Have you ever felt like Pharaoh after the land of Egypt had been ravished by plagues? I know I have. I will never forget that back in 2015, about a month or two into my prison sentence, I came back to my cell only to find it completely destroyed. I had already lost everything I had in the free world, and now all that I had left had been ransacked, destroyed, my bed turned over, lockers turned inside out, etc. I was emotionally overloaded. I couldn't take anymore. It was all too much. The constant pain and looting of my life were out of control. Why was God allowing this to happen to me? I thought I had done everything in my power to serve Him and His people? How would I survive all this? It was as if I was actually in Egypt and I had to watch plague after plague destroy everything that was precious to me. Then, in my tears, He spoke and everything changed in an instant.
You can’t have heads without having tails at the same time. There is no such thing as a positive without a negative, a villain without a hero, a Ying without a Yang. In our culture, we seem to always be forced to make a choice: black or white, left or right, up or down, Democrat or Republican, paper or plastic, right or wrong. But the truth is that life is a combination of them all. No one is truly right or truly wrong, completely altruistic or entirely hypocritical. We are all walking contradictions at one time or another. We just don't see it. And the more the Spirit has me studying relationships, behavior, and how the human psyche works – with the purpose of how to walk out this Torah-based New Covenant – the more I can see just why we humans make the decisions we do from a biblical perspective. I have concluded that we are all blind, emotional beings who simply can’t stand the fact that everyone is not like us. It’s that simple.
Do we have the right to "fix" everyone's doctrine if it doesn't line up with what we believe? Should we be actively following people online--or approaching our family and friends--with the intention of pointing out all their mistakes and doctrinal errors? Has the Hebrew Roots Movement gone from a body of people being moved by the Spirit to rediscover the Hebraic roots of their faith to a movement of modern-day Gnostics who pride themselves on the fact that they found the root as they beat their neighbor over the head with it?
I used to cringe when I heard Bible teachers use that phrase. Usually it was because what followed was a sermon on how you can’t do anything to please God, or you don’t have to do anything to earn His favor, or you don’t have to worry about how you live because everything is covered by grace. But recently, the Father has radically changed my thinking on this topic and he used a good friend of mine to do it.
What is grace…really? The Hebrew for the word is “chen,” and means “grace, kindness, graciousness.” It carries with it the idea of “bending in kindness toward an inferior subject,” which is what “chanan,” a word closely-related to “chen,” literally means. When the Creator gives someone “grace” He is literally bowing before them and offering His kindness and favor. Picture someone bowing before a king and the king coming off of his throne to extend his scepter toward the one entreating him. That’s the word picture. But it goes much deeper.