The conduct of a person who has the righteousness of God

As I have been teaching through the Sermon on the Mount with my staff, we have been amazed to see just how practical God’s Word really is. It truly is relevant to the 21st Century human being. To recap some of our previous lessons:

Yesterday, we looked at chapter 6 of Matthew, focusing on the actions/conduct of a man who has the righteousness of God.

I. Beware, a serious warning

Jesus begins this section of the Sermon on the Mount with a command; beware of practicing your righteousness. Why is this important in the context of the Sermon on the Mount? It is important because there are two kinds of righteousness, the righteousness of God vs. the righteousness of man. Do not beware of practicing righteousness. All of us will practice some form of righteousness. The warning is to beware of the motives of why you do what you do. If you are practicing righteousness for the wrong reasons then you are practicing the wrong kind of righteousness, the righteousness of man. If you have the righteousness of God then you are going to practice that righteousness with the right motives. Looking at the previous chapter, the motives are brought into question by Jesus. There are several scenarios where you will manifest which kind of righteousness that you have.

  • Murder/Hatred
  • Confrontation and Reconciliation
  • Adultery/Lust
  • Divorce
  • Keeping your word
  • Going the extra mile
  • Loving your enemies

In all of the situations, the righteousness of man focuses on the external facade while the righteousness of God focuses on the motives of the heart. A person with the righteousness of man would never physically commit murder but he will be controlled by anger and hatred, playing out murder fantasies in his mind where no one can see. God sees and calls us out on the motives of our heart. If you have the righteousness of man, you either avoid confrontation at all costs or you confront the other person to destroy him or her, making yourself look better and not really caring about the other person. The righteousness of God has the right motives, he confronts to resolve and for the good of the other person. All of these circumstances give you an opportunity to prove to yourself and to the world which righteousness you have.

II. Practical situations

In chapter 6, Jesus gives several other situations in which you prove the kind of righteousness that you have.

  • Giving
  • Prayer
  • Fasting

God is not impressed that you give. He is interested in why you give. If you give to make yourself feel better then you have the righteousness of man. If you give so that others will see you giving then you are not living by the righteousness of God. James teaches us that when we give, we give with the good of the recipient in mind.

27 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this : to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (James 1)

The word “visit” literally means “research their situation”. When we give, we do not just throw money at a problem. We give because we truly want to help the recipient. Why do you give? Do you give to make yourself look better or feel better or do you give because you want to help the person to whom you are giving? God does not focus on the giving. He focuses on why you give. Both the righteousness of man and the righteousness of God cause you to give. The difference between the two is the WHY you give. The same is applied to prayer, do you pray to talk to God or to impress the hearers? Do you pray to communicate with God or to preach sermonettes? When you fast (if you fast) why do you do it?

III. Your priorities

What are your priorities? Your priorities show which righteousness you have and live by; that of man or that of God.

  • Treasures
  • Worry
  • Daily pursuit

Where are you storing up your treasures, on the earth or in heaven? If you are investing heavily in the here and now, then your righteousness is the wrong one. If your motto is, “whoever dies with the most toys wins” then you are living by the wrong righteousness. If you are seeking to store up treasures in heaven, what does that look like according to the rest of the Sermon on the Mount?

  • You hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness moment by moment.
  • You are salt and light to the world.
  • You focus on relationships.
  • You keep the Word of God and teach others to do the same.
  • You focus on serving others and not yourself.
  • You seek to forgive others and be reconciled with them.
  • Your motivations are right in all that you do.

These are all things that may cost your financially but you do not mind the cost because it is storing up treasures that cannot be lost. Many of these do not produce tangible treasures in the here and now but God keeps an account of them.

If you are storing your treasures in the here and now, then you will constantly worry about everything. Tomorrow is a scary thought because you do no know what will happen. You are controlled by the here and now with such things as “what will I eat? what will I drink? what will I wear? where will I sleep? etc”. What makes you any different than animals if you live this way? God knows that we need all of these things and He created us for a greater purpose than just eating and sleeping. The person who lives by the righteousness of man is consumed by the previous things.

The person who lives by the righteousness of God has his number 1 priority as “seeking first the kingdom of God and all of its righteousness”. He wakes up every morning, not to fill his belly and go and make money to buy food and collect more things, instead, he lives to serve God by serving the people around him with the right motives.

Why do you do what you do? Why do you serve others, because you want to help them or because you want something out of it? What drives you to get out of bed every morning, to fill your belly and work so that you will have food, clothing, and a place to sleep or to seek God’s kingdom and serve Him? Where are you storing your treasures? What are your priorities? According to whose righteousness are you living moment by moment? May the Lord help us live according to His righteousness and not our own.

24 comments on “The conduct of a person who has the righteousness of God

  1. @ Erik…..why do you write up new blogs when you don’t finish old matters? I’ve been waiting two weeks for you to respond to my previous questions when you said you would get to it “tomorrow”. Two weeks later, I haven’t heard anything but have discovered that you are writing new posts. What is more righteous in God’s eyes; writing a new blog to build yourself up or being true to your word and addressing old matters that you SAID you would that would bring others closer to God? I’m so saddened that you are similar to all of the pastors I have talked with in the past. How can you abandon your sheep? Believe it or not, I am your internet sheep. I don’t go to church anymore because the pastors have done exactly what you are doing now; ignoring me. Did you “keep your word” or “go the extra mile” for a potential “enemy” because I don’t believe in the literal word of the Bible? Are you focusing on “relationships” with your internet flock when they ask you questions and you ignore them? Are you really “serving others” by ignoring them or calling their arguments lame or stupid? Wait until your daughters question why they were worth less than a man in the OT. Wait until they question why “they are the weaker vessel”, must “submit” to a man, were raped by perverts in the OT but later bought off by their perpetrators and forced to marry them as a means of “protection” even if the protection was being forced to live the rest of your life with a sexual predator who could have been a deadbeat, heathen misfit. Do your daughters dress “modestly” and wear their pretty dresses and have their hair long? How do your sons dress? What attire is stressed to them? Is the importance of a man’s virginity stressed in the Bible? That ONE verse you mentioned months ago about a man’s virginity is ALL you could find? I believe you were grasping at straws with that. I’m writing this as a form of healing. I sincerely don’t care if you publish it. What you are doing is what I consider an abuse of the church. I will no longer allow myself to be abused by the church. Maybe you should shave half of your body, wear long dresses in the dead of winter or the heat of the summer, and walk on sticks all day so you could have a slight idea of what it is like to be a woman. You can argue that some of those are “secular” laws but I am willing to bet that your wife shaves half of her body for YOU…..a secular ideology implemented by a Christian. Maybe you should save your virginity for marriage, discover that you married a sexual predator that gave you 3 diseases in the course of your marriage and later be told by church officials that you will be in a state of sin if you divorce. Remaining married will be for God’s glory even if your spouse gives you HIV/AIDS. If you do divorce and remarry, you are an adulterer even though men in the OT had more than one wife. Abraham allowed his wife Sarah to sleep with Pharaoh. Some translations of the Bible specifically say Pharaoh and Sarah were married. If they were married, do you really think a powerful man like that just looked at her all day? He slept with her and Abraham not only allowed it but profited off of it. Did Sarah “profit” off of it? How could she…she was property because she was a woman. How sad when women today are told that men are supposed to be our “umbrellas of protection”. Why did Abraham allow that? Was it because Sarah lost her only value as a woman and didn’t produce male heirs? Was it because Abraham lost respect for Sarah because she never had children and he may have believed she was “cursed” by God? Isn’t this what some churches teach today? You even mentioned in one of your blogs that the reason why people get STD’s is because of sexual immorality so it is a sin that is punished by God. Why the hell did I get it? Am I cursed? Was Sarah cursed? Those are rhetorical questions…..I know why I have an incurable disease and I don’t blame God. I blame man and the church for telling me I should have stayed married to him. When you delve in the letter of the law, you lose sight of the Spirit of the law and that is what you are doing now. Carry on with your blogs….ignore the questions of others or cast them aside as lame. Build yourself and your blogs up. I will pray for you, your daughters and your wife. I will even pray for your son(s) even though they were “blessed” to be born males. You have no idea how much you hurt people by ignoring them or allowing others on your blogs to insult others. God will hold us all accountable! I do believe in the Trinity but I question MAN’s version of how I am supposed to honor and worship Them.

      • Read Genesis 16 and see who initiated the marriage between Abraham and Hagar. Either you have not read the passage of you are blatantly avoiding what is written in black and white.

    • Why did Sarah initiate the marriage between Hagar and Abraham? Because her only value as a woman was to produce male heirs so the only way that could be accomplished was to initiate this marriage. How sad. She lacked faith and so did Abraham. However, instead of him “doing his job” and reminding her of God’s promise because he is “the leader of the house”, he acted on her request. Having male heirs was the only value of women then and it is still perpetuated in the minds of people today. People ask me why I never had children. I can’t, that’s why. Am I cursed or is it a complication from one of the diseases that my ex-husband gave me? Only God knows but people judge, especially Christians. Maybe it’s not a curse at all because imagine if I did have children with him and remained married to him…..the children and I would have visited their daddy in jail! Again, “either you have not read “my passage” or you are blatantly avoiding what I wrote that is in black and white”. Every time there was an infertility problem in the Bible, EVERY TIME, it was blamed on the women. Do you really believe that only the women were cursed? Why? Why weren’t the men cursed with infertility? Because men probably didn’t know back then that they could possibly be infertile as well, that’s why. Therefore, to justify a negative situation, they blamed women for the problem. Why was Pharaoh cursed for sleeping with a woman that he erroneously believed was “free”? Because Bible writers couldn’t understand why God wouldn’t punish Abraham and Sarah for their deceit so they might as well blame the heathen. Why did Sarah encourage Abraham to divorce Hagar? If he was so holy and divorce is such an abomination, why did he listen to his wife? If your wife told you she wanted a divorce, would you give her one? Would you tell your wife to lie for you to save your hide? Would you allow your wife to sleep with another man? Would you accept the riches from such a transaction? He basically solicited his wife. Why don’t religious leaders talk about that during church? Because women need to keep quiet and listen to the men, that’s why. Furthermore, if anyone questions these things, we are evil, need to repent, have issues with men, etc…..

      • Now you are reading in to what was there. Abraham loved Sarah and his love did not change because she could not conceive. He was content with her. God made the promise of an heir that would come through Sarah and Abraham in their old age. That heir was Christ. God honored Sarah to be in the lineage of Christ.

        In Abraham and Sarah’s case, she could not conceive. That does not make it her fault, just a reality. You keep trying to avoid that and worse, put a negative spin on it. That is your emotions imposing on the text. I hope you can see this. You are accusing when there is no accusation.

      • Where in the Bible does it actually say that Abraham loved Sarah? YOU read into that! Furthermore, what kind of husband allows his wife to sleep with another man and profits off of it? Is that love? Why did Sarah allow Abraham to sleep with Hagar? Was that love? I asked you a plethora of other questions in the past few months but you will never answer my questions, Erik so I bid you farewell and will keep you in my prayers. I shouldn’t have to beg a pastor to help me. If I have the Holy Spirt that dwells inside of me, I need to trust Him to show me the way. I wholeheartedly believe that the sexist ideologies of the OT infiltrated themselves in the NT and can be seen in today’s churches. I also don’t believe they came from God. I believe they came from man. If you truly read my other responses, you would understand. God be with you!

  2. Even Sarah’s infertility……..infertility in the Bible was always blamed on the woman. Were the women always the ones that were infertile or could the men have been infertile on occasions? The argument that “wombs” were opened isn’t sufficient because maybe the root of the problem was the man was shooting blanks to begin with. How do we know that Abraham wasn’t shooting blanks? Sorry. Misogynistic writers of the Bible would rather blame the women first without considering the possibility that it could have been the man’s problem. Women get blamed for everything because of the first sin. My question is: If Eve committed the first sin and ate the fruit, what was Adam doing when she did this? Who really committed the first sin if Adam was supposed to be in control of everything in the garden? God specifically asked Adam first according to Genesis 3: 9-13 “Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked: and I hid myself”. And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded YOU that you should not eat?” Then the man said: “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Again, if men are supposed to be our “umbrellas of protection”, why did he allow Eve to talk and eat with Satan? Who really sinned first? Notice how God said the following to Satan, Adam and Eve…..”So the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this” …..”To the woman He said”, “Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded YOU, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it”. It appears to me that God didn’t specifically tell Eve, rather, she listened to her husband. If people are told to do things and they don’t make sense or we don’t know why, why do people sin? Adam was specifically told by God yet he watched his wife commit a sin. Nice. Who really committed the first sin and who was ultimately blamed? What do men today? They blame women if they are raped, if a woman is repulsed by the idea of being intimate with her husband, etc…I read an article by YOUR guru about how a woman was repulsed with sleeping with her husband and YOUR guru never asked why she was repulsed. Why was she repulsed? Did he have chronic halitosis? Did he not bathe? Did he drip in sweat on her when they were being intimate? The one response, from a woman writer was (and this isn’t verbatim): “if she is repulsed, then there is no love, I guarantee it”? How pathetic! That brainwashed woman embarrassed my gender and women Christians. Maybe the husband was asking her for threesomes or to watch porno or to use funky sex toys. How do I know? Ask my ex! But I should have stayed married to him, right? And I’m not allowed to remarry, right? FYI, my ex was incarcerated for attempted child abduction. This happened a year after my divorce. I’m so glad I divorced him. Imagine if I had kids with him! Let’s go visit daddy in jail because we have to remain true to the letter of the law. If daddy tries anything with you, we will have him arrested but I have to try, as a wife, to salvage the marriage and we have to try to remain as a family, even at the risk of daddy molesting you, right?

      • You missed the whole point again. Were all of these infertile women in the Bible infertile because it was their fault? Men can’t be infertile also?

  3. What I need to come to terms with is people in leadership roles in most churches are phony! You do not practice what you preach as evidenced by this particular post, your two liner comments, and placing the blame on others.

    • I admit, I have not replied, not because I do not want to reply. It is simply because I have not had the time over the past 2 weeks. I was out of town on business and then I had one heck of a week last week dealing with people’s problems. Most of the posts that I write are in prep for teaching and preaching so I will always have new posts, even if I have not yet answered all of the comments. In all honesty, the comments are secondary. I get to them when I can. I want to help you but you have to want to be helped. You seem to have issues with men and I am sure there is a reason for it. You have a skewed view of God based on your view of men and that is bad, but you are blaming God for what mortal men have done. You are cutting yourself short when it comes to God and His ways. Some bad things have probably been done to you. Just know that God knows and keeps an account of everything that you do and everything that happens to you. He will make things right in His time, not yours. You have to trust Him. I am praying for you and the bitterness that seems to consume you.

      • The comments are secondary? Is that you talking? Is that what the Holy Spirit wants you to do? Did you ever ask the Holy Spirit if it is ok to ignore the comments presented by others outside of your church? Would it coincide with what you preached in this particular blog (i.e., “keeping your word, going the extra mile, focusing on serving others and not yourself, focusing on relationships”)? I don’t appreciate the fact that you accused me of “blaming God” because I never did. Again and as evidenced by my other post in the other blog, do you take the time to actually read what people write? I never said I blamed God for anything. I blame men and church leaders! Why men? Most church leaders ARE men and they enforce these rules that suppress and oppress women because these rules are in the Bible. However, some of these rules are the same rules that Jesus was disgusted with, pointed out to the religious leaders at the time, and contradicted the Spirit of the Law…..the biggest message Jesus promoted! I will pray for you also. Thank you!

      • I do not ignore legitimate comments. Having priorities is not the same thing as ignoring. Anyone who follows the teachings of Christ has to have priorities. I have disciples to whom I am obligated to teach. They are the number 1 priority. People who read my lessons on the internet are important to God and to me but I have to prioritize. I care about you and would like to help you but it is a two way street.

        When you blame God’s Holy Word, you blame Him because He has bound Himself to His Word. Thanks for your prayers. I need them 🙂

  4. Eric, you judge what are legitimate concerns but you don’t know the intent of anyone’s heart or have the right to judge anyone…the measure in which you judge others will be used against you…..Jesus, I believe said something like that. You accuse me of blaming God’s Holy Word……I don’t believe everything in the Bible was the inspired word of God. When your daughters get older, tell them that in the OT, they were worth 3/5’s the value of a man or if they gave birth to a daughter as opposed to a son, she would be unclean twice as long. I already went over these examples and other examples with you with you ignored them. You showed me your fruits and it hurts but I have to move on. Ignoring is a form of abuse….look it up. It is an abuse of the church. I pray you see that some day and can help the next person like me that comes along.

    • Furthermore, saying you will respond the next day and don’t makes you guilty of not “keeping your word”, “going the extra mile”, “focusing on relationships”, and “focusing on serving others and not yourself”. I know you are human and I forgive you but I can’t endure abuse from church members/officials/pastors anymore. I put up with it for over 20 years. Ignoring someone is a form of abuse. You know more about my life than some of my dearest friends. Do you really think I openly disclose to others that I have an incurable STD or that I married a pervert, to name a few? Why do you think I did that? Why do you think people like Dan and Logan feel the way they do or even wrote comments on your site? They are trolls? I sincerely don’t believe that. I believe that at some point in their journey’s, some religious leader could have taken the time to intervene and made a positive difference but that doesn’t appear to have been the case. Derogatory comments are cast at them instead and when those comments are thrown by a Christian, it makes me sad. Re-read their other posts because they both had questions like me and if you pray to God to understand why they are asking the questions, you may see that they are either legitimate OR can be used to help fellow Christians. I pray to God in Jesus’s name I never lose faith in Them. I’m sorry to God that I lost faith in men and church leaders.

      • Vicky,

        In reading your posts, my heart goes out to you when I read of the abuse you have endured in the past and the traumatic stress that remains within you to this day.

        But I’m not sure what you expect from Erik.

        Believe me, I’m not taking Erik’s side. I don’t agree with him on most issues, but I don’t think he has the power to take away the pain that others inflicted upon you in your past that you have had to endure all these years. I think you might want to consider a clinical professional.

  5. @ Gary…..Thank you for your comments. The reason I came on Eric’s blog was I was independently studying the Bible and stumbled upon two topics that he posted that were of particular interest to me……One deals with whether or not the Bible condones rape and the other dealt with whether or not Jesus contradicted the Bible by not stoning an adulterous woman. Both of these topics have a common theme……suppression and oppression of women. I wanted to delve into how and why women were/are suppressed and oppressed in the Christian community and society in general. If you take the Bible literally, you will have no problem with believing that it was ok, for example, to accept a monetary pay off if someone raped your daughter. Your daughter would then be forced to marry the perverted criminal because she was the property of her father, she was considered tainted goods and the marriage was a supposed “protection” for the woman even if her husband was a criminal at the very least and could have been a heathen deadbeat. A NT example is women must be silent in the church. I went off on many tangents related to these topics and learned that most Christians, including the leaders, simply don’t follow the basic guidelines of being a Christian as evidenced by this particular blog. The reason why I went off on these tangents was to illustrate how these sexist ideologies were infiltrated into the churches today (i.e., women today are still blamed for being raped because they, for example, may have dressed too promiscuously. The Bible states that women should dress modestly but there are no stipulations for how a man should dress. I sincerely believe it’s not the way a woman dresses that matters. It is the evil in a person’s heart that prompts him to commit such a horrific act. Why, then did the Bible state that women needed to dress modestly and not men?)

    What I was hoping from Eric was that some how, some way and some day, he would realize how hurtful and hypocritical it was/is for him to use derogatory comments, cast blame, and ignore his internet audience, to name a few. I disclosed many personal incidents as a means to get answers to my questions, to illustrate why I can’t believe why God would condone some of these practices and to hopefully show others facing similar struggles that they are not alone and they don’t have to give up on their faith because their earthly leaders failed them.

    I had professional counseling but what I learned in the counseling sessions doesn’t change the fact that many Christian leaders believe that because I’m a woman, I can’t be a pastor, I should have remained married even if my ex gave me an incurable STD, if I divorced, I’m living in sin, if I remarry I’m living in further sin, if I question things in the Bible, I must have a spirit inside me that isn’t from God, etc…..This has become a lifelong personal dilemma for me because I know I need to heal but I rely on my Christianity to heal.

    What I have learned in the past two years is going to church is truly poisoning my journey with God. I was in denial for years. Additionally, attempting to obtain guidance from other Christian leaders outside of my immediate community is continuing to poison me, as evidenced by this blog and the other two blogs I have responded to with Eric. I believe Eric does have the power to take away the pain by learning to recognize how and why some of these sexist ideologies are in the Bible and why many people turn from the church but, he refuses to believe anything that is contrary to what is written in the Bible so there is really nothing more to discuss with him at this point. If Eric’s daughters are raped and they wore pants during the attack, will he blame them because that is not a form of modesty according to some churches? I sure hope and pray not. If his daughters get married a marry a child molester, will he insist that his daughter remain married to the man? If his daughter divorces, will he forbid her to remarry? If he does, will he realize that he is placing a mental stranglehold on his daughter and punishing her for life because she will not believe she has the opportunity to share her life with another Christian man? If God forgave Sarah for listening to her husband Abraham by marrying Pharaoh, will Eric believe that God will forgive his daughter if she makes a mistake pertaining to marriage in the future?

    If we are born again and are true believers, I don’t believe there is anything wrong with seeking answers from the Holy Spirit because, according to the Book of Corinthians, our bodies are temples for the Holy Spirit. This is what I need to focus on now. I have very little faith in churches or their leaders but I do believe in The Trinity, that Jesus died for my sins, and They love me just as much as a man. Therefore, I refuse to accept that women were 3/5’s the value of a man in the OT, that women were unclean twice as long for having a daughter as opposed to a son, that men could engage in polygamy in the OT but women couldn’t, that God would bless Abraham for allowing his wife to commit polyandry AND he financially profited off of it, that God would punish Pharaoh and not Sarah/Abraham for their deceit, etc.. It’s very hypocritical for religious leaders to assume reasons why some of these things occurred but they will accuse me of having an evil spirit inside of me if I refuse to accept them. For example, some will say that men married more than one woman but it was never God’s plan but it was allowed. WHY? WHY? WHY? Because there were slightly more women than men so to balance out the equation, women had to share a man so they could fulfill there “duty” to reproduce and have male children? That sounds like man-made nonsense to me. If God is the same yesterday, today and forever, why is there this contradiction? If God is the same yesterday, today and forever, why would He allow incest in the OT and not in the NT? Some religious leaders will claim our DNA at the time was untainted but became tainted because of incest. My question is if God is the same yesterday, today and forever, why would He change His mind about allowing it one day and forbidding it another day when He know our DNA would become tainted? I personally believe there is more to the story and I base it on the two creation accounts in Genesis. We don’t know all of the details. Why? I believe part of the reason is God simply withholds information from us but I also believe men tainted the Bible. Who really committed the first sin…..Eve for eating the fruit or Adam for allowing her to? Isn’t it convenient that the male writers of the Bible blamed Eve and not Adam? I believe Adam committed the first sin because he should have protected his wife. Wouldn’t you protect your wife?

    I could go on and on but I won’t because some CHRISTIANS accuse me of talking too much yet the agnostics and atheists appear to have more compassion for me as a human being and never made that comment to me. God recognizes EVERYTHING and God will judge us all on what we do and fail to do because only HE knows the intent of every person’s heart. Thank you for listening. This is a new chapter in my life and I’m ready to proceed with it because my experience with Eric was the icing on the cake. Maybe that was God’s will. Maybe I needed to actually see how insensitive he was to realize that I’m sinning by placing my questions in men’s hands when I should have been placing them in God’s hands. I did this because the Bible instructs us to obey those in authority but I finally learned that I have to really look at their fruits first and unfortunately, many Christians fruits are premature, rotten or tainted because they fail to consider the TWO greatest commandments. They either look at the First Greatest Commandment or the Second Greatest Commandment but don’t seem to look at both simultaneously.

    • Vicky,

      I have a story to tell you:

      When I was about 16 or 17 years old, my older sister was about to get married. Before the wedding plans could be set, she and her fiance, being good Catholics, had to get an audience with our family priest to determine of they were suitable for marriage and to approve the coming nuptials. I remember thinking how strange that a priest, who had never dated girls (which he confided in me and my friends as our advisor when we were getting Catholic merit badges in Boy Scouts) let alone been married, would be in a position to evaluate if two people should get married. When I questioned my father about this, he just said, “Well, of course he knows, he’s a priest!.”

      That’s been the mindset of people looking for spiritual guidance for almost two thousand years. The local pastor or priest was the undisputed authority not only of scriptural and Biblical matters, but in matters of daily life. I think your particular issues of treatment of women are compounded by the fact that you’re now looking for affirmation from Erik to recognize how and why some of these sexist ideologies are in the Bible, from a blog written by a man with a literal interpretation of the Bible which was written by men in an age of a strict patriarchal society where distinct gender roles were deeply rooted and women were second class citizens. To tell you the truth, I never understood how women with any self respect or sense of independence could be Christians, born again or otherwise. This is a religion for men and women subservient to men. What do you expect?

      In any event, I think we give priests and pastors too much power over our spiritual lives. Luckily, today we have the Internet, so we can find Biblical passages of the New Testament in the original Greek or the Old Testament in the original Hebrew. We can make our own educated interpretation of Biblical passages. I’ve done that with passages dealing with homosexuality and have found a completely different interpretation than Erik’s. Years before the American Civil War, the Southern Baptist Convention interpreted Biblical passages to validate that slavery was handed down from God. That was their interpretation then, it’s different now.

      I think you’re smart enough to make your own interpretation of Biblical passages dealing with women. You don’t need a middle man to tell you what it means.

      • @ Gary……The compassion you extended to me (a demonstration of the Second Greatest Commandment) is most appreciated and I thank you. It is funny you mentioned that your older sister had to go through the marriage suitability test with the priest in the Catholic Church because I started out as a Catholic. Some say Catholic’s aren’t even “true” Christians but I believe that is for God to judge. What I can say is after I made my first communion with the Catholic church (age 18 or 19), I never in my life before or since felt such inner peace and a deep rooted connection with The Trinity before. I was literally on a spiritual high for about 6 months. What interrupted that experience were the man made rules. I remember the priest telling me that if I even had the slightest THOUGHT of anger, jealously, lust, gluttony, etc., I was in a state of sin and needed to confess. It got to the point that I wanted to go to confession daily and questioned why there were only 3 or 4 people there each Saturday. After years of that experience, I contemplated suicide because I felt I was a hopeless sinner doomed for hell because I couldn’t control my thoughts. That’s abuse of the church but I never realized/admitted it at the time because to do that would be sinning since I was questioning “those in authority” and The Word of God. Is it really a sin though? Today, I don’t believe it is. I distinctly remember crying in church one day because I felt so ashamed after my confession and stayed in the church because the service followed confession. Did anyone from the church comfort me or ask me if I was ok? Nope. I was all on my own! How sad. I was an abandoned sheep. I’m still an abandoned sheep because I am abandoned by church leaders but the biggest difference is I now know I CAN turn to the Holy Spirit because The Spirit is inside of me. Therefore, I will never be alone again. The answer was always inside of me but the Catholic church suppressed it from me and other churches stated that that this Spirit can’t be from God if it is leading me to question the Bible since God is not the author of confusion. What an emotional, brainwashing roller coaster ride I have been on. I believe it is finally over!

        Anyway, before I got married, I went through that suitability test with my ex-husband and he “triggered” on the sexual portion of the test but we were “blessed” to be married anyway. Why? Was it because the priest had no clue what it was like to be romantically involved with a person or what potentially negative issues could have resulted from that “trigger”? Did I know that a short time after our marriage, my ex would pester me to have threesomes, use weird sex toys, watch porn, slap my behind in public repeatedly, and pester me to have sex in the woods, in the park, on nature walks, etc………Because I didn’t comply with my ex in these matters and he began to “repulse” me, am I guilty of “depriving” my spouse of sex the same way Erik’s guru preached to that other woman even though that woman had sex with her husband regularly but was only satisfied 3 times ever? Why didn’t his guru ask that woman questions? Why didn’t he seem to care that she was only satisfied 3 times in the course of her marriage? Was it because Eric’s priest friend,(forgot his name) reminded her that it was her DUTY to give herself to her husband so why should he have bothered to ask if her husband was sinning in the bedroom and truly doing his duty also? The priest argued that the husband wasn’t depriving himself from her but he technically was if she was only satisfied 3 times but hey……when it comes to religious matters like that, it all about the man! If I could go back in time, I wish I could shake that young, “innocent” girl and tell her to run like hell from that situation. Instead, I put my complete trust in my ex-husband and the priest because that is what women are “instructed” to do. We are the “weaker vessel”, after all and are “easily deceived” so we must be “submissive” to men. Part of my Catholic readings as an adult convert were to read about Ruth and how she was obedient and loyal to those she “served”. Being obedient, in my mind would have made me strong!

        The whole issue about homosexuality leaves me with many lingering questions. I have a cousin that I believe is gay but hiding it and a friend that I believe is gay too. These two women are two of the most kindest and compassionate people I know yet the Bible says they are sinners that are committing an abomination. In the OT, they would immediately be put do death if they acted on their desires but it was ok for Abraham to solicit his wife to Pharaoh, deceive Pharaoh and LIVE! Abraham instructed his wife to lie which resulted in her committing adultery/polyandry (both were prohibited in the OT) yet, Abraham is a hero and homosexuals are evil, according to the church and the Bible? It reminds me of how Adam watched Eve eat the fruit in front of Satan yet Eve is the first sinner because she was “easily deceived”. Why? Why is all the blame put on Eve? Why was this action of Abraham’s ok? If Abraham and Sarah were exonerated for their wrongdoings, why aren’t others? I believe the answer lies in looking into the intent of someone’s heart. Do I believe Abraham and Sarah meant any harm? No, I don’t. Do I believe gay people are evil? Absolutely not. In fact, I would rather be in the presence of a group of gay Christians than fundamentalist Christians because gay Christians seem to embrace the Spirit of the Law as opposed to the letter of the Law. Isn’t that what Jesus instructed us to do? I sincerely don’t understand why the Bible specifically says that homosexuality is an “abomination” and I personally don’t understand the attraction same sex couples feel with each other but I also don’t want to judge others either because the measure in which I judge others will be used against me. I also don’t understand why women were 3/5’s the value of a man or if a slave owner beat up their slaves, it was ok as long as the person(s) got up in a day or two. Really? This is the same Book that says “spare the rod and spoil the child” so it is ok to beat up your kids as long as they don’t die! Some kids die emotionally from such abuse! Ask my brothers that currently abuse drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism! One of them has a diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder from our upbringing. I don’t even want to hear the argument from a fundamentalist stating that that disorder is a crock because if they say that, then they should also tell all of the veterans with the same diagnosis that their diagnosis is a crock too! IT’S NOT! My brothers started their experimentation with drugs/alcohol in high school. Why did they do it?

        According to Eric’s article about unruly children, my brothers would have been brought to the church officials in the OT and these officials would have deemed them to be “unrepentant” and my brothers would have been murdered, not killed because my father didn’t spare the rod and spoil the child and my brothers continued to abuse alcohol/drugs. They did curse my father too. When my brother told my father to go F himself at age 18, my brother was kicked out of the house which I don’t blame my father but why did my brother tell him that? Why did they curse my father? When your father tells you, more than once, after calling you a f**king c**ksucker because you left a mess in the kitchen and verbally/physically abuses you, for example, says that the wrong child died, that hurts! When your mother tells her son that if he acts up at his father’s wake, he will be buried there with my father, that hurts! I’m not going to even go into that! My parents received poor training from the church and the church continues to feed that poison to children and well intentioned adults. It needs to STOP!

        Why are people homeless? Why did the assistant pastor’s wife in my church refuse to give me food donations to give to the shelter when she found out I was giving the donations to the shelter? She based it on some quote from Thessalonians that states that those that don’t work don’t eat. Are you kidding me? Does she know that 25-33% of all homeless people are veterans? If they abuse drugs, why do they do it? If they don’t work, why aren’t they working? Are they all misfits? Were all of those men in the OT that raped women and were told to marry the women true believers? Were all of the women really protected? Let’s focus on the letter of the Law instead…..Let’s contradict what Jesus told the Pharisees not to do which was focus on the letter of the Law instead of the Spirit of the Law! Wow!

        My cousin is in the process of getting her doctorate’s degree yet she is alone and has so much love to give. Why is she alone? I believe she is ashamed of who she is as a gay woman. Why is she gay? Is it a sin? The Adam and Steve argument doesn’t work with me anymore because of the armenian/calvinism argument. Are people predestined to be gay? I sincerely don’t know and may God forgive me for judging them for so many years. I see a part of my former self in Eric….that is why I’m having a hard time leaving this blog but I can’t allow his advice to poison my spiritual journey.

        I can’t turn to the church anymore. I sincerely believe it is poisoning my spiritual journey and forces me to fall prey to one of Satan’s tactic’s…..guilt, shame, despair, loss of hope….they are all related. Thank you again for your compassion. God worked through you to help me. I sincerely believe that and I thank God for that! Why did you feel compelled to write to me? That is a rhetorical question. Why does Eric not feel compelled or makes excuses? If he feels compelled to post these blogs for the world to view, He should ask God if it is his call or duty to equally respond to his church and internet flock. Why does he write the blogs? For his own church because that is his first priority so any secondary priorities (i.e., his internet flock) should be dismissed because HE doesn’t consider them a top priority. Did he talk to God about that? If he did, what would God tell him to do? Would He tell Eric to focus on the church and disregard the feedback from others outside of his church. Wow! If that is the case, then that shows his fruits. Even if I was a heathen, can’t my questions be used to help believers? I think Eric’s fruits are immature and tainted but that is my opinion. I believe he has a good intent but he believes all that he was conditioned to believe and bases it on the letter of the Law as opposed to the Spirit of the Law. With my “evil” spirit, and I say that with the utmost sarcasm, I will pray for him. I’m finally free from the emotional strangleholds enforced by the church and it’s leaders. Jesus is my example and I will seek Him, God and the Holy Spirit for guidance….not man or the church UNLESS, they change and open their eyes/hearts/minds (body/mind/spirit).

  6. Vicky,

    I’m glad to hear that you are finding your spiritual center and not relying on others to validate you as an independent woman. A person’s self worth comes from within.

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