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May 30, 2010

The Balancing Act

Over the years I’ve known many people who were praised for being “balanced” and I’ve always been somewhat bewildered at this. When a pastor or teacher is said to be “balanced,” by today's standards they are considered by all to be exceptionally wise, knowledgeable, and trustworthy. A church that has the reputation of being “balanced” is usually considered by people as a safe and comfortable environment in which one couldpastor grow spiritually. In the Christian world the term “balanced” is perhaps one of the highest compliments a person or institution could receive. At the same time, the term “imbalanced” has become one of the lowest accusations of our generation.  

I think it’s no secret to anyone that Darin Hufford and The Free Believers Network has been accused of being imbalanced by more than one person over the years. When I read a review on The Misunderstood God or a comment posted on one of my blogs, it’s not uncommon to see this popular and predictable hand-grenade flying through the air. It has become an all-time favorite accusation.  

I think that the words “balanced”  or “imbalanced” have become toxic Christian buzz words that were specifically designed to cause people to either instantly sell their soul without hesitation or automatically shut themselves down emotionally. The word and the topic are right up there with “bitterness”, “rebellious”, and “heretic” in most peoples eyes; and that did not happen by accident. This particular buzz word is particularly unique in the respect that its power is just as effective on the positive side as it is on the negative. When a person is given the title of “balanced” they gain immediate respect and honor from the people. On the flip side, when a person is called “imbalanced” they are instantly disrespected and looked upon with contempt. It’s that unforgiving and absolute! 

If you really think about it, there’s only one scenario where “finding the blindbalance”or the middle ground would be the smart thing to do, and that would be in a scenario where you haven’t got a clue one way or another what the truth is. If you aren’t sure either way what the truth is, it would be smart to position yourself right in the middle. That way you’re just as far from being wrong as you are from being right. It’s the safest place to park when you’re completely ignorant and you know it.  

I believe that this is precisely why so many sincere and well meaning Christians desperately seek balance the way they do. Because of the many hype-filled and difficult to understand teachings in our generation, people today have absolutely no idea who God is and how He relates with us. We’ve been told so many radical, off the wall, contradicting stories about Him, and we’ve been fed so many lies, cons, and threats, that most of us just don’t know what to believe anymore. One week we’re told that He loves us and would never leave us, and the very next week we’re told that He will turn His face from us if we make one little mistake. After years of this, it’s easy to see why Christians would seek out a balanced preacher. It’s not that they’re looking for truth anymore; I believe for the most part people are just looking for relief. Who can blame them?

I believe that this is the reason why modern day Christianity lifts up “balanced teachers.” They’re looking for someone to make them feel safe. They’re also looking for someone who won’t force them into having an opinion on anything because most of us have lost confidence in our ability to do so. My complaint with the "balanced preacher" mentality is that I feel for the most part, it's a cop out and an excuse to NOT have an opinion. I understand that there may be two opposing views on any one subject, and I understand that both sides may be completelybalance wrong, but I have a ton of respect for both sides because at least these people's opinions are their own. At least they have an opinion and they voiced it. The middle-ground-teacher that we've come to respect so much, didn’t even do that. He just sized up the opinions of others and then found a middle place to park. I would honestly rather be passionately wrong than apathetically empty. Though balanced teachers certainly bring a much needed relief to hurting and scared Christians I personally feel that our appetite for balance has become the spiritual sedative that has put Christianity it its present day medicated coma. We've become accustomed to NOT challenging ourselves in our beliefs, and we've preferred the feeling of comfort over the thrill of risk.    

I think that because of the apparent call for "balanced teachers" in today's religious circles, many men and women have made a heartless business out of it. They are nothing more than professional card-counters. They’ve figured out the best way to play spiritual Black Jack without losing every cardhand. Just count what cards have already been played and calculate the probabilities of what may be coming next and go from there. It’s a feeble mathematical attempt to at least put yourself somewhere in the vicinity of truth once all the cards are played. “Balance” is nothing more than an algebraic estimate based on a vague knowledge of all the popular opinions on any given subject. As long as no one can pin anything on you when the teaching is done; it's a success. 

Think rationally about this. TRUTH is not balanced. It just IS. To suggest that you could bring a balance to truth is to suggest that truth is movable or that it can be manipulated by human hands. Truth needs balance about as much as your name needs balance. It just doesn’t make sense to believe that there needs to be a balance to truth. I believe it makes perfect sense that someone who knows NOT the truth would seek balance in any teachings about truth because they’re looking at it as they would an abstract speculation or a concept, and balance makes them feel safe. They may not be close to knowing the truth,truth but at least they’re not too far from knowing it either. They’re somewhere in the middle where it’s safe and secure. I think people find themselves in this position not because they are unable to see truth but because they don't trust themselves to see it. Once you find truth however, the scales are completely taken away. Truth is what it is. You don’t balance it with anything else. My heart is to encourage a generation of timid and shy Christians to trust in their ability to hear and know God once again an imbalanced take a leap of faith towards something deeper than what they have today.

Some people have become so addicted to "balanced teaching" that they'll actually go into a rage when confronted with truth, because authentic truth doesn't possess the balanced qualities that their spiritual equilibrium has become accustomed to. What are people really saying when they claim that a preacher of grace is not balanced in what he or she teaches? When I present God as love and I give illustration after illustration showing His heart for people and how they are the apple of His eye; what exactly is the critic meaning when he says that “I need to bring a balance" to my teaching? It sounds to me like he’s saying I've made God just a little too nice and I need to add some mean and scary stuff in the mix to bring about a balance.

If I say that God is approachable some folks actually want me to balance that with unapproachable. If I say He has forgiven you completely and has taken away all your sins, I’m supposed to also say that He still has a few sins that He’s holding over your head. If I preach that God will never leave us or forsake us, I need to balance that with the words “unless” or “if” in my statement. If you really think about it, it’s pretty easy to tell exactly what a person means when they accuse someone else of being unbalanced. Just look at the opposite of what's being preached and THAT is what they want you to balance your message with.  Believe it or not that's exactly what they're saying. I believe this is the sad result of needing balance at any cost.  

For years I’ve watched people try to balance freedom. An effort to balance freedom is nothing less than an effort to take it away or destroy it altogether. An effort to balance grace is an effort to snuff it out completely. An attempt to balance security is merely an attempt to assassinate it.  

When you hear someone say that a preacher, teacher, or writer is imbalanced, I would encourage you to ask yourself what exactly they are suggesting you throw on the scale in order to bring that balance. If they’re talking about a grace preacher you can pretty much guess that they’re wanting fear and condemnation put on the other end of the scale. 

I think the difference between a person who desires balance and a person who doesn’t even consider it when talking about the Heart of God is that to the former person, God is a concept, and to the latter, He’s a person. You don’t ask for balance when talking about a person. Balance cannot be applied to a personality, it’s a concept that can only be applied to a principle.   truth

I have found that Free Believers almost never cry for balance. Someone asked me once if I thought that was because Free Believers were more open minded or more spiritually adventurous. I believe that Free Believers don’t cry for balance because they have received the revelation that TRUTH is not the same as CORRECT. Truth isn’t an IT, Truth is a HIM. That one revelation changes every aspect of our thinking in an instant. It’s like the old Abbot and Costello routine; “Who’s on first, What’s on second.......” It will drive you crazy until you get the revelation that they’re talking about actual names of people, instead of asking questions. I truly believe that this is the revelation that separates Free Believers from the bulk of the Christian religious mindset. You just don’t ask the same questions when you get that. Everything comes into view and makes perfect sense. It’s not about finding balance, it’s about knowing Mr. T.  (okay that ending was cheesy, I’m sorry)


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  1. Gravatar
    Don Every

    It's quite some years back now that someone said to me that it's always those who are way off kilter that come up with the great revelations, thanks John. Balance happens all the time but only momentarily. Even walking is a cross between falling forward and stopping that fall with the next stepping foot.
    Flowing water is never balanced, but stagnant water is, but I know what I'd rather be! Exploring our infinitely complex relationship with our loving Father is always going to be a flow, with Him, how great that is!
    Thank Darin, you say it straight out, and bless us greatly.

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    Nuttin' wrong with a little cheese...good, interesting post Darin.

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    I'm new here, but I have appreciated much of what I have read, especially this one about balance. Thanks, Darin.


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    Sean Michael Kelly

    Well-balanced article, Darin.

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    David Backus

    when I think of well balanced, I think of
    Mrs. cookie cutter housewife from somewhere in the fifties sitcom suburbia, and I think BLAHHHH! I am OOOOH so glad that you aren't balanced. To me, balanced, means negating anything real that God wants you to speak and neutralizing it so any truth is ineffective. I think John on Patmos in Revelation called this lukewarm? God doesn't seem to be into balance. He wants it hot or cold. Lukewarm tends to get vomited out. Thank you for summing up some of my biggest frustrations with the institution, Darin.

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    Not sure where this came from. Never heard anyone use the term imbalanced. Usually, religious legalists come out and accuse you of easy believism and illigitmate gospel.

    If they are now accusing you of being imbalanced, are they now recognizing the validity of what you teach regarding God's love and grace?

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    Balanced...sounds kinda like lukewarm to me. (Rev 3:14-22)

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    i like what Don said. "Balance happens all the time but only momentarily." We're always "catching our balance", trying to bring ourselves more in line with Mr. T. It makes me think of Peter walking on the water. When he had his eyes on Jesus he walked, when he looked down he sank. Balance is eyes wide open on Him. and we're going to tilt from that, of course. But he gets that we're going to tilt and he loves us trying to walk toward him no matter how we do it...!

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    Elton S.

    I don't have a problem with the word "balanced". To me it is a description of the way things should be healthy in our lives. I am not opposed to drinking (as long as you don't view it as a sinful thing), provided you do so in moderation. Don't be a drunk.

    With teaching from God's Word...I would say that taking one particular facet of Gods character and building an entire ministry around it could be considered an imbalance. While God is Love...He is also Holy, etc.

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    Barb, when I came to a loving understanding of holiness, my heart filled with worship. All I could say on the inside over and over was, Holy, holy, holy. Fear-based teachings never, ever brought me to this place! What was it that I wrote that indicated that I thought God's holiness wasn't a big deal? Whether or not I know the bible, I know my Father...I finally know Him...and I love who He is! And I know He feels the same way about me. (My insides are dancing right now!!) I wish everyone could come to understand that God is not of a mixed mind about them. This is His holiness!

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    I never thought about this before: being balanced or imbalanced when it comes to my relationsip with Father or my beliefs. Very interesting! I don't care if I am balanced or not, I just care about the Truth. Truth is, I am so very much enjoying getting to know Father in such an intimate way that everything else that has to do with "rules" or "Laws" or "Right way to worship" don't even matter to me any more. :)

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    While holiness is an attribute of God, the church has over emphasized his holiness to the point of almost ignoring the fact that he is love. As a result, instead of being balanced, the church has been unbalanced in its emphasis on holiness. The only way to bring a scale into balance when there is a weighty object on one side is not to put more weight on that side but it’s to leave that side alone and put more weight on the side with the lesser amount. If Darin were to emphasize God’s holiness as well as his love, the scales would still be out of balance on the side of holiness so, using that rationale, Darin is correct in emphasizing God’s love and not his holiness since that’s the only way to bring God’s character into balance.

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    David J. Snyder

    One of my friends and mentors sent me this website and I couldnt be more thankful! Thank you for writing the very thing that has been on my heart and mind for the past seven to eight years!

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    Darin, thank you for simplifying things. You know I get what you're saying. God isn't "Love AND all these other things we'd better be afraid of." God is LOVE and all the other things he is are a part of his amazing Love. Just wanted to say thanks again. UR cool!! :-D

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    All my kids need to know about me, their mother, is that I love them and they can trust me. They don't need to know what my work life is like or what my hobbies are or what books I read.
    They don't need to study me...(I'm not knocking the bible by the way) The most I've learned about the father's heart is through "the Word became flesh" - through Jesus and through those around me who reflect love.

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    Thomas Sebring

    I think that the concept of balance when it comes to faith is basically an Eastern one; i.e, Bhuddhist, Hindu, Taoist, etc. This concept works great sometimes in politics, where you are dealing with opinions and not necessarily absolute truth or facts, and where you just need to get enough consensus to get the doggone bill onto the floor. However, I agree with Darrin that, when it comes to truth (such as God is Love, which not only the scripture but the Spirit tells us), the truth is the truth, period. Our attempts to balance it are basically like trying to hybridize a snail and an elephant. If truth is truth, then its opposite is a lie. I am not as focused on whether God hated Esau or hates sin (which He does) as I am on the truth that GOD LOVES ME and that He loves His church. The scriptures confirm what my spirit tells me; that love is the overriding truth that all others radiate out from (i.e, holiness, righteousness, etc).

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    Tom Sebring

    Yet there is something that even the Bhuddists are correct about; that the universe as God created it is balanced, which is where the concept of Yin and Yang comes from. Science shows us that God created a perfectly balanced universe, to express His perfection. But when you look at its beauty, you can see something even greater that God had in mind; His love. Beauty is God's outworking in the physical realm of the Love that is the central essence of His character. Also, when you look further into things like Chaos Theory, you can see that the balance of the universe is really just the Standard Deviation, as it were, of a series of imbalances that average out to balance. I have seen that in my own Christian walk; I compare it to one of those Family Circus comics where the kid is told to walk across the street to the store and back, and he ends up all over the neighborhood, but eventually DOES end up back home. I believe that there is balance, but that GOD is the author, not us.

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    Darin Hufford

    David J. I'm glad you found us:) It's great to have you here. It's nice to know you're not alone isn't it? Blessings my friend:-)

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    Daniel Venie

    Thanks for writing this article Darin. I know how much you enjoy writing! ;) I've heard the balance word thrown around and even used it myself. I like knowing that just being with Him is all the balance I need. What looks normal and balanced to me isn't necessarily the same for another person. I think it goes back to the IC's way of taking what works for one person and making a cookie cutter regurgitation of that and applying it to everyone. This is what everyone should look like!! I think God wants us to be ok with who we are, be it a crazy, melodramatic emo person or a crocheting grandma that loves everyone, and to know Him in our own way. Or better put, to believe without fear of being imbalanced. And really...that begs the question "Do we trust His ability to steer and direct our lives?". I think when we believe, balance isn't even brought into question. Maybe I'm getting a bit off track...good stuff though D! I love reading what you write. :)

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    All I know is God's holiness never brought me any peace through some great heartaches but a fresh realisation (or maybe the first true realisation?) of the depths of His love for me certainly made a huge difference. Not balance but Truth. Great article.

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    Without holiness no one will see the Lord. If we are christians we certainly have all the reason in the world to emphasize the fact that He loves us. And because we love Him we should have no problem knowing that He hates sin. Darin has a right to control the comment section but how do you get the free believers message across to someone like me if you just chase me away. How many of you went thru a "process" before you got to this point in your life. Even Darin went through a process. I think this whole thing got ugly and we all should slow down and "love" each other as we all walk through this whole thing. I mean, come on, none of us got this 100% correct.

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    Jean T.

    The King of kings died for His subjects.Our pea brains will never be able to find the " balance" in that. You can't define it , comprehend it , or put it in a neat little box of collectables.Yet that is exactly what humanity has been and is trying to do . The simplicity yet enormity of that love is placed in us by the King Himself, then we spoil it by spending the rest of our life trying to "balance " it to our human understanding . The unfortunate thing is that i often see that coming from wanting to love God so much, that we take over the job, instead of just "being". It took me years to figure out that God made me a human being and not a human doing . P.S. Darin ,i love these church services that we can have on line.

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    Interesting post. I like what Barb said, about going through a process. That is what I have been doing for a couple of years now. I just think we should be careful not to "trade in" some of God's more "serious" attributes, which we are less comfortable with, or perhaps have been bashed over the head with in the past, for the seemingly "easier" ones.

    IMHO, God's holiness is not just one of His attributes, it is something that permeates His entire character; He is totally set apart and transcedant, and so He is in His love, strength, power, wrath, justice, knowledge, etc. We can't divorce His holiness from any other aspect of His character.

    I love that we can dialogue about Him, even go "outside the box" of "orthodox" thinking. But I will always stick to the Word, and use it as my plumb line; not to be balanced, but to be accurate. And I thank Him that He left it for us; He knew we would need it!

  24. Gravatar

    Barb, if you'd like for us to chat and get to know one another, I have an email address on my blog. If you'd like, you can contact me there so we can talk but please don't make critical comments on my blog because I won't post them.

  25. Gravatar

    Darin, if you feel my previous comment was inappropriate, please delete it as well as this comment.

  26. Gravatar

    my possitive comment even got cut! How imature

  27. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Hummmm. How is it immature to cut a positive comment Scott? Can you explain that to me?

  28. Gravatar

    Sorry bad choice of words. I guess my previous comment may have been somewhat off track (I'm not sure why) and my feeling was that of being censored, just not a nice feeling, but I do understand keeping to the issue is important. It is your web site I respect that.

  29. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    I understand that it feels like you're being censored but I assure you that was not the case or intent behind me deleting all those comments. We had 160 comments under this blog and almost all of them pertained to a conversation that had absolutely nothing to do with the blog itself. I spend hours writing this stuff because I have a specific point I truly want to get across to people. When a conversation breaks out that detracts from the actual article, I find that the reader ends up leaving my site having no idea what my article was about. All they remember is the angry spirited conversation.

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    Jim D

    Some theories predict that at least ten dimensions exist, however they suggest that the coiling of seven of these into a very small diameter leads to the perception of only the remaining three. Assuming that coiling was absent at extreme temperatures (like those at the BB), matter was initially distributed into all ten. As the universe cooled, about 90 % of the matter appeared to be missing from 3-D space. If matter does not seem to be balanced, why the he!! would anyone even try to balance truth. Like duh! Thanks for the great insight guys.

  31. Gravatar
    micah Butts

    it is Truth himself that lead me to your book and web site and that is why I check in daily.

    thanks for being real

  32. Gravatar

    Darin, we stand between two pillars of truth. God is Love, but He is also Holy and Righteous. We all are totally depraved sinners deserving nothing but eternal damnation. God's Word says that it is an abomination to justify the wicked. So, how do "we" balance this out. How do "we" become His children and call Him our Father? How do I become His child?

  33. Gravatar

    A better understanding is "God is love AND He is also holy and righteous". Holiness and righteousness are not opposites needing to somehow be balanced with love. God is love; period. His holiness (purity, set apartness) are facets of his love, not opposites. Sometimes it comes across as though love is positive and holiness is negative, or vice versa. God is love... no "but" is ever needed.

  34. Gravatar

    Totally agree Jim T. I think, no, i KNOW truth is a HIM not an it. And He is Love. Pure love. Genuine love. And I dont need any balance to be his child. I only need to receive Him. To believe Him. To walk with him. He makes me holy, not myself. His love makes me holy, and then I can see Him increasingly clearer. When you are right, you are right. Period. I know it sounds prideful but the same thing were said about The Tuth Himself. Blessings in all revelation, pure revelation of Him.

  35. Gravatar

    I agree, everything flows out of God is love.Why try to water that down by saying, but God is holy also.One reason may be that the message of true freedom or "Love and grace" unleashes people into true freedom and some may not handle the freedom like we feel they should.They may even "Sin" in their freedom.We can't control people in the name of balance.In other words we can't take away the awesome freedom Christ paid for because of our own fears.So called "balanced teaching" can have fear as a motivater.Fear brings bondage.Holiness is another wonderful subject and again should not be a fear filled one because we are in a loving relationship with the best Dad ever.
    Peace and Love
    Scott U.

  36. Gravatar

    "And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say,'HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is the LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME'.
    And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever,
    the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
    'Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created." (Rev. 4:8-11)

    This God, this holy God, is also "love", and love is "from" Him.
    "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love." (1John 4:7,8)

    This love, this "agape" love,

  37. Gravatar

    is from God, and is of God. Only those who are born of God have it, and know God. Not everyone is born of God, not everyone knows and loves God. This is God's special, purposeful love that He gives intentionally to His children:
    "See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; an such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it does not know Him." (1John 3:1). It is bestowed upon His children, not because of anything in them that causes Him to love them, but because they have been adopted into His family, of which Christ is the first born. Being in Christ qualifies us for that love, the same love that the Father loves the Son with.(John 17:23). It is a separate love than the love that God has for mankind in general.
    Barb, the answer to your question of how to become His child is to be included in Christ, to be accepted in the Beloved, to have your heart made new, and to trust in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of

  38. Gravatar

    your sins.
    I just wanted to give some definition to the term "love" because I think we often confuse it with our own experience of love, which is vastly different from the way that God loves us. And we can only love one another the way He tells us to if His love is in us. And His loving us does not detract from His holiness; it does not bring him down to our level, or mean that He overlooks sin. It is all about being in Christ. It is all about the love that God has for Christ being spilled over onto us, who have been elected and placed in Him on purpose.
    Sorry to go on. Just trying to bring some perspective into the discussion.
    BTW, you won't find "love, love, love is the Lord God Almighty" in the Bible. Though you will hear "love, love, love" in a well known Beatle's song. Though I don't think it has the same meaning. :o)

  39. Gravatar
    Justin Shively


    How is God's love different from our love? Weren't we made in His image? I have a hard time believing that God somehow gave us a lower from of love, if there is such a thing.

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    Mike, maybe I misunderstood Darin and he really was talking about these "tensions" in Scripture. 1st John starts off telling us if we say we have no sin, we are liars, and then turns around and says no one who is born of God sins.
    Justin, no one is like the Lord. Our love is tainted but He is perfect love.

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    Barb, there's only one kind of love and it comes from God. If it's tainted, it's not love but an imitation.

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    Aida, lets be real. Are you saying that you and I love our husbands on the same level as the Lord?I wonder what our husbands would say about that?

  43. Gravatar
    Justin Shively

    Yes, Aida. I have heard the argument about God's love being different. But I have never understodd it. There is no place even in scripture that says that. I've never understood the theory that God would create in us a different love than He has, because that would then make it impossible to have relationship with Him.

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    Barb, in and of myself, I’m incapable of loving my husband at all. So, when my love is gracious and accepting, it’s God’s love in me that’s loving my husband. However, if that love is filled with anything other than grace, it’s not love at all but a cheap imitation. Now, we‘ve gotten so used to thinking of it as love that we confuse the two but there’s only one kind of love, God’s love. Justin, you’ve said it well. Where would God even get a lesser type of love to give us? The love we give to others is just an outflow of the love He’s given us. Barb, you’re asking some great questions. If you haven’t read Darin’s book, I highly recommend it. It gives a great description of what love really is.

  45. Gravatar

    The love that God gives is, like all of His attributes, far above and beyond the love that we give. Like everything that He does, it is TOTALLY good, and TOTALLY perfect. We are not God. We are made in His image, but that image was tarnished when Adam and Eve fell, and sin entered the human race. Yes, when we come into a relationship with Him, we are able to love like He does to a degree, but never in a perfect way like He does. He loves with perfect knowledge and perfect wisdom. He is not limited as we are, by flesh (sinful humanity). It's not that he gives us a "lesser" love, it's just that we aren't capable of loving like He does. Love is an action word, as well as an emotion. Who has ever loved their spouse, or their child, and responded to them in perfect wisdom in every circumstance? We are limited by fear, anxiety, envy, selfishness....God only loves perfectly, all the time. We are not God.

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    It's not just that He loves... He IS love.

  47. Gravatar

    Sometimes I think I see glimpses of perfect love, when families bring home a new baby. Especially, I get a kick out of how nurturing dads can be with babe and mom. I think our love is often limited by our physicality...we get tired, hungry, cold or experience pain. God has a bit of an advantage over us. But we often make judgements instead of just recognizing that we all have legitimate needs. As a nurse I help families get their needs met so they can remain in love, in a manner of speaking. When I see mom and dad smitten with their babe it is so heartwarming. Sorry don't know how this relates to a discussion on balance but other to say that I believe God gave us the real thing...real love.

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    Faith I know exactly what you are saying. Human love can be a powerful force, and though the way we love pales in comparison to how our Father loves us, it is nevertheless something truly beautiful. We can use the illustration of how parents love their children in trying to fathom the love He has for us, though in our limited way we won't fully grasp it. We will, though, spend eternity realizing its scope and quality. I'm looking forward to that, but in the meantime I intend to keep on discovering what God's love means to me here and now. He is an amazing God and Father.

  49. Gravatar

    love is of God.God is love.We are one with him.WE are just like him.His love is shed abroad in our heart.Nothing can seperate us from God's love.All human beings are lovers, they may not know it yet but they are.let it soak in, truth frees.Now to try and balance theese truths out in any way,could possible keep someone from entering into the kingdom or seeing it as it really really is.Can we please really just let a message ring out fully for what it is without diluting it? I think we can.Perhaps real purity comes from a pure undeluted message.So pure it may even make you ecstatic with joy and belly laughter.

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    God is a giver - totally other centered and self sacrificing - He is always poured out for others, if He is Love this is what it looks like. I think this is why darin always says that we will never 'know' love until we love others. In our falleness we love from the tree of good and evil - we love based on judging what is good and what is evil - God never wanted us to love like this as someone pointed out up there only God knows and loves in such a purity of heart to be the only one who can Judge - we are to reflect His Character in how we love and leave the judging to Him. His love IS also consuming fire - it burns up anything in His presence that is not of love. It is why we stand in God's presence In Christ or we would be totally consumed by such Holiness :) Jesus Christ is the gift to be received.

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    I have been wondering lately about how in genesis God says that now man has become like Us knowing good and evil if that is still not to be used as an indication of whether we are like God if we know what is good and what is evil because it appears that God never intended to love us based on that tree but on Life itself which is Love. And it is not like He doesn't care about good and evil because in His consuming fire what is not of love cannot survive. Even Satan had to leave the presence of God in order to torment Job. I am not suggesting I have a corner on truth here, I am just sharing what I have been thinking about.

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    Sorry if it isn't on topic with your article Darin, I am just sharing in the conversation that has followed.

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    Debbie, I totally get what you wrote and I sure appreciate the insight you shared!

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    Psalm 86:8 There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord, Nor are there any works like Yours.
    Exodus 15:11 "Who is like You among the gods, O LORD? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, Awesome in praises, working wonders?
    Deuteronomy 33:26 "There is none like the God of Jeshurun, Who rides the heavens to your help, And through the skies in His majesty.

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    Patricia Mikkelson

    I just find that labels in general are not helpful. It is better to be specific about what I am saying rather than take the short cut of using a label to describe something that is actually rather complex.

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    I love your message!

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    Darin Hufford

    Thanks Tripp. I'm glad someone does:-)

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    Balanced... I find that sometimes, because of Christ's Spirit within... I can see both sides of a conflict. I understand why the victim is outraged, I also understand why the defendant committed the crime. Some would call that balanced. Sorry Darin but I think you are usually pretty balanced.

    When speaking of freedom, I teach that all things are permissible, in other words you and I as followers of Jesus Christ are free to do anything we would like. I also teach that somethings will make us miserable. I am free to get drunk everyday, but if it pushes away all my loved ones and family, I'll regret it. It won't push Jesus away, He set me free. I think that is balanced teaching of grace / freedom.

    I understand your blog and see the truth of it. many would say that we aren't free to do anything, but we are totally free and while that may seem unbalanced, the concept is true.

    Hopefully this article didn't cause us to want to be imbalanced - but defused the power of words.

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    Balance IS! Balance is Jesus Christ. I have found that in my personal walk every time I begin to relate to God by "Doing", within a short period of time my energy and ability begin to wane and I find myself devoid of Hope/Life. You see, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life........" Moreover, as I have begun to rest in the Finished work of the Cross, everything begins to abound. It is not that my "life" is without challenges, it has many, but now it is centered in the only "Life" available to a believer, Jesus Christ. No longer do I live in the illusion of Doing for God, by the works of the Law which ultimately leads to death, but I continue to embrace "fullness" which already has been so gloriously provided for, In-Christ Jesus!

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    Angela shoemaker

    in my generation of 21-30 being unbalanced is easier than being balanced, i am learning personaly to balance everyday life and in my spiritual part of myself as well. the people that i have met and socialized with here in cleveland, ohio and going through college,we all have a god instilled in us. we all have a right and wrong instilled in us. i was in night light for about 5 years it seems and that structure/foundation has effected my life so much that the statement there is no success with out god in your life and that is so very true. i know people that live their life for several years without god, and they are very unhappy people. i am gernally very happy because of what was instilled inside my phyc.

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    Oh please, Darin, don't be modest! I feel like I've been looking for this website all of my life (although websites haven't been around that know what I mean). And I loved this message as well. Thank you.

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    Darin Hufford

    Well I'm certainly glad you found us then:-)

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    Anita Williams

    I don't think one can teach another person on balance or lack of it & have that truth be imparted to them from good teaching or even accurate & Scriptural explanations. I have found that for me personally, the only way I can really come to the personal and intimate comprehension of the truth regarding the length, breadth, depth, & height of the love of Christ, is to be strengthened by the Spirit of God in my innermost being, so that I will be able to receive the glorious riches of the revelation of that love, which would otherwise be past knowing.
    Wisdom is the principle thing, but with all our wisdom, we need understanding, and I believe that only comes by REVELATION. We mustn't get upset with others who have not yet received that revelation. Saul didn't know truth, until Christ
    revealed it & Himself to him on the road to Damascus. Maybe there are some very well intentioned brethren that are still on the road, who have not had that revelation of the love of the Father. Let's love them

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    The article states "One week we’re told that He loves us and would never leave us, and the very next week we’re told that He will turn His face from us if we make one little mistake."

    Can you give some specific example of someone saying this? The way the statement reads, its like this is a common, normal statement. I have known Christ since 1978 and never heard someone say this, except when someone was saying its said all the time! But I have never heard it actually said by a pastor or teacher in thirty-two years. What am I missing?

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    To clarify, the part I have never heard was "the very next week we’re told that He will turn His face from us if we make one little mistake."

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    Darin Hufford

    Jeff, why would you care so much if you've never heard this said? Why in the world would it bother you so much? If you've never heard a preacher say that "sin separates us from God" or "if we do this or that God will turn His face from us" why not be happy? How is it that you would be upset at someone who HAS heard that? What am I missing? I've been given long lists of things that wold cause God to turn His face from me my entire life. I've been told that He wont even listen to my prayers if there was any unconfessed sin in my life. Maybe you haven't been told that. Don't be upset about it Jeff. Be happy.

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    Darin, if God has done a work of regeneration in your life or anybody else, He would never turn His face on His children. Is there a particular denomination that says these things? Or do people just like to pick on you?

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    Darin Hufford

    I've heard it said in Assemblies of God, Nazarene and Baptist. I think people feel like they need to stand up for their Church. I understand that. They feel that the Church system was put together in heaven.

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    I have heard this too in the same way. I grew up Baptist and they preach that God won't hear your prayer if you have unconfessed sin. I guess that's so when you're prayers aren't answered, there's always an easy explanation why :D. Which always made me's he gonna hear our prayer to confess our sins?

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    I sometimes wonder if the "scale of balance" rests soly in the world (Since partaking of the fruit of the tree knowledge of good and evil.) the world that we are in but not of.

    Adam and Eve did not fall on one end of the scale, they "died" into their limited individuality by not conforming to Christ by the right choice of obedience - this God our Father forsaw in His plan of salvation to the oneness of individuality overtaken by the obedience to Love.

    May we thank God our Father, the eternal author, against all apearances, for His Best which hasn't any less than.

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    Thanks for this encouraging insight anf the well chosen words. For years I was that judgemental scoundrel that wanted to throw the baby out with bath water. Recently I have become aware of this terrible excuse for attacking others. Thank You Jesus for holding that against us and allowing us to change our ways.

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    I once heard a definition of balanced I liked. To be balanced means to be extreme in all directions. :)

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    I don't even give thought to balance anymore. My entire LIFE was saturated with that teaching and it almost drove me out of my literal mind. I threw it out w/the bath water. I'm not saying its right or wrong, only that it added a pressure to my life that I couldn't measure up to or contain.

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    Want me to write you an article Darin? I bet I'll like it:-)

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    "Christians" prefer a lot of things, balance notwithstanding, as they attempt to gain security in consensus thinking. In the absence of knowing the Father and thereby knowing the Truth, they are left with trying to figure out what is actually true on their own terms. I am in an industry, corporate training, where we, in a unique approach, first begin with the premise that all human beings are problem solvers. Jesus has changed the principles of problem solving in life as His Lordship established a new reality in the new covenant. But today's Christians don't live in the truth of the covenant. They are still trying to solve for a pre-covenant life- they live by sight and solve for problems they see instead of believing the One who has already solved those problems. Balance serves consensus thinking because "truth" is determined by a bell-shaped curve. Father is rescuing so many of us out of that trap. But it is a bit frustrating when we want everybody to "get it"...

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    greg sallee

    "God is totally imbalanced- He is only good"-Andre Rabe.

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    I think God's Love (emphasis on His Love) is the only true power in the world that can ever produce Holiness, Righteousness, and everything pertaining to the fruits of His Spirit and in looking for "balance" between God's Love and His Holiness is not in the equation, especially since the Truth is that none of us can produce the Fruits of His Holiness, Righteousness (right living) without God's Love enabling us to do so, and as we all know this is a life time's process so my question is - when do we start measuring how "balanced" we are?... when it is God Himself who starts and finishes this process within us.

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    Earlier on in my journey, I developed a taste for "balanced" teaching, and it was precisely because I needed relief. The grace revelation came to me in sources outside of my church, so I constantly felt "imbalanced" (afraid and uncomfortable with myself) when I was in church, but "balanced" (at rest) when I would feed on those other sources.

    Now, I would not call my past experience "balanced," but rather confused. Over the last couple of years, a new line has been drawn for me, and it has come as my understanding of grace has grown into a more full immersion in the source of grace, Love. I simply cannot mix fear with love, let alone think it would be "balanced." Now, I would consider it adulterous....

  79. Gravatar

    ...Jesus said, "I am the truth." Darin is absolutely right. Truth is a Person. And John wrote, "God is love" and "love casts out all fear." It seems a little silly to say this, but to help make my point, I would consider myself to be completely in the "grace camp." With that said, if I heard a preacher presenting a condemning "God" or one that evoked fear, I would not want him to "balance" it with a little grace. I would rather he not even try, because I don't believe they are even the same spirit, and I wouldn't want my God, my Love, to be misunderstood, or worse, for anyone to fall into the trap of attempting a relationship with a manipulative "God."

    If love and fear are mixed, is it even Him any more? It seems like many Christians are so wrapped up with avoiding the seductive spirit of the "world" that they don't realize they have become betrothed to a different seducer. But who can blame them when virtually all of us have been raised in some mixture of love and manipulation?

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    There has been a nasty case of 'balance God' talk going around lately (kind of like a summer cold). I have quoted you a few times lately. :-)

  81. Gravatar

    I finally understand what my friend means when she says God can't just be love, but that he is a Holy God too, meaning He's a God of vengeance... I get so irritated that she doesn't understand; but now I see that she's trying to balance the truth that everything about God is love with, "He's gonna get me if I mess up."
    This article also helps me see why I'm drawn to people like you, John Crowder, Rob Bell. Sometimes I'd worry about myself thinking there was something wrong with me to crave extreme people and be so dissatisfied with insipid preachers. Now I think I'm OK because my heart told me that you people speak truth and truth can look extreme!
    George Barna's "Pagan Christianity" and "Revolution" excite me too. The talk about Jesus being THE foremost box-breaker tells us lukewarm isn't always the way for us.

  82. Gravatar
    Zeke Mulcaghey

    Truly, The Misunderstood God is one of the most balanced books I have ever read. Replete with such even-handed assertions as, say, that Jesus would tell today's believers that they are of their father the devil, or that everything the author heard growing up was wrong, or the lists of things the author says God never does. A more carefully worded, highly nuanced and eminently fair book would be harder to find. Hufford is surely being more than fair in characterizing the criticism that his book is unbalanced as "a predictable hand-grenade flying through the air." Nor could anything be more self-evident than that what is called "balance" by critics of the book is nothing more than an attempt to hold on to vindictive notions of God in order to maintain a neurotic conception of the divine. Anyone who has carefully read the Scripture would know that sound biblical arguments have nothing to do with it. Too bad we can't find something to RESPECTFULLY DISAGREE about.

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    Thanks Darin.
    Love your posts.
    2 trees; knowledge & Life.
    The church works in concepts and distance because it has nothing else.
    We were never meant to intellectualise God (that God reveals Himself as the Father underlines this), rather we were created to live in a relationship of love.

  84. Gravatar

    Rick (Sep 21, 2010)
    That's it exactly.

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