Teaching, TravelsApril 21, 2024

A TEST OF A CHRISTIAN – The growth from human to divine love (John 13:35, 15:12/1 John 4:7-21)


The anguish of tragedy and its’ aftermath resonates around us all, every day. It  is the silent scream of millions  around the world feeling  betrayed, defiled,  forsaken and alone. All men search for a rescue from their plight, whatever the misery. No one really  knows how to respond to the trauma each of us bears in life. Suffering hits an individual and sometimes all those surrounding the consequences. Jesus is the Mediator Who offers His intervention, compassion and resolution. Could you consider that every time you face someone who hurts it is a test for you to show His love (Jn.13:35) ?


Clint was 17 when his parents left him at an Iowa Rest Area. They told him to stretch his legs. But when he got out of the car and closed the door,  they sped off. He chased the car a bit, but then, everything inside just collapsed. He just stood there…. staring; as his only link to the world drove away out an “Exit” ramp. Could it be; they weren’t coming back?

Clint was not born an orphan, but worse yet, was traumatized into becoming one while in a stage of an undeveloped young man. Think about it.

 Panic made him frantic. Tears welled up inside and he ran into a field of tall grass, just behind the Rest Area. He laid there all day, on and off,  just weeping. The next morning it all just hit hard. Clint said his mind felt  like it was trapped a forest fire of mental anguish; “How do I get out of this? What do I do? Where do I go? What just happened?”. Dark thoughts burned within. His parents just disposed of him like trash. “I must be so worthless” he concluded.

Begging in the Rest Area went nowhere and the workers there warned him they were going to call the police. Then Clint made a horrible choice. He robbed a 78 yr. old lady.  Where did that thought come from: “Criminal DNA”? Hardly. It was out of the ashes of pain over why his parents did this to him and the desperation he felt inside. How could he ever comprehend this? 

Fast forward: The lady had  a heart attack and died on the spot . 

Clint went down 28 years; never had a job or one visitation. He sat alone in a cell with a label  in a steel file cabinet “Career Felon”. Nobody  else would ever know the pain-level this brother suffered. It could be more than an entire city. One day, while feeling unhinged, Clint got lost in the brain-fog of his despair. His frustration swelled as he sensed total ruin in his peril of injustice.  Frustration grew to anger and lit the fuse of rage.

 In an instant, his fires unleashed a scream, a curse and a forsaken cry for help.  “God! You don’t care.  I’m so damn alone.”  He fought. He grabbed. He kicked. He smashed. He cried.  It felt like hours but it was 57 seconds of pure rage. Clint was now laying on the floor. As if 500 volts of electricity almost killed him, he was puzzled.  and bewildered. “What just happened? What  just  came out of me?! Was that really me’?!”.  He was cuffed and brought into a room of terrifed faces at this ‘nice’ inmate gone biserk. Then what?

The Aftershock – Sin-eruption. Shock over our sin can turn  the mind upside down and inside out. All that built up mental torment,  affliction and hypocrisy can end in tragedy or a gasp of cathartic release. 

 Before anyone could speak, Cliff said “I know what you’re all thinking: I am dangerous.” A guard with chains. – A doctor with a needle. A nurse dropping her phone trying to call security: “We can’t put him in The Hole. Send him to Medical”. Clint slumped into a dazed stupor. The aftershock of rage intensified further trauma.  If we could see inside Clint, we’d see ourselves. He’s not from Mars. No android. No wires. If you were put in that situation it would be your name here _________ not Clinton. We share his exact composition: this heart, his reaction thought process, this tender mind, how many of you know similar hurt and misunderstanding? How do you respond? Don’t you want to shout, clarify and cry? There’s only One Who truly knows. Why? How? He walked the worst path of human misunderstanding, false accusations and suffering. He came to Clint in  tears in healing. He comes to you before, or after.

The public wants to employ technical terminology to classify Clint as an isolated case.  God seeks to clarify the anatomy of all  human composition being the same. What Pauls is not merely for Christians but all men. Man does not do what he wants to do.  Rather, because of sin within us, we all do the very evil we hate.

Paul concludes …but no longer are we the one doing it but sin that dwells us…we find than the principle that evil is present in us, the one who wants to do good (Rm.7:15:21). This is the source for compassion for all brothers of humanity. This is not an excuse but the reality of sin. Can you see this, not just for yourself, but for all around you? It is how to learn compassion. 

 I’ve had my experiences of not understanding Gods’ ways  and so have you. You didn’t want the anger but couldn’t stop it. Once I was shot and blinded for a time in my left eye.  I  lost everything that was anything to me. I cursed so severely  I erupted into a violent storm that I thought shut the door on God.  But years later I was ”shocked” by a calm as I found grace for my trauma and  learned God’s mercy is never ending. 

So I can now help you my brothers and sisters around the world.  But who, these days,  even cares to hear Gods’ truth? They got their “preachers” and web sites. He who has ears to hear let him hear the truth. Sin  can explode in wild ways or simmer silently in lust, unbelief or  revenge. Either way, none of us can deny that, at some time, in some place we have seen “the monster within”. Aftershock  impacts us all with our own hidden “Hiroshima”.   Don’t lie. Don’t deny. Answers come to the humble and transparent. Embrace the truth.

A prisoner is tagged, labeled and caged. The majority walk free, denying and lying. “Oh me. Not that. Never”.  People talk of sin as “the unthinkable”. But nothing is “unthinkable” if you think it. And if you think it Jesus thought it because “He who knew no sin became sin”. Self-righteous builds an imaginary self-image: “Oh there is little hope for him” a  brother is told. But, on the day of judgment, each one of our hidden sins will be laid bare. Do you want the compassion you showed to others or the judgment you show to others? Jesus says the way we treat others He will treat us.  People ask me how to witness. I tell them treat others the way you would want to be treated. Bless others and instantly the Spirit will give you both wisdom and boldness because that’s Jesus.

There is only One Voice of the One Present to us all saying “Come to Me “Clint.  Stop judging. Start loving. You are overburdened, and I free you and will cause you to find My rest.  Take My yoke upon you brother and learn of Me, I did not come to condemn but to save, for I am gentle and humble lowly in heart, you will find rest relief and ease and be blessed in your soul. For My ways are not harsh, hard, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious. My brethren shall find acceptance.” (Mt11:28-30).

The main emotion I touch in individuals amongst the vast prison-community is the aftermath of rage.  Contrary to social condemnation, rage is not a fixed DNA “criminal” predisposition. It exists in all levels of society and institutions. It’s the “dirty word” SIN. God identifies it as an  infirmity lurking  in all mankind due to a seismic separation of hurt, pain and fear  at our “epicenter”. God responds in compassion not retribution or anger. 

Jesus demonstrated the heart of The Mediator. This means He not only took on the deepest surge of rage ever vented. He actually BECAME SIN (2 Cor.5:2o-21). As He pleaded with His Father on the cross to have mercy on us Jesus felt every iota of trauma. His very body raged with sin. At that very moment Jesus wept with bitter sorrow to conveyed to the Father our hopeless plight of being captured by our own evil. 

The “silence” of God is not His unwillingness to answer your prayers but His ways of leaving you to show your heart to Him. God is not into the manufacturing business. At 12 years old Jesus was out loving the world. When His mom got worried He said “I am about My Fathers’ business”: love. Build your mind, memories, logic, plans and words with love.  God promises to richly bless you. Stand on self-pity and you will “see” how compassion comes easy. Instead of allowing your sin, and the sin of others, become your obstacle, take heed to the revelation of God’s Word and see it as the stepping stone to divine compassion.

Listen, my brother or sister, this world has no answers.  Does a  “good man” suddenly, out of nowhere,  become a “bad man”? This is the  B.S. we are told from childhood.  It’s a lie. To see the depths of our sin causes two things: our gratitude for His forgiveness and our compassion for other sinners trapped in the blindness of sin. God says no man is ever good and all men are always bad (Read Rm.3:10/Is.59). There are no levels of: Real bad, better bad, Good, Better, Best. All of us are wicked to the core. This is absolutely “Good News” (gospel). “I came for the wicked…to save that which is lost…not to condemn but to save…”

I felt a giant sigh of relief: “Whew. I no longer have to pretend I’m ‘a nice guy’ inside, knowing full well I’m not. If you get any love out of this article from me it’s proof of God because I’m a dreadful thug. The answer to  sin  is not despair but “faith working through love”. “Ya. That’s what I am inside. So what? Jesus is my Exonerator”. It was resolved 2000 yrs. ago.  God demonstrated that He loves, understands and forgives us.  It’s laughable cool. Because you will fall again and again…..

 The ultimate “cage”  is our own humanity. In the prison world the word corruption is a no, no. But in every facet where there is humanity; divorce, military, athletics, corporations etc. there is corruption. The whole human race is corrupt. And this is the “cage” was obliterated by His death and resurrection. Get it? You got to. It’s awesome. We often find ourselves in “the hole” of our own bottomless pit.  In that place God brings the wings to escape: Faith in Jesus.  Brother or sister, you must learn to understand how to deal with you or you are sitting on a keg of dynamite playing with matches.  

Rage is like  no other emotion in that it expresses every man at his core. Ready for this one? It is normal not abnormal. Poke any tiger and it will roar. Read Isaiah 59 to find your Ancestory.  Every single human has rage sitting at the bottom of his cage. But I assure you  the ultimate “Aftermath” is not an  irreversible identity. Gods’ mercy is closer than you think. Sonship is His promise. Instead of sulking in bewilderment: “How could I do this?!” Answer. “Because I’m a sinner”. Done. Trust  the Mediator.  What brings a grizzly into a camp is that it smells the beef.  Eliminate the food, eliminate the danger. So yes, you DO have a lot to DO with your sin. If you ‘play’ with self-pity and preserve the “food” of  hurts and feelings  “the beast” will rip your ass to shreds.  Allow Jesus to mediate and exonerate your sin ‘once and for all’  and you will not fall prey to your beast. 

To some who read this story, Clint is like an item scanned at a Wal-Mart checkout: “Beep”.  Surely you’ve met people, no matter what you share, they only see themselves. They find no compassion for the plight of others.   “God so loved the world” He gave up Himself (Jn.3:16). Any pagan can love those who love him (Luke 6:32).  But Gods’ love is to love beyond yourself.

Contrary to what many Christians believe today,  Jesus holds us accountable to a shared brotherhood with all humanity. This is His absolute revelation: from the homeless, to prisoners to enemies “…for both He who sanctifies (God) and those who are sanctified (lost men) ARE ALL FROM ONE FATHER (We are all from one humanity created by one God including the humanity in which Jesus shared); for this reason He (Jesus) is not ashamed to call them(us)  brothers (because we were all created by God)”. Undeniable: (Read Hebrews 2:11).

Jesus had not yet risen from the dead so there were no Christian brothers in Jesus’ day. So what Jesus said, He was speaking to all lost mankind.

From the Sermon on the Mount to all His interactions with mankind Jesus undoubtedly exemplified how we are to treat others with His heart towards them as brothers and sisters. This is what makes Jesus head and shoulders above all teachers. It is totally contrary to the ways of sinful men. It was only the Pharisees who were offended that He spoke the same to pagans as to all because they differentiated and isolated themselves as superior . “But wishing to justify himself,” he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”. Jesus does not say “Whoever accepts Me as his Savior” but rather gives the example of the heart of the Samaritan.  (Luke.10:29). Powerful stuff.