My Sunday school class has been working its way through Beth Moore's study, Breaking Free. We are now on the final week. I have to tell you that it is an amazing study and I'm so glad that I chose this class to attend this quarter. If you haven't done a Beth Moore Bible study or seen any of her videos, you're truly missing out.
Sunday's video study centered around the following verses from 2 Timothy, chapter 3:
Remember that there will be difficult times in the last days. People will be selfish, greedy, boastful, and conceited; they will be insulting, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, and irreligious; they will be unkind, merciless, slanderers, violent, and fierce; they will hate the good; they will be treacherous, reckless, and swollen with pride; they will love pleasure rather than God; they will hold to the outward form of our religion, but reject its real power. Keep away from such people. Some of them go into people's houses and gain control over weak women who are burdened by the guilt of their sins and driven by all kinds of desires, women who are always trying to learn but who can never come to know the truth. 2 Timothy 3:1-7 (Good News Translation)
What really struck me is that this is so true - people are what we have to fear more than natural disasters! In her message, Beth spoke about friendships we women build with other women. See that verse above that mentions, "Keep away from such people"? Does it sound harsh to you? It did to me until I realized that had I done that with a few people in my past relationships, I could have saved myself - and others I know - a whole lot of grief.
You see, I had always been the kind of person who just wanted to have friends. I was that person Beth Moore described when she mentioned the Christian woman who trusts others a little too much, yet feels in her gut that "something is wrong." In those past friendships, I knew in my heart that the "friends" were really no friends at all, that they were good at telling me what I wanted to hear, that they were toxic to my Christian life.
I learned the reality of 2 Timothy chapter 3 the hard way just recently. I rationalized the friendship with the words, "I can mentor her - bring her close to the Lord." HA! I should have obeyed God's Word instead.
Ladies, if a friend brings you down, makes you second guess every other relationship you have and ultimately begin to hate your own family - if you feel in your gut that she's not who she pretends to be but in the light of day represents something that will destroy you, run.
Praise the Lord, I haven't been destroyed. I am stronger today than I was a year, two years ago. I have learned that it's okay to be friends with my sisters and brother. I have learned that it's okay to love my parents. Most of all, I have learned that no matter how badly people treat me and work to break my spirit, I know that Jesus Christ did not hang on a cross to make me a "weak little woman." He died to make me free - from bitterness, pride, anger, hatred, and a host of other sins.
At one time I would have been devastated to hear that a former "friend" was talking bad about me behind my back - slandering my name. Recently I heard that this was indeed happening. I am here to testify that the power of God's love is greater than that of Satan. When I heard about it I couldn't have cared less - if I felt anything, it was pity for this person. I prayed for her.
That, my friends, is the miracle of God's love in my life - I can finally say that I am free of the bondage of seeing myself as "needy" and dependent upon someone else's acceptance. The Lord's love and boastful pride of me is what I have craved all along, and is also what I received long ago - on the day I became His follower.
It's great to be free!