The Evangelical Universalist Forum

"You must do nothing to come to Jesus" vs "This is what you must do now"


#83

Carl Ransom Rogers was an American psychologist and among the founders of the humanistic approach to psychology. Rogers is widely considered to be one of the founding fathers of psychotherapy research and was honored for his pioneering research with the Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions by the American Psychological Association in 1956.


#84

That is actually a really good quote. I, for the most part, find that true. Trying to conform to a 3rd party’s morality just doesn’t work. I mean, it might on the surface, but it creates tension. It has been my experience, that most of my anxiety/stress in my life has been the pressure to “cast off” the sin nature, because who I am right now, is simply not good enough.

That isn’t to say that I am some righteous (sinless, perfect) guy now, but with the anxiety and stress gone, it no longer leads me back to dirty waters.

My intention isn’t to offend with this statement, but I blame religion for a lot of mental health issues. Of course, it isn’t fair to say religion is the only tribal based beliefs that can do that, but it tends to be the main one.


#85

We need a song, to emphasize this!


#86

Yes, like Gabe, I experience much truth in this principle that being able to sense and affirm my great value and acceptance even amid my more perverse fearful and egotistic tendencies, is a prerequisite to making real choices and handling them in a more healthy way.

Indeed, I sense Biblical material combines in tension both this important idea, along with its’ more stark condemnations of perverse choices. The first is seen in tradition that we always remain beloved ones made in God’s image, those to whom forgiveness is available, and those for whom God’s love will never cease (especially as epitomized in universalism). The second reflects warnings that our choices can be deeply destructive ones that God therefore hates, and such concern that we tend to reap the choices we sow can be presented with dramatic pictures of the consequences.

I sometimes think our individual need is to get the right balance in this apparently paradoxical tension. As Gabe says, religion can poison the sense of self-worth that is vital to being a healthy person. But of course, going to the other amoral extreme can be a killer too.


#87

I find that thinking I’m somebody special leads me to ego. I get an exaggerated sense of my own importance. This for me is a trigger for megalomania and paranoia. Fearing the future and death causes me become paranoid as I pursue a self-esteem project and prove my worth. I find that surrendering and letting go - acceptance (having faith in God) deflates the exaggerated sense of my own importance. I’m nobody special. People frown when I say that but it keeps me sane. I’m not at the center (God is). Thinking I’m at the center causes me to exaggerate my own importance. This is when they start coming after me. I guess if I really was all that important I would need security around me like the president. But I’m not. I start thinking I’m somebody special like the Anti - Christ or Christ and they’re going to crucify me or that I have special powers and I’m going to start performing miracles. The reality is that I’m nobody special. I don’t have special powers neither am I at the center. I’m happier and more sane the smaller I am. When I think of greatness of God and the trillions of stars and galaxies I feel insignificant. This smallness keeps me more humble to where I don’t have an exaggerated sense of my own importance. An exaggerated sense of my own importance leads me to ego and megalomania rooted in fear. I become the center of the universe. Pretty soon they’re coming after me. It’s out of touch with reality. I don’t take credit for my accomplishments either but show gratitude to God for His grace as He gets the glory. When I glorify myself it leads to ego and ego leads to sin The smaller I am the better. I don’t feel bad for being grateful to God for I find my joy in His glory and glorifying Him not self. I find peace in hiding in my own nothingness. The more inflated I become the more anxiety. I wrote about this here:

Uprooting Anxiety and Sin with Faith

For me, fear and anxiety and worry are about the future. When I’m worried about the future I’m in my mind or ego. In the past this fear of being harmed or plotted against by others has caused me to drink and do drugs. Alcohol released my fears where I could communicate and talk with others but the next day I would feel more fear and shame. Shyness turned into social phobia and social phobia turned into megalomania paranoia. I have found that this fear is uprooted by having faith in God. Such a faith secures the future and gives one hope. Hope pushes the desires that lead to sin out of the heart as one relies on God like Christ did. It’s by the joy set before us. Not only does it push desires out of the heart but it brings strong desires to the heart as one is thrown into the current of love. It’s faith - hope - love. It’s faith working itself out through love. The joy of faith. In the Bible faith produces obedience. The power to love is the confidence that God will take care of my future. It’s the obedience of faith as one trusts and relies on God like Jesus did. It’s faith working itself out through love. Christ’s atoning death secures the future with his blood bought promises. Example:

God says, Vengeance is Mine I will Repay

When my faith is in God the desires for sin is pushed out of the heart. I let go and let God handle it. Rather I love the enemy just like Christ did. Another example:

God works all things together for good for those that love Him.

I place my faith in God and Christ as it gives me hope. God promises to work all my frustrating circumstances together for my good. This secures the future getting rid of impatience and depression as it gives me hope.

Dealing with shame:

If we confess our sins He will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

My faith is in God. Indeed. when facing shame that comes from the rejection, and ridicule of others I trust God when He promises to one day vindicate His children. Oh the glory that awaits those who are despised and rejected by others misplaced shaming. It’s faith working itself out through love. When my future is in the hands of an all powerful and loving God who promises to work out all my circumstances for good, anxiety is broken as the heart opens up to love. The desires that lead to sin are pushed out of my heart as God infuses me and covers me with His righteousness.

And here:

Self-esteem as Violence - Richard Beck

I think the self has to die. That’s what the bible seems to think. There must be a letting go, a surrendering, an emptying of the self. All efforts to define the self by acts of justification, the accumulation of evidence and data that the self is significant, have to be renounced. ~~ Richard Beck

As someone who has been diagnosed as schizoaffective and received tremendous healing I have to say that the psychologist Richard Beck is spot on here. Here’s the full article:

Self-Esteem as violence

experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2013/09/self-esteem-as-violence.html

Self inflation causes you to be violent. When ego is turned inward then you become violent against yourself. All sin stems from ego. The solution is to deflate ego. From humility all forms of virtue spring and flourish. That’s been my experience and that’s why I agree with Dr. Beck. The way you do this is by emptying yourself. A.A. uses the Twelve Steps but meditation works as well. Getting God’s promises into you help as well. The promises secure the future and when this happens you have hope. It’s not about thinking highly of yourself. Jesus never did and He gave God the glory. The glory goes to God. When the false self is peeled away the new creation in Christ blossoms. I’m getting a copy of his book “The Slavery of Death” Thursday where it talks more in depth about the dangers of self-esteem. I can tell you from experience that sin stems from ego. Those who have so called “low self esteem” paradoxically feel that way because of an intense desire to be great. It’s the self that must die. Seek the glory of God. As Andrew Murray has stated in his book called “Humility”

Friend, the only thing that can cure you of the desire for man’s praise or the hurt feelings and anger which come when it is not given, is by only seeking the glory that comes from God. Let the glory of the all-glorious God be everything to you. You will be freed from the glory of men and of self, and be content and glad to be nothing. ~~ Andrew Murray

Rivers of Love

I’m stripping away all that is not me
So I can be who I was meant to be
And live a new life that is truly free
With eyes of my heart open I can see

Accepting the past and future I let go
With a deeper awareness I now know
The river of love can always flow
With the death of the mind and ego

In union with the love of my true self
I feel sweet beauty like I’ve never felt
A wonder, bliss and joy of mental health
Now that I have rivers of eternal wealth


#88

I find that “paranoidly pursuing a self-esteem project to prove my worth” exposes that I don’t really think I’m ‘special,’ or already have an innate sense of worth. For me, believing in the innate worth side I cited of being the beloved made in God’s image is an unconditional gift that requires no pursuits to prove it.


#89

Bob, I agree with you here. I just disagree with the belief that Jesus was the only minister of this faith.
Jesus’ words ( God’s word) are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. There was only one word from the beginning and God didn’t change it.
Israel began with the words of Christ, ended with the words of Christ and was born again upon words of Christ.
Abraham was not the father of the Levitical law. He was of the order of Melchizedek, whose priesthood did not die but continued on in Isaac, Jacob, Moses, the prophets and in Jesus. The fathers of the Levitical law were the Levites, who rejected the Holy Spirit, and their priesthood continued on through the sons of Aaron. This is where you get the two covenants. Jesus was raised in the likeness of Moses and Elijah( the transfiguration on the Mount). He wasn’t superior to them. He was equal with them.


#90

[quote=“LLC, post:89, topic:13931, full:true”]

Bob, I agree with you here. I just disagree with the belief that Jesus was the only minister of this faith. There was only one word from the beginning and God didn’t change it.

Thanks, I’d never say Jesus was the only minister of this faith or truth. Indeed, I see much overlap in many teachers, and appreciate your emphasis on this. But as one who does perceive a progressive development in the Bible, I’m left curious how you can say the word never changed from the beginning, and yet “agree” with me and the apostles that Jesus brought something “superior” that contained “better promises”?


#91

“You have heard it said…but I say to you” in various places looks like progress to me.


#92

Well it’s a good thing you understand yourself… but are you aware that in your entire opening paragraph from which the above comes, you reference yourself by the personal pronouns me, my, myself, I, I’m etc no less than 50+ times :question:

Paul does not say, not think highly of yourself… just NOT more highly than you ought — there is a difference.


#93

oh my, Bob did you know this… I’ve been schooled, NOT!!!


#94

Davo,

That’s why I make a distinction between my true self and false self. The true self is in union with love. The false self is grounded in fear and ego driven. Self-esteem and being somebody special inflates my ego. I go along with this scripture:

he emptied himself (became nothing)

by taking the very nature of a servant,

being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man,

he humbled himself

by becoming obedient to death—

even death on a cross!

Phil. 2:7-8

This is what we do when we empty ourselves and become nothing. It gets rid of the grandiose megalomania of being at the center.

God is all-powerful - I am not

God is in control of the universe - I am not

God is self-sufficient - I am not

God is infinite in wisdom and knowledge - I am not

God is perfect - I am not

God in infinitely glorious and beautiful - I am not

It’s the paradox of union and separation. That is to say, there are ways we are like God and ways we are not. We cannot be like God in every way. The love and beauty of God is what unites us to Him. His unique holiness separates us from Him. God is all-powerful. I’m powerless and depend on Him. In Him we live and move and have our being. We empty ourselves so the God becomes all in all. The words of the psychiatrist David D. Burns ring true

After you achieve unconditional self-esteem, you can climb another step up the ladder if you want. On the next step, you can adopt the even more radical position that there is no such thing as self-esteem…On this level, you can discard the notion of self-esteem entirely and refuse to deal with it. This solution to the problem of is in the Buddhist tradition because self-esteem is rejected as a useless illusion. Giving up your self-esteem once you have discovered it may sound like a negative notion. It may feel like a loss and seem like something inside you dies. All of us naturally want to feel special and worthwhile. However, there is a rebirth, because the death of your pride and ego can lead to new life and to a more profound vision. When you discover that you are nothing, you have nothing to lose, and you inherit the world…Instead of worrying about whether you are worthwhile each day you can have goals that involve learning, personal growth, helping others, and so on.

The Bible doesn’t tell us to think highly of ourselves. Jesus gave us the example to follow in the above scripture when He emptied Himself and became nothing. Specialness is ego. I am nobody special:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ~~ Matt. 5:3

Then Abraham spoke up again: "Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, ~~Genesis 18:27

All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; ~~ Romans 3:12

For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. ~~ Galatians 6:3

“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” ~~ Romans 12:3

The way of the mystic is to empty yourself and become a nobody. You may not like this but it works for millions. As an empty vessel the love and beauty of God are revealed as you come into union with the Beloved. According to the Catholic monk Thomas A. Kempis in his book “The Imitation of Christ”

But if I humble myself, admit my insignificance, rid myself of all self-esteem, and regard myself as the mere dust that I am, then Your grace will come to me and the light of Your understanding enter into my heart; so that, through perfect knowledge of my wretchedness, all self-esteem will be lost in the depth of my own nothingness

Next to the Bible “The Imitation of Christ” is the most read book by humanity. Moreover, as St. John Of The Cross has said “Humility is hiding in your own nothingness”. It is here that true happiness is found as one comes into union. According to the mystic (OSHO) from India:

Once you feel your nobodiness you have become immortal. The experience of nobodiness is exactly the meaning of nirvana, of nothingness, of absolute undisturbed silence, with no ego, with no personality, with no hypocrisy – just this silence…and these insects singing in the night.

It’s not a silent meditation like the Sufi mystic LLEWELLYN VAUGHAN - LEE practices but they arrive at the same destination - union. Here he is describing it in his book “The Paradoxes of Love”:

He empties us of our self so that He can reveal His beauty and His majesty. Empty and free from self, the lover is open to the bliss of His presence.

We can never know His Essence, but the “death” of the ego opens us to the experience of divine being…The experience of nothingness awakens us to our own nonexistence and also to the truth of emptiness…Poverty is an inner emptiness which reveals the Name at the core of creation. Within the heart poverty is a state of annihilation in which there is only the oneness of love.

Bill Wilson of A.A. says the same in “The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions”:

We no longer seek fame and honor in order to be praised…We try to be humbly grateful and exert ourselves the more in a spirit of love and service. True leadership, we find, depends upon able example and not upon vain displays of power or glory…In and of ourselves we are nothing. God doeth the good works

Each of the 12 steps are designed to deflate ego. Indeed, “Humility” by Andrew Murrary agrees. According the Murray:

Humility means the giving up of self and becoming perfect nothingness before God.

This isn’t done by reasoning with logic. Logic is good as far as it goes but Reality is paradox and mystery. Union with God is an experience of our own nothingness. The stronger the faith the closer the union. Humility is union with Christ where the ego is crucified and deflated. We are happy with being nothing and God being everything. We empty our self (ego) to be filled with love (true self)

When God’s Beauty Shines

She told me she emptied herself
An empty vessel she has become
She hides in her own nothingness
I told her she was correct
She is a reflection of His face
When she smiles, His beauty shines


#95

Well Cole like I said, it is good you know yourself :+1:


#96

Curious%20Paradox%20NOT

This is a “Curious Paradox” NOT!

If I accept myself as I am, then there is no need for me to change!


#97

@hollytree I thought you gave up on the Bible.


#98

Deut. 10:18-19 “He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow and loves the STANGER, giving him food and clothing. Therefore, love the STRANGER for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

Ex. 23:9 “You shall not oppress a stranger for you know the heart of a stranger because you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

Proverbs 10:12 “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.”

Proverbs 24:17-20 “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and be displeased.”

Proverbs 25:21 “If your enemy is hungry give him bread to eat and if he is thirsty give him water to drink.”

DaveB, it sounds like these things have already been said.

Davo, where is the law that Abraham was following? From what I gather, he was basically following the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule.


#99

I should have been clearer. Here are the specifics; rather obvious advances over OT
21 “You have heard that it was said to those [d]of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother [e]without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’[f] shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, [g]‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of [h]hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.

27 “You have heard that it was said [i]to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to [j]sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to [k]sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into he

31 “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except [l]sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.

33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of [m]old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let [n]your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil on

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 [o]But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your [p]brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the [q]tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.


#100

DaveB, all of these things have been said before.

Proverbs 15:1 " A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."
Proverbs 9:11 " A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense."
Psalm 37:8-9 " Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; d not fret, it only leads to evil."

“Do not covet.” One of the Ten Commandments
Ex.20:17 “Do not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male or female servants, his ox or donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Do not lie. One of the Ten Commandments
Do what you say you’re going to do.

Proverbs 20:22 “Do not say “I will repay evil”. Wait for the Lord and he will deliver you.”
Ex. 21:23-26 "But if any lasting harm follows, then you shall GIVE life for life etc.etc.
If you notice, it does not say TAKE. 26 “If a man strikes the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maidservant, and destroys it, he shall let him go free for the sake of his eye.”
Genesis 26:19-22 The digging of the well serves as an example of going the extra mile.

I’ve already covered this. So no need for a repeat.

I don’t even agree with this. To me, sexual immorality is not the only reason for divorce. For example, if your husband is beating you to a pulp every night, or harming your children, then I’d say it’s time to leave.


#101

I disagree with you on this. I have been hoping that you would share the sources of your theological stance, but you seem strangely quiet on that. That’s fine of course, but I would appreciate your doing so when you are comfortable.


#102

Just thought I’d mention this, Dave. “Without a cause” was added later. Perhaps someone with a bad temper added it to cover himself.

Personally, I’ve never encountered anyone who was angry without a cause—for no reason at all.

Neither of the manuscripts dated before A.D. 300 (namely Papyrus 67 and Papyrus 86 contain the word “εικη” (in vain, without a cause).

As far as I know, no modern translation contains the phrase “without a cause” except those translated from Textus Receptus.