Monday, June 9, 2008

My Super Ex-Girlfriend

Have you seen this comedy? Seriously funny and not at all "family-friendly" since it has a guy having sex with a super-heroine, breaking up with her and almost getting killed by her for it.

Watching this movie - yeah I had to fast forward through certain parts - I was struck by the wisdom of the Almighty in NOT letting us have more power than we know what to do with.

Sex is dynamite. It bonds us to another person and then, if that bond is severed, there is a great deal of grief as both walk away wounded, unfulfilled - with promises we must now cast aside.

Its been nine years, I just realized. Nine years since I met her, fell hard for her, fell into sin and then had to end it. I think I cried harder over that loss than my divorce. Crud, I know I did.

'Cause my ex-girlfriend was super in so many ways (Valedictorian, Magna cum Laude in Law School, etc.) And still she had her own problems. The discipline of holiness had not caught up with her, and I was JUST beginning.

How super was she? She was smart, she was sexy and she was funny. She was also wounded, isolated and working to understand God's grace. Especially hard for us ex-perfectionists, because grace sounds like "do whatever you want" and we can't imagine that's right.

It really means God intends to love us to holiness, one step at a time, not demand it of us in order to win His approval. In other words, God says to the one who places his or her faith in Christ, "You just got an A+. What are you going to do with it?"

And we really don't know what to do with our victory except abuse the privilege. Sort of like getting drunk at graduation, and then getting killed by a train.

I would like to blame her or even my church for not preaching holiness more. For not warning me how much it would hurt. For not preaching a balance of grace and faith - trusting God and doing it His way. I also wanted to blame God for not "delivering me from evil" and letting me get so close to someone I fell so hard for.

Oh, to add insult to injury, this was when I was in the middle of my very first ministry. I was praying and fasting and even asked a pastor for help and got nothing. Actually, got vilified on one occasion.

Someone once said "Evangelicals like to shoot their wounded." I am afraid so.

In the end, I hated myself. I was isolated and alone.

So I did the only thing a man could do: I became a mystic. I wanted God and NOTHING ELSE. In six months I was utterly hopeless, unemployed and directionless. Three months after that, I left my hometown of 30 years. And three months after that, I was teaching in a jail.

I began understanding Moses and Elijah and Job. How they had been rejected and even if, as in the case of Moses, had committed a grievous sin, it ended up humbling them for ministry.

God used their misunderstanding to glorify Himself. He was just breaking their egos.

Its been nine years since I lost my last romance. Lost, did I say? No. Ended it. It hurt like hell and that makes sense because it was supposed to. If it DIDN'T hurt, I'd be worried.

I speak from pain (and the truth of that pain) when I speak in the jail. I am not always compassionate or really want to hear about YOUR ex, but I understand. My men can hear it in my voice. I don't give them "positive thinking" stupidity.

Dr. Steve Brown, a funny and gracious minister from Reformed Theological Seminary, a son of an alcoholic, a proclaimer of the radical grace of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ says this to the wounded:

"Yeah, I know. It hurts. It hurts."

"Now get up."

I have been proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ for eight years now, the power of His love and His Spirit. So I guess the following is true:

Romans 8:28 (NASB)
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Thank God for that. Thank God.

Here's to the Lord who saves us from our selves: thank you, Jesus.

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