Soul searching and the three treasures

Do you keep meeting the same kind of person?  The root of this problem is in grief.  We are compelled to repeat something until it is resolved.  The best way to avoid being sad is to be mad, at someone else.  If you had a parent figure who let you down, you find someone else like them, and stay mad at them for 40 years!  We are not people who let go of things by nature.

Heart-decisions

There is a proverb about this; As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.  Proverbs 26:11

People with damaged boundaries are perpetually in a state of loss, all the time.  It manifests as depression, rage, resentment, worry.  Depression can keep you on bondage to the person who feels they own you.  Depression is unresolved grief.  I have heard it said that depression is anger without enthusiasm.

Guilt is rage you’re lying about.  People who are really mad at someone, but anger won’t work, put themselves in the victim role.  We like to blame it on someone else, then we can avoid guilt.  If we’re angry at someone who has manipulated us, we have to ask ourselves, “what did I want from them that gave them the power to do that?”

What I have learned is the problem is never the real problem.

The solution is forgiveness, to let go of destructive people so we can receive.  Let it go, cry over it.  “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  Matthew 5:4

We need to take ownership of our feelings, attitudes, and behaviour.  These I have learned are called the three treasures.  If you have boundary injuries, so that you can’t take care of these, or you are putting somebody else’s monkey on your back, its because someone has hated your treasures.  Someone wanted your compliance, your going along with something, your being a good student, your helpfulness, your being entertaining or whatever, more than they wanted you to be real, open and grow, and there was a transfer.

Jeremiah, the weeping prophet tells us ““The heart is deceitful above all things, and beyond cure.  Who can understand it?”  Jeremiah 17:9

That’s the human heart.  Deceitful.  Beyond cure.   Not able to be understood.

id ego superego

When I went to back to College to earn my Diploma of Business, the first paper we did was Business Communication.  It confirmed what I’d learned in the years I was rebuilding my life after a marriage breakup and disastrous “relationship” with a narcissist. 

Like an iceberg, most of what affects the soul is submerged.  The decisions we make which are based on our feelings, attitudes, and behaviour are affected by things hidden at an unconscious level.  Isn’t that scary.

God knows how we are wired, even if we don’t.

But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives”. Jeremiah 17:10.

The good news is that the Lord is called “Wonderful Counselor” and He can bring to light those secret motives.  We all like sheep have gone astray.  The Shepherd’s goal is to search for the lost sheep and restore souls.

We want to be out of pain, we’re wanting to be in control, we’re wanting love, for the hurt to stop.  We have all these needs that are good, that want life to be better, a hunger and thirst for righteousness not getting answered.

Jesus said “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6

There is nothing more important in growing and recovery than taking ownership in life of your three treasures.  This will determine how you handle everything; finances, work, family, career, body, spouse, friendships, etc.  Boundaries serve as an assistant to protect these three treasures – our feelings, attitudes, and behaviour.

Boundaries are freedom and freedom is love.  We will never get there until we get to grips with our own sin, to receive grace, so we can give it away.  The pain leads us to the grace.  We can never understand truth until we have the grace first.

Most of what I have written about here was from a tape I was given on Boundaries, which I made a passing reference to it in the part of my book where I started to rebuild my life.

I kept the notes from the tapes and have put them on the blog so it can in turn help you.  He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:4.

The three treasures deals with what the Lord taught me here about the hidden things of the heart.

The three treasures

Wisdom

By wisdom a house is built,
and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled
with rare and beautiful treasures
.”  Proverbs 24:3

After reading these words, Joanna looked at the King sadly.  The rooms of her house in the Kingdom were empty.  In the bad days before she had boundaries, her treasures were often taken from her.  The people who were nearest to her hated her treasures.

They had wanted her compliance, her going along with something, her helpfulness, her skills, her work, her possessions, more than they had wanted her to be real.

Other people made demands she would be paralysed to say no to, because her conscience blocked her from refusing them.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and beyond cure,” she read; “Who can understand it?”  Jeremiah 17:9

This was the human heart.  Deceitful.  Incurable.  Unable to be understood.  How could she fix what she could not grasp?  She fought a brief feeling of hopelessness, until she remembered the words of the King;

But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives”. Jeremiah 17:10.

It brought to mind the words of Anna, her Great-Great Grandmother who wrote, “the Lord sees into your heart.

Joanna prayed;
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24

“Father, I have a problem. I cannot rely on my own conscience. Conscience; meaning moral sense, principles, scruples, still small voice.  It has loaded me down with all sorts of guilt, failed to protect me, and made me responsible for other people’s rubbish.

Now I am building boundaries to keep the bad out, but whenever I build a boundary I experience a feeling of guilt.  Where was this coming from?  I cannot rely on myself!  Granted, with your teaching and influence I am getting better. You never speak to me the way I speak to myself. Help me to guard my heart, and to stand.”

The King heard her prayer, and joined Joanna next to the wall He helped her build.  She was making progress.

He said “This wall is to protect the treasures that lie within.”

“What are these treasures that you speak of, Lord?” she asked.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:34

“Basically there are three treasures; three parts of the heart, the soul,” the King replied;
The first treasure is your feelings; your emotions which serve as barometers of the Soul.  They function as a signal.  People who don’t take ownership of their feelings, whose feelings have been violated, lose their sense of self protection.  Ask yourself, do I own my feelings, or do I let other people own my feelings?  Your feelings are our own.

The second treasure is your attitudes; convictions, what you believe, what is real to you and what isn’t, your doctrinal beliefs, what you think is true about life.  You have to stand for what you believe.  You always used to always question if you were right or not” the King stated.  She nodded.  He was right.  “People without good boundaries around their attitudes do that.”

“The third treasure is your behaviour You went through life feeling like someone else was making you do something, because they had some sort of hold over you.  Is that not true?”

She nodded.

“Many people feel like that.  People that always feel controlled by the outside ‘they made me do it’, tend to be people who don’t set good limits, or haven’t been able to set good limits on other behaviour,” the King explained.

guard-your-heartJoanna was reminded that all citizens of the Kingdom would be judged by the King for their actions.

For all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each person may receive what is due for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”  2 Corinthians 5:10

“You are going to be called to account at the Judgement for the Believer and your behaviour will be evaluated.  You won’t be able to accord it to anyone else, you will have to say that you stood alone and you made the decisions.”

She nodded, understanding the King was the Judge.  For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honour the Son just as they honour the Father. He who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent Him.” John 5:22

Bowing before the King, she asked “For where my heart is, my treasure is.  Please take up the throne in my Kingdom.  Help me to enforce my boundaries so that no one can make me do anything!  I want to be able to own my feelings and trust my decisions.  Teach me to guard my heart so that I can keep the treasures safe.”

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.  Proverbs 4:23

Wellspring

A rich inheritance

Ephesians1.18When I first became a believer in Christ I was content to be saved and know I would go to Heaven, nothing more. 

When I came to know the King better, He encouraged me to learn more and started to teach me the things of the Kingdom. 

In the next chapter of the Kingdom, He introduced the subject of inheritance.

I’d heard salvation preached, but hardly anything about inheritance.  What is inheritance?

Inheritance is different from salvation.  Salvation is a free gift.  It cannot be earned.  Inheritance has to be contended for, through faith.

The Lord wants to give us the spirit of adoption so we can call Him Father”.  Romans 8:15.  The trouble is, “Father” is not always a happy word.  It wasn’t for me.  To make it worse, I’d lost my only brother at the age of 23.  It affected my relationship with God to the extent that I’d given up following Him.  When I did come back to God, I didn’t fully trust Him.   I had trouble calling God “Father”, I preferred the title “Lord”.  I had to battle through that.

I hope my story may help you to understand there is far more to the Christian faith than salvation alone.  Its a journey home to the Father.

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.  I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.  Ephesians 1:18.

Salvation and Inheritance

The seven deadly sins

Two years ago, my son moved home with his cat Shadow, who he had rescued from the mean streets of our old home town.  When he first adopted Shadow, the cat was skinny, scared, and pathetic.  Shadow’s trust in us has grown with his weight. 

Now he’s a big fat cat who lolls around on his back doing nothing all day.  I’ve pointed that out to my son saying “Look at that – if he was Catholic he’d be guilty of at least two of the ‘seven deadly sins’, gluttony and sloth!”

Do you believe that the seven deadly sins of wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony are in the Bible?  They’re not.  They were invented by theologians and they are not listed in the Bible.

SevenDeadlySinsHere are the seven sins that are listed;

There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. 
Proverbs 6:16-19

This list of sins aren’t called deadly, but they are things the Lord hates and finds detestable.  Why?  It’s like murder, and there are consequences.

There is a proverb that says “Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow is one who gives false testimony against a neighbor.”  Proverbs 25:18. 

The confrontation deals with  a false witness who poured out lies, and stirred up conflict in the community.  The man in this chapter sowed discord amongst us, and it caused us all to stumble.

The story never made it into the book.  My editor said I needed to “murder a few darlings.”   

Proverbs 6_16_19

The confrontation

Proverbs 6-16-19There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
         a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
         a false witness who pours out lies
and and he that sows discord among brethren.  Proverbs 6:16-19

Joanna wanted to tell Liang that someone had spoken against him. If the accusation was true, she needed to protect her little ones. If it was false, she wanted to defend Liang. She needed to find out the truth. 

Needing solitude and time to think, she withdrew from her friends. Liang did not know what had happened to her. She appeared to be very distant to him.   Liang went to see White Flower, who lived just two houses away. “She has thrown me out of the house” he said, jokingly.

White Flower, feeling for Liang, replied “Oh, I am so sorry – but I am sure she will find out that all of this is not true. Do you want me to talk to her?” Liang looked puzzled. “What? What are you talking about?” he asked.

Just then Joanna contacted White Flower, “Please do not say anything to him about the accusation, for I have not told him about it.”

“Oh” White Flower said, disconcerted.

She turned to Liang. “I am sorry; I cannot tell you what I am talking about. You had best talk to her.”

“What is this about?” he asked.

“Think of your worst nightmare and it will be that” she said gravely.

Liang went back to Joanna with questions.

She told him what had happened, “Unless it is substantiated, I am going to treat it as slander.  But we need to stop seeing each other while I get this mess sorted out. The King did request that I step back from you for a time, and I ignored Him, when I should not have.”

The Bright One revealed that the slander had come from his friend Andrew, who said he heard it from his best friend.

“I want the name of his friend” Joanna demanded.  The Bright One was not forthcoming.  Undeterred, she asked White Flower to pay a social visit to Andrew’s unsuspecting wife.

“I need that name” she said.  White Flower was happy to oblige.

While having a cup of tea with Andrew’s wife, White Flower made conversation.

“You have not been married long, have you?” she asked disingenuously, “I would love to see your wedding dress.  Do you have some wedding photos?”

As she leafed through the wedding album, admiring the dress, she pointed to Andrew’s best man, and in all innocence asked “I’ve think I’ve met him somewhere.  Is he a local?  What’s his name?”

Later, armed with the name, she went back to Joanna with a satisfied smile.

Liang was calm in the face of the attack, but when he learned from White Flower that the accusation had come through the Bright One, he was angry. He confronted the Bright One saying “Look, I do not dislike you, but I dislike this! If you will not tell me who it was who spoke against me, then he needs to come forward.”

The Bright One agreed, “I am going to confront Andrew, the brother who made the accusation. Do you want to come with me?”

“Yes, I think that it is best if we tackle him together” she said, as she pulled on her armour.  She had already contacted Andrew’s baffled friend who did not know Liang.

They knocked and walked into the house of Andrew, the slanderer.  Andrew who was busy sanding gib-board, looked up but did not stop.  White dust filled the air and clung to him.  He looked like a ghoul.

The atmosphere grew tense as Andrew ignored them and carried on working.  Sensing trouble, Joanna grew very uncomfortable at being in this old house.  It was a dragon’s den.  Finally the Bright One politely interjected in the conversation Andrew was having with his father, and asked to talk about the accusation.

Andrew did not want to talk, but the Bright One calmly stood his ground and insisted it be resolved. Feeling himself pushed into a corner, Andrew weighed his options, his face expressionless.  He did not like being confronted.

Without warning, he snapped and lunged for the Bright One.  Andrew’s father stepped in to separate them.  A tall Maori, the Bright One could easily have decked Andrew, but he chose not to hit him.  Assisted by Andrew’s father, he held him off.

Elephants_wallpapers_87A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating.  Proverbs 18:6

Again and again Andrew attacked the Bright One.  White dust filled the air.  The Bright One allowed himself to be pushed out the door.

Joanna grimaced at Andrew’s father and bolted out the door after them.

After the scuffling had ended and they were a safe distance from the house Joanna  looked at the Bright One, and laughed at his appearance.  His light olive skin was covered in white powder, his black hair stood on end, and he sported a torn shirt and cut lip.  She was still laughing shakily as they walked away.

The Bright One threw a droll smile at Joanna and said “Well sis, I guess we got our answer.”

“I already knew.  I talked to his friend and found out it wasn’t true” she confessed.  The Bright One was puzzled.  How did she know who Andrew’s friend was?  She told him about the scheme hatched with White Flower.

The Bright One shook his head at their conniving.  “Women!  You girls are tricky!” he said aghast, his face a flaming mixture of amazement and dismay.

“I am sorry, but I acted out of necessity” she said, as if the ends justified the means.  “What do we do now?” she asked, wanting to move on.

“We’ll do what the King said to do in circumstances like this, and tell it to the church” he replied.

“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”  Matthew 18:15-17

Later, they called in the pastors of Andrew and the Bright One, explaining what had happened.  As the circle of friends was an informal group, belonging to many different churches, there was no formal oversight.

The pastors knew the group as they had come along to their meals as visitors.  They listened carefully, asked questions and sought the Lord, their prayer echoing her own “Lord, let justice be the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line.”  Isaiah 28:17

Joanna left the matter in their hands.  Whether they applied church discipline to Andrew, she did not know.  Andrew’s wife had not been involved, and was still welcome with the circle of friends.  She did not get upset at Joanna and White Flower’s machinations, but chose to stay, even though Andrew was now excluded from the circle.

The second wish

In a previous post where I met a character I dubbed “the Minstrel”, I told a story about wishes.  The story goes like this;

There was once a princess who got rid of a controlling man, and foolishly asked the King for the next man to be the complete opposite.

“Please bring me a man who is the exact opposite of Silver-tongue” she prayed.    Even though she had gone to the King with her wish, she asked the for the wrong thing.  All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD.  Proverbs 16:2.

The King decided to grant her request because He wanted her to learn.  She should have asked for wisdom.

Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men,The Lord ponders the heart
    from men whose words are perverse,
who have left the straight paths
    to walk in dark ways,
who delight in doing wrong
    and rejoice in the perverseness of evil,
whose paths are crooked
    and who are devious in their ways.  Proverbs 2:12-15

The next man, a friend she dubbed “the Minstrel”, was the complete opposite, but his words were just as perverse, and he goaded her with snide little put downs.

The foolish princess still hadn’t learned and asked the King to bring her someone else.

“Please bring me someone who sees me for who I really am, and desires me” she asked.

The King, who wanted the Princess to see herself through His eyes, replied “Be careful of what you ask.”

Be careful for what you ask.

The light shines in the darkness

Mangaehuehu, Mt RuapehuPanting harshly, we hurriedly left the river to scramble up the steep bank to gain the top of the ridge near the Mangaehuehu hut on Mt Ruapehu. 

Fog rolled down the mountain’s slopes just as we’d finished washing the last of the dishes in the clear mountain river, touching us with its damp fingers.  It conquered the evening sun that lit the folds and ridges of the land, leaving us disoriented and lost.  Dropping down to our hands and knees, we crawled down the ridge hoping to find the hut.  No landmark was visible, nor could we discern the track. We were caught out.

When we reached the ridge we stood to our feet in the grey void, unnerved and too afraid to move.  The feeling of fear was clammier than the air.  Our packs and sleeping bags were in the hut.  The majestic volcano that crowned the hills near the land I lived was my friend, a great playground for skiing and tramping, but it was complex and had rules.  Confident of the mountain’s good mood, we’d gone out clad only in our shorts and T-shirts.  Even though it was mid-summer, we knew the peril from exposure if we were forced to spend the night in the open.  How were we going to get back to safety?

Just as we were debating what to do, a light appeared, beckoning us to safety.  That light that someone, recognising our peril, had put in the hut window, was our salvation.

That is what Jesus, the Light of the World, is for me.  The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Isaiah 9:2

He promises that “whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12.

The King, the great ‘I AM’, is mightier than the light in the hut, mightier than the cyborg robot played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2, who reached out his hand saying “Come with me if you want to live.”