Loving People Who Hurt You

What do you do when you've been hurt by someone you love?  I don't mean when you've been hurt a little by someone you love, like when someone's having a bad day and they snap at you.  What do you do when someone you know consistently hurts you? When your friendship with them is doing you more harm than good?  The world's answer, of course, is to cut them out of your life completely. Friends who hurt you are hastily labeled as "toxic," and you're encouraged to get rid of them ASAP. They aren't worth you. And in extreme cases, that might be right. Sometimes you need to get away from someone for your own safety.  But is that loving? Is that the Christian way to live?  What does the Bible say about loving people who hurt you?  Note: This is something of a sensitive topic, and I've tried to base my thoughts entirely on the Bible to make sure they're as sound as possible, as I usually try to do. However, I want to make it absolutely clear that

The Rights and Responsibilities of the American Christian

In China, believers meet with fear. The threat of the government storming their church looms over their heads as they worship. Many churches are closed down, their leaders imprisoned. Constant surveillance by the government endangers the lives of any churchgoer. Children and teenagers are not allowed to attend church. In North Korea, anyone suspected of being a Christian is imprisoned in a brutal labor camp where they are starved, tortured, beaten, and worked to death. Their families are often punished in the same way, regardless of their own beliefs. In Nigeria, the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram places the lives of every Christian in danger. Street violence is common. Those who profess faith in Christ run the risk of a swift and brutal murder by Muslim extremists. Persecution is real. Christians who live in dangerous areas like China, North Korea, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and countless other nations face an unimaginable amount of danger and fear every day. Many things that

Thinking About Real Beauty

What makes something (or someone) beautiful?  If you ask this question to a variety of people, you'll get a wide variety of answers. Beauty is something that almost all of us think about, and there are many different answers.  There's physical beauty, of course. But beauty ideals have shifted over the years, and focusing on how beautiful you are never helps anything. And everyone has different taste in what's pretty, so it's hard to pin down a definition.  But there's a difference between what the world calls beautiful and what God calls beautiful, and beauty has one purpose: to glorify God.    False beauty (Note: The Bible doesn't specifically say "false beauty" or "true beauty" in the verses I'm citing, but there's definitely a distinction in the ways the word "beauty" is used.) False beauty is what the world calls beauty. And—not much of a surprise—it's a lie. When the world says that a person is beautiful, they usual

The Promised Victory of an Invisible War

Christian, you're at war.  All around you is a cosmic struggle between good and evil, between the forces of the Lord and the forces of the devil—and this struggle has gone on ever since the world was created.  It's a little intimidating to be at war, to be honest. We'd like to stay safe, living our lives like nothing's going on around us. But it is. Spiritual warfare is real , and it's something we've got to think about.  So what do we know about this war that we've entered into?   This war is active. Ephesians 6:12 says, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places." Notice the wording. Paul specifically uses the word "wrestle" to describe the conflict that we're a part of. Not "oppose." Or "disagree with." Or even "resist," in this context. Wre

How to Trust God Even During Scary Circumstances [Guest Post by A. J. Syngraféas]

Have you ever been scared? Well even I know the answer to that. Yes. Everyone on this earth has been scared at one point in their lives.  You know what it is like when you are scared. You get nervous, sad, angry, or depressed, but most always you feel helpless. The truth is, though, you basically are. You can’t control things or manipulate it to turn out how you want it to.  Though if you are Christian like me, you know someone who can. God controls how things turn out. That is pretty calming. At least for me. Isaiah says it pretty well: "Do not be afraid, for I am with you." (Isaiah 43:5)   Now let me ask you another question. Have you ever been through scary or hard circumstances? The answer again is yes. Everyone has been through at least one circumstance where they were scared. I have for sure.  Last year I struggled with anxiety badly. Every day was spent fretting and every night spent fearing.  It took almost a whole year until I would not become anxious and I got over

Put Your Money in an Imperishable Bank Account

Solomon, king of Israel, was famed for his wisdom. Thousands posed to him the most difficult questions, and even kings and queens—most notably, the Queen of Sheba—traveled from miles away to hear him speak. Solomon also had over 700 wives and 300 concubines, and ended up worshiping false gods later in his life.  Napoleon Bonaparte swept over Europe with his armies at an astonishing speed shortly following the French Revolution. He was crowned emperor. The countries that were still unconquered lived in fear that his conquest would turn to them next, and it seemed like France would rule the majority of the civilized world. And then he was defeated. Twice. And he was exiled to a little island in the middle of nowhere.  In the 1920s, the American economy was booming. Spirits were high after the end of the Great War, and many were caught up in the festive mood. The stock market kept climbing, and there was no better time to invest then now .  And then the stock market crashed, and countless

Why the Gospel Matters—Even If You're Already Saved

The gospel is the foundation of our faith—but it's easy to forget that. After all, we're already saved. It's not so important for us since we already understand it.  But no. The gospel is incredibly important for believers and unbelievers, and we have to understand it in order to grow in our Christian walk.  This week's article was published on the Rebelution last Wednesday, October 26! Click here to read Why the Gospel Matters—Even If You're Already Saved.

Let's Talk About the Problem of Evil

God is good , and God is all-knowing , and God is all-powerful . But according to a lot of people, that can't be true. Because if God really knew about the evil that happens in the world every day, and if he was able to stop it, he would—or he wouldn't be a good God. Today we're going to talk about a common objection to the Christian faith called the problem of evil. I'm going to be perfectly honest: this post has been a difficult one to write. Because this problem doesn't really have a satisfying answer. And I'm not some master theologian, I haven't even graduated from high school, so what do I know? People have been trying to solve this problem for hundreds of years.  But we have to think about the problem of evil. Sooner or later, everyone wonders, "why would God let so much evil happen?" And we don't want to shy away from the hard questions. So let's talk about it.    Evil exists. This, at least, is something that nobody argues about.