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Sep 02, 2009

The Choice of Death

I’ve had more than a few people rebuke me for not spending hours trying to explain the essence of New Testament life to a person who just doesn’t get it. I usually just dismiss such a person and walk away. I’ll admit that I am sometimes even a bit rude and short gentlewith them. I’ve been told that I should show more patience and gentleness with them and be willing to spend however long i t takes for them to finally get it. One woman told me that my rude response to her blind husband nullified the very message that I had preached. Others have expressed that they feel that my shortness makes it even harder for a person to “get it” because it comes across as being unloving. The belief is that if I love them genuinely from my heart, they will suddenly get the New Testament revelation because my love for them would open their eyes.

 I’ve also been told that I purposefully throw out stumbling blocks in front of people that make it even harder for them to get it. I won’t deny that one. I actually do, do that.

I’ll be totally honest with you. When I encounter someone who obviously doesn’t get it because they reject it, I am immediately angry. Something inside me, doesn’t even want to be in the same room with that person. I find myself rolling my eyes and shaking my head when they ask their stupid questions and everything within me wants to fire back and make a public spectacle out of them. I’m sure that hearing this will turn a lot of people off from me, but it’s just the plain truth of what’s inside me. I feel this way because I know that people who don’t get this message are deciding not to get it. They don’t get it on purpose!

Understanding this message or not understanding this message is a CHOICE.

99% of the time, their questions are not asked for the purpose of finding answers. They don’t want answers because they don’t like what this message exposes in their hearts. They hate it in fact. The message infuriates them because it reveals the ugly truth about whatlives inside of them. Jesus talked about this when He said, “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” These people’s questions are there to trip me up, and hopefully trip up others in the room. I see it coming a mile away and my response is almost always short and rude, because I want them to just shut their mouths and leave. I’ve come to a point in my life where I have zero tolerance for people who reject this.

This isn’t a matter of someone just not understanding something that’s really hard to get. Even a child can understand this! It’s also not a matter of someone being raised with wrong teaching or bad examples. Rejecting this message goes much deeper than that. There are many who haven’t got this because they haven’t heard it. When they do finally hear it, their eyes pop open and they embrace it immediately. Others won’t get it no matter how many different ways it’s told to them because they don't want it. It's not so much that they don't know the truth; it's that they are intentionally rejecting the truth. These are the people I’m talking about.

The problem is that many Free Believers still think it happens by accident. We talk about it like we think it’s a random revelation that just jumps on people out of the blue and opens their eyes. If someone hasn’t received it yet, it’s because the revelation bug hasn’t bitthem. It’s not their fault. They’re just an innocent bystander waiting for their turn. In the mean time, it’s our job to coddle and dote over these poor overlooked people until God gets around to opening their eyes like He did ours. 

I think we convince ourselves of this because it makes it easier for us to not get angry when folks outright reject this message. We've been taught to feel bad if we get upset or angry at someone who closes their heart to it. By making it not their fault, we are less likely to blame them and more likely to feel sorry for them. Many Free Believers also blame themselves if their friends don't receive this message. They feel responsible for not communicating it properly or not being convincing enough. Some of us put the revelation part of this message on OUR shoulders, rather then on the individuals shoulders we are speaking to. If we're not careful, we start to think that someone else might be better equipped to spread this message than us because we judge our ability to deliver it by the amount of people who believed it after listening to us. 

I’m sorry, but I don’t buy it. Not understanding the New Testament essence is a CHOICE! I also don’t buy the popular mentality that says, “They just haven’t come to it on their journey yet.” Let me tell you quite clearly; if they don’t get it - THEY AREN’T EVEN ON THE JOURNEY. The journey doesn’t begin in anyone's life until they choose to enterthrough the New Testament gate.

I understand that this all sounds so harsh and unloving. I’m sure about a thousand people reading this are thinking to themselves, “This doesn’t sound like the way Jesus would act,” but I beg to differ. In fact, I’m amazed at how flippantly people say such things about Jesus. I’m convinced that the average Christian has either never read how Jesus acted towards these people, or they have read it, and have completely forgotten.

Every single place in Scripture where the Pharisees and Sadducees confronted Jesus with questions, He publicly rebuked them. In fact, I can’t recall a single time where Jesus was anything but rude and short with people who were spiritually blind. Jesus made a habit of jesusembarrassing them and making a public spectacle out of them every chance he got. He instructed his disciples to literally kick the dust off of their feet and walk away when someone refused to receive their words. Not only that, He also purposefully spoke in a way that kept the message hidden from them. When the people asked Jesus why He spoke in parables, He literally told them He preached that way so that they wouldn’t get it. He said, “Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him” (Matt 13:10)

Jesus understood that receiving this message was a choice that people had made in their hearts. When people decided not to get it, Jesus purposefully hid it all from their sight andteacher made them even more blind than they were before they had encountered Him. He literally made them become stupid. He threw out stumbling blocks in front of them so they couldn’t receive it and believe it or not - Jesus took great PLEASURE in the fact that these people were blinded to it and couldn’t get it! At one point, He stopped what He was doing, looked towards heaven and said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

What I am telling you goes completely against what the majority of Christians think about Jesus. I wonder sometimes if we haven’t just held our breath and closed our eyes when we came to these verses because it seemed so unloving and “Un-Mister-Rodgers-like” to us. mrThe “Christ-like” picture that is held up in modern day Christian circles, bears little or no resemblance to what Christ truly acted like. Most Christians would openly tell you that we need to be leading people towards this New Testament essence, and we shouldn’t do anything at all to hinder anyone from getting it. We should take our time and continue loving people into this message until they get it. Most of us believe that God would never purposefully trip up men from coming to Him.

I have found that He did and He does, because grasping the New Testament essence is a CHOICE, and when people don’t get it, it’s one hundred percent their fault. The gate through which they must enter into that revelation is always opened, but they purposefully choose to not go through it and because of that choice, they are stricken with blindness and tripped up over and over by God Himself. Amazingly, God even referred to Jesus as “A stone that causes men to stumble.” God says, “But to those who do not believe, the stone the builders rejected has become the capstone, and a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall” (1 Peter 2:6).

I said all that, to say this.

What is the gate through which we become aware of New Testament essence? What is the entryway that causes people’s eyes to open and their hearts to beat with understanding? What is it that causes spiritual blindness to those who willingly choose against it?

Love

It is hideous and disturbing when a person doesn’t get this message, because their decision is to NOT love. That is completely in their power. This isn’t a matter of them just being in a different place in their journey. This is a matter of purposefully closing off their heart and refusing to love. Their blindness is not by accident, it’s on purpose.

Seeing the Kingdom

When I was a teenager, I used to go to Disney Land with my friends twice a year. I used to tell my buddy that someday when I had children, I would bring them to the MagicalKingdom. As I walked down Main Street and through Adventure Land, I would dream about how wonderful it would be to experience this place with my future kids. I couldn’t wait.

Fifteen years later, I was married with children and I planned a family vacation to California. My dream was about to come true. I stayed up late at night telling my kids about all the sights and sounds of this wonderful place. I described the rides and the decor. I told them about the characters that walk around the park and the overpriced food. My kids were so excited they were buzzing.

The moment we entered the park it all changed. My eyes were suddenly opened. As we badwalked throughout Disney Land I was horrified at how much of it was based on FEAR. Every single ride has something scary and evil on it. There were witches and dragons at every turn. I saw it so clearly now and I wondered how I could ever have thought that this was a place for small children. We spent the rest of the day avoiding most everything, and we finally left early.

My eyes were opened because of the love in my heart for my children. Because of the fact that they were the center of my universe, I immediately saw the world from their perspective and it became astonishingly clear that what I thought was the most wonderful place on earth, was really a nightmare-come-true in my children’s eyes.

This is exactly what happened when I was a pastor and fell in love with the people. The moment they were the center of my universe, my eyes were opened to the awful thingsthe church had been telling them about God. I honestly never saw this before I loved them. I was amazed at how stomach-churning some of the teachings that I had held to for years suddenly became. I felt embarrassed that I ever said those horrible things to anyone.

The other thing that happened is that the entire Bible took on a whole new meaning. Verses that used to scare the hell out of me, exploded with an entirely different meaning and came alive in the most wonderful way. I realized that I had been viewing everything from a death perspective. I literally saw everything upside-down before I loved. The Bible went from being a series of chapters and verses, to becoming a life force within me. I no longer lived my life according to verses and memorized passages. I became a walking, talking living Bible.  

I used to preach that if you give, God would bless you, and now, because I loved I could see clearly that giving WAS the blessing! It was never the blessing before I loved, but when people became the center of my heart, I was excited to give to them. I never once waited for God to bless me after I gave to people because I felt the thrill of blessing that very moment.

I used to preach about instances in which God would turn His face from us or not hear our prayers. Once I loved the people, my eyes were opened to just how horrible and nauseating that sounds. No one who loves, would dare to say such a thing to a Father's children. It’s despicable to intentionally cause an unsureness in the hearts of children in regards to their relationship with their parents.

My love for the people became a lens through which I could see the New Testament Kingdom essence in every instance. I no longer needed someone to explain why something was a New Testament principle. I saw it clearly because I loved. I could also see the amazing lack of love throughout our entire religion. I was devastated. I began to unravel an entire unloving religious world with its upside-down teachings and mutilated mind-sets. Over time I discovered that almost everything I had been taught in Christianity was absent of love, and completely wrong.

People who don’t get this message are like parents who willingly and purposefully take their children on terrifying rides at Disney Land with little or no concern for their well being. They’re like wicked people who convince a child that his or her parents will abandon them if they do something wrong or make a mistake. When a person doesn’t get this message, they are making a decision to be self-centered. It’s a terrible decision.

My purpose for writing this is not to try and convince people to be mean and short with folks who refuse this truth. That’s the last thing on my mind. I am writing this to clear the air as to exactly WHY a person isn’t getting this and to relieve people from the guilt feelings associated with getting angry at calloused hearts. I feel like we have been peer-pressured into not getting upset with closed-heartedness. We’ve been told that it’s not Christ-like for us to “dismiss” or respond rudely to a person who is blind to this truth. I honestly feel like we are not allowed to be honest with ourselves about the exasperation we feel when we encounter such a person. We’ve been made to feel like we should never get annoyed when someone rejects what we tell them, and I’m here to tell you - don’t feel bad, because getting annoyed IS CHRIST LIKE!

I have found that exasperation is love's natural response to the choice of death.


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Comments

  1. Gravatar
    Aida

    Of course, given my temperament, my response will be gentler but I definitely agree that it’s foolish to spend a lot of time trying to convince someone who has rejected the truth. I might explain it once but then that’s it. I’ve found when people reject the truth, they’re not really open to listening so to continue to explain is tiring and frustrating. Perhaps, somewhere down the road they’ll be open to hear but until then, it’s best not to waste time trying to convince them. There are people who are open but just don’t understand and those are the ones who I try to spend time with explaining and encouraging them.

  2. Gravatar
    TCRB

    Thank you so much.........

  3. Gravatar
    Sue

    I need clarification on this. Are you talking about believers or non-believers? If believers, then I'm on board definitely - it's a real dangerous thing (which extends out into political arenas) to have a cold-hearted Christian who does not understand love. Especially a rich one.

    How weird it is that the people I like least in the world these days are rich white Christians who only see the "get out of hell free card" and are blinded to how awful their doctrine makes them.

  4. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    No one is a "believer" until they get this. There are many who call themselves "Christian" but if they don't get this - trust me; they're not believers. They are just club participants. (I know people won't like to hear this but it's true) You can't claim to believe in Jesus and then openly reject everything Jesus accomplished on the cross.

  5. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    The sad fact about many or most "Christians" today is that they subscribe to the EXACT same religious beliefs as the Pharisees did in Jesus' day. They are literally Pharisees of the Jewish religion. Their religious practices and belief system is identical to the Pharisees. Until the essence of Christ is embraced, their faith remains dead and unfulfilled. Sadly, most of Christianity has missed Christ in the same way the Jews missed Him 2000 years ago.

  6. Gravatar
    Chris Pack

    Yes...I call them "the fixers." The ones who choose to close their hearts to the truth, and also have to make sure they take others with them. They try to fix me almost every time I post something on facebook.

  7. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Yes Chris. I love that term. I get that all the time.

    Aida you have a perfect understanding of what I'm saying here. Thanks.

  8. Gravatar
    Ann O.

    I think when you understand how to walk away from a closed person, you also alleviate the need to justify yourself. I hear so many people trying to "prove" that love is the right way...when someone is open, there is nothing to prove, they see it for what it is.

  9. Gravatar
    Chris

    People who hold a legalistic mindset cannot get this message. The law blinds them from it. Until people reach the end of their self-righteousness they will not be able to see it. The flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh (Paul to the Galatians). The flesh lusts after the righteousness of the spirit and tries the gain it through it's performance. The righteousness of God is a promise through the faith of Christ. Adding any law to Christ for righteousness is unbelief. It's an insult to the cross. Unfortunately the Bible records that there were some prominent people that didn't "get it" (See Paul's letter to the Galatians and Acts)

    I agree that love is the NT guiding principle, but, we enter into that life when we see what the cross accomplished.

  10. Gravatar
    Chris

    Fortunately, the gospel is not what I think about God but rather what God thinks about you and me.

  11. Gravatar
    allthatisdave

    I truly believe that those who refuse to be captured by love are the ones to whom Jesus will say 'Depart from me, I never knew you.

  12. Gravatar
    David Backus

    I love this side of you! I am sure many people share your angst towards such people. In a novel I'm writing, I use the imagery of ravenous sheep with fangs dripping blood. That is what we deal with every day in churches. They deserve our ire.

  13. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Allthatisdave I have to agree with you.

  14. Gravatar
    Stephanie

    I agree. When I hear folks calling "Daddy" anything other than love..just like a child I come to his defense. In the things of this world Jesus took an approach of Peace. Peter went for the sword and chopped off an ear when Jesus was in danger. Jesus put that ear back on and said put away your sword Peter. When the Kingdom of Love is attacked (the one not of this world) Jesus took a different approach. He stood toe to toe with the Pharisees..He "fashioned a whip." He clearly became angry at the "blind that lead the blind." All that being said there is a very fine line..that will even take love over the edge into legalism..and then you become the thing you hate. Here is where the danger lies. Law will leaven the whole lump because it usually starts out with "good intentions."

  15. Gravatar
    Ken

    Good post, Darin; thanks. We have become confused about what love actually is. Real love is not at all the same as nice. Nice can be such a counterfeit.

    And there is freedom in recognising that.

  16. Gravatar
    Sue

    Like I said, I share your disdain, Darin, but I simply can't see it so black and white, that people are not "believers" until they get this. A lot of people are so scared to believe that God is as good as we hope in our hearts he is. I would say ESPECIALLY American Christians because the kind of Christianity you guys are forced into is disgusting. I can't tell you how glad I am to not have to live in a country so full of Pharisees. I applaud your stand but I can't see it as black and white as you do even though I understand why it makes you so angry

  17. Gravatar
    Silas

    From the day I discovered FBN, I've always admired Darin's blatant honesty concerning our 'Christian walk.' I consider this post by him another excellent contribution to the Christian conversation. We need dialogue like this to keep us out of the dark. Kudos Darin!

  18. Gravatar
    MRAE

    When I read this, I kept thinking of Jesus' words on the cross, "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do." Hmmmmm.
    I think that many people cannot see the difference between religion and Christianity. Religion brings death, and relationship with Christ brings life. The two get so muddled that people throw the baby out with the bath water. Of course, the baby is Jesus.

  19. Gravatar
    Brandon

    Thanks so much for this, Darin. I've been so frustrated lately that I've stopped posting anything on FB, because of, as Chris P. called them, "the fixers." My wife has been encouraging me to not waste my time trying to get them to understand. Anyway, great article!

  20. Gravatar
    Brandon

    I actually had a person(the wife of a pastor friend)say to me once, "It's not that we don't get it, it's just that we get tired of hearing about it all the time." Seems like proof to me that they didn't get it.

  21. Gravatar
    lionwoman

    Sue I hear what you are saying, but I'm thinking Darin is talking about people who blatantly stand against the message, rather than are struggling to fully believe it's really true. You're right Christianity in our culture has royally jacked up a lot of people and it takes a while to get free from years of bondage-teaching (I know). Darin I agree, Jesus didn't coddle people who didn't want to get the message, there was no time to waste. I believe it's the same today, who knows how short time is. You're an edgy dude Darin, and I wouldn't have you any other way :-D

  22. Gravatar
    Dana

    Like in everything, there are things I agree with, there are things I don't. I don't think Jesus would be happy at people's blindness, the story of the rich young ruler, where it says Jesus looked at him and loved him, even though the guy didn't get it. In my World Religions class my teacher was speaking about how the introduction of writing lead to the creation of history, prior to the invention there was no studying of past events, people just lived life. We live in a different world today, where we tend to live in relation to the past, I can't help but wonder if that is part of the problem, we live in accordance to what a book (bible) is saying, rather then listening to the creator himself.

  23. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Lionwoman, you hit the nail on the head. This is about out right rejecting it. I think many or even most of us were a little afraid to go with this stuff because it went against everything we have been taught. It terrifies people because they know immediatly the problems that are about to take place in their life. I feel that's normal. This article is addressing the people who absolutly reject this and refuse to admit it's true.

  24. Gravatar
    jeff

    This is great, I have been in sales for a long time and there is an there is a saying that I love " You can't say the right thing to the wrong people". Darin you are absolutely right and even in the ministry of Christ he used parables to make the message harder to understand to those who willfully rejected it... "so that WHILE SEEING, THEY MAY SEE AND NOT PERCEIVE, AND WHILE HEARING, THEY MAY HEAR AND NOT UNDERSTAND"

  25. Gravatar
    Sue

    Okay, I understand where you're coming from a bit more now :)

  26. Gravatar
    Wrren

    I do wince at what you say because that has been my personality. But... the truth as you explained is that Jesus seemed almost to enjoy "offending" people. He was not about spoon feeding babies pablum.
    A person who is intelligently willing to consider something will persvere and ask questions in a way that allows for consideration not a defensive reaction. I'm thinking any of us can tell the difference in a person's reaction. It seems you are talking about "shaking the dust" off your feet. The disciples were to make some kind of informed, intelligent decision based on their intuition perhaps and act on that.

  27. Gravatar
    Karen SoCal

    I was just thinking about this earlier today. Jesus harsh words were reserved for the religious and self righteous. ditto on this quote Darin...."I realized that I had been viewing everything from a death perspective"

  28. Gravatar
    Caine

    Love It Big fella!

  29. Gravatar
    Sue

    PS: Wondering what fuelled this post, Darin? Was it the blockhead morons thinking that Obama is about to burst out of his antichrist antihero costume next week and scare all the kiddies as school into socialism?

  30. Gravatar
    Paul

    Thanks for this Daren, great message well explained.

  31. Gravatar
    vince

    "When I encounter someone who obviously doesn’t get it, I am immediately pissed off. Something inside me, doesn’t even want to be in the same room with that person. I find myself rolling my eyes and shaking my head when they ask their stupid questions and everything within me wants to fire back and make a public spectacle out of them." --- I can totally relate to that right there! Wonder when I will just dare to say what is on my own heart in those moments ...

  32. Gravatar
    brett

    I was involved in street evangelism 30 yrs ago. Rereading this reminds me of part of the teaching & practice of that type of ministry. There are plenty of people who understand what salvation is, but bring up silly questions @ why the Bible isn't true. We would ignore the questions & stay on task to address their will. Sometimes a confrontation would develop. Their's a Western niavete that people are honest, & that what they are saying represents their heart. Just follow the flow of the conversation & you'll reach a happy place together. Baloney. A lot of people live to protect their false identity at any cost. Jesus often answered a person according to their real need, not their presented need. I think you articulated the point well Darin-entrance into the Kingdom is mostly @ willingness.

  33. Gravatar
    Susan

    Amen and Amen. Did I say Amen???!!! I have no tolerance for religion, and frankly I want to slap them up side the head.

  34. Gravatar
    debsfree

    Religious people ALWAYS have an agenda. They think that they are so clever, but are soo obvious in thier attempt to sway you to THIER side.
    There is ALWAYS some issue to resolve or fix. They cannot love because thier hearts are full of hate for anyone or anything that doesn't fit into thier narrow view of life or the world.
    I hate how important they think they are and how condescending they become when you do not agree w/thier point of view. I know this because I was one of um.
    They are sooo boring and self-righteous. They are the unhappiest people in the world.- Too proud to hint at the possibility that something isn't so great about thier miserable, teeny- tiny world.
    I used to wonder what Jesus meant about the pharisse's making a person twice a slave. It is actually what happens!%{

  35. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    I'm really glad to hear you guys talk this way. I sometimes wonder about people who don't get a little angry when folks reject this. When it doesn't affect a person one way or another, I seriously wonder if THEY get it.

  36. Gravatar
    TLC

    I encountered this when trying to minister to my sister-in-law when she was dying of cancer. She wanted nothing to do with God, and didn't believe in ANY kind of afterlife. Several Christians were pressing me to make sure she was "saved" before she died. But I never got a chance to talk to her and was very upset about it -- until a pastor reminded me of the story in Matthew 19, when the rich man asks Jesus what he must do to be a follower. Jesus tells him to sell everything, but the man walks away, knowing he WON'T do that. The pastor pointed out that Jesus didn't run after the man and beg him to change -- He let the man go, and let him make his choice. Darin, keep preaching love. It speaks MUCH louder than words or Bible thumping!

  37. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Good word TLC. Thanks.

  38. Gravatar
    Wendy

    Very interesting Darin. Thank You for showing me this website. May I add that there are some people who just like to argue, [they call it "debate"]. I usually walk away from them too, it seems a waste of time, to me.

  39. Gravatar
    paul

    Several years back I was making a late night run ( I R A TRucker ) and I happend to be listning to a radio show Art Bell. You know one of them ufo,bigfoot,deep holes to China type shows,And they had a woman on who was talking about her near death experince. It wasnt the Morman lady whow rote the best seller book,anyway she was describing a long hallway with all kind of doors. She would open doors and feel evil or sadness or or hear screamng etc.But she came to one that when she opened it it was full of light and goodness and peace. Then she said she left the room because it was to good she just couldnt stand it. Of course Art said "yeah I would think that would get boring". I think that fits a lot of instituional entertain me Christians today.

  40. Gravatar
    Your Mirror

    Judging from your blog entry here, YOU clearly DON'T get it. That pisses ME off, so I'M not going to waste MY time explaining it to you. After all, it's all about ME and what *I* feel like doing.

  41. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Your Mirror, you're going to have to explain your comment. It doesn't make any sense.

  42. Gravatar
    Your Mirror

    It makes perfect sense to those who can see clearly. You have just devoted an entire blog entry to making it abundantly clear that, as Nathan had been forced to say to David, "Iz YOU, YOU the man." You reveal through your statements in this entry and the attitude that oozes from them that YOU would be the one who "doesn't get it" when it comes to the NT life. (cont'd - space ran out)

  43. Gravatar
    Your Mirror

    In the scope of one page you have completely violated the entire heart and essence of Christ's teachings with regard to how we ought to regard others and treat them. Not only do you presume arrogantly to pass pre-emptive judgment on their hearts (which you CANNOT see) and their motives (which sorry, you do NOT know) but you completely violate the entire spirit of self-sacrificing love embodied by Christ which He teaches and asks us to embody and enact to others in His stead and on His behalf. This entire entry is nothing but a facile, self-serving exercise in self-exoneration and blame shifting. So it seemed fitting to "hold up the mirror" and respond to YOU with the same attitude & approach you advocate here.

  44. Gravatar
    Your Mirror

    But rather than continue on in this vein by telling you that you don't merit the time of day because you simply CHOOSE to FEIGN lack of understanding, an explanation has been provided to you. Which seems a lot more than you have herein described yourself willing to give those who for reasons you clearly fail to comprehend, have questions and issues they need resolved. Maybe some of them have been victims of spiritual abusers -- people speaking things in arrogance and self-conceit similar to the things you write here, pretending themselves to be better than those people over there who clearly CHOSE to be (spiritually) blind, deaf, lame, or even DEAD. Never mind we gots a war on, soldier, and those blown up bits of bodies, guess what, did not just land there to mess up your pristine rug.

  45. Gravatar
    Your Mirror

    Well you can say what you wish, believe what you wish -- free country and all of that -- but if you don't have a heart for the lost, you don't have the heart of God. And to reverse what Tony Campolo once said, if the things that break God's heart don't break yours, you really haven't much ground to stand on when it comes to claiming to be His.

    By His grace, praying that you will truly think about this instead of blowing it off by making excuses for yourself. You don't need to take these words for it. He has already given you His, and it would be His you need to heed. The frame of mind you advocate here? That ain't His, and it ain't from Him.

  46. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    All I can say to this is, THANK YOU for so graphically illustrating the very point of this article.

  47. Gravatar
    Dale K. T.

    Mirror, as I read through your comments I found myself shaking my head in disbelief. Everything you complained about and attacked Darrin with was stuff he backed up with scripture. He quoted time after time where Jesus reacted this way to people who rejected His message and you STILL hold to your untrue illusions about the made up institutional jesus you’ve been brought up with. Are you saying that these things in the Bible didn’t happen? Did Jesus not say these things Darin quoted? Can you really read this article and say that you can’t see this stuff? I have to agree with Darrin here, you are the person this post talks about. It's amazing how you made this post say things it never said. You created a list of things that are in YOUR heart but were never in this article.

  48. Gravatar
    Ian

    I guess my comment is redundant as Your Mirror's comments are self evident and in reading them I am truly sad. The very things that Darin is accused of are embedded in the messages themselves. Anyway I'm not sure what I can say to you Your Mirror except I hope you have a great day and that God loves us all no matter where we are in this wonderful journey with each other and our wonderful friend in Christ Jesus. I've received a lot of value from Darin and the other people on the forum and this website and all I can tell you is that is has helped me to come closer to the heart of God and also to love people more. If you read Darin's message again and take time out to reflect upon what he is saying there is truth and freedom to be had.

  49. Gravatar
    Robert S.

    “Your Mirror” the irony is that in your rant about how wrong Darin is to suggest that it’s okay to get upset and exasperated at people who reject the message, you proceed to take “upset” and “exasperated” to an entirely new level by loudly doing the very thing you proclaim to be so wrong. I also found it interesting that you used a Tony Campolo quote to condemn Mr. Hufford, because Darin’s latest book has been glowingly endorsed by none other than....Tony Campolo! Good day:-)

  50. Gravatar
    Jeff

    When you look at the life of Jesus, it is absolutely amazing how many things he said and did that bother the religious mind. Same thing is true today. All this talk about being Christ like but the truth is that most have a religious opinion of what that means that has no basis in what he was REALLY like. I love this article

  51. Gravatar
    MRAE

    I am sure that Saul would have made us angry(ok pissed us off), but look what the risen Christ did to him. Paul is my hero (next to Jesus), and he never compromised. His heart ached for his people, even his former cronies, the Pharisees. I think we need to be careful that we do not become insensitive to the Spirit leading us to witness to those who seem to have no hope, like Saul. Thankfully Ananias was receptive to the Holy Spirit's call, and we have half of the NT written by a man that had, at one point, a heart hardened to God. Praise Him.

  52. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Paul also got angry at the Jews for not accepting this message, and he brought it to the Gentiles. Think about this. Paul, listening to his heart and washing his hands from the Jews is the entire reason why you and I are Christians today. That anger is what launched Paul into his ministry that would later reach the Gentiles.

  53. Gravatar
    MRAE

    Yes, praise God that we're believers today. Religious people annoy me, and I would rather spend time with "sinners" than them any day. However, I think we need to be careful that we do not become what we stand against. Paul admittedly acted in ignorance and unbelief as we all did before God reached into our darkness and opend our blind eyes. I like your stuff, Darin, but I think our duty is to operate in love and wisdom in every circumstance and let God's spirit lead us at all times. Keep doin' your thing.

  54. Gravatar
    debsfree

    Now, Darin, You just be a good boy and do what your told. ;)

  55. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    okay

  56. Gravatar
    Jeff

    Ephesians 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

    I don't think this verse is giving people permission to have ungodly anger as long as we get it resolved by the time we go to bed. I think it is telling us to have an holy anger and wrath towards sin (of which legalism is a part). There is a scripturally justifiable place for anger. If we share in His Spirit and are never angry at evil and things that hurt others (even though He was) I would argue that we not being led by His Spirit but rather a humanistic form of compassion masqurading itself as agape love.

  57. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Good word Jeff.

  58. Gravatar
    Brent

    Darin, you are so right. I am a former Seventh-day Adventist, and when I show Adventists from the Bible that they don't have to keep the Jewish Sabbath to be saved, that they can receive salvation as a gift and not work for it by keeping the Law, that Jesus came to free them from the Law, and so on, they won't admit it, even though it is right before their eyes in the Bible.

    Why? Because they don't want to. Jesus' way was always to resist the proud and give grace to the broken. The only hope for the proud Pharisee is that Jesus' resistance to them eventually crushes them into brokenness, as it did Saul on the Damascus road. Pharisees will only realize their need for grace if someone strips them of all their religious adornment and shames them in their spiritual nakedness.

  59. Gravatar
    Brett

    Jeff, your comment on Ephesians 4:26 'Be angry, & sin not: let not the sun go down on your wrath' seems to be missing the point. The vs leading up to this are about how unity works in the Body thru the use of the Gifts, resulting in us putting on the new man of Christ in our inner man. In that context anger is a proper response to those who are not following the situational game plan of God making truth real to them. Strong ministry occurs in those situations throughout the book of Acts; beginning with the death of 2 believers, Ananias and Saphira. Paul's exposition is that we come to decisive choice. I've watched people mistreat anger as a bad emotion that needs to be gotten over.

  60. Gravatar
    Brett

    (Continued)They spend much time waffling on their values & reinventing God's work into a giant mystery to lose their right to make a righteous evaluation, so they can lose their 'bad' emotions. Instead, we are called to clarity, in which we see reality properly, so as to engage others correctly. You see this throughout Jesus' ministry: people come & ask Him questions, & He speaks to the real need of their lives instead. And, they walk away in sorrow because of the great expanse of the chasm that exists between the kingdom of self & the kingdom of God. The rest of Eph 4, after vs 26, shows the heart to be exercised towards those who are responsive to what God is doing. This is where the tenderness of love belongs; with those who let go of the self way and grab hold of the God way.

  61. Gravatar
    Jeff

    Hi Brett, I think you and I are saying the same thing brother, you just missed what I meant through my choice of words. I am not talking about an ungodly anger. Being called to clarity means that at times we will respond in anger just as Jesus did. Even Jesus anger was rooted in Love. Yes, people came and asked him questions but often the pharisees had no interest in the truth, they had self righteous ungodly motives. Just because I may get angry when someone does not get the message does not mean I don't love them, It is often because I do love them that I get angry. Sometimes in posting on these boards people read into the posts their own bias based and respond or even (bring correction) to others when none is really needed.

  62. Gravatar
    Becky

    Golly! I don't know what to think other than the fact that I am married to a fellow who is a very confident fellow. Very talented, good looking, was popular, had parents who only encouraged etc etc. As a result, he has little patience for insecure people. . . I on the other hand tend to veer the other way. I am more likely to make excuses for peoples behaviour etc. Regardless, I was ignorant until I wasn't. I don't know if it was because I had never heard the pure reality that Jesus had done EVERYTHING on my behalf or because I was too hardhearted. Personally I get a kick out of arguing with people who don't believe and I have a lot more patience than my husband in that regard. I am totally passionate, but I enjoy arguing and clarifying why Jesus is the essense of my being.

  63. Gravatar
    Becky

    cont
    There have been times where I have spoken rather er loudly and unlike my natural dispostion, such things as."It is finished!" or "Is Jesus blood enough?!?". And that comes from the core of my being, as does the weeping from seeing the unbelief of others. So, with all that said, I guess it is so grieving to me (His Spirit) when people resist Him. I long for people to see what I see. And I will argue and attempt to convince people to stop resisting the beauty of His totally finished work for me. I guess I just get propelled by resistance. . . I don't get angry usually so much as encouraged and or grieved. . . Strange momentum.

  64. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    I did the debating thing for a good ten years, but then got tired of it. I just never saw anyone actually benefit from it or change their mind from it. I will tell you that when someone doesn't get this but they are interested, I will do the same thing you do. It's like it puts a fire under me that excites me to no end. I'll spend hours talking and explaining stuff so they can get it. I totally understand that.

  65. Gravatar
    ambo

    I (sort of)never explain "it" to anybody. You're right, nobody actually benefits from debating. It doesn't work. We're sometimes so passionate about the message, and we're ...like..."How can you not understand this? It's so simple. This is not rocket science." But, the eyes remain blank. There is no sparkle of understanding. What do you have, Darin, that can bring them closer to God? It's obviously not our argumenting or debating skills :-) What can we give those that tick us off? We can only give them what we have been given from our Father. Hope, faith and love. I believe, (and I may be wrong), that love is usually not very pretty and definately not weak. It causes us to walk the second mile, with those that demanded one.

  66. Gravatar
    Monica

    On a totally different angle: It is impossible not to get it when you love. I was a non-believer, from a family of non-believers. That year I had a Christian classmate and she had told me that if she wore pants on a Sunday, people in her village would condemn her. She believed the bible did not say anything like that. I did not have an opinion, because I didn’t know anything about what the bible said. To be able to talk with her, I picked up a bible somewhere and I had been reading in Genesis for a few days when the next thing happened.
    I was on my bed crying over a break-up and suddenly felt: But I still believe in the power of love! This feeling was so strong I even said it out loud. The next moment I was totally calm. Thinking: “Okay this is weird!” I sat up and...

  67. Gravatar
    Monica

    started to look around for something to do. My eye fell on the bible on my nightstand. I started reading a new chapter. When I finished it, I felt a hand on my shoulder and heard a voice in my ear saying: “Read it again. There are answers in this for you.” So I started reading again and this time I saw the parallels with my own life. As I was pondering this, all of a sudden it hit me big time: I had heard a voice and felt a presence! Jeez!! So You are real?!
    Two years later God brought me to a Pentecostal church to teach me a couple of things. I believed in God, but had no understanding of what the cross meant. I was there for 4 years and then God brought me out again to become a free believer, even though I did not understand that at the time. But in those 4 years inside, I never got

  68. Gravatar
    Monica

    caught up in rules as much as others seemed to do. I think the personal relationship I had with God protected me for a lot of junk. And time and again God reminded me of the importance of love and how we started on this journey together. It has always been my belief God ‘showed’ himself to me in reaction to my statement: I do believe in the power of love!
    I do, now more than ever.

  69. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    The message became alive to me when I opened my heart to love as well. Once you love, you become a bible in and of yourself. Love fulfills the law. It sums up the entire Bible. If you refuse to love, you can read the Bible for hours and memorize every verse till your blue in the face and it will do nothing to you. Good word Monica!!

  70. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    ambo,This article isn't written about people who are having trouble understanding or getting the message. This is about people who do understand it and purposefully reject it. A heart stance like that will not receive hope, faith or love from anyone associated with it. They won't demand a second mile because they'll refuse a first.

  71. Gravatar
    lyn myers

    where can i read your story of how you came to love Darin? I love to read stories of how people found love and came out of IC. I am excited about your blog... it's amazing and I love your honesty.. I feel better about myself getting angry with people who refuse to believe it and have hardened their hearts.. you're right... it's a choice.

  72. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Thanks for all the kind words Lyn. I actually tell that story in my book "The Misunderstood God." The book opens with the story of how I came to this. Blessings!

  73. Gravatar
    Cheri B.

    I love how you love our friend Jesus Darin, it pulls me toward him and elleviates some of the fear of allowing myself to be myself. I've always been aware of his presense even though it was not taught to me but have brutally battled the lie that he put me here strictly to suffer. 12 years ago I decided to give up self medicating and began attending a penticostal church, I was invited by the 'ladies' to attend their bible study, we were asked to search the bible for a verse of significance to us and explain why. Every time I opened it all I could think is how badly I wanted to get high, I mean every time. I felt loathsome, I bawled the entire week. I, out of about 10 women, was the last one to share. while waiting my turn I felt panicked about what to do, I had nothing. I chose the truth.

  74. Gravatar
    Cheri B.

    I poured it out through trembling and tears to be cut off by the pastors wife, she very eloquently turned to the others and said that was all for today, they were excused. No one spoke a word, when she turned to me I felt horrified and sorely ashamed of the me I saw in her eyes. She told me this was not the place for such things and suggested a counselor. They went so far as to have a water babtism in my honor. I had made plans with my mom on that day so did'nt sign up, did'nt yet no it was for me until one of the ladies chased me down demanding to know why I was not on the list. They held another the following week. I obediently hung my head and went. I realize now thanx to truth seekers such as yourself and others That I was the only one at that meeting indwelt with THE counselor.

  75. Gravatar
    Cheri B.

    I no longer attend church at this time but, Jesus being just who he is has put in my heart so much love and yet sadness for the crippled religious minded, I no longer hang my head for them but I do bow it in prayer when compelled , they truly need it

  76. Gravatar
    Annette

    Darin, you are absolutely right. I grew up in the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) and went through the changes in the mid 90s when God revealed grace to us. About 1/3 of the people broke off from the church to form splinter groups (there are several of them because no one wanted to share power) to continue to hold to the false teachings of Herbert Armstrong. The difference between the people that got the changes and the people that didn't was that the people who got it were seeking God and those who didn't get it were seeking tradition, just like the pharisees. They enjoy thinking they are better than others because of all the "works" they do and they enjoy fearing people into obedience and controlling them.

  77. Gravatar
    Annette

    No matter how well the truth was presented, these people chose to reject it and I know from being in a cult that you cannot convince someone of the truth if their minds are closed to it, so it is pointless to argue. Arguing only ends up putting you in the position of defending yourself or God and we should never be on the defensive. Grace does not require defending. Getting angry and putting up stumbling blocks is the only thing that will have any hope of reaching these people. If we continue to argue with them, they will just gain more assurance for what they believe. Letting them go is the loving thing to do.

  78. Gravatar
    Anonymous

    I really don't know what to say.......

    quote from you
    *

    wow....hmmm.. ..speechless...
    I'll admit I'm one of those ppl that "stumble" over the gospel..and I'll admit that Love is not hard to understand..love does no harm to its neighnor..I have refused to recieve love bcuz of an evil belief, stubbornly not beleiveing God's love for me. thanks for helping me realize that..


    but
    Nonetheless.. I don't like you attitude

    Please pray about , don't be "wise in your opinion" that's in rom 12

    I have a problem reading the Bible.. ... I think I am one of those ublearned an unstable ppl Peter talks of that twist scripture hopefully my perception of the word will change so that I am not destroyed.

    Do you know about "weak" christians ?

  79. Gravatar
    greg sallee

    Love is a response on mans part. We cannot make a decision to love people the way God does. We are able to love when we understand the manner in which He loves us. Jesus said He gives living water and it becomes in us a fountain. To command someone to become a loving person will land them in frustration.

  80. Gravatar
    Deb C

    Matthew 22:36-40 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." ----- 2 John 1:5-6 "And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love."

  81. Gravatar
    greg sallee

    Jesus is the end of the law unto righteousness. He fulfilled every part of the law on our behalf. Including the big 2 listed in Matt:22. Im not against loving people but if we start employing our will power to love people it is not Jesus. It is the flesh and it will wear out.

  82. Gravatar
    greg sallee

    the point im trying to make is that love is a fruit of having God live inside you. You cannot decide to be a more loving person. You may be able to fake it by being nicer to people, but its not the same as God expressing Himself in you.

  83. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Greg I know what you're saying and I've said it most of my Christian life because it seems to line up theologically with everything I had been taught for years. Today, however I don't think I agree. I don't think it's as black and white as many of us see it. I don't think we're these lifeless dolls at the store that can't do anything until batteries are put inside us. I think the very fact that He created us is proof that we could decide to love at anytime in our lives. When we say that until we understand how God loves us, we can't love others, I don't agree with that. I don't see that in scripture. I just see a command to love. I think understanding God's love for us is HUGE and it changes a lot of things but I don't think we are dead until we see that.

  84. Gravatar
    greg sallee

    I think God made us to run off Him. Independent of God man can love people or commit himself to blessing people, but i think if you have to make a conscious effort to be loving, its not fruit. When I read the article i felt like the implied message was to start loving people. This will cause someone to then examine themselves to see if they love people enough which will most likely at some point result in condemnation, because they will constantly compare themselves with a preconcieved standard of how loving they should be. This is where we were under the law of Moses.If people realise their true indentity in Christ they dont have to be told to love others- they will love beyond what they could in their own discipline.

  85. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Greg, there is absolutely NO implication here that we should be more loving. This article is about having our eyes opened to the revelation of truth and what the difference is between those who see it and those who don't. You're looking at love as a series of acts and "do's". This is about a heart position that causes the eyes to open. Everything here is consistent with what Jesus spoke about freely. Jesus even said that if you do these things you will see that I'm right. Scripture also says, "If you love, you know God, if you don't love you don't know Him nor have you ever seen Him." You're making this about something entirely different from what it is. You're looking for a formula and I'm giving you a simple truth that even children can see.

  86. Gravatar
    greg sallee

    Im not looking for a formula. Im looking for revelation. Ill go back and read the article again. by the way, just starting reading your book since your last post, 32 pages in and cant put it down. Some really awesome stuff there.

  87. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Thanks greg. I really think if you reread this article and understand it from the perspective that it was written it might hit you differently. I'm not trying to suggest that you're totally off because from the perspective you understood it on, I actually agree with you. Your words are true and I'm with you all the way in what you're saying. In regards to this particular article however, I don't think they apply. Ask yourself what separated those who Immediately recognized Christ from those who couldn't see him even after witnessing all the miracles. it was a "heart position." This article is about that heart position and what it is. It's not about trying to get people to love more. NEITHER IS MY BOOK BY THE WAY:-) The book is about God's heart, not about what we should be doing. Blessings

  88. Gravatar
    greg sallee

    This idea of refusing to love being the thing that keeps these people from seeing the truth is new to me. I have been thinking that the "law" or self righteousness in peoples hearts is what blinds religous folk. Maybe its the same thing.

  89. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Humm. Interesting. Remember thought that there were people before the law who seemed to enter into the New Testament realm and "get it." I'll ponder your end of thinking and you ponder mine, okay?

  90. Gravatar
    greg sallee

    Darin, if you get a chance, check out the comment I placed on the article "the new law written on our hearts". It goes deeper into what i was thinking about spiritual blindness. Id like to see what you think about it. I believe the "law" was actually born when Adam fell.

  91. Gravatar
    jenny

    Started reading this article and started getting scared about asking questions!!! But I realise what you are saying. I am new to this site but I can see in some people who post opposing comments that they are getting something out of your post that you have nowhere said or they are arguing for argument's sake (going from one thing to the next) and it could go on for years. None of that is helpful to them or anyone else. You could get so bogged down it would be utterly impossible to cope. You have to exercise some discernment. And I guess the same is true in talking with people.

  92. Gravatar
    Debbie

    Cheri B - standing ovation - so sorry those ladies did that to you then again so freaking dancing in my loungeroom for what God did for you when you were broken. Just awesome!!!
    greg sallee - I am going to go and read your other comments in the other thread as well because I get that we are all born under the law thing and religion blinds us.
    Darin - Paul didn't get pissed off at the Jews and then chose to tell it to the gentiles instead. Acts 9:15.
    I have listened to you talk about how many years you were in religious bondage so I am not surprised you read the bible from a death perspective and I am glad God poured life into you and now you can see. 1 Cor 2 talks about why some could see and hear but not perceive or understand - the religious would never have crucified Him. Even Peter.

  93. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Debbie, that’s exactly what Paul did. Read Acts 18:5-7,”When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, "Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles." Finding a scripture that shows that this was God’s original plan does not prove that Paul didn’t come into that plan through getting pissed off with the Jews. Yes this message is from the Holy Spirit. It’s also a choice within each person. Jesus said, “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” That's a choice in the heart of each individual.

  94. Gravatar
    Debbie

    He still gave those Jews a chance to hear the preaching of the gospel and he also wrote about how grieved he was in his soul when they didn't get it even though he also wrote that it is in God's 'time of the gentiles' that many Jews won't get it. Paul said in Rom 11:13-15 "I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead. It seems God has blinded the jews for the benefit of salvation to the world. But I am not God, I dunno who is going to see and hear and receive, like Paul I just got to preach the forgiveness and reconciliation God has spoken.

  95. Gravatar
    Debbie

    I also hope you can see that I do agree, he got pissed, but I am also saying that wasn't his only motive to preach to the gentiles. the cutting off of his people grieved him deeply yet he also rejoiced in the future God has planned for them when god does open their eyes and ears to the one they pierced. Many did believe yet God is also clear only a remnant will. So is that God's doing or theirs? A question already debated for a millineum or two.

  96. Gravatar
    David

    At the end of the day, if the Holy Spirit chooses not to activate the seed of God within them and speak light across the darkness of their souls, they won't get it anyway. And sometimes that refusal to keep trying to make them get it when they simply won't wakes them up. Religious people especially, when they see the hope of the New Covenant and just how much they're missing out on, but they won't accept it because their religious tendency keeps them from it and they are left on their own, they'll miss that hope. They've tasted, and now they want the whole thing.

    Good article, Darin.

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