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pexels-photo-697059.jpegI speak of all those labels and name calling and people rejection and outright abuse that gets heaped on us. They are all lies, every last one of them. We are actually not defined by the things other people say about us, we are defined by what God says about us.

It’s not always so easy to speak life against all those lies, to pull those labels off, and to replace them with what God has said about you. Just the same, to not do it is basically sin, because you’re placing what people have said about you above what God has said about you.

I don’t wish to beat up on people who are already down, but I have to say wallowing in a pity party is really nothing more than pride, offense, shame, and unforgiveness. Some of us get trapped there for a season, especially victims of some grave and unresolved injustice, and all these labels and criticism have become so familiar, sometimes we don’t even see them anymore. That does happen, BUT the moment you recognize it, rip those words right off your skin. They don’t belong to you.

I empathize, I do it too sometimes myself, but I still cannot abide it when people say things like, “God hates me.” I don’t want to offer any reassurance when I hear that, I want to just say, Really? Because God is the creator of the whole universe and you just aren’t big and bad enough to trigger His hatred. Talk about having an over inflated sense of self-importance! Hatred is actually fear and anger combined with powerlessness, weakness. Hatred is fear and weakness. Are you so all-powerful, God Himself would hate and fear you?

I think not. I think the devil is just a liar and that sometimes we swallow those lies when we should be promptly spitting them out.

I bump into an astounding number of people trying to defend the idea that God hates people. In my opinion, that is really a misunderstanding of how language works, of the ideas being conveyed to us in the bible, of the multiple layers of communication going on. They tend to miss the hyperbole, the metaphors, the way the bible is sometimes speaking in a broad sense about the picture at large, versus the small and personal sense.

So God hated Esau. It says so in the bible. Yes, and in the right context it is actually a passage discussing God’s sovereignty using some hyperbole. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. Sometimes God pulls the rules out from under you and changes things up. It can seem very unfair. The rules say, the eldest shall inherit, period. But God’s sovereignty rejected Esau and embraced Jacob. The Lord has mercy on who He will have mercy on. It just is what it is.

The point of that passage is NOT, some people are Esau and God hates them. The point is NOT, now I think I’m Esau and God hates me. It is also NOT, God hated Esau so my job is to hate the people God seems to hate.

Imagine however, if you really were Esau. You can shake your fist at God or you can humble yourself, accept who you are, and set out to be the best Esau you can be, in a way that brings honor and glory to God. Surrender to His sovereignty. Esau never really does that, but that is a choice we all have, to accept God’s sovereignty and to give Him praise, or to continue to rail against the injustice of it all and try to fix it ourselves.

The devil is a liar. He wants to do anything and everything to separate us from God. He tries to make us think we’re unworthy, he tries to make us think God is unworthy, he tries to convince us we’re victims of injustice, that God Himself has deprived us of something.

The only way I know to fight that is to surrender all to the Lord, to keep speaking the words He has said about us, to speak His life over oneself. To let go of pride and bitterness. Heaping on a whole lot of gratitude helps, too. The Lord actually owes us nothing, not even the number of our days are promised. Thank you for another day of breath, Lord.

On the flip side of that, Esau actually gives away his birthright, his inheritance, in exchange for a bowl of lentils. In a much bigger, more metaphorical sense, that is what many of us do by not standing in the promises of God, by not receiving our birthright as inheritors of the kingdom. Far too often we’d rather cling to the offense, wallow in the bitterness, nurture the sense of injustice. We’re basically just trading His promises away for a bowl of lentils…..

The Lord owes us nothing. On the other hand He has also laid out some genuine promises to us, clearly spelled out in the bible. He heals, He restores, He comforts, He gives us His peace. He is merciful towards us. His yoke is easy, His burden is light.  He will never leave us nor forsake us. There are hundreds of them in the bible just waiting to be discovered.

Don’t fill up on lentils. As delicious as they are, they are not the kingdom of heaven, they are not the richness of what God has for us.