Do you ever feel like God loves you–with an asterisk?
On Fridays I often do round-ups of what’s happened on social media this week, and there is so much to share I don’t know where to begin.
So I’ve decided to start with something that isn’t even my own, but Rebecca’s. On her Instagram this week she posted this:
And here’s the caption that went along with it:
I love this little one. No asterisk. No caveat. I just love him.
God uses parental imagery for Himself all the time when he talks about his love for us.
So why do we feel the need to add asterisks to Gods love?
God loves you…. But you don’t deserve it.
God loves you… but only because Jesus died for you.
God loves you… but you make him sad and angry.
God loves you… but, but, but.
Yes, we get it. We are sinners. I’m not arguing against that.
But can I ask you something?
Why do you think Gods love needs a caveat?
What are you afraid will happen if you simply accept his unconditional, all-encompassing love for you?
What are you afraid will happen if you AREN’T a horrible worm God can’t stand to look at?
What would happen if instead of being motivated by fear of Gods anger and disappointment we were spurred on to good deeds out of Gods magnificent joyful love for us?
God loves you. No buts.
(Also shoutout to @pastor_rob_wiesner who was the first pastor I ever heard say in a sermon that God delights in us and just plain likes us without giving a caveat. It made such a profound impact on me and opened my eyes to how anxious of a faith I have had for so long.)
Now…why does sex so often seem unfulfilling for women?
I jumped on an Instagram live this week and explained! It’s a longer video, but the main meat of it is just the first half, and then I started answering questions from people who were in the live!
And just a reminder of what we’re up against…
…and why I do what I do!
Two quick graphics that went big this week, and had some great comments, too!
This is awkward…but can we talk plagiarism?
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of plagiarism that seems to occur in Christian circles. And there don’t seem to be major repercussions for it.
I heard about this story when it first happened back in 2016/2017, but it wasn’t largely talked about in Christian media. It seems as if it’s being discussed more widely again, and I do want to stand with those who have had their work stolen. I think an honest public apology in this case would go a long way. But I shared Carey Wiggins Scott’s post on my page this week, and I’d like to share her original here too.
It’s time to share:
My book UNTANGLED was plagiarized by another Christian author… named Christine Caine… not once, but twice in 2016/2017. (google for sauce and articles)
It was my 1st traditionally-published book and contained a very personal story of sexual abuse that happened to me when I was a small child. In its pages, I unpacked how that abuse “tangled” my self-worth for the majority of my life. AND… how God was untangling my worth from the world and anchoring it in Him instead.
In the past few days… I’ve had several comments come my way about this situation. I’ve ignored them for years, but today I feel prompted to speak out. Each person may have used different wording, but here is the gist:
“Why not be happy your message still got out there. If your purpose is to spread Jesus around the world, then be happy because that’s what is happening since her platform is bigger than yours. If you’re upset because of a monetary loss, maybe you need to get your priorities straight.”
How very insensitive.
In our world today, right is wrong and wrong is right. Left is right and right is left. It’s sheer insanity, but Biblical for the times we’re in.
Just because I need to say these things and haven’t publicly since the event several years ago, here I go:
1) No one becomes a writer to get rich. They write because God prompts them. They share their stories because there’s power in a testimony. It’s hard and grueling and often like birthing babies. And I’m humbled God uses me in such ways.
2) Stealing is stealing. The end.
3) Anyone who steals and continues on like nothing happened has a questionable character.
4) I’ve not only been the victim of her stealing my words twice, I’ve also been beat up verbally by others telling me to be a better “Christian” and forgive. To move on.
Have I forgiven her? Yes. Even though there was no apology or repentance, I forgave her. Sometimes I have to all over again. It’s a continual process, and there are times it’s so hard. But I forgive because it’s what God asks.
Sharing my story and the facts behind it doesn’t mean otherwise. But in a day where the truth is blurred and evil is rampant… we must speak out when God lays it on our heart. And for the past three years, my mouth has been shut.
Today it opened.
My work was stolen. After months of trying to handle it privately with no productive conversation, I took her to Federal court. We settled ONLY because my then-husband’s secret life of sexual betrayal was discovered, and I had to focus all my time and energy on my kids through a very painful and messy divorce. It was the right choice, by the way.
The truth is that life is hard. No one knows what others may be facing behind closed doors.
… They don’t know the details behind the headlines.
… They don’t know all that was done to handle this in a God-honoring fashion.
… They don’t have insight to God’s directives in your life.
So please be thoughtful before you say stupid and insensitive words like I’ve been receiving over the past few days.
I know the Lord will bring justice in His perfect timing… to both Christine Caine and my ex-husband. I speak only when I feel His prompting. Because at the end of the day, it’s all about bringing glory to Him with our life. I want to finish the race well.
I may cross the finish line bruised and battered, bloodied from the battle, but I will cross it.
Be compassionate. Be kind. Love others well. Oh what that does for a broken heart and weary spirit.
For more information about the plagiarism, you can see a side-by-side comparison here of a paragraph from Carey’s book, and then Christine reading it, word for word, on a promotional video for her own book.
In digging around into this, I found many other examples of Zondervan authors in particular who have plagiarized, and I do think it’s a problem that needs to be addressed. I think it has much to do with celebrity culture, and I think our “you just forgive” attitude, even when there has been no repentance, is not healthy. For more on that, check out the comments when I shared this post!
Again, I think a public apology and acknowledgment of the harm done and the wrong done would go along way and is simply the right thing to do.
The Good Guy’s Guide to Great Sex is almost here!
Finally, I’ll leave you with a quote from our new book!
That’s it for me for this week! I’d love to hear what you think about these things, and if any of them stood out–let’s talk in the comments!
Sheila Wray Gregoire
Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum
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