*He (pronounced hey) is the fifth letter of the Hebrew aleph-bet.
He in ancient Hebrew looks like a image of a man with his hands raised. A three pronged fork will give you the idea, with the prong in the middle being the head between both arms.
In modern Hebrew, he means behold. But, this meaning of this letter doesn’t do it justice.
Let’s look a little deeper into the man with his arms raised (He).
The fifth commandment is:
Honor your father and mother, that your days may be long in the land that the lord has given you (Exodus 20:12).
The ten commandments were not listed by number, but they were listed by the ten (debar) words—which are the letters of the Hebrew aleph-bet. In other words, aleph—the first letter—goes with the first commandment, bet with the second and so on.
The law and meaning of this letter (He) is honor. A man with his hands raised is a picture of honor. You can even connect the word behold to honor.
When the (He) was added to the names of Abram and Sara to make it Abraham and Sarah made them honorable as patriarch and matriarch of faith.
But what is more interesting is that a person cannot give honor by force. A person can’t tell someone to honor them and “bam” it’s done.
Let me introduce you to the concept of wholistic thinking. Everything written in the scriptures comes from wholistic thought.
Every child has a root. The root of a child is the father. Every child has a trunk, the trunk of a child is the mother. It is the father and mother’s connection with a child that makes the child capable of honor.
Also, if there is a bad connection between father/root and mother/trunk, the child cannot find honor. Wholistic erases the idea of responsibility we hold today, because it says that honor is a response to healthy relationship and dishonor is a response to unhealthy relationships.If a man doesn’t honor his head/YAH, he will not find honor in what he produces.
If a man has no other god before him, he honors God. If he honors God, he commands his offspring to honor him. If he is distracted by other interests (gods) his offspring will be distracted from honoring him.
Wholistic places the fifth commandment on whether or not man honors/beholds only YAH as the root.
33 HE. Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end. 34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. 35. Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight. 36 Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness. 37 Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way. 38 Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear. 39 Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good. 40 Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.
Can you see a man focused on his father in these verses—hanging on his every word and instruction?
That is a picture of honor. The man wants to understand that he may become as his father is!
Dalet is the fourth letter of the Hebrew Aleph-bet and a picture of a door.
YAH is very interesting! I want to remind you that Hebrew is the language of behavior and that all other languages evolve from movement of behavior. Let’s see if that is true.
The Law/Behavior of Daleth, a door (ד)
Looking at the image on the right, if you can picture that being a door, not just a door but an open door. A door that is always open. Abba/father is a open door.
The word grace–which is an action, a behavior of YAH, is depicted in this letter. Forgiveness can also be found in this letter.
This door is unlike any door, it is a law.
It is specifically the door to replenishment, restoration and revitalization to all living things–most importantly to human beings. This open door means invitation and hospitality to health and wholeness.
After our blood in our bodies enters the lungs and goes through the last purification process, it is equipped with life-giving oxygen and is then sent to the main part of the heart. From the heart the blood is dispersed through arteries to the various designations to give life/oxygen to those places. After giving off life, our blood is laden with waste. Going back to the organ system through veins to be replenished, restored, revitalized, refurbished, rejuvenated, to give life again.
What I just shared is the description of that open door.
To prove the authority of this letter, I submit to you the forth commandment.
8 Remember the Sabbath day, to set it apart.
Now, see if it coincides with these verses.
25 DALETH. My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word. 26 I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes. 27 Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works. 28 My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word. 29 Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously. 30 I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me. 31 I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame. 32 I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.
The description I gave of our blood and how going through the organ system to be replenished and that door to enter into a relationship with something that chastises you to bring about righteousness–that door is the love for all living and an invitation to true Shabbat/Shalom (rest and peace).
Gimel is the third Hebrew letter. Ancient Hebrew is a pictorial language. Gimel may be a picture of a Camal in Ancient Hebrew.
Gimel, like all of the Hebrew letters is a law.
The law of Gimel
The outside meaning of Gimel is giving–not in the context of sharing or of a simple donation. The nature of a camel has a high ability to withstand high levels of heat without water while being of service. This type of giving is giving under duress.
This type of giving is much like a mother giving birth to a child: the innate nature to reproduce life, to contribute to the cause of growth, to sustain a name. Interestingly enough, the pain a woman goes through to give life is enough pain to cause a woman to never want to go through that again. But she is given a Gimel spirit–a law that drives her to forget or lessens the memory for the sake of contributing to love and continuation of life.
A camel can endure agony for the sake of continuation of life.
God in the spirit of Gimel will endure with conditions of people and Gimel/give to reproduce health.
17 GIMEL. Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word. 18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. 19 I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me. 20 My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times. 21 Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments. 22 Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies. 23 Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes. 24 Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors.
I heard about this video a few days ago and dismissed it entirely. I didn’t even take the time to look it up or get context. I simply ignored the spectacle. It came to my attention again today, so I watched. What I saw didn’t surprise me and it probably shouldn’t surprise you.
It’s surprising to me not because it’s the only thing I’ve ever experienced in church. To be fair, I grew up in a lovely church with very kind and warm people. In my 20+ years in church, I’d had an overwhelmingly positive experience. Thankfully, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve probably experienced something similar to the drummer video.
Sidenote: You’re going to read the word repent and rebuke a lot in this post. Use the links to get a basic understanding.
Firstly, here’s a basic review of what happened:
A female guest preacher is ranting about musicians and some liberties they have and challenges they face spiritually. Her view seemed to be that congregants–particularly musicians don’t really care about the message being preached. She also seemed to reference how because musicians get paid, they essentially don’t receive accountability. She went on to convey that musicians getting paid doesn’t faze her. (You can get this work too–in a nutshell). When she asks the female keyboardist to start playing, she does. She then asks the 17 year old male drummer to start playing. Apparently, he was accustomed to getting a break after a certain part of the service. He doesn’t begin playing. She calls someone out of the congregation to come play. She proceeds to rebuke the drummer who “refused” and told him he had 48 hours to repent. She asked for someone to give her his name before she left. She called upon members to give $150 to “sow into” his repentance that he might repent before the 48 hours. She has since issued a written apology and viewers are weighing in.
To be perfectly honest, with the little context I have–this doesn’t actually make sense. I have so many questions.
Why was 48 hours the time given to repent?
Who was he meant to repent to?
What was he supposed to repent for?
What authority does she have to give someone a certain amount of time to repent?
How would she have known he repented?
Why are congregants not allowed to make choices that may or may not align with what the pastor is requesting?
I do not intend to dive into the process of rebuke as many have begun discussing. After watching, I pondered something different entirely.
From the outside looking in:
She seemed irritated that things weren’t going the way she’d have liked for them to go. So, she hid behind her “prophetic gifting” to express this irritation. After her random blurb, she has the keyboardist play some music that provides an “atmosphere” that would make what she was saying seem more serious or valid. It’d likely disarm the people after such a strong rant/rebuke. When the drummer decided not to play (for whatever reason), she internalized his decision, but projected her irritation onto him in the form of alleged rebuke.
This is one of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen many believers make.
Instead of being self-aware enough to know: This makes me feel a way, they project their emotion on another and have God cosign. This is incredibly harmful. Those on the receiving end have to unnecessarily internalize another’s feelings. This causes a person to bear emotional weight and may strain their ability to be vulnerable and feel safe in this environment.
What I’ve been saying all along
While I tend to hold the view that people need to step away from Christianity as a whole, there are still beautiful aspects of it. However, no matter how beautiful or beneficial it may be, the priority in every conversation, every relationship, and every gathering, has to be safety via vulnerability.
It doesn’t matter how reflective of the first-century church your traditions are. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your worship is. It doesn’t matter how thoroughly studied your sermon is.
The greatest impact is always going to happen at a behavioral level. If people are able to be safe emotionally, that will produce healthy behavior. Healthy behavior coming from healthy foundations is indication of a healthy person.
This is not to say that people’s emotions ought to be coddled. Instead, it is through challenge, people can truly come to understand their true nature. It is not until they understand their nature that they can begin to make progress toward wholeness.
This process is often stunted because people conflate spirituality with emotions. We move too swiftly and avoid those uncomfortable moments and rushes of emotions by waving them off as a ‘praise break’ or a ‘spiritual attack’. These moments potentially have more power in them than anything being taught from the pulpit.
Many people say, “God doesn’t care about your feelings,” or ” don’t listen to your feelings.” I’d say instead, He absolutely cares about your feelings. Your feelings are little indicators that reveal YOU to you. They show us how we see the world and ourselves. You can imagine how important it is to heal then.
What story are you telling yourself?
To heal in our emotions is to heal our narratives. We develop narratives through our parents’ narrative, our environment, and our experiences. This is incredibly essential because it is often the difference between reacting vs. responding. In the video, it appears the woman reacted swiftly due to some internal dissonance. While it took her no time to react to the drummer’s ‘no,’ it took her days to reflect on her behavior and make the choice to apologize. That is usually an indication of a lack of emotional health. Unfortunately, she will likely only be challenged through a hyper-spiritualized lens and won’t be able to reflect on her emotional state. The cycle will continue.
The reality is every person has various experiences that lead to their choices today. They are not going to comply to the idea you or I may have. Knowing how to reflect and respond is essential in conversations, relationships, and gatherings. Additionally, how we feel or react is more indicative of us than it is them.
Self-conscious or self-aware
When a person reacts (which does not always appear overtly negative), they are behaving due to their sensitivity to others’ approval. This person is self-conscious. Their sense of others’ opinion is heightened and unfortunately, they cannot always determine which standard to be sensitive to. So, they are emotionally hijacked. This is something I’m in the process of working through. This person will often do the right thing out of fear, shame or validation. When a person behaves from that place, we can be sure they have not truly learned or internalized the truth of something. Instead, they need some exterior source to motivate them to make a particular choice rather than look inwardly and confidently move from that place.
When a person is self-aware, they respond to one internal standard that dictates their behavior. They are confident not because they are right all of the time. Instead, they are confident because they are knowledgeable of their true nature and are always open to what their experiences can teach them about themselves.
To the nitty-gritty
The beliefs that would justify the preacher’s behavior is prevalent in the Black church. To name a few: lack of accountability for leaders, total authority for leaders, total submission required for non-leaders, leader infallibility, and the list goes on. One belief I’d like to highlight is: If I feel it, it’s right.
This is no coincidence that this is particularly prevalent in the Black church. When a person or persons have been so stripped of their identity and value, they compensate in various ways. This is often first evident in how they attempt to attain and assume authority. Today, many Black people have turned their attention on healing and stopping generational baggage in its tracks. Yay, us!
However, many Black people have not undergone enough healing and challenge to produce emotional intelligence. These underlying beliefs were produced in times where survival was of utmost importance. We’ve been reacting as though we are in the middle of crisis in even the mildest of situations. We’re easily vexed and struggle to manage our stress. Our trauma is trapped in our bodies and we view many choices by others as serious threats–even when it is perfectly safe and acceptable.
This leads us to create spaces where the authority is strict and non-leaders are compliant. It is through shame and fear based obedience that everything stays in order. You can witness this in Black churches and Black homes.
I believe this was evidenced in the video of today. How can we do differently moving forward? What would have been more acceptable in that situation? How can we maintain a place of safety and vulnerability?
Honor his ‘no.’ (This shows him he’s allowed to set boundaries and maintains his value and trust)
Get someone else to replace him on his break. (Problem solve without shaming him)
If frustrated inwardly, take a moment to pause before speaking anything else. (Even taking note that you’re irritated/bothered is healthy)
Take time later to reflect on why his ‘no’ may have bothered you. (Getting to the bottom will free you from reacting from that place again)
The response above maintains everyone’s value and fosters a safe environment.
Above all, we must prioritize a safe space for everyone in which vulnerability is the norm. If we place anything above this, offenses will accumulate, trust will break down, value will depreciate, and division will ensue. Again, this is not solely applicable to the Church. This is a valuable precept for all human interactions.
I recently made a slew of posts on Facebook addressing Christian culture, the value of Torah, and the power of challenging our foundation. Here they all are, compiled.
I titled this blog the way I did, not because I was ranting—but because it was perceived that way. For some, these words will be strong and jarring. But, I assure you, while they are strong and challenging, my tone and disposition is one of empathy.
The issue with the Christian Church/Christianity is not the people, but the culture. People beget culture and culture begets people. Shrugs.
Christianity, aside from its fundamental falsehoods, fosters an environment where people are inclined to pretend, are shamed, hide, are fearful, unconfident, etc. The culture encourages people to flaunt spirituality, righteousness, and traditions as cloaks of confidence. The culture allows you to dismiss contrary ideas without ever exploring the idea in the name of guarding your salvation. The culture encourages people to live in shame under the guise of humility. The culture encourages people to distrust themselves in the name of wisdom and trusting God.
Having left Christianity, I have found the concessions I used to make, I no longer have to make.
I can trust YAH and myself.
I can mess up and not be ashamed.
I can be confident and it doesn’t mean I’m prideful.
I can be unconfident and it not mean I don’t have enough faith.
I can come as I am to YAH and His people and my value still be in tact.
Long story short—there’s a lot less pretending outside of religion. I’m still unlearning the systems of religion—for sure. So, I don’t ever mean for this to sound like I know everything and you should listen to me. If it challenges or offends you in any particular way, feel free to explore why.
What’s so interesting about this is so many Christians are sharing it, but when I and others point out fundamental flaws in this religious system, it becomes about, “Oh no, the church has failed you! My church isn’t like that! We just need to focus on Jesus. Maybe you didn’t have a good experience.”
Why is it Christians can jokingly say Paul would correct the Christian church in America, but feel the need to refute when someone (who isn’t a Christian) says the church needs correction?
Christian culture (cont’d)
When I start talking about the shame, fear, pretending, etc., that’s present in Christian culture, I get similar responses. Most of the time, people think it’s an anomaly. “Maybe they went to a church that was very condemning and strict.” It’s not really about that. Two things I want to point out.
1. People show up broken to the church and the culture exasperates or conceals the issue. It is not necessarily the cause of peoples’ various issues.
2. We don’t know what God wants.
These two are the bread and butter for Christian culture. Together, they make a dangerous mix.
People show up to this system—to the pastors, churches, denominations, conferences, Christians—broken. They’re looking for a remedy. They’re looking for a remedy to the self-hate, their so-called sin nature, their fleshly desires. Then, they’re given Jesus. They’re told Jesus loves you and just wants you to follow Him. You just need to give up those things that Jesus doesn’t like. Simple enough.
What are the things He doesn’t like? They’re told sexual promiscuity, lust, stealing, lying, judging, cheating, killing, smoking, revealing clothing, cursing, certain friends, pride, certain past times. The list goes on. So, their journey begins.
What happens when people are not able to give up their “fleshly desires”? What happens when even though they’ve been going to church, praying, fasting, and the desire is still there? The response many get (although most don’t approach anyone because they’re afraid to admit that it’s just not taking) is pray more, study more, worship more, fast more. Whatever the Christian disciplines are, do more of them.
Then what happens? During the time that it’s “not working”, they feel the need to pretend because it SEEMS like so-and-so over there isn’t struggling with anything.
There is an element of the culture in Christianity where people want to cast off suffering as though it devalues them or their place with God—as if it diminishes their spirituality.
This leads me to the second part. When a person is backed into a corner like this one, they have no choice but to create their own set of beliefs and practices (that are already in their wheelhouse) and say this is what God wants from me. That way, they can alleviate themselves from the constant pressure of “still haven’t arrived”. This can be observed at every level of this system. From church, denomination, individual—there are a list of to-dos and to-donts from some obscure list in the New Testament that says THIS is what we should be focused on. If you’re doing this, you’re alright.
But it doesn’t stop there. The culture requires you to add to the Word. Now, certain clothing, style of music, lingo, gospel artists, situations are exactly what you need (or don’t need) in order to please God.
All because we can’t simply admit that we don’t know what God wants and we’re not sure if we’re meeting His expectation.
In this kind of environment, sin of all sort is able to prevail. Their is no sense of true identity. It is simply the identity I conjure up and feel comfortable being and am validated by others in this system. These laws we create help cover our deficiencies. Adhering to them help us feel like we have forward motion. They help us feel like we’re “impacting the kingdom.”
This does not simply exist in the so-called “condemning churches.” This is present in the majority of churches that do not have a proper footing in Torah first.
Torah, the deep process of healing that it offers, will rid you of self-hate, shame, condemnation, negative fear, doubt, worry, distrust, etc. The list goes on.
If a church’s foundation of Scripture and life is not built on Torah, it is a rootless tree pretending to be something it is not.
If you (Christian) see my posts, it’s okay for you to disagree. You might even feel offended. However, it’s not okay for you to read my posts looking for something to disagree with or an opportunity to discredit.
Granted, I don’t feel like most people do this. Honestly, the people that reply are likely the people who are available for open dialogue–which I appreciate.
If my posts about Christian culture irritate you, fine. But, don’t let that irritation stop you from seeing the truth in my words.
Truthfully, I’ve heard Christians rebuke the culture of the Christian church vehemently while I was still apart of it. This rebuke was allowed because it was coming from someone “on the inside.” The moment someone “from the outside” rebukes, it is met with “othering.”
Many Christians “other” differing views and in doing so remain stagnant in their understanding. This does not mean I have everything right. However, the only way I or you are going to discover truth is if we go through this process of reasoning and challenge. If there is an invisible bottom line that we hold, our verbal sharpening is for naught.
What is the point in having dialogue or exploring certain ideas if your plan is to walk away believing what you already believe? Come into these conversations with the intent to discover truth even if it’s something you’ve never believed before.
In Christianity, I think many of us were taught to hold so tightly to the truth almost in fear that it could so easily be ripped or plucked out of us. Think of the parable of the seed and sower (not sure if that was the title). Some seed was snatched while others took root, but withered. Many know the illustration.
My words are meant to challenge what your ground is. What soil are you planting in? What has been planted? What has taken root?
Additionally, the pushback or ignoring of what I’ve presented is evidence of another issue within the culture and it proves what I’ve said before.
Christian culture facilitates people running from Light. We’re so fearful of judgment. This fear is gripping. It grips us to our practices. It grips us to our doctrines. It grips us to our fig leaves. We’re so afraid that if God looks our direction, He might not like what He sees.
When You understand Torah: that you need to be judged, that you need to present yourself before Light (YHWH/YAH/God), that He needs to look you over, that He’s lovingly looking over you, that He believes in you, how He sees you, there will be no need to run. These conversations become a lot easier to have.
These ideas may not seem connected. But, there are always things planted so deeply that we cannot see unless we examine our behavior. Upon deeper diving, we discover the seed that was originally planted.
More on Christian Culture…
What makes Christian culture so damaging? It lacks vulnerability.
The inner journey of many is to come in, learn the culture, do as they’ve seen, stand on what they believe. This does not sound bad. Quite honestly, it doesn’t look bad either.
It seems like I can find a problem with anything. How can standing on what you believe be a bad thing?
When you stand on what you believe as a means to feel or appear confident without acknowledging where you are unconfident, you enter dangerous territory.
Many of those sermons that seem to have been taught with such anointing, were often taught from the few pockets of confidence that an individual has. Many are standing on the little confidence they have and will not come off of it. This is fear.
This is because somewhere in their belief system or pathology, they cannot afford to be vulnerable. They cannot afford to be unconfident. It almost feels like being unguarded.
When you are vulnerable, it almost feels like you’re in a weakened state. With all the trauma many Christians (like any other human) are carrying around, it makes sense that they’d form systems and beliefs that keep them guarded from facing those painful, unconfident areas.
Many of us are afraid of the truth of who we are. So, we don’t search deeper. We recite our staple verses and ignore anything that feels contrary. Any revelation that shows us how we truly see ourselves can almost always be written off as “the devil is attacking me.”
This is fear. Scripture says, “The fear of Elohim is the beginning of knowledge.” Fear is not inherently a negative thing. This is understood when studied from the Hebraic perspective. There is fear as in being afraid. There is fear that means something else. This is what I’m talking about. Fear is foundation. Fear is what you stand on. Fear is what you have allegiance to. Fear is root.
To have the “fear of Elohim” is to have Him be your root. To have the fear of Elohim means you’ve undergone the process of challenging your foundation to the extent to where all that remains is Him/His Torah.
This requires vulnerability. This requires slowing down in life–not simply creating pockets of time where you are to “hear from God” or “spend time with God”. It requires being sensitive to what He is challenging in you day in and day out. As you submit yourself to that process, you will find it easier to face those painful spaces and you will become whole.
Excerpt from the article,
“HEBREW THOUGHT COMPARED WITH GREEK (WESTERN) THOUGHT: A KEY TO UNDERSTANDING SCRIPTURE THROUGH THE EYES OF THE AUTHORS”
by N’TAN LAWRENCE
“It is particularly difficult for Westerners—those whose thought-patterns have been influenced more by the Greeks and Romans than by the Hebrews—to piece together the block logic of Scripture. When we open the Bible, therefore, since we are not Orientals, we are invited…to ‘undergo a kind of intellectual conversion’ to the Hebraic world of the East.
“Let us turn, then to some of the many examples of block logic found throughout Scripture. The book of Exodus says that Pharaoh hardened his heart, but it also says that God hardened it (Ex. 8:15; cf. 7:3). The prophets teach that God is both wrathful and merciful (Isa. 45:7; Hab. 3:2). The New Testament refers to [Yeshua] as the ‘Lamb of God’ and the ‘Lion of the tribe of Judah’ (Jn. 1:29, 36; Rev. 5:5). Hell is described as both ‘blackest darkness’ and the firey lake’ (Jude 13; Rev. 19:20). In terms of salvation, [Yeshua] said, ‘whoever comes to me I will never drive away,’ yet no one can come ‘unless the Father draws him’ (Jn. 6:37, 44). To find life you must lose it (Mt. 10:39). When you are weak, then you are strong (2 Cor. 12:10). The way up (exhaltation) is the way down (humility) (Lk. 14:11). ‘Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated’ (Rom. 9:13; Mal. 1:3).
“Consideration of certain forms of block logic may give one the impression that divine sovereignty and human responsibility were incompatible. The Hebrews, however, sense no violation of their freedom as they accomplish God’s purposes. Upon a more careful reading of the biblical text one can often observe that the Bible views one block from the perspective of divine transcendence—God says, ‘I will harden Pharaoh’s heart’—and the other from a human point of view—‘Pharaoh hardened his heart’ (Ex. 4:21; 7:3,13; 8:15). The same is often true of Scriptures which deal with themes of predestination/election and free will/human freedom.
“In sum, the Hebrew mind could handle this dynamic tension of the language of paradox, confident that ‘all is in the hands of Heaven except the fear of Heaven’…Divine sovereignty and human responsibility were not incompatible.”
Jesus taught to uphold the Torah and meant to establish its original fundamental meaning which had been corrupted by the religious leaders of His day.
To know Him, we have to understand His Torah. If you do not understand His Torah, you will not understand who came as flesh. If we do not understand His Torah, we are following a religion about Him, but so far removed–which inevitably leads to being removed from His power.
“It has been admitted, by even some in the Christian church, that Christianity is not the religion of Jesus/Yeshua, but rather the religion about the Person of Jesus/Yeshua. For it to be the religion of Yeshua and his early disciples, it would have to uphold that obedience to the Torah’s standards of righteous living is a requirement of Christians today.”
Why did God give the Torah to begin with if He knew it was too hard to do?
I think many look at failing as confirmation that we were simply not meant to do it. This is not the proper view of failure (sin). Additionally, one could just as easily apply this logic to the lives of Christians today. Are we not meant to believe in the sacrifice of Yeshua/Jesus and what it afforded us because we still fail? No.
But we’re “under grace.” We keep using this phrase as a vague spiritual designation that essentially means God won’t hold your failure against you. I’d prefer not to get into the details of things. So, I’m giving a broad overview for you to consider.
Firstly, the proper translation of torah is not law, but instruction or teaching. Torah shows us the nature of God. Torah teaches us how to live in harmony with ourselves, each other, & God according to the natural patterns and invisible laws that govern life on Earth.
To try to do everything in the torah and not learn the heart of the torah is futile. God nor Jesus ever advocated for this sort of surface-level engagement with Torah. Instead, Torah is a mirror that has the power to correct and adjust you. When you are wandering off the path, it brings you back from destruction. Torah does a deep healing. It cannot heal as it naturally does if you are applying it improperly. People will apply it incorrectly if they understand it incorrectly.
By the time Yeshua/Jesus had come, the state of the people of Israel was incredibly removed. The religious leaders imposed a surface-level application of Torah and even added and subtracted from it while teaching others to do the same.
This is the qualm Jesus had with them. I know in Christianity, we’ve been taught that Yeshua was opposing the Torah because it was too hard and legalistic. Instead, Yeshua was opposing the religious spirit/nature of the people of this time that would make futile systems of what is a way of life. They meant to validate themselves and were foregoing the process of healing that happens when you let YAH teach you who He is through His Torah. When YAH teaches you, He validates you.
This is the tone of the Torah. Think of the Ten Commandments–better known as the Ten Words. These are not threats or strict laws given to Israel so that they wouldn’t do anything God didn’t like. Instead, they are written with the tone of validating who they are. “You will not murder because this is who you are.” YAH declares the standard and we walk the path. He adjusts us as we teeter to and fro as our strength is built. This is very foundational.
The Pharisees created systems, ideas, and the like where they could be validated by their own works and not by allowing their hearts to be circumcised as always intended. They were creating their own foundations. They were living as they pleased and declared “this is what God wants from me.”
This is reminiscent of what is happening in Christian culture today. Many are passing down ideas, traditions, and doctrines without challenging them and are saying, “this is what God wants from us.” Many would rather stay doing what they’re doing and be validated rather than ask, “what is it that you want?”
This rant was not done from a particularly negative place. I was excited about my ponderings and decided to share them. I’ve enjoyed and am deeply grateful for all of the engagement. Many people have commented, debated, encouraged, questioned, and it’s been fruitful.
This blog isn’t about me saying who was right, but moreso me drawing our attention to how we’ve determined who we think is right.
I’m tired of talking about it. I know you’re probably tired of hearing about it. It’s really not any of my business. Regardless, I’ve been mulling over it ever since it happened and I have finally collected my thoughts to share here.
If you have not heard, long story short: Chris Rock made a joke. Will Smith smacked him. Jada is all up in the mix (to what extent she is is being greatly debated).
Before I draw our attention to something, I want to acknowledge that most of what has been said is mere speculation. I don’t know any of these people personally. So, my opinion will likely be incomplete.
I started writing this blog as a Facebook status and decided to let it live here on Sensible Fool. This blog isn’t about me saying who was right, but moreso me drawing our attention to how we’ve determined who we think is right.
Here goes nothing!
There are key parties in this situation. You have Chris Rock, the comedian. There’s Will Smith, the larger-than-life actor. Then, there’s Jada, the damsel (in distress?). Regardless of who you think is right, I’ve noticed something in the analyzing of this situation.
People have taken a stance based on their individual hurt.
Women say Will was right because they like seeing a man protect a woman in this way.
Some say Will was wrong because they identify with Chris because they observed a bully-victim dynamic –with Chris being the victim.
Men believe Will was wrongfully motivated by Jada.
Men believe Jada didn’t have the foresight to protect Will.
Granted, there are objective truths that can be extracted from this situation (but only those in it and closest to them probably could do so). Sidenote: our society values owning your truth and the speculation we’ve seen is people offering their “truth.” And this is exactly where it’s gotten murky.
Our hurts have had us living vicariously through each of them. When we do this, we’ll advise or supply others the wrong remedy or worsen the condition.
Our perspectives will have us reinforcing Will’s, Jada’s, or Chris’ behavior that may need to be challenged in us and them.
Let’s look a littler deeper at some of the positions people have taken.
Will was right.
These women likely have felt unprotected in their lives. Thus, causing them to require an intense display of aggression cloaked as chivalry. These women likely would have felt uncomfortable if Will had privately mentioned to Chris that he didn’t appreciate the joke. It would not have felt sufficient. They cannot assess beyond this hurt.
Will is a bully.
These people may have been bullied and never received due justice. They identify with Chris and are desiring the highest price for Will’s behavior. They cannot assess beyond their hurt.
Jada is the culprit.
Many men are angry at Jada because of their own distrust for women. So, Jada becomes dehumanized because she represents all women that have hurt them. They will struggle to assess beyond their hurt.
Jada is the culprit Pt. 2
Many men are angry at Jada because she didn’t have the foresight to protect Will. These men have been neglected, manipulated, or controlled by women. Their thought is to completely disconnect from Jada and are unable to see Jada’s hurt.
Do you see yourself in these spaces?
Our hurts or deficiencies will require others to pay heavy prices.
Think of a deficiency like a bucket with holes in it. You get the picture. No matter how much you pour into this bucket, it will not fill.
As humans with deficiencies left by trauma and generational pathology, we are similar to these buckets. Our only hope for healing these deficiencies is to identify them, acknowledge them, and make ourselves vulnerable in those spaces. This is incredibly painful.
Many times, we refuse this process and require people to enable the deficiency. This looks like requiring a person to keep pouring and disempowering them to even point out the hole. “I’m just like anyone else, why can’t you do this for me?” “Don’t look there.” “I don’t want to talk about that.” We don’t want a person to touch on that painful area because it hurts too much. So, we let them pour.
Deficiencies are insatiable when they are enabled. So, they must be healed in order for them to be satisfied.
I have let people pour and pour in my areas of deficiencies until they tapped out. It wasn’t until about four years ago that I begun to even see these deficiencies. Until I was able to see them, I was unable to assess situations properly and honestly, I still do.
So, why is this important?
We need to heal. All of us. It’s easy to talk about other people’s situations and ponder the intricacies. We turn over every aspect of the situation and console our own wounds with our broken perspectives championing broken people. Until we heal, we will require what is unnecessary, be unable to receive what is healthy, and will provide insufficient remedies.
Many of us have become those with no ear to hear. The Church (or those who so claim) is sick because she is disconnected from the Way (Torah) that the Way (Yeshua) taught of.
Have you heard the account of Joseph? In case you haven’t: Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers after he’d revealed he’d had a dreamed that he would one day rule over them. This account can be found in the book of Bereshit (Genesis) chapters 37-50. This is a very popular account taught on a many of occasions. It provides encouragement as ministers extract principles and lessons from Joseph’s experience. “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” “Your setback may be a setup for victory!” “What the devil meant for evil, God means for your good.” “He makes all things work together!” The list goes on.
Another perspective people tend to take when reading Joseph’s story is a very “me-centered” perspective. “Sometimes, you can’t tell everybody your dreams.” “Some of y’all got some haters acting like they’re your friend.” The emphasis quickly becomes Joseph or ‘us’ reading the story. Every other person becomes an extra in the story of Joseph. If we read Scripture this way, we will always walk away with a partial understanding or none at all.
Joseph’s story has little to do with dreams or personal victories. Joseph, like others read about in the Bible, is a small piece in the major scope of Scripture. No one’s story is ever just about them. To some extent, I think we know that — in a very general sense. However, I don’t think we know that within its proper context.
If we continue reading Joseph’s story, we find that his experiences positioned him to help all of Israel. Additionally, he was able to reconcile and be one with his brothers again (which nullifies the me-centered, hater sort of perspective). See, every account, parable, and ‘character’ will always relate back to the grand picture of YAH’s relationship with Israel.
We have to begin reading all of Scripture in this light. Let me demonstrate the importance of this.
Preachers know that Yeshua (name Aramaic and Hebrew people called the Messiah) used parables to deliver deeper truths to the people listening and will use this approach to illustrate ideas they’ve extracted from a text.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with using illustrations to help people understand the deeper truths.
However, it quickly becomes an issue when the message, Scripture, and illustrations are filtered through our culture that is already counter-Scripture. I came across a post on Facebook once that shows the juxtaposition of Hebrew thought and Western (Greco-Roman) thought. Here are a few examples:
Man-centered universe vs. God/tribe/family-centered universe (H)
Freedom orientation vs. Security orientation (H)
Life analyzed in precise categories vs. Everything blurs into everything else (H)
Rugged Individualism vs. Importance of being part of group (H)
Worth of person based on money/material possessions/power vs. Worth derived from family relationships (H)
My desire in writing these blogs about the Torah is to strike curiosity in your mind about Scripture. This is enough to bring someone closer to truth. I walked very devotedly in Christianity for 20+ years of my life. So, I know the ins and outs of the objections of some of the things I may present via my blog. This is to say, I understand. My blogs are never to shame readers who may still consider themselves Christians. Instead, it is to challenge your perspective and encourage you toward deeper truths. For something is only as strong as it is challenged.
Some will say knowing the culture of the Hebrew people is unnecessary. “We’re not meant to be Jews.”
First, we need a better understanding of the concept of culture, especially as it relates to Scripture. Mostly, we understand culture to be the traditions, foods, music, holidays a group of people hold to. While we can certainly identify those things in Hebrew culture, what we observe of Israel and their interaction with YAH recorded in Scripture is not simply “their culture” — especially not in the same way we understand culture today.
So, what’s the difference?
The Torah (first five books of the Bible) contains a way of life. Even more — it is THE WAY of life. It is literally how life/nature operates. It reveals the character and nature of YAH. Hebrew culture is built on, recorded, and encompassed in the Torah.
When Yeshua said, “I am THE WAY, the Truth, and the Life,” He was making Himself equivalent to the Torah. He was saying I am the Torah — the written ideas of YAH — made flesh.
“Aleph Blessed are the perfect in the way, Who walk in the Torah of יהוה (Ps. 119:1)!”
“Your righteousness is righteousness forever, and Your Torah is truth (Ps. 119:142).”
“For the command is a lamp, and the Torah a light, and reproofs of discipline a way of life(Prov. 6:23).”
Many of us have heard the verse, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).” Many of us have been taught the Bible is the Word of God. But, Scripture says that Yeshua is the Word. But, what is the Word?
In the Greek, the word for ‘Word’ is logos. Logos means ‘divine utterance’ or ‘expressed idea.’
We’ve been taught it means Yeshua is the ‘’expressed idea God had.’’ This is true, but incomplete. What is Yeshua the expressed idea of? What idea did God have? The Torah! So, to understand Him apart from the Torah, within the context of our culture, is to barely understand Him at all.
So, how can we expect to understand what He taught if we are unwilling to study the very ideas from which He taught?
Second, the culture we are engulfed in today is a syncretism of various ideologies that make YAH pluralistic, dualistic, and watered down. A lot of the traditions — if not most — observed in Christianity are due to a mixing. They have been observed due to many concessions and manipulations made by the early church (when it linked with Rome’s government) in order to “tame” the pagans of their time. (Read more about it here: http://hoshanarabbah.org/blog/2014/05/21/how-the-church-divorced-itself/). So, the very theology many of us defend was not originally ours to begin with.
The messages many of us extract from Scripture is counter-Torah or are incomplete applications of Scripture.
When Yeshua told parables, they were always directly related to the Torah. It created a picture that derived from the foundation. If those that heard were not truly connected to the foundation, the root, then “they did not have ears to hear.”
Many of us have become those with no ear to hear. This is not really our fault. We’ve passed down information gained by those with a genuine desire to know YAH and commune with Him. Regardless,the problem in Christianity is we’ve assumed there is little relevance to what Yeshua taught (Torah) because “it was just their culture.” Nah. It wasn’t just culture as we understand it — it was the way of life! Their whole culture is built on the Torah. The Torah is the foundation of Hebrew thought.
Problematically, the Church has divorced itself from anything Hebrew and has lost proper interpretation and foundation of Scripture. How do you know?
Unless we learn the Torah, we will read the account of the woman caught in adultery and think its central message was about not judging or the grace of God.
Unless you learn Torah, you will read about the Pharisees and think that Messiah’s opposition to them was because He was doing away with “the Law.”
Unless we learn Torah, we will read Joseph’s ascent into governmental authority and think the story is about accomplishing your dreams.
Unless you learn Torah, you will continue to think that Messiah did away with the Torah rather than the law. (There is a distinction; ‘under the law’ doesn’t mean what you may think it means).
It is time for us to truly understand and apply Scripture.
Many have found themselves drawn to study the whole Bible without knowing why. Many have felt the need to start over. There is a reason for this. YAH is providing foundation for His people. YAH is providing healing for His people. Healing will come from a proper application of Torah. Guaranteed.
The Church (or those who so claim) is sick because she is disconnected from the Way (Torah) that the Way (Yeshua) taught of. As long as we keep applying society’s idea of religion to our lives and study of Scripture, we will never walk in the fullness of intimate communion with Him.
Religion at its core is the packaging of what was sacred and intimate and creating a system of it. Religion will never have the power to heal, just as fig leaves will never have the power to truly cover.
The world’s confidence is a false confidence.
Any confidence that positions itself to never be vulnerable is not true confidence. It is insecurity masked as pride or confidence.
The systems of the world perpetuate an illegitimate means by which to be confident.
One’s ability to make oneself vulnerable determines the magnitude of confidence (and wholeness) they’ll develop. To be naked is to be vulnerable (to be whole).
We see this condition with Adam and Eve. Before the curse (what many call “the fall”), Adam walked with YAH in the garden, naked (whole). He had nothing to hide and could be perfectly confident/free.
This changed. Once they had the knowledge of good and evil and heard YAH drawing near to them, they hid. Then, they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.
Many wear fig leaves in an attempt to secure covering or to present themselves as whole, together, not lacking in anything.
While YAH does desire that we be whole, any covering we make outside of Him is illegitimate and not capable of proper covering.
Covering is not for hiding flaws, but a safe place in which you receive the nutrients to be whole.
As long as humans will make themselves vulnerable to YAH and each other, they will find the nutrients or supply to be whole or complete.
You don’t have to look far to find representations of fig leaves.
Fig leaves are what I use to appear whole instead of doing the work to be whole. Fig leaves are those things we present instead of presenting the truth of our broken condition.
Religion is a system of the world and one expression of fig leaves. (This does not mean there isn’t an absolute Truth or Deity we are to be in relationship with).
Religion at its core is the packaging of what was sacred and intimate and creating a system of it.
Religion, as people have organized and packaged it, is a means by which we attempt to appear confident and together. Religion reverses the natural order of relationship with YAH. Relationship with Him transforms you from the inside to the outside. Religion places weight in outward works that do not truly bring about an inward change or healing.
Religion will never have the power to heal, just as fig leaves will never have the power to truly cover.
Religion: fig leaves
Many different things can serve as fig leaves (this is not an exhaustive list):
Many of us are not as confident as we think we are. We’ve placed our confidence in things that are not of substance.
If you are not one who makes yourself vulnerable, your confidence is false and will not stand. It may fool many, but it will fail when you seek the greater truth of vulnerability.
Have you ever been in love? Many of us would claim we have. sometimes, this is the case. Sometimes, it’s something else.
Have you ever been in love? Many of us would claim we have been. Sometimes, we’re unsure. We use feelings to justify or confirm that we were in fact in love. “I just feel so happy around him!” “She makes me so giddy!” “He just makes me feel good.”
We think because “we’re so excited to be around them,” “we like the same things,” or “they’re different from anyone we’ve ever dated,” that it means we’re in love. Granted, sometimes, this is the case. However, this is not always true. Sometimes, it’s something else.
You’ve likely already heard this. Lust does a fantastic job at masquerading as love. We often perceive our lust for someone as love for them. Lust can be defined as a very strong desire–often unquenchable. It is not wrong in and of itself to strongly desire something.
However, it’s important to qualify (verify) what we desire. We can do this by asking a couple of simple questions.
Why do I want what I want?
This is one of the easiest ways to distinguish love from lust. If you want what you want for an unhealthy reason (pride, insecurity, superiority), then you know it’s lust. Lust does nothing but consume you. Love doesn’t consume you, it blooms you and those that are in relationship with you.
What will I do once I get it?
Is your desire for selfish reasons, then you know it’s not love; for love is selfless. Are you unable to give selflessly? Do you only desire to receive without any reciprocation? This leads me to my next point.
This is likely the most common dynamic at work in relationships that seem to have love, but don’t. The only reason I have any perception of this, is because I’ve discovered this within myself.
You may have learned about reciprocity in Math class in high school. It is simply a mutual exchange of privileges. “I am this to you because you’ve been that to me.” “I’ll do this for you because you’ve that for me.” “I expect you to give this because I’ve given that.”
Disclaimer: I’m not saying you should not have standards or stay in toxic relationships. No. Instead, I am saying a relationship built on reciprocity cannot live up to its fullest potential and it is not love.
In a reciprocal relationship, I love that you did this for me, but not necessarily you. I find myself attached to what you can do, give, or be to me and not you. That’s not love. Love isn’t looking for what it can get, love has already given. It’s free. Love gives freely. For the moment love requires compensation, it’s not really love.
I thought I knew how to love. I did; and maybe I did know how to love. However, after many heart breaking experiences, I’ve been slow to love those around me in fear of getting hurt. “What if I let myself love them and they hurt me beyond repair?” To a hurting person, that is the most valid question you could ask. While our ‘what if’ scenarios hardly ever come true, you can’t help but believe that if you chose to love, you’d end up broken.
I want to encourage you to love again. I don’t mean seek a romantic relationship–but love again.
Love yourself. Love others. This will only be possible through intimate relationship with the Most High. For many of us, the reason we’re unable to love without fear is because we have a skewed perspective about God. We’ve lost our trust in Him. We’ve lost our faith in Him. We feel like He left us when we needed Him most. So, we no longer go to Him when we feel lost or broken.
Fortunately and unfortunately, He is the only One that can find us when we’re lost and mend us when we’re broken.
The thing is, God is love–the very essence of it. God doesn’t have love, He is it. God doesn’t give love, He is it. If we’d allow Him to infiltrate every area of our dark hearts, they’d beat again. God wants you to be able to love again. You haven’t lost it, it’s just hidden. Remember, love doesn’t wait to be acknowledged or recognized. It’s free.
So, even if you’re not acknowledging God in your life right now, just know that He loves you still. That is the greatest truth we can ever grasp as humans–God loves you. Don’t forget it.
Meditate on 1 Corinthians 13.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.3 If I give all I possess to the poorand give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love
I’ve chosen not to go after things for fear of rejection. I have gone after things I knew I’d succeed in so not to lose or be rejected; all based on a conditioning by broken people.
What you will read below is a note I wrote in my phone to process my thoughts about my fear of rejection. It’s not going to be well organized. It’s my thoughts nonetheless.
I’m putting this up here in an effort to be vulnerable, transparent, and encourage someone who can relate. When I’m in places in which I can’t express myself, I write. I write to understand what I’m feeling and come to a place of resolution. So, here goes.
“I think I have a fear of rejection. I can trace it all the way back to when I was a child.
I remember pulling out of the student council race for president because I thought I’d lose. I don’t invite people places because of fear of rejection. I never wanted to throw parties because of fear of rejection. What if they don’t show up? They’d be rejecting me because they think I’m not worthy of showing up for.
In various seasons of my life, it’s been communicated to me that I’m not good enough to other people. That my voice doesn’t matter. That my interests were lame. That I was almost pretty, but not actually pretty. That I was almost cool, but not quite.
This is sad because I’ve let it rule my life for way too long. I’ve chosen not to go after things for fear of rejection. I have gone after things I knew I’d succeed in so not to lose or be rejected; all based on a conditioning by broken people. How are broken people going to tell me what I’m worth? I’m worth the very GOD of heaven coming down to save me. That’s invaluable. No one can ever provide that for me.
So, I’m not broken. I’m whole in Him. I’m not rejected. I’m accepted by Him. I’m not unworthy. I’m worth it because of Him. I’m not pathetic. I have purpose in Him.
God has already planned amazing things for me to do. Some will seem glorious, others not as much. But it’s what He has planned. And I’ll be glad in it. I don’t have to shrink back and pretend I’m not worthy of what is mine. Instead, I will step up and fully embrace that which God has called me to. I am more than enough.”
Here’s the thing. God loves you. Passionately. Everlastingly. Unconditionally. This matters above all else.
It doesn’t matter what people have said or done to you. You don’t have to believe them. Any thought or idea lower than God’s idea about you is a lie. God knows you the way no human will ever know you.
David, King of Israel, was a man with many issues but a heart set to please God. He understood that despite his shortcomings, his inward sin, his outward sin, rumors about him, betrayal, and his lowest points that God knew him and loved him still. David had done some terrible things in his life; things that many of would hate ourselves for. David knew that what others thought about him and what he thought about himself had to be subject to what God knew about him.
Read below what David was expressing about God’s intimate knowledge of him and you too!
O Lord, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. 3 You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. 5 You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me; 12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
13 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.
17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! 18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.
May you leave this believing the best about your Father and who He created you to be. Be blessed.