The Power of Christ

We forget.  So easily we forget the magnitude of the one we worship and why we worship him.  We cannot love Christ until we feel the weight of what he did and we cannot feel the weight of what he did until we feel the depth of our own need.

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” – Mark 2:17

For those who see and feel no sin in themselves, Christ holds no value.  In fact, for those, Christ is an offense.  To those who find their own salvation in their own merits, Christ becomes an object of wrath or of self-gratification and aggrandizement.  To those who feel themselves worthy, Christ has no worth.

But to those of us who see our sin and see the depths of our depravity, we see…we know the value.  We feel the magnitude of what Christ has done and we fall to our knees.  We know, not in intellect alone but also in body and spirit, how unworthy we are of the gift we receive from him.  With each new day, our humility deepens because we never stop seeing or feeling our sin.  In fact, the more mature we get, the more we feel the gap between our weaknesses and His strength.  And as our sight gets clearer our hearts grow more and more grateful and love-bound to the work of Christ.


Thank you, Abba, for the work you did.  You gave your son to make a way to me, a sinner in need.

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The Heart and The Mouth

Above all else, guard your heart.  For everything you do flows from it.  – Proverbs 4:23


Everything comes down to the position and motivation of the heart.  Everything.

Jesus taught this when he says, “…but the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean’.  For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.  These are what make a man ‘unclean’.” (Matthew 15:18-19)

That which we speak comes from our hearts, and it is our hearts that determine how clean or unclean it is.

For example…

Say you notice something different about your friend.  Where once he/she was thoughtful and giving, now they are more reserved.  A loving heart would perceive this as concern for them and you will approach them in love and ask what is wrong.  If you love them and care for them, you will listen to the answer and provide them with emotional support and care. If you love them and care for them, you’ll make sure you understand what they are going through and why they are acting differently than normal.

But if you do not love them, you will judge them without even knowing what is really going on.  You won’t talk or even ask before casting a judgment.  If you do ask, it’s with the agenda of casting judgment.  Unloving hearts doll our judgment to friends and strangers alike without any form of understanding of what the truth may be.  Unloving hearts get upset only that they “changed” and then become sullen and self-pitying because the friend isn’t serving you as they used to.  Unloving hearts expect or demand love without ever offering it.

Unloving hearts also accuse others of being judgmental, simply because they feel convicted of being wrong.  They feel convicted, refuse to address such conviction, and so accuse others of being “judgmental” simply for speaking honestly.

But here’s the funny thing.  You can’t call someone judgmental without being yourself, judgmental.  And since hardly anyone makes that accusation with a heart of love, that also makes the accuser not only judgmental themselves, but also prideful, haughty, and hypocritical.  You accuse someone of what you believe is wrong (which may not actually be wrong, since you didn’t bother to look into the matter), and you end up incurring three more wrongs upon yourself.  Funny how that works, huh.

Is it any wonder Jesus taught us not to point out the speck in someone’s eye before removing the plank in our own?  He didn’t say “never point it out.”  He just said to check ourselves and approach all matters with a pure heart.  Because when, and only when, our hearts are right is it a beautiful thing to come to someone in love and concern about theirs.  We are called to speak the truth, in love, and to sharpen one another as iron sharpens iron.  We are even called to rebuke those who are stubborn in their sin and, if they are causing harm to others, we are to remove them from our inner circles so as to protect ourselves and those we love.

Unfortunately, most people in today’s world (just look at social media…holy cow) throw around accusations and judgements to people they don’t even know, never took the time to talk to, and have no actually love or concern for.  People get a rush of god-like delusion from casting judgements on everything and then calling it “free speech.”  People with planks so big they can’t even see straight, setting out with prideful and arrogant hearts, seeking only to expose the specks in everyone else’s eyes.

Christ calls us to be different.  May we, as followers of Christ, be ever more wise and discerning in the purification of our own hearts, and leave the hearts of others to the real Judge, who knows and sees all.

Sexual Assault Awareness Project

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They say a picture is worth a thousand words and I wholeheartedly agree.  Photography has the power to convey an emotion or experience in ways that words simply can’t no matter how many are written or said.

Part of healing trauma is finding a way to process the painful emotions in a way that breaks their hold on the mind and body.  One of the best ways to do this is by finding creative, non-linear ways of expressing the painful and frightening emotions that are quite often too painful (or buried too deeply) to access in a more direct way.  Music, poetry, painting, dance, photography, etc..these are all very common creative expressions that can prove to have powerful healing effects for victims.  For me, well, I’ve always been partial to photography…

Last winter, my therapist noticed I was stuck in my ability to move past the sexual assault I experience a couple years prior.  While I was beginning to understand what really happened to me, I just couldn’t shake the pain and despair of such seemingly senseless violence.  The injustice of everything I experienced, including being silenced and shamed by police and “friends”, brought confusion and pain that lingered in my body and haunted my every thought.

In a stroke of brilliance, my therapist suggested that I connect with Liz Gilani, a photographer, to create a photo story to externalize my emotional experience with the assault.  The purpose being to not only process and resolve the trauma for myself but to also bring purpose to the pain.

I participated in this project in order to heal, but I’ve decided to share it for many more reasons than that.  Sexual assault is an absolute epidemic that is overwhelmingly ignored, denied, or at best met with indifference by our society.  One in four women are victims of sexual assault and those numbers are even low due to a severe lack of reporting.  Women fear reporting for many reasons including fear of retribution, being re-traumatized, shame and blame from others, self-blame, lack of support, and the most heart-breaking…because they see stories like mine where the police simply don’t care and they know their own fruitless efforts will only cause them more pain and suffering.  Of all issues, sexual assault is one of the most prevalent, relevant, and yet oddly one of the most ignored by society.

This photo story is my way of bringing justice to a situation that never found justice. I want the friends and family of my fellow survivors to truly understand the emotional and spiritual damage that is done through sexual violence so they can show more compassion and support to those who have been victimized.  I want our culture to understand that this issue is not to be taken lightly and that instead of blaming and shaming victims, we need to start holding perpetrators accountable for their actions.

More than anything, I want victims to know they aren’t alone.  I want them to know that God did not want their experience to happen anymore than they did, and that He is on their side.  If you or anyone you know is a victim of sexual assault and you feel like they would benefit from this story, please feel free to share.

Many blessings,

Ruthie Grace

** Before clicking, please be aware that some of these photos are very graphic and could be a potential trigger for some victims of sexual assault. **

Photo Story