If you are standing at the top of a platform like this and all you can see is your way down into more fog… please listen to me and don’t go down there. I don’t care how familiar it is, what you have done, or how many times you have done it… nothing fruitful can come from willingly walking into or jumping into the pit.
Have you ever had a negative thought where you knew that you had a choice to keep thinking those terrible things about yourself or think on better things? Or maybe you are just rehearsing what others have said and you believe that you are that bad… that things are that bad… that there is no way out?
Hear me when I say, there is scripture and SCIENCE that proves that….
You are a genius.
You are amazing.
You were created by love for love and the creator of the world put a part of eternity in you.
“He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11
No matter how you may feel right now or what toxic thoughts keep running through your head… you are worth living for. You really are.
Why am I saying this now?
Because Sunday night I went to the funeral of an old friend. He was 36 years old and suddenly last week, he took his own life. A life that had been literally saved multiple times. A life that he had surrendered to Jesus. However, somehow in that moment he believed that he wasn’t worth living for.
Have you felt that way? I have. In fact, I felt it three times… at 14, 16, and 19. Fortunately, I heard a still small voice when I was 19 that told me I wasn’t alone and over the years, the truth of my genius sunk in.
That is what I hope for you… that you would really know the truth and the truth would set you free.
As I stood in the funeral home, watching a slide show of pictures, I was struck by what a very cute little boy my friend was. The pictures looked similar to this random one... pictures that I bet are in the photo albums of millions of families. Christmas, school, vacation, and animal pictures, bikes… all showing a little boy growing.
A boy who was made in God’s image…. a little boy wired for love. It is often said that people only post happy pictures to Instagram, but the truth is we usually only take happy pictures. Or we take a snapshot of a happy minute in the middle of a normal hour of life. We capture that minute and we use it to build our memories. I don't know what toxic things happened to that little boy between those pictures and the young man I met… but something eroded his brain. Somehow, fear got in.
I remember my friend as a guy who had made bad choices in his life… and by the time I met him at about 19 years old he had given his life to Jesus, but he still had a lot of internal toxic thoughts about himself. I am not sure that he ever forgave himself for his choices that consistently led to him hurting those whom he loved. He carried a lot of shame. Shame says, “I am wrong, I am flawed, something is wrong with me”. The last time I saw my friend in 2003 he told me that he was never going to preach again, because every time he did ( he had a gift for speaking and for scripture memory) he found himself “falling” back into sin.
In talking with a person who had seen him last week, he said that my friend had not forgiven himself for the last set of bad choices and consistently was rehearsing what a bad guy he was in his thoughts. It may seem righteous to beat yourself up or to hold yourself hostage… you may feel like you deserve it, but the truth is that
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
Dr. Caroline Leaf, a leading cognitive neuroscientist, says that “Research shows that fear, all on its own, triggers more than 1,400 known physical and chemical responses and activates more than 30 different hormones. There are INTELLECTUAL and MEDICAL reasons to FORGIVE!”
Can I encourage you that if you are hearing a lot of negative thoughts about yourself or even a few, that you consider that both the Bible and Science have a way out for you to get you to freedom and back to love?
Dr. Leaf has a 21 day Brain Detox program that is online. It is a little investment, but you are worth it.
Will you take 7 minutes a day to literally deconstruct the damage in your brain and reconstruct it so you can be fully you?
I am going to be writing more about my thoughts on Dr. Leaf’s studies and information in future blogs, but I wanted to extend this as an encouragement and life line.
If you read this and you are not at the top of those stairs looking down, please look for someone who is. Look for someone who has believed the lie that they are too bad for redemption.
Then tell them the truth of His Love by encouraging and reminding them of WHO they really are.