Today we celebrate the cross. The highest form of sacrifice. Christ died on the cross to free us from all our sins.
That is certainly what we are told. For some of you it is what makes up the cross, and that’s a good thing.
That is not all that, the Cross and Good Friday this for me.
The God I knew the first 30 years of my earthly life, was an angry, angry with that blockade and disapproving finished God. I could never achieve what he wanted and rushed to her short of what would be enough to in order to satisfy him.
Then I came to Christ. Some call it born again I got to know him personally.
What I in the following 13 years of my life happened, is simply amazing.
The God that I met LOVES me. You may have heard this time, but we know what HE LOVES ME is really called? We live day in and day out, this truth did Plural? Most believers I know do not.
Most believers think deep in the back of their mind that God is still angry. You should wear a mask in order to make God happy. They live a perfect Christian life … No movies that are not allowed in our age, no soft porn, no swearing, no trips to Las Vegas, no Halloween, do not drink too much, determined to inhale anything and God has forbidden all other that would show that we are not totally and completely according to his word. (For the books. This is not my list, even if you do these things, God loves you … still think of the story of the prodigal son.)
For me, the cross, the veil is torn. I am no longer separated from God. He is my best friend, my dad. I have full and complete access to my dad. It is similar to one for all existing ticket to the back of the stage, where the party is going with a really good content.
Let me give an example. Bob and I are business partners. I am the more emotional in our relationship. Bob is the rock.
Sometimes I am pissed off and frustrated. Bob knows my heart. He knows my hopes, my dreams and he was with me through thick and thin.
Sometimes I need a valve. And Bob lets me. I sometimes weaker, curse, throw manure … He knows that I finally ready to let my steam and we can talk about it. He lets me get rid of my soul, my frustrations and fears.
When Bob (and others in my life, including my wife and my children) I can take off my mask. If things are unpleasant, and I accordingly feel I can leave the ‘get out, without fear of a raised index finger must.
I’m sure some of you are itching in the fingers to write a comment that I would be angry as an adult not a Christian, to use a harsh language, or should have emotional outbursts. You the one, larger caliber ‘of someone expect who is on a site. Let me clarify a ‘CBD (Christian Business Daily) This is not about to have only right to be properly or fully. It is NOT about per-fection and certainly not a place for reminders.
The cross is about realism and about to take off the mask.
That’s what happened on the cross. Jesus allowed us to put our mask forever. We no longer need to look smooth and perfect. A make, fuss’ about our place in God, how much are we give, or what a perfect Christian life we live.
On the cross God is our best friend. He takes away the veil. The sacred space is now open to everyone. Including those that fester, will lose their patience advised frust-Ren, drink too much, too much to inhale, driving too fast, have in their heart desires … all that.
When I go out with my friends, I am not always shaved perfectly, my clothes is not always perfect, maybe I even forgot to brush my teeth and I have a hat on, so you do not see my uncombed hair.
And Imagine: I do not care. You take me as I am in the process where I am and they love me … without reservations. My dad accepted me so also.
A loving father allows his children to speak freely and to explore their feelings in a safe Ren, safe manner. He does his best to guide them, but allows you to make mistakes, to learn and grow.
That is what the cross means to me. Maybe it does not this just for you and that’s a good thing. Because this is a safe place to discover these feelings in a non-judgmental way.
It’s about the relationship with our father. And every relationship is very personal and can not be copied.
Hey, it’s been a while, Bob and I have been going through some stuff. This post is raw, and if you are offended by swearing or the thought of being angry at God scares you, do not read this post. Okay, you’ve been warned….
I will admit, the past few months have flat out sucked. It seems everything I do is a push up the hill.
You might be thinking with all my struggles that I missed God’s voice. That I’m going against his wishes. Thus the hardness of the struggle.
Here’s the funny thing, in the struggle I know it’s the direction he wants me pointed.
At the first part of the struggle my heart was filled with joy and hope. That quickly turned to sorrow, pain, misery, self-doubt and distrust of God. I pushed him away. I have felt like he’s led me down a path that is a retread of past struggles.
Why God do you take me down the seemingly same paths? Have I not learned these lessons already?
Then off in the distance I hear a voice. Do I see a man in the distance? Beckoning me to come closer? To keep going down the worn path?
I continue down this path and it comes to a bend in the path. The path before me continues up the hill, it is rocky but well worn. It looks like the way. But off to the left, I see the remnants of a path. It seems to go into a thicket with poison ivy and scrub.
I stand for what seems like a long time. Others pass by me on the path taking the rocky road up the hill, asking if I’m okay and encouraging me to continue on the way.
But there I stand. Listening…
Then I hear that call again. It comes from the unlikely path. I look around, no one else is there, it is just me and I hear the voice again.
“Come down the road less traveled.”
Others pass by.
The voice comes again.
I take the first steps, afraid of what will happen to me with the poison ivy, the brush and the thicket.
I move forward.
The path is hard to see and follow. Every few feet, I have to stop and listen for the voice. At times it seems like an eternity before the voice calls out and shows me the way. If only for a few feet.
Then I stop again… Each time listening for the voice. Sometimes seeing the man, waving me along the way.
When I stop and rest for the night, it seems like it’s the place to be. Then again up in the morning to go again.
Surely this path will lead to paradise, but it seems to lead me no where. At times I get angry at the voice and the man.
“Why doesn’t he just show me the way? Why do I have to keep struggling day after day, night after night. Just when things seem to get better, they seem to get worse. Am I hearing him correctly? Did I miss a turn in the ‘path’?”
My heart grows cold, cynical. I tempt myself by saying “There is no voice”. At times, I’ll go off the unmarked path only to find myself lost, or worse yet, on the rocky road up the hill.
I try the rocky road for a while. At first there seems to be success, but it is tiring. Then the voice whispers again.. ‘come this way’. A new hidden path shows up and off I go again.
This happens time and time again and it never seems to get better.
I feel like I’m in the movie ‘Groundhog Day’, where the same thing plays over and over again and again.
Now my family is with me… they get frustrated with me. Am I hearing the voice correctly? Maybe, I should just get off the ‘path’.
Isn’t there a better path with benefits just over the other hill?
I still my heart and the voice says one simple word to me… “love”.
Along the path, others appear from nowhere. Some are cynical, others are dejected and beaten. Most just look at you, nod and join you on the path. We all hear the voice. We have those who love us who tell us we are crazy, but we stay on the journey.
When night comes and there is no food, no water, no shelter and no fire, we huddle together. Some laughing, some cursing… yet we all laugh and chuckle.
The journey continues. Some fall out, but most stay. Some are called off a path in a different direction and they go off to success, while the rest of us seem to struggle. Envy sets in.. our condition seems to get worse, but the voice is still there calling us forward.
Is this the life? What about our hopes, dreams and the deep faith. Surely God will reward us for our undying faith. Surely we won’t struggle forever in this condition. Certainly there will be a simple house, with a warm fire and food in the cupboard.
But the journey never seems to end, the voice never stops calling us forward and the conditions never seem to get better.
This is the life for many Christian Entrepreneurs.
You reach a point after 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, where you realize your dreams may never come true. Your hopes and dreams may be on the garbage heap of life. And you are not cool with that thought.
Your heart gets hard, you curse God. You tell him to fuck off and go to hell. Vearing off the path, only to come back to the path and group more humbled, more in love and laughing at your situation more and more.
This is the journey folks.
I don’t know if your entrepreneur journey will be better or worse. I just know it’s a journey and that the money in your bank account, the kind of car you drive doesn’t mean you didn’t hear God.
Maybe the path you are on is for the next generation. Maybe it’s for your children, for the lessons they’ll learn from watching you.
Maybe it’s for nobody but you and your relationship with God.
That after years of hurt, pain, suffering, misguided steps, that you will try and love again.
Today I opened my email, and received a message from Liz, a longtime reader of this blog. Just 7 days prior to this post, her life, and the life of her son changed in an instant. Her wish was to tell this story to many, and it’s my honor to allow her story to be told today.
Bob and Matt,
Your blog has blessed my life a lot. I would be honored if you would publish this on your blog. Yes, this is my true story. Thank you, Liz.
Yesterday I said goodbye to my son, Adam. He wasn’t going off to college or the service. March 3, 2011, my 17 year old died of a drug overdose.
Let me tell you about my son. He was brilliant with a genius IQ. He was funny and loved to make people laugh. In fact, you may have seen him walking through WalMart wearing his bright pink bathrobe and pink fuzzy hat. He wore it just to make you smile and brighten your day. He loved doing that. He had the type of charisma that filled a room when he walked in. He was bold. He wasn’t afraid to be unconventional to get his message across.
He had a vision and a plan for his future. He was going to college to become a counselor to help troubled teens. He was going to make investments so that he could live on his investments and help the teens for free. He told everyone that the most important thing was a relationship with Jesus – that it wasn’t about the religion thing but about being “down with Jesus” – making Him your best friend. When our pastor shared this at the funeral, we overheard his friends say, “So that’s what he was talking about. We get it now.”
How, you ask, did a young man with a heart like his end up dead in a drug house in the middle of the night?
Adam, obviously, had a dark side too. He had a difficult childhood and struggled with his identity. I spent five years fighting for him. It was a difficult battle – one which I mostly fought alone. You have no idea how hard it is to find a Christian man willing to see beyond the multi-colored hair and black clothing with chains on it. Most of my Christian friends looked down on him and avoided him. Through God’s grace, Adam got into enough trouble that the state finally sent him to a residential facility for almost two years. It was there Adam reconnected with the God of his childhood and found his calling. He graduated from high school a year early and enrolled in our local college. Six months after getting home, he died.
Why did this happen? How could this happen? When he came home, people were distant. The only group that was willing to get in the trenches with him and welcome him with open arms was his druggie friends. They were the only ones that reached out to him – that called him – that showed their intent through their actions. I really don’t think anybody else understood the shame he still carried. I really don’t think anybody else knew that part of him still believed he was dirty and didn’t deserve love. They didn’t understand that he needed people to hold his arms up and not let go. Sure, people told him to call them when he’d run into them on the street but very few took the initiative to invest in him and call him.
I do not blame the “Church” per se. I just want people to be aware that we, as the earthly representatives of Jesus, need to be willing to get our hands dirty. We need to be like Jesus and eat with sinners and tax collectors – in today’s culture that would be Goths and death metal fans.
We do not have a crisis with our children but rather a lack of role models. One third of our daughters will be raped by age 18. This means one third of our sons are rapists by age 18. I hear people say we’re in the end times and that’s why our culture is depraved. I say baloney. WE are our culture. We are focusing on retreats and dinner parties and pretty Christmas concerts to entertain ourselves with while our children are dying around us. WE are part of the depravity.
I hear people say, “Love the sinner but hate the sin.” I say baloney. How can you do that when a sinner’s identity is their sin? They don’t know the difference and they think you hate them. Love the sinner and let Jesus clean up the sin. Our job is to take the sinner’s hand and put it in the hand of Jesus. That’s all. When we see a child abusing their body, we need to see the torment behind the self-abuse. We need to believe in them. We need to believe in their calling. We need to love them and show them who Jesus is.
The next time you see a young man dressed in black, please look past the exterior. Please realize that he is just like my son – desperate for love but too afraid to ask. He needs you to love him. Don’t worry about saying the right thing. Just love him. He may fight you at first. Don’t quit. Just love him.
All it takes for evil to prevail is for good to stand by in silence.
Please, we encourage comments, but we also encourage you to not allow this story to just stay here. Who will you tell it to? If you have the means, please feel free to share Adam’s story with others.