Steve ‘the Facebook killer’ Stephens did a horrific thing on April 15th. It was detestable. It was despicable. It was upsetting and unsettling. It was all out wickedness! And it was forgivable.
Yes. FORGIVABLE. (Wait! Hear me out!)
With the recent passage of near total bans on abortion in several states, the pro-choice/pro-life debate has reached a fever pitch. While I’d prefer to stay far, far away from the highly contentious back-and-forth these discussions tend to yield, it’s been extremely challenging for me not to chime in. Indeed, if this were a matter where all stakeholders could plead their own case, perhaps I might be less vocal about this topic. But at the center of this issue lies the fate of innocent, unborn human beings who aren’t able to speak up for themselves, and the truth from which my passion for this topic stems is simply that God created humanity in His image (Proverbs 31:8; Genesis 1:26-27).
In this guest feature, contributor Lily J shares how her faith in Christ led her to renounce her membership in the historically Black Greek letter organization Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. As she says, this piece is a long one, so get comfy!
“I used to be a member of AKA but renounced my letters back in 2016. I posted about it on Facebook & IG last year, and I think it’s important to continue to share my testimony with more people, especially since so many of my friends and associates are greek, some of whom are fellow Christians as well, but seem convinced that this was just a personal choice I made simply for me to honor God, based on my personal preferences but has no impact on them or in their lives.
“Today I want to tell you that it’s not this simple. This wasn’t something God called me to and only me. If you are a Christian, we are all called to assess where our salvation stands and whether it is being jeopardized or at stake with any of our affiliations and associations, so if me speaking on this topic again keeps just one from perishing, if it sets one more free, then it is worth me continuously repeating.”
~ Lily J, www.mylifeaslily.com
If you’re a Christian with an Instagram or Facebook account, there’s a really good chance you’ve heard of social media comedian “KevOnStage” (born Kevin Fredericks). Even if you don’t follow him yourself, odds are you’ve seen his content appear on your timeline or in your IG Explorer page - and you’ve undoubtedly laughed. You’ve likely laughed really, really hard. At least I know I have. The guy’s hilarious! He’s also fairly relatable. And given that he’s a professing Christian, a resident of my hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, and his jokes come profanity-free, it only made sense to “like”, “follow” and “share”.
I can’t recall when I first began to follow his content. But I do recall the first time I was thrown off by something he felt led to post
Long, long ago, I belonged to a church where it wasn’t uncommon for members to “know” the specific person “God” told them they were destined to marry. A good friend of mine at the time believed God revealed to her that our pastor’s armor bearer (assistant/Bible toter/water getter/forehead wiper) was her husband to be. Another member said God told her she would marry one of our church’s ministers. And I believed the Lord told me a popular radio personality (and church member) was destined to be my hubby. Suffice it say, each of us found ourselves looking like an idiot as time and circumstance played out. The pastor’s armor bearer ended up marrying another woman within six months of meeting her. The minister simply used the other young lady for sex as she pined away hoping he’d one day see they were meant to be. And my radio personality hubby-to-be told me flat out that I wasn’t “the one”, went on to marry a gorgeous gospel artist and (10+ years later) they remain married and have an adorable family.
Since leaving that church, I’ve come to learn that our embarrassingly mistaken “revelations” aren’t uncommon among professed believers in other churches, either. I’ve since met another young lady who so sincerely believed God told her a specific guy was her husband that she remained single and waited for him for 13 years! (THIIIIIIIR-TEEEEEN...YEEEEEAAAAARRRRSSSS!!!!) Meanwhile, that gentleman barely knew her name, and if I recall correctly, he also went off to marry someone else.
As I’ve scrolled through my social media feeds these past few days, I haven’t been surprised to see one celebrity pastor after the next declaring nothing but great things for you (whoever you are) in the New Year. They do this madness every year. But, honestly, this year their shenanigans actually caught my earnest attention, namely because I know first-hand how what they “declare and decree” each year is so off base from what the Lord has already promised His children.
It’s been a rough week.
As nine innocent churchgoers lost their lives last Wednesday night at the hands of a shooter poisoned by hatred – scratch that – sheer EVIL, I sat in the comfort of my home drafting a carefully crafted piece on forgiveness, specifically what it truly means, how to extend it, and how certain attitudes can hinder it.
In the days leading up to writing that piece, I’d wrestled with God over the topic because I felt it wasn’t ‘sexy’ enough. We’d been privy to the bizarre and the strange that is the Rachel Dolezal story for days at that point, and I felt I was losing too much precious time writing about “forgiveness” when I’d much rather get in on some “transracial” action!
But God nagged me to publish my next post on forgiveness and, honestly, I didn’t get it. I initially felt the subject had absolutely no relevance. “Who would even read it,” I thought. But I soon came to realize why God inspired me to speak on that particular topic.
As I’ve meditated on this concept and completed an honest check of my heart’s condition, I have identified four of the greatest hindrances to forgiveness that I’ve had to overcome throughout the years. I share them in the hopes that those who also struggle with extending forgiveness will begin to identify the attitudes that might not only threaten your maturation in the faith, but potentially cause you to sin and, ultimately, remove you from God’s grace.