admit neither.

Be critical of those who disagree with you

Compare yourself to others

Express your emotions. It’s unhealthy to suppress their expression

Build up your own self-esteem and pride

Learn how to live by watching dramatized (*always inaccurate) portrayals of life in movies and on TV

Talking out loud to yourself or to an “imaginary” god is a sign of mental instability

If God were real, He would make Himself more obvious

Trusting an unseen god is foolish

If you can’t understand it, it isn’t trustworthy

It doesn’t matter what you watch or listen to.  It won’t affect you.

You are who you are.  You can’t change

Devalue trusted experience

If you can’t see it, touch it, hear it, etc., it isn’t real

Listen to people who say what you want to hear

You don’t have the time, energy or resources to find and help someone in need

Expect/desire life to be fair

You will find light if you memorize this list and seek to avoid all of this behavior, instead of following hard after Jesus (Light).

 

* indicates an alternate perspective to the expressed BS

________

 

Light is not the absence of darkness, but darkness is the absence of Light.

 

Paul wrote in a letter to people he loved in Galatia about following the Light:

“If you are led by the Spirit, you are no longer under obligation to the Law… Walk by the Spirit…  Live by the SpiritFollow the Spirit’s leading… will produce this fruit in your life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.”

 

Jesus freed us from self-focused performance orientation – rules, do’s and don’ts, success/failure – so that we can passionately follow the Light

 

We are not to focus on avoiding the darkness, we have been freed to pursue the Light, which dispels darkness. We are wise to recognize the difference.

 

When we are hyper-focused on Jesus’ love and passionate care for us and for those around us, we will live in Light and freedom like we’ve never known… and darkness and the above lies/BS will have no power over us…

 

3 comments

  1. Thank you, for honoring our Father. Thank you for the depth of your thoughts. My memories often drift back a couple decades when I read your posts. Remembering the kind, compassionate and gentle ER physician. Our Sammy is now 22, a reminder to me, how long you have served in the mission fields. Remembering you and your family and sacrifices in prayer,

    Bob and Robyn Stiffler

    >

  2. Always appreciate reading your perspective, and knowing I’m not the only brevity-challenged one out there.

    Might add one to the list though…
    – Cigars are bad for you

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