A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

A False “Happy” is an Environment in Which Abuse Hides

UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.


“Where does this happy feeling come from? JESUS!

Where does this happy feeling come from? JESUS!

This happy feeling comes from Jesus! Everyday He more than pleases!

That’s where this happy feeling comes from.”

Luke 22:42-44 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

A false happy is typically taught in our churches, beginning with classes for the very youngest ages. This theology is often most evident in songs we learned in our Sunday School classes, VBS programs, and even in numbers of choruses used in worship. “I am a Christian. I have the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart. A Christian is the happiest person on earth.” The thing flies with very young children, but as we grow older???

I suggest that false happy is false. That it is not a biblical, true representation of what it means to follow Jesus. And worse, it sets us up for denial of the reality of evil and thus makes the attacks of the wicked upon us even easier to launch. See it? If we have been taught in church from the youngest age that people who know Jesus are happy people, then are we not going to go into “stuff it” mode when evil touches us? “I won’t think about that. I am supposed to be happy. It’s just me.”

That is to say, when the false happy begins to break down, who ya gonna blame?  Yourself! Not the wicked one who is causing the pain, trauma and grief, but YOU are the problem. I mean, there must be something wrong with you because everyone else seems to be saying that Jesus gives us happy feelings and everyday He more than pleases those who know Him.

Some of those songs may be catchy. You may have sentimental attachment to them. But they are just wrong. They cause real harm. They need to be round-filed.


  1. Wendell G

    Come on! Being anything but happy is a negative confession and we can’t have that!

    Of course I am being facetious there, but it honestly is the way a lot of Christians operate, especially if they have been influenced by the World of Faith movement. True, being a true follower of Christ can bring joy, but as Jesus promised, it will bring tribulation and nothing about being a Christian insulates one from the evils of this age. Just ask Stephen, James, Paul and just about all the other apostles and disciples in the New Testament.

    But we can’t bring that up because it is a negative confession…

    • Being anything but happy is a negative confession and we can’t have that!

      Huh. Paul must have had a negative confession then! Listen to this:

      And when they came to him, he said to them:

      “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

      And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.

      Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.

      (Acts 20:18-31)

  2. Herjourney

    Coercion in abusive leadership is from hell. I lived with this! Put on the fakism. Because being real is not allowed in public. Abusers get a high from degrading their spouse.. Especially in front of their family and friends. It puffs them up. While the abused die a slow death.
    This is wicked mind control indoctrination
    It may take many years to expose the darkness to light.
    In doing so the wicked religious dictator ..
    then begins to use guilt as a means to shame it’s victim. Or flock.
    Most dumb sheep agree with the leader. After all, who would stand against a godly pulpit preacher?
    He is a genius at the game he is playing. It is a game to him.
    If the real Christ follower speaks the gospel. The wolf will try many tactics to convince the rebel she is not submitting to his game.
    This is reality Christian!
    I am living this today.
    No pity party with
    Enjoying the rain. Thankful God is my refuge and strength.

  3. a prodigal daughter returns

    Thank you for this beautiful truth. The truth sets us free to be authentic people. After my abusive marriages ended and I was out of the churches that enabled them I went to college. I remember discovering books and the freedom to learn and think and be real. I felt gloriously happy and the world seemed beautiful at that time. What struck me most was the acceptance I found in the academic world. I quoted the Bible, I held to my convictions in a secular college and was treated with dignity, respect, kindness because of my curiosity and academic rigor.

    In other words, questioning things brought me honor instead of disrespect and for the first time in my life I felt valued and safe. I marvelled that I only found people to be loving outside of the church. I didn’t have to paste on a smile, it came naturally where real kindness existed for me. In churches where women are objectified, they feel valueless apart from weird performance rules that take away their humanity and break their spirit.

    Those types of churches are the enemy of God, masquerading as his representatives.

  4. Anonymous

    Excellent point. This is very true. Not only that but some abusive men can come from these kinds of families. Where everyone puts on a fake christian facade and never talk about anything negative…just pretend we are all happy and always ‘be sweet’. So when a family member (male) starts showing signs of wickedness as an adult, they all ignore it and pretend it isn’t so. They gloss over the glaring evidence so they can protect the fake happy environment in their family, which is believe is another act of evil in itself. Then when these kinds of abusive men marry, after coming from these kinds of fake happy families, they abuse their wives emotionally or physically if they are ‘real’ in anyway by expressing any righteous anger (in a respectful way), or any sadness, or any irritability, or any complaints as a human is prone to…basically anything that deviates from the ‘be sweet’ mantra and the ‘fake happy facade’.

    I read that on the walls of the Warren Jeffs compound buildings, was often painted the sentence ‘be sweet’ and at the entrance to homes. I realised just how abusive it is to enforce a perpetually happy, smilely, deny reality, always be positive attitude and demeanour onto someone. It is denying their very existence as a person in a way.

  5. Irene

    I couldn’t stop crying when I read this. It has applied to my whole life–I can remember as a child that if my sister and I cried we were threatened with a beating. By the time I was in high school I had published poems–but no one ever picked up on the fact that they were always about hiding behind masks and trying to find a refuge in the Lord. My counselor recently told me that my husband whistling near someone who was crying was a strong way to say, “Change your attitude now!”–and those were the times that he didn’t say outright, the Bible commands you to rejoice in the Lord. Eventually what happened to me was that every time I went to church and heard music I started crying uncontrollably. And my younger daughter stepped up the plate then and said that my unhappiness was an abomination to the Lord. I am so so glad that you are saying it is ok to cry!

    • It’s not just us saying it. God’s Word says it’s okay to cry.

      Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15.

      And here are two posts about crying by Lundy Bancroft:

      A powerful key to healing from trauma [Internet Archive link]. That post begins:

      We are designed, deep down in our genetic structure, to heal naturally from emotional injury, including trauma. Amidst all of the focus on modern invention and discovery, we are missing the oldest, and for most people the most powerful, route to emotional wellness: deep crying.

      Crying is the most misunderstood aspect of human experience. If we could get this one right, we could get everything else right; our failure to grasp how crying works is in many ways the core of the difficulties faced by our species.

      When you know you need a good cry [Internet Archive link]

      • bright sunshinin' day

        Who “invented” our tear ducts? And why? Was not our Master Designer a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief? (Isaiah 53:3) Jesus taught us that there is a time for everything – to rejoice and to cry.

  6. Karen

    Amen Jeff. You are spot on.

    • His child

      This is so true. I have visited many churches here, and never felt like I fit in. I am so miserable and all these people are smiling like they dont have a care in the world. They also don’t ask me any questions and seem like they only want people like themselves in their circle of friends. Aren’t they curious about a visitor? I was just looking for a ‘family’ to belong to in my desperation—isn’t the Church supposed to be a family, or a hospital for wounded saints? Acts 2: 42-47 describes the fellowship of believers in the New Testament Church—-Lord, bring us there again…….as a light in this dark world……and for Your glory!

  7. Anonymous

    Job 9:23, “When disaster brings sudden death, He mocks the despair of the innocent.” The way the word is used here for “despair” means that they mock the “test, trial, of innocent person.” They ridicule us for having the right emotion for given situations.

    We humans with a conscience were made to feel the entire gamut of emotions and trying to deny us the right to “own” them is evil. What do I mean by this? Well, we know that people who have the brain functioning of a psychopath feel only “proto emotions” (as Dr. Hare explains it). These are primitive emotions and they only pertain to the psychopath. “Psychopaths do not feel emotions as deeply as an average person. Though they are not completely unemotional, their emotions are so shallow that some clinicians have described them as mere “proto-emotions: primitive responses to immediate needs. Psychopaths do not feel fear as deeply as normal people and do not manifest any of the normal physical responses to threatening stimuli……..Psychopaths do not feel love and are incapable of forming emotional bonds with people…..Psychopaths do not suffer profound emotional trauma such as despair”

    When you belong to the Lord and have the Holy Spirit as your guide, you will feel things deeply and strongly. You will care deeply and strongly on behalf of others and justice is a fundamental “emotion” when the Holy Spirit is around. True believers HATE injustice in any form. Not so with those who are lovers of self (2 Tim 3:2). They are only aware of things from their own selfish perspective. They LOVE to force the rest of us into submission by telling us that we are ONLY allowed to feel joy and be happy. This makes a very pleasant stage from which they can perform. THEY are allowed to be angry and indignant and hate everyone but WE must be compliant and well-behaved and submissive. They deny us our ability to let the Holy Spirit lead us. As with the Bible verse listed above, deep sadness is part of what we will feel at times and as with this verse, this is the RIGHT emotion to feel in this situation.

    One thing I’ve noticed after decades of living with people with no conscience is that they expect us to think and feel in a “linear” fashion. When we deviate from the dictates THEY have established for us (in many cases the way THEY have programed us to react to them) we are labeled crazy, unstable, insane or unsubmissive. Even though we’ve been abused for years and have no idea why anger suddenly flares up seemingly unprovoked, or when we are deeply depressed because we’ve been unable to fellowship with the Holy Spirit who lives in our heart because we’ve been forced to obey man-made laws that separate us from God, we have the added burden of trying to act in the way that THEY want us to. Is it any wonder people run from the church?

  8. Anne

    This is so right on. My husband’s church does this, the fake happy. People high up have often said right out: “If you don’t feel it, fake it until it becomes real.”

    They take the same tack with gifts of the spirit … Holy Spirit not gotten you speaking in tongues yet, not slain in the spirit … ? We’ll help you by gathering around praying, babbling, pushing you to fall down until you give in so we leave you alone. Two of my kids faked speaking in tongues in school chapel so they’d be left alone and the third let themselves be “slain in the spirit” so they’d be left alone too. This child said they had no choice, they were pushed and pulled until off balance amd had to fight to stay on their feet … and then thought, oh well, just let them and they’ll never bother me again, so down they went to the floor, closed their eyes and didn’t move for 10 minutes or so! Sure enough, they were never bothered again while in chapel.

    I’m sure if the good Lord wants me to manifest any gifts of the spirit, He can make that happen without church members pushing the fake it till you feel it agenda … I’m willing and He’s able, so I don’t need to fake it, if it’s to happen.

    And if not, there are many gifts of the spirit that are not necessarily an outward show like tongues. I’ve been told and feel myself that I have the gift of discernment. That’s just fine by me 🙂 I don’t need the world to know.

    • If you don’t feel it, fake it until it becomes real.

      That idea comes from Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the cult “Christian Science”. It wormed its way into Pentecostal circles decades ago and now there are many people sitting in pews who think it is good Christian doctrine. It’s allied to the Word Of Faith heresy.

      • Anne

        Wow. I had no idea about that, Barbara. That’s what they are teaching kids at the school too. Scary.

      • Here’s something you can tell your kids: God desires truth in the inward parts (Ps 51:6). He does not desire fakery.

    • KayE

      Oh yes, that slain in the spirit thing. They put their hand in the middle of your forehead so that you are pushed off balance and fall backwards. But if you stand strong with your feet wide apart so that you can’t be shoved over, then they get angry.

      • Anne

        KayE, yes! That’s what my child told me too, they would not be happy if you kept resisting. Too bad none of the kids admitted these things to me while they were going to school!

        Only afterwards, when we began to understand all the abuse in our life, from the church, school and the husband and we started talking to each other to make sense of things. I thank God I left that church long ago … discernment! … even though it caused the abuse to be worse over time … I’m an unsubmissive wife, don’t ya know!

    • Still Reforming


      I grew up with that. I remember once my dad tried to cast demons out of me because I was sick and couldn’t go to school.

      After my mom left him (in those days, we as kids were asked in a room outside the courtroom which parent we wanted to live with – a choice my own child now wish she could make too)… after my mom left with us kids, most visits with my dad were in his church, where “faith healings” and speaking in tongues were the norm. My brothers stopped going early on, but I missed having a dad so I went to more, but always felt weird. I saw a lot of people pushed over, even children, and I found it all to be very scary.

      I think that when we as children grow up in homes like that and we don’t know it’s not normal, we tend to feel comfortable around the dysfunctional. It’s just what we know.

    • 7stelle

      I know a Christian man who desperately needed a job. One of the church’s requirements was that you speak in tongues. He actually made up some gibberish and got the job! Now that just goes to show you how fake the leadership was–they never said, ‘what, no one here can interpret that, you’re not speaking in tongues.’

  9. Still Reforming

    We were told in my former church that no one will be attracted to an unhappy Christian. We were told to always present ourselves so people would say, “I want what she’s got.” That never made much sense to me, since that’s not my experience in salvation, looking at others and saying, “Wow, I want what so-and-so’s got.” (That was the same remark made when the pastor had his son ordained as another pastor – a young pastor – in the church. The pastor remarked, “We should give him and his wife a good experience so he’ll end up running a church of his own and those congregants will say, ‘Send us more like those!'” Really odd statement, actually.) Thinking back now, though, I can understand why the pastor’s wife always seemed so….. plastered smiley face. I once asked her how she was always so cheerful. She smiled and said something like, “Vitamin E.”

    • Valerie

      I heard a pastor say this recently (the “I want what she’s got” theory). He said that no one would be drawn to Christ by a sullen, negative person professing to be a Christian and I think there’s some truth to that….but….there’s a difference between being sullen and negative and being REAL. I have been around people who refuse to be anything but happy and repel anything less than perfectly positive with great diligence. I am not comfortable around people like that because their cardboard image is itself isolating to me. People may not be drawn to negative people but I also don’t think they are drawn to unnaturally positive people either. There’s a degree you know you can’t be real with them and that is distancing. I tend to feel bad around people like that because you are led to feel you are “less than” if you’re not oozing smiles and rainbows all the live long day. I am more of a positive person than I used to be while living in abuse but I can still cry and have righteous anger.

      As I think about this it seems to me that our hope is what is more likely to draw people to Christ than our joy. Sure we have joy in our hope but our faith in looking to God through all of life’s circumstances is what sets Christians apart from those who have no hope. Perhaps hope is what people need more of than joy since joy is a byproduct of hope and not the other way around.

      • Still Reforming


        And I don’t think that because one isn’t “happy” that it necessarily means that the person is “sad.” One isn’t always happy or just – but just is. I’m comfortable with that.

        I also don’t think that we in and of ourselves draw anyone to Christ and that it’s a false premise (a straw man perhaps?). The Holy Spirit draws them and to put any kind of burden on us to “be” something other than who we are in Him is onerous. We are only called to speak God’s truth, and the gospel ain’t good news unless there’s something we are to be saved from – Someone, in fact. We are saved from God’s wrath upon all those who do not repent and believe. And He calls them; We do not. We just testify to the truth that has been known to us.

        This happy-happy-joy-joy stuff seems to me like another ‘feel-good, your best life now’ heresy.

  10. KayE

    The false happy definitely supports abusers. The victim comes along to church looking sad, maybe even crying. She gets told she doesn’t have enough faith, she needs to work on her relationship with God, etc etc, because people believe the sign of a faithful Christian is being happy and successful. On the other hand, the abuser comes along to church with a big smile. He’s happy and friendly and goes out of his way to flatter people. So he is judged as being a good faithful Christian, and people think “poor man having to put up with such a messed up wife”.

    • Anne

      KayE – BINGO!!! You hit it out of the park with that comment! So true.

    • Still Reforming

      Just echoing Anne here. KayE wrote what I lived.

      My thoughts on this type of scenario lately have been how vapid and shallow my former church really is – and many other churches I suspect as well. After all, the fact that what KayE painted happens over and over shows how uninvolved congregants really are in one another’s lives that this could happen over and over and just be let go. That’s not my true Christian family.

  11. Karen

    KayE, you are so right! When I was sick for several years, I was told to pray my illness away in the Name of Jesus. I was told by a male church member, that my illness was the result of my own sin, some unresolved sin in my life and that I needed to examine myself and repent. My condition at that time affected and still infects thousands of women due to “NO particular sin of their own, but the fact we live in a fallen world.” I tried to share my hurt and condition with our church’s “prayer chain leader,” and she immediately threw her hands in the air and shut me down by boldly proclaiming, “We don’t speak those things into the air here.” She left me standing there, stunned by what had just happened. I assumed since she had the important title of being “The duly prescribed PRAYER CHAIN LEADER, that she would be a safe person to confide and confess my hurt, my fears, and I so needed someone to love and care for me at that moment. Even a hug would have been so comforting, but instead I was treated like an inhuman nothing.

    And yet, when she required surgery, the shoes on her feet were much more important than us lesser women. I find it interesting how churches regard certain people as important and worthy of Christ’s love according to their standards, and the rest of us are throw-aways.

    Jesus sees.

  12. Moving Forward

    I came across this quote from Harry Ironside this week. So thankful to have the sure peace that only Christ can give in these trying circumstances that trying to rely on a good “hap” to be “happy”, or trying to force it by a “decision”.

    By Harry A. Ironside

    That in me ye might have peace (John 16:33).

    HOW long it takes many of us to learn that peace is found in Christ alone. We seek for it everywhere else, but seek in vain, until at last, disappointed, disheartened and distressed in soul, we come to the Lord Jesus, and lo, at His feet our quest is ended!

    Peace Better Than Happiness
    Peace is far better than happiness. Happiness is primarily that which comes from a good “hap.” “Hap” is an old English word for chance. Tennyson wrote of one “who grasps the skirts of happy chance.” This expresses it exactly. If the “haps” are good, the worldling is happy; if evil “haps” befall him, he is unhappy. But peace is something deeper.

    It is the opposite of struggling, of warfare and of soul unrest. It is freedom from strife, or from mental agitation.
    It is spiritual content such as the Lord promised to the heavy laden, when He said: “Come unto me. . . . and I will give you rest.”

    No Peace to the Wicked
    “This message is twice repeated in the book of Isaiah; “There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked.” In chapters forty to forty-eight of this marvelous book, we have Jehovah’s controversy with idolatry. His people had sought in vain for peace, because they turned from Him, the true and living God, unto the senseless works of their own hands. Jehovah, the covenant-keeping God, stands in contrast to all the idols of the heathen. Therefore, at the end of the forty-eighth chapter, there is this plain statement: “There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked.” Then in chapters forty-nine to fifty-seven we have the great Messianic section of Isaiah, and we see the true Servant of Jehovah, the anointed Savior, coming in lowly grace to His own, to open prison doors, to unstop deaf ears, to impart strength to feeble knees, and to give new life to those who are dead in trespasses and sins.

    But, also, we see Him spurned and rejected by those whom He loved so dearly, and in chapter fifty-seven, we hear the grave pronouncement: “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” How solemn all this is!

    –No peace for the man who puts aught else in place of the Lord Jehovah in his heart and life!
    –No peace for the self-willed rejecter of God’s blessed Son!

    In the New Testament, where we have the entire world brought in guilty before God, the solemn declaration concerning all who turn away from the Word of the Lord is this: “The way of peace have they not known.”

    • Thank you very much for that quote, Moving Forward. 🙂

  13. Herjourney

    Homosexuality is a sad reality of this indoctrination.
    Over time and more living this sinful lifestyle
    The deceived male or female begins to take on the appearance of that which had overcome him, her. Their dress and countenance will change.
    The eyes are the window to the soul.
    If the eye is bad.
    So is the whole body.
    If the eyes are healthy.
    So is the soul.
    Look your spouse your enemy in the eyes.
    I personally can tell a lot when looking in a persons face.
    The demon loves to come out when a picture is taken.
    He can hid in a body.
    This is what a Christian who stands for Truth is dealing with.
    In my experience.
    The demon will be afraid of the holy spirit living in a believer.
    We can live our life with no fear.
    Perfect love casts out fear.

  14. beckylovesthelight

    This topic has brought up a lot of feelings for me, memories from when I was young. I have lived with so much of this kind of undercurrent, it never occurred to me to question it. Thank you for this post, and for all of the comments, too.

    I do remember once having an epiphany that I had to drop my smile when someone was being unkind or trying to use me. I used to keep a smile on my face no matter what and I somehow had to work hard to train myself to stop it, because it was making me a glowing target for abusive types.

  15. healinginhim

    A “false” happy? Yes, it’s what so many demand of victims. Secular and professing Christians, alike, demand our ‘happiness’ so they can be happy. I’ve tried. Can’t do it anymore. Only the truth is setting me free and that is the Truth from God’s Word which seeks to set the captives free … free from “false happy.”
    Many professing Christians equate the “joy of the Lord” as one who always is smiling even when we are totally crushed within.
    Thank you, Barbara for referencing “weep with those who weep”.

  16. Barely Reformed

    I remember looking at somebody’s Bill Gothard curriculum once, where it taught that one’s countenance was always supposed to reflect “the joy of the Lord”. Makes me glad I wasn’t subjected to IBLP or ATI.

    OTOH, I can remember the pressure in my first childhood church to perform spiritually. As I got older I began to seriously resent it. I felt so pushed by my mom to display joy and enthusiasm during the upbeat part of the singing, in addition to the ongoing pressure to declare myself a believer and present myself for baptism. Knowing her, she probably meant well, but seemed to want me to “fake it till you make it”.

  17. I want to add a balancing note here, in case any readers may be concluding from this thread that at ACFJ we reject everything related to the spiritual gifts. We do not.
    The ACFJ team contains a range of people.
    Some of us have experienced the good of the operation of certain spiritual (Charismatic) gifts and also witnessed the manipulative counterfeit of those spiritual gifts.
    Others of us have less experience of those things, and have never been in Charismatic or Pentecostal streams of Christianity.

    Some discussion in this thread has mentioned the manipulative and counterfeit operation of spiritual gifts. But please do not infer from that that we would oppose the idea that spiritual gifts sometimes operate truly — in the goodness and sovereignty of God.

    • Anne

      Thanks for saying that, Barbara. Despite the fakery at husband’s church and at the school, where appearance seems to mean more than truth, I have been in services and women’s conferences where people have manifested spiritual gifts of speaking in tongues (and in my experience, there was also always someone who was given the gift of being able to interpret it to the rest of us) and I believe sometimes, some people have that gift. But there are so many gifts, not just speaking in tongues … I just have great trouble with a church that pushed the agenda that everyone will manifest the same gift and if they don’t, they are not truly saved, “your faith isn’t good enough, throw it away!” the pastor preached week after week if you weren’t shouting in the aisles, dancing at the altar, raising hands while laughing, weeping or screaming “thank you Jesus”. Even if you had productive prayer time, read your Bible, loved Him and tried to live your life in a way that honored and served Him … you knew in your heart that you were right with God and that your faith was the only thing keeping you going day after painful day … but then every Sunday your pastor preached … you were doing it wrong, your faith was worthless because you weren’t being loud and showy with your worship, you weren’t “babbling” on cue … (no disrespect intended … I DO believe speaking in tongues happens and is a wonderful gift for those who actually receive it from the Lord) I finally left that church because it was hurting and confusing me so much and I was having such a hard time in life that I needed my faith to keep me going. It was not a step I took lightly as it split the family on Sundays, Husband never understood what was hurting me so much, what was so damaging … He always intimated that it was me. The church was fine, it was me that had problems. But he would allow me to go my own way, but I could not take our children with me.

      Why do so many churches seem to make it so hard to follow Jesus? So many rules, conditions, traditions? So many threats, so much fear?

      I love God, I have since a child. I accepted Jesus as my savior as a teen, have tried to live in a way that honors and serves Him. I fall, I fail, but I ask for forgiveness and help, I get up and try again. Again and again and again … not good enough Christian, not good enough wife, not good enough person. I get lost in all the rules and the “have to do’s”, get discouraged and think … it’s all too much. Why do I bother? Did God really intend it to be so hard to love Him “the right way”?

      But every once in a while, just often enough to keep me going I have a moment of clarity where I feel simply “I AM and I love you” and it suddenly doesn’t seem so hard or complicated. And I just love Him back. Not hard at all.

  18. nessa

    This was sure true of the church I went to. There was this time table…you were there three months and it was time for you to have a great attitude…after all you were representing us (opps Jesus) and everyone who goes here is all fixed and happy. If not there was trouble. So if you didnt want trouble…then you put on the happy face…

  19. Raped By Evil

    Matthew 27:27-31
    Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into headquarters and gathered the whole company around Him. They stripped Him and dressed Him in a scarlet military robe. They twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and placed a reed in His right hand. And they knelt down before Him and mocked Him: “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they spit on Him, took the reed, and kept hitting Him on the head. When they had mocked Him, they stripped Him of the robe, put His clothes on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.

    Matthew 27:35-44
    After crucifying Him they divided His clothes by casting lots. Then they sat down and were guarding Him there. Above His head they put up the charge against Him in writing:
    Then two criminals were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left.an Those who passed by were yelling insults at Him, shaking their heads and saying, “The One who would demolish the sanctuary and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross!” In the same way the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked Him and said, “He saved others, but He cannot save Himself! He is the King of Israel!as Let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him. He has put His trust in God; let God rescue Him now — if He wants Him! For He said, ‘I am God’s Son.’” In the same way even the criminals who were crucified with Him kept taunting Him.

    The following is how sacrilegious I think it is to tell people who are going through major trials to “be positive.” A major part of the love we have for Jesus is due to what He suffered on our behalf. We are NEVER supposed to deny how absolutely devastating it was for Him, how emotionally, spiritually, physically excruciating it was and how DEEPLY He felt EACH AND EVERY ASPECT of it all! And He being God, KNEW how bad it would be–yet He STILL DID IT FOR US and He STILL loved us AS He was doing it. Since we are to follow HIS lead, we TOO are not to deny how hard things are for us, how excruciating it is to be in the presence of evil, how heart-breaking it is to be shunned and tossed out by THE VERY PEOPLE WHO CLAIM TO LOVE US!

    Two cheerleaders watching the spectacle:

    –boy & girl cheerleaders together: GIVE ME A J! “JAY!” GIVE ME AN E! “EEE” GIVE ME AN S! “ES!” GIVE ME A U! “YOU!” GIVE ME ANOTHER S! “EESSSS!” WHAT DOES IT SPELL?! “JESUS!” WHAT DID YOU SAY? “JESUS!” WHO DO YOU LOVE?! “JESUS!” SAY IT A LITTLE LOUDER! “JESUS!” WHAT’S HIS NAME? “JESUS!” (Imagine the equivalent of the horns of today honking and the cheering and whistling and shouting.)

    –boy talking to girl cheerleader: “You know, I’m not really feelin’ it, I mean, isn’t He supposed to be God or something? Shouldn’t He be clapping up there and filled with the spirit or whatever? I mean, I know He’s got nails in His hands and whatnot, but seriously, if He can’t get it together He really needs to not claim to be the Messiah and all’. Am I right girlfriend?”

    –girl talking to boy cheerleader: “I know, right? Can you believe it? Here we are raring and ready to go, all pumped up and lookin’ fine I might add, and He can’t even ACT like He’s happy that we are all here to see HIM! I mean, seriously dude, if you can’t be positive for all your fans, I don’t see why they are here in the first place!”

    –boy & girl together: “LET’S GO! LET’S GO! L-E-T-S-G-O! GO JESUS! GO JESUS! IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY, GO JESUS!” YEAH!!!

    –girl to boy: “You know those women over there, all named “Mary,” whatever, anyway, they should really be cheering Him on too…I mean, didn’t they (air quotes) “say” they provided Him with money and care for His ministry? But all I see from here are a bunch of ho’s crying and carrying on like THEY are on the cross themselves! No wonder Jesus isn’t feelin’ it! Come on bro, let’s give it up for Him!”

    –boy and girl together: “S-U-C-C-E-S-S, THAT’S THE WAY WE SPELL SUCCESS! S-U-C-C-E-S-S, THAT’S THE WAY WE SPELL SUCCESS!!!!!!

    –boy to girl: “Seriously? All those women (air quotes) “claim” to care about him? Well, my mom and my sisters wouldn’t be caught DEAD..pun intended (high five)… hanging around crying for a loser hanging on a cross…please! And then that one guy, do you see him? Yeah, I think his name is John, and just watch….Jesus is saying something to him about his mother….can you make out what He’s saying? Probably something like, ‘Take the old broad and see if you can’t talk some sense into her so that I can feel her positivity…..she’s really bringin’ me down, yo!'”

    –girl & boy together: “V-I-C-T-O-R-Y! We’re gonna win the game, and you wanna know why?
    ‘Cause we’ve got spirit, and we’re riding high, so V-I-C-T-O-R-Y! WOOO!”

    –boy to girl: “Well, I think we’re done here, I mean, this is a real downer’ and nobody seems to be in a good mood or wants to cheer along with us. How RUDE! Why don’t we head over to that cantina by the stall for the donkeys. I here they have great food as long as you don’t mind a little treif mixed in with your kosher!

    –girl to boy: “Please darlin’, treif is my middle name….well, after Mary of course!”

    Off they go….AND GOOD RIDDANCE TOO!

    And THIS is how I feel about people, churches, etc, that tell us we are acting like Jesus by acting “positive” and “happy” and “joyful” while we are being abused by evil ones. Yeah, ain’t gonna happen…….

  20. nessa3

    I dont get the feeling thing? Were told when you become a Christian you’ll have joy unspeakable…there’s always peace reassurance because the Holy Spirit is with in you….
    And I went to a church that you had to be up all the time or you were not trusting, you were a sinner….and I tried to be….I was shamed because I just didnt get over my past and move on…
    But I also want to feel happy and joyful…but life is s*****y…I hate being miserable…and everyone else seems that their life is so great….
    Wheres the balance and the truth?

    • Jeff Crippen

      nessa3 – Very good and honest question. So whatever this “joy” is that so many people around us claim to have, apparently it isn’t the real article that Scripture talks about. I believe most of what we see is superficial. Something that will never hold up when really hard times come. Or its an act. So many professing Christians are just “in character” like an actor. Our real model is the Lord Jesus Christ. Did He have joy unspeakable? Yes. Did that mean He was happy, happy, happy all the time. Obviously not.

      So the balance and the truth is that the joy Christ gives us is foundational. That is to say, it undergirds everything else, but sometimes like the foundation of a building, it isn’t always very visible. Yet when the storm comes and the waves pound, that anchor of joy and faith and all the other good things Christ gives us – holds.

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