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A Glimpse of the Abyss

December 5th, 2017

If You Want to Survive, Keep Improving

I am still upset about my former pastor’s molestation arrest.

Last night I woke up full of anxiety. It’s odd, but I felt as though I were the one who had committed the offenses. I felt as though I were the one who had to be concerned about punishment.

I kept having thoughts about my own sins and irresponsible acts. I have gotten away with a lot in this life. So far!

I suppose it’s harsh to compare myself with someone who is charged with molesting a girl under the age of 12, but I am not nearly what I should be. And it’s better to be too contrite than not contrite enough. If other people have to fall, I should try to benefit by observing their fate and trying to avoid it through confession and repentance. There isn’t much to be gained by patting myself on the back and telling myself I’m doing fine.

I thought about my past and the divine opportunities I’ve missed. I didn’t hear from God until I was about 22, so maybe I should get a little slack for my failures up to that point, but at 25, I was baptized with the Holy Spirit, and God had made it clear I was supposed to pray in tongues every day. I didn’t do it. I fell away. I got worse instead of better.

It’s funny, but it didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, and it wasn’t deliberate rebellion. I didn’t decide God wasn’t real. I didn’t doubt that prayer in tongues was important. I just wandered off. I was distracted and forgetful.

I don’t know why God was so distant when I was a kid. I heard from the devil all the time, and there were plenty of evil people around me to abuse me and mislead me, but I didn’t get visits from God, and I didn’t know any righteous people who could help me get to know him. I hear from God every day now. I don’t understand I why made it into my twenties without hearing from him once. It’s very strange, because it seems unlike him.

God is always right and good. I can’t criticize him just because his actions don’t always suit me. What he did was correct. And once I started hearing from him, I should have held on for dear life.

Heaven is very far away, and help here on earth is not automatic. We’re like egg cells. You know how that works. The body produces a lot of them, and very few get fertilized and become human beings. The rest get washed out of the body and die. A lot of people are born, but not many come to know God, and not many are saved.

The earth is a very bad place, much more like hell than heaven. We’re just too used to it to see the evil.

Often, I feel like I’m much better than I am. I feel that the overt things God has done in my life are some sort of stamp of approval. I know better, and it bothers me that I could feel that way. Sometimes I make myself think about the bad things I’ve done and thought, just so I can regain perspective. God fights the proud. I do not want God to fight me. Not over an idiotic misperception.

It disturbs me when people tell me I’m a good person. I feel like they’re driving nails in my coffin. I am a product of 20th-century America. I am a mess. If I succeed in concealing it, it doesn’t mean you should reward me for it. If God tells me things, it’s because I needed to be told, not because I was perfect.

God told me something interesting: if you’re 99% good and 1% bad, you’re bad. That’s the way it works in heaven. Being good by earthly standards is different. The standard is much lower. Heaven has quality control. Nothing imperfect gets through the door.

I’m not saying I’m only 1% bad. Just making a point.

I got up and paced the floor, and I thanked God for the correction. I asked him to send more. I asked him to help me to be judged privately by him, and I asked him to help me avoid being judged publicly. In the past, when I felt negative feelings, I worked with God with the intention of getting rid of them. Last night, I said I was fine with feeling bad. Sometimes you need to feel bad for a while.

Too many of us go to church to be helped to feel good in spite of our sins. We don’t have any intention of changing. We just want God to wink at us and tell us this week’s sins are forgiven, and then we want to go home and resume sinning. You can’t enter the kingdom of heaven that way. If you want power and help on this earth, you have to love correction. Christians die of cancer. They go bankrupt. Their wives cheat on them. They get killed in church by mass murderers. You need to get close to God if you want help. His help isn’t for rebellious Christians. It’s for the contrite.

While I was lying in bed praying, I thought about the pastor. At that very moment, he was lying in a jail 300 miles away, with no prospect of relief. As bad as things were at that moment, they were likely to get worse. Some of the charges carry a 25-year mandatory minimum. No parole until every day is served. No time off. And inmates do not like sex offenders. Guards look the other way when they are mistreated. Unless he catches a break from the prosecutor or judge, or there is a technical issue that helps him, he may die surrounded by evil people who live to torment him. He may have to put up with that for 40 years.

It’s too much to absorb.

I thought about a testimony I read. A lady named Mary Kay Baxter said Jesus had taken her through hell. The people there lived in flaming pits, with huge maggots chewing tunnels through their bones. The guards were huge fallen spirits that hated the damned. It sounds so much like prison. Prison is a picture of hell.

I would be happier had I learned the pastor had died. He would be better off.

I still don’t understand how it happened. I don’t think he has no conscience. Maybe he was unprotected because he was too proud to develop spiritually, and when a loathsome spirit came to him with a sick urge, he could not fight it off. This life is a war, not a pleasure cruise. We’re supposed to train for battle.

I don’t know the answer, though.

When I was done praying and exercising God’s authority, I went back to sleep and slept soundly and peacefully. That was nice.

I hope my distress improves me. I don’t think anything better can come of this.

3 Responses to “A Glimpse of the Abyss”

  1. Ruth H Says:

    ” I am a product of 20th-century America.”
    As are most of us who read your blog. I suspect there may be less sexual molestation today that in the past centuries in America. Why? Because we have become more exposed to each other. We have ways to be found out. The man was exposed on social media. Also we have become more equal, we have no slaves, no Irish maids. We do have an underclass, but they are as moral as any other class. We have certainly found that out latelydg9y
    Incest, sodomy and rape are in the Bible. It is not a new sin. We just know more about when it happens.
    Let not your heart be troubled. It was not your sin, you realized those people were not of God, you withdrew from them, you withdrew your support. You did not know of this evil of his, you cannot have done anything more.
    God forgives you, forgive yourself. And pray for the niece.

  2. Steve B Says:

    I think it really brings home the fact that we have to be “eternally vigilant” to ensure we don’t stumble, in whatever way. It’s too easy to slip into a “just this once” mindset. Clearly molestation is a pretty extreme case, but it’s just a matter of degree. Every time I let my eye wander/linger, or a curse come out of my mouth, or a vengeful thought enter my heart, it gives the enemy another foothold in my life. And the danger is the erosion it causes, until little by little, step by step, you “suddenly” find yourself in a place you never imagined you’d be.

    “There, but for the grace of God, go I…”

    “O be careful little eyes what you see…”

  3. Tom Says:

    Steve,
    Thanks for this post.
    I really needed it.
    I’ve been slack lately at asking God to change me and help me change for the better.

    Tom

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