There I Was?


at peace
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Hi and Peace to All Here--

All through the Bible, Old and New Testaments, we can find accounts of folks (Moses is a good example) who, when God called upon them for a particular service, they replied with “Here I Am”. Some gave their answer rather quickly (the original Twelve, perhaps?), and others had to be more “creatively” drafted (maybe Jonah? Or Paul?). Eventually, however, each one submitted to the will of God.

I bring this up because of a recent event in my life. On second thought, make that an ongoing event. Not long ago, I found myself in a situation where I thought I might be able to help someone who told me he was, and is still, seeking a way to believe in a God he has come to regard as unkind and vengeful. ( I will call him “Carmine” so I don’t have to keep referring to him as “this person”). Carmine has huge issues with the idea of Jesus as even a decent human being, much less humankind’s Redeemer. But I am certain that his continued assaults are one way in which he is trying to resolve what he more or less describes as an internal struggle. Along with this, he has related to me and some other people that he believes he has been subjected to abuse in the name of the Lord for most of his life. I am aware that situations like this occur everyday, so I decided to take Carmine at his word.

It is important for me to emphasize that Carmine is not, and may never be, ready to hear about the Truth of Christ and the Love of God in what might be described as “traditional language”. While I truly doubt that many of my brothers and sisters in Christ would describe me as being exactly “traditional”, I think that Carmine might perceive me that way. And while I am unsure whether his repeated curses against people who take a more traditional approach to Christianity were directed at me personally, they became so abusive and hateful that I walked away. I just walked away, maybe when he needed me the most. Here I am, Lord—no, there I was!

It isn’t ego that makes the tears roll down my face. (That’s what Carmine would probably say.) I am just sad. Did I ditch my duty? Did I tell God, “No, I won’t listen to this hate-talk anymore, Lord, not even for Your sake?” I am not sure that is what I did. I know that I did not completely close the door behind me. And maybe my parting words to him actually spoke to him in some way or another. I just don’t know. Neither did I leave Carmine completely alone. I left him with others who might be able to help, maybe in a way I do not know how. And I am keeping up with how he is doing. Sometimes I want to go back so badly and answer a question that I know is on his mind. But would I help or hurt? Would I slip up and use the wrong words or the wrong tone and send him spiraling even deeper in doubt?

I wanted to share my thoughts with you here. I know that I have to first look to the Spirit for my answers. But maybe someone else would like to share a similar experience—maybe even from the opposite side of a situation like this.

"...He who has ears to hear, let them hear" - Mark 4:9

"And a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest" - Paul Simon

Does Carmine have ears to hear? It doesn't appear that he is too open to anything you have to say if all he is doing is deriding your belief in Christ. And it doesn't sound as thought his distain is directed at you personnally, but rather at traditional Christianity in general.

In the parable of the sower, in Mark 4, the seed (the Word of God) is the constant. The variable is the soil (human heart). And that's what is hard to change. The only thing I can see you doing is cultivate the soil with love. They will know we are Christians by our love. Then perhaps that soil will loosen up a little.
Your situation is one that I think is quite common nowadays. Although I don't have a specific instance I can relate to your story, what I can do is reveal to you a perspective from the other side that I experienced at one point in my life.

My parents didn't take too firm a stance on the idea of God. We only went to church on select days, and I was not lectured in any kind of theology at any point in my life. I did attend what I called, as a youngster, "Bible School", which was really just a summer camp held at the local church. My father has always been of the more "scientific" type, and his objective viewpoints always led me to feel very comfortable in questioning religious ideas. As I grew older, I was partly thankful for this...I feel that they equipped me with the confidence to know that it is okay to question religious beliefs, which is important in this world where fundamentalism and misinterpretation run rampant.

However, about the time I was between 14 or 15, things began to change a bit. My grandmother is a devout Catholic. A huge part of me resented that she took to her ideas about her religion so directly and seemingly without consideration, which sometimes led to her inapprpriately denouncing the conduct and character of family members. Yet, strangely, there also developed a sense of jealousy in me. I thought to myself," She is so lucky! She is so privelaged to be able to honestly believe that she is going to go to Heaven and that her God really does exist." I wanted a God too, you see, but some people just can't swallow it the way Christianity presents it.

I think you showed this person compassion in trying to show them Christianity. I also think that you should not be guilty about not having done enough, though I can't say I know much more about the situation than you could fit into a messageboard post. Sometimes helping others, if carried out with too much zeal, becomes just as much of a hurtful thing as denying them help in the first place. The wise always know when to call it quits before too much irreversible tampering is done.

I guess that the person you are talking about is probably very much like I was back then. Some people just can't bring themselves to "buy it"...or, what I should really say is, they feel like they have to "buy into it". They don't see what is pointed to by the words, only the words themselves. Maybe they have to find it in some way that is totally different than Christianity? For my part, exploring the religious ideas of the East brought to me a sense of spirituality I never knew, and that very same sensation renewed my perspective of religion as a whole, and especially made me reconsider my preconceptions toward Christianity.

I, for one, never did become a Catholic or a Christian. My grandmother still goes to Church everyday, but the difference now is that life has taught me, throughout an odyssey of experiences, something very subtle that is hard for me to put into words. I no longer resent her, because I suppose that I have seen in my heart of hearts what it is that its all about...and I am no longer jealous of her, either. But nobody could've done this for me, you see, I had to find out for myself.
Hi, Peace--

Thank you both very much. Your gentle answers mean so much. I have been giving this situation a huge, great deal of thought. I have been discussing these thoughts with my best friend (my husband) as well.

As it turns out, perhaps it is Carmine who, in a roundabout way, has actually helped me. God moves in mysterious ways....:)

When to walk away is always a difficult choice, and not one we will always get right probably. I had an experience of helping to support an alcoholic - finally I had to walk away. Strangely, it was only then that he decided to do something about the situation!

Here are some pertinent Scriptural references which might sound harsh, but our attitude should always be one of love and a willingness to forgive and try again:

Acts 13:45-46
But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.
Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.

Mat 7:6
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
In Love,

You're such a sweet gentle person, and what I am about to say takes that into consideration. I'll bet that you are the kind of person who would never take something that didn't belong to you, so why are you accepting responsibility for this person? His anger, hatred, ambivalence, insecurity, and Heaven knows what other issues are his and his alone.

My wife is a middle school counselor and sometimes gets caught up in all the school politics and childrens problems and, I tell her the same thing. Be loving, be kind but don't take things that don't belong to you.


Actually, your Carmine may be exactly where he is supposed to be right now, nor is it hopeless at all.

You see, he is very hot, not lukewarm about his thoughts of God, and thus God can work with that. Hot or Cold, is material for God to develop. What God can't stand is lukewarm.

Revelation chapter 3 talks about one of the seven churches that Christ addresses. This particular one is Laodicea. Geographically, this church sat in the valley between the mountains on either side. The water that ran down into it's aquaducts from one mountain was cold spring water. On the other side, the water that ran down into the aqua ducts was hot spring water, and when it mixed it became luke warm. In spiritual terms, lukewarm means stagnant. It doesn't flow and after sitting in stillness, it decays. This is the picture of the spiritual condition that Jesus was warning the Laodiceans about. If you're hot or cold, that means at least your moving in some kind of direction and making some kind of progress.

If however, one is lukewarm toward's God, then it is as if something foul is in His mouth, and He will vomit that out.

"I know your [record of] works and what you are doing; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth!" Rev. 3:15-16

Your Carmine sounds like he has fire in his spirit, and strength of desire to know the truth (that truth that answers his question). In a way, he is the image of Saul of Tarsus before he became Paul. Same drive, same intensity, same zeal, and the only thing left to change is heart. I believe God has no trouble working with a man's heart (attitude) if all the other ingredients are there.

You did what you physically could, now let God do what He is good at, and praying for Carmine certainly doesn't hurt.

Like the song says, sometimes we got to let go of a situation and ask Jesus to "take the wheel".

my thoughts


Hi, and Peace--

Wow. There is much wisdom here in this place. A long time ago, I asked for wisdom, and I remember what a frightening step that was. Like leaping off the edge of a skyscraper. :eek: I am still in transit, obviously, but it is not such a scary experience anymore--more like floating or skydiving most of the time. I still hit air pockets every now and then. That's when God (or is it Bette Davis?:D ) reminds me that it is sometimes a bumpy ride. All part of the journey….

I wonder—As Jesus washed the feet of His disciples that day, might He have smiled inside Himself to discover tiny grains of sand that never got completely shaken off on some doorstep? (Of course, you know that I am not speaking in theological or historical terms here, just wandering around mystically and metaphorically.)

Anger is a companion I have never much welcomed. During and since my illness, I especially dread it. I can’t afford to shake inside anymore. So, I have learned to walk away from it as quickly as possible. Sometimes, I still feel like I need to announce it, acknowledge it, expose it-- in order to send it away.

Within Love’s Spirit, one’s eyes, ears, and heart are opened. Lessons abound. I just may be witnessing a miracle! And I am paying close attention. My brothers and sisters, and even my perceived enemies, have much to contribute to these lessons. Scripture is holy, and therefore it transcends whatever man can make of it. So, within the Love of God, the Truth of the Word, and the guidance of the Spirit, and with help from of all of you, even Carmine, (and Bette Davis and Paul Simon, of course:) ), here I am, Lord---


Wisdom begins with a question. And I'm glad you asked it, for I have gained more wisdom here than I have imparted.

And I get the Bette Davis reference. More wisdom from "above". :p
InLove said:
Hi, and Peace--...Anger is a companion I have never much welcomed. During and since my illness, I especially dread it. I can’t afford to shake inside anymore. So, I have learned to walk away from it as quickly as possible. Sometimes, I still feel like I need to announce it, acknowledge it, expose it-- in order to send it away...


Anger is different than rage. Anger has kept me alive, when fear would have paralysed me (to my detriment). Rage is unreasoning and out of control, wherein anger can be used as a constructive and focussing tool. Indeed love and anger can be used together, most effectively to accomplish much good. The decision to act, backed by the emotional motivation to act, leads to the act, only the guide for the emotion (any emotion) is love. Love and fear, love and anger, love and joy, they present balance between the trancendental, and the primordial natures of man...;)

my thoughts


Well stated, Q. Have ye any thoughts on anger and peace?

InLove said:
Well stated, Q. Have ye any thoughts on anger and peace?


Anger with love brings peace, of the living. Rage or pacifism which both are selfcentered constructs ultimately bring peace of the dead. I get this from the behavior of Jesus during his walk on earth. Anger beats fear, which encourages "courage", which allows for a decision based in love, to be carried out regardless of the consequences to self, and for the betterment of others.

My proof? No parent worth a salt ever dealt with a loved child who was screwing up, without Love for the child and anger to drive the parent to ensure that the child learned the important lesson of life, that they needed. Anger is extreme disappointment, that will not let go until the issue is resolved, and the lesson is learned (never to be forgotten). Love is the guidance, that focusses us, and channels us for the best action and results.

It may be hard for some today to fathom this way of thinking InLove, since they never experienced it. But as surely as I breath, this works, and I four more like me are living proof. And ours are living proof of the continuence of that truth.

my thoughts


Thanks for the reply, Q.:)

I believe that the parent-child analogy is a valid and useful one. It is one that I believe God gave us in a big, big way! I think He gave us this because it makes perfect sense.:)

And speaking of Jesus's walk here on earth--I am so glad you brought it up. I have recently come to realize that many view some of the things He did (for example, expelling the moneychangers from the temple in Jerusalem) as "mistakes" he made because of His human nature. I do not see it that way. I see His actions as righteous and appropriate.

My mom and dad moved into a home of their own for the very first time a couple of years ago. This was a scary step for them after the age of retirement. They did it in great part for me--I know this. Now, they have always been meticulous about taking care of whatever blessings they have had. Now that they have their own home, this hasn't changed. If anything, they do more. And I'm here to tell you, if I went out to visit them and found a bunch of people had taken over their house for their own personal greed and gain, you'd better believe I'd be throwing them and their stuff around!

There are so many questions--topics like this one and others that I would genuinely like to bring up in the forums right now. But the times here are, well...well, you know. I feel rather "frozen". I guess I will wait--maybe do a little reading and research. As you say, perhaps "timing is everything".

Caimanson said:
Dear InLove,
Take care of yourself.:eek:


Thank you, Caimanson.:) It is true that I do need to take care of myself. I am not leaving. I missed CR too much when I could not visit because of my health. I am very much here, and my plan is to remain involved as much as possible. However, there are some valid issues I would like to explore in the area of Christian belief that, for the time being, might be better brought up when things are a bit calmer. I don't wish to pour unnecessary fuel on wildfire. But I might attempt to sprinkle a little water from time to time;) :D.

Consider it a blessing and pray for him.. we cant do anything of ourselves and Gods ways are higher than our ways... who knows.. maybe after we are raptured he might remember and it will stick. Gods timetable is different than ours and we have to believe that He answers our prayers. It sounds to me like the enemy has a hold on Carmine and is fighting tooth and nail which explains the abuse. Imagine what he will be like when Jesus wins Im sure the enemy knows which is why he's being attacked and oppressed.