19 Weeks Past the Cross (The Company I Keep)
BY: TCLeach at http://throughanewlens.blogspot.com
When I was teen, I hated when my parents trumpeted about me being judged by the company I kept. Who were they, I wondered, to decide with whom I could be friends? It just didn’t seem fair to me! I had to admit, though, that in high school, teachers were quick to include me in their lectures to the “trouble-makers” even though I stayed out of trouble myself. It was just easy for me to relate to the “lost kids” and it was with them that I spent most of my time. Brokenness attracts brokenness. As I stepped into adulthood (albeit a bit too soon) the truth of my parents’ words often floated through my mind. It wasn’t too many years later I found myself trumpeting the very same words to my own children. “You will be judged by the company you keep, choose friends wisely!” Unlike my parents, I did let my kids choose their friends, but they had to accept the consequences of their choices, too. But that will be their story to tell one day, I can only tell my own.
Without question, who my friends have been in my life has had some bearing on the decisions I have made, and on the direction I was walking. These days, I find myself walking in a new direction, leaving many great people behind me. It has been a decision that was not easy for me to make, but necessary for my own well-being. The Scriptural concept of walking in love made the decision even tougher. How can I walk in love with those who are walking further away from The Father instead of closer to Him? I found some things in Scripture to guide me as I make these kinds of decisions regarding with whom I will walk, and Scripture is what I will continue to lean on.
From Amos 3:
Will two walk together unless they agreed? גהֲיֵלְכוּ שְׁנַיִם יַחְדָּו בִּלְתִּי אִם נוֹעָדוּ:
In Deuteronomy 12, we are warned not to inquire about the gods of others, and clearly told not to adapt any of their ways of worship. And so it is now on me to decide what to do with all of the people in my life who are still practicing idolatry. How do I walk in love with those walking in the wrong direction? Certainly, these are friends I can no longer yoke myself to! So how do I love them now?
I know from personal experience that The Father will lead those whom He chooses out of the religion of idolatry, Christianity. This is something only He can do, by opening eyes and softening hearts and by granting revelation. Since the beginning of my journey, I have only been called to share my own story, not to rewrite someone else’s. When I stepped away from the cross, and from all things in the Christian Bible, I was so worried about the relationships I would loose…these were people I truly cared about! As you know, I was kind of surprised by who I did, indeed, loose. I won’t lie, a few of the losses really stung, but I’m still standing. I asked The Father to give me a specific sign regarding those who would or should stay in my life, so I could know they were His. He is so faithful, isn’t He? He answered my prayer in the same way He answered me when I was still walking in the Messianic faith, and seeing my friends walk away from it. He used the word “sister” then in His answer, and that is now how I have determined who I will “keep” and who to let go of. Those who call me “sister” have stayed on my friends list. Even with the “keepers” I am very cautious! I took them out of my newsfeed because I do not like being “assaulted” by posts about “the blood” or by posts giving praise, honor and glory to the one who is not THE ONE. I still look in on their pages, but take time in prayer before I do so that I can easily scroll past their posts glorifying another god, while still offering encouragement and hope pertaining to their lives and quest for truth. I am no longer walking “with” these people, but can still shine some of the One True God’s light on them.
When I get a new friend request, the first thing I always do is peruse the page of the person extending the invitation. If their posts, comments, likes and friends are all “on fire” for Jesus, I simply decline the new request. I did not (and do not) take the decision lightly! Trying to shine light, though, on someone who believes they are already in the light, seems like time I could use better elsewhere. I feel like such a snob when I hit that “ignore” icon! But why entagle myself with those entangled in the lies they inherited? I am on a quest to move forward, closer to The Father, not to be stalled on the Narrow Path! As always, my God has not left me without those with whom I can make a connection! I also get new requests every day from those who are on the same “stretch of road” that I am on…stepping out of idolatry. My “cyber” social life has blossomed, and not diminished.
I am no better than anyone else, and I am no worse than anyone else! But I am learning to have standards as a child of the Almighty, and am learning to become set-apart from this world and those who worship its gods. I am an apt pupil of the art of irony, and do not miss the irony in my own journey! I began by being worried about who would walk away from me, and have arrived at the place where I’m the one questioning whether or not I want these Christians and Messianics in my life! Nothing makes me cringe more than one of them saying “I’ll be praying for you!” Please don’t! I don’t want any “blood” pled over MY life and I don’t want prayer that ends with “in Jesus’ name” instead of The Father’s. We know that sacrificing children is against God’s Torah, and I don’t believe He would have condoned the sacrifice of His own son. These are the prayers I can do without!
And so passes my 19th week without Jesus in my life, whom I called Yeshua. I look at everything now through this new lens, Scriptures, friends, and especially myself! Everything has changed, and although parts of this change have been difficult, I remember that I am being pruned by the Master Gardener. I am being refined by the Master Silversmith, who will seperate the dross from the precious “silver” in me. I am being molded by the Master Sculptor. None of these processes are comfortable for me, but I know that each of them is for my benefit, and for the glory of the One True God, Yehovah. And so I give myself willingly over to His works in me, so that I may see those works manifest through me!
All these years later, I can appreciate the wisdom my parents shared with me in its most complete form. I will be careful about who my friends are, mom and dad, I will! Not only for the purpose it serves in my own life, but for the purpose I will serve in this world and in the one to come. I am coming to understand that I can walk in love without walking in agreement, even when “love” means parting in shalom.
What have you learned in your walk about who to keep and who to let go of? What has it cost you? How have you grown because of it? Y’all know how much I enjoy picking your brains, gleaning from your wisdom and even learning from your mistakes! I hope you’ll give this subject serious thought, if not to share with me, at least to know where you stand and why. I’ll “see” you next week! Until then, please know that if your eyes have read these words, I am praying for you 🙂 Shalom