The stories we tell. I use this phrase to speak of the self-talk in our heads. The stories we tell are the explanations, the rationalizations, the ‘reasons’ why this thing is that way. Often, these stories that we tell are false, inaccurate, distorted, and sometimes outright wrong. We tell ourselves distorted stories with strange reasoning to protect us from grieving and pain, to protect us from taking responsibility, and to protect us from changing the way we do things—to protect us from vulnerability and repentance.

Here is a short summary of the kinds of stories (self-talk and rationalizations) that we tell:

We KNOW IT ALL Stories
• we rush to conclusions
• we are stuck in immature thinking with little nuance or subtle understandings • without ability to hold tension or contradiction

BLAME Stories
• we stay in denial
• with blame and accusation for others 
• someone or something else is at fault

Only ONE WAY is Right Stories
• we hold to letter of the law (not of the spirit) thinking
• we do not think with an understanding of context and culture 
• we refuse to consider other perspectives

Stories that DO NOT ALLOW Authentic Emotions / Empathy
• we push away responsibility of common humanity
• we refuse the need to lament and grieve
• we push away honest realizations that seem too much to bear

VICTIM Stories
• we tell limiting stories
• we claim ‘I can’t’, ’It is not possible,’
• with excuses for others and ourselves

ABUSE Stories
• we say ‘yes’ to abuse
• we support hatreds and keeping people in ‘their place’
• we claim and live according to gender and class discriminations and prejudices

SHAME Stories
• we disqualify each other and/or self
• we condemn others and/or self
• we stay in silence and secrecy to protect ourselves and others

DENIAL Stories
• magical thinking,‘It will be okay’ but without any evidence towards that 
• we see what we want to see, not what is
• we rationalize to cover over pain

• we believe that ministry is more important than our marriage or family
• we claim that God would have us neglect our families
• we use God speak to excuse away our bad choices; but God says – 1 Timothy 5:8

A few years ago I went on a hike with my sister-in-law. It was a hike on a slightly marked path that would get us to the top of a mountain. All along the path there were markers with numbers indicating how far we had come. At marker #89 we began to wonder how far the numbers went. We may have passed marker eighty-nine but how many markers were there? At what number did the climb come to an end?

After three hours of climbing, with the way getting steeper, forcing us to scramble up large rocks, we again wondered how far till the end of the trail. How long till we reached the top? We were tired and had come so far. How much farther was there to go? We were at marker 236 by this time!

We then met a small group of people coming down the mountain and we asked them, “How far do the numbers go? How long until we reach the top?”

I will never forget the answer, “The numbers go to 500. You are almost half-way there.” My sister-in-law and I just stared at each other. She tells me later that she just wanted to cry. In my mind I immediately flipped to a conclusion, “They don’t know what they are talking about! They are wrong!”

But, of course, they were not wrong. It took us another three hours to reach the top of the mountain. What we thought might take 3-4 hours to hike, turned into 7.5 hours. But the scary thing for me, was realizing how quickly my brain and thinking went into denial.

The correct answer, that we were not even half-way up the mountain by that point in time, was so painful that my brain and thinking rejected the notion, calling it wrong, calling the ones who gave us this information wrong.

But they were right. So what happened there? Well, the truth was too painful to process at that moment. And so, I automatically rejected it. I pushed away the truth and comforted myself by making up a story, ‘They don’t know what they are talking about’.

How many times do we do this in life? How much of our lives are created in our own minds, without taking reality into account? How much are we not seeing and not accepting or processing in healthy ways? How many changes for the better have we missed because we have created habits of mind and heart that take us farther and farther away from what is true?

We tell stories of many kinds. We tell these stories to ourselves and to others. Entire cultures are built- up around the stories that we tell ourselves. Many of these stories are false, misinformed, irrelevant, and ultimately distort our ability to live well.

We have been studying and considering the dynamics that work to lock poverty into place around the world. We have seen that violence has a huge part of keeping people small and weak, emotionally and psychologically caught off-balance, with ongoing need for rebuilding what has been stripped away; where violence is present and unchecked we feel that we can never get ahead.

We have also seen that pain upon pain builds up within both people and places. In response we tend to succumb to violence ourselves, we thrash out in further destruction resulting in further pain. We are laid-low in our inner ability to rise above the hurts and harms that continually come against us.

In this chapter we look at the stories we tell. When I was working in the leadership development field one of my colleagues would comment on how people are meaning-making machines. His observation was that something would happen and that people would rush to give meaning to it, to try and make sense of what happened.

He was right. As humans we do rush to make meaning of everything around us. We see many various situations and occurrences and we make up meaning and speak our conclusions. And while this is very normal and very human of us, we often run into problems with the conclusions that we make.

Just as my climb up the mountain turned into a story of ‘they are wrong about the length of this hike’ we can with our lives, live in made-up, false conclusions, (the hike was in fact still another three hours till completion, even though my mind didn’t believe it).

As a travelling minister I visit, preach, and teach in many villages and towns and alongside many, many people. At one time I came to an area where the land was drier, the crops were thinner, and the people were struggling to a greater degree than elsewhere in that country.

There I was told a story about the poverty in that area. I was told that the poverty was due to a large tree in which a demon had lived. Some years ago the tree had been cut down and distributed as fire- wood throughout the area. I was told that the demon had gone with that tree, through the entire area and that this was the cause of all, every single problem and difficulty in that region.

What disturbed me most, as I listened to this story, was that all strength of thought and actions, of choices and decisions and responsibilities, everything about their very lives, had been given over to the confounding presence of the demon they believed over them. Because of this story the people lived in helplessness.

Now, there may have been a demon in the tree and it may have gone throughout the area along with the wood of that tree. I am not going to argue about this. Even if this was completely true the telling and re-telling of that story had created a victim mentality in the hearts and the minds of the people. Those I was with expressed a helplessness and a burdened-down experience due to this story and what it meant for their lives. There was little hope in that place.

You see, the stories we tell ourselves have the power to rule our lives. What we believe, the conclusions we come to about self, others, God, and how this world work, direct our lives. Out of our stories, we come to explanations and rationalizations and conclusions by which we make choices, choosing this path or that way, taking this action or refusing to do that thing. All due to the way we see something and the story we tell about that to ourselves and others.

“It is imperative that we have a correct understating of the nature of God, self, others, and creation and the way that God intends for human beings to relate to each of them. Another way of stating this is that the correct functioning of these foundational relationships requires a proper worldview, which may be defined as the ‘total set of beliefs or assumptions that comprise the mind-set of an individual and determine what they believe and how they behave.’ 60 Our worldview is the spectacles through which we see and interpret reality, shaping the way we relate to God, self, others, and creation on both the personal and systemic levels.” 61

Stories matter. And not just the stories that we share and tell out-loud, but the stories in our heads. Each of us, all of the time, are listening and creating and telling stories in our own thinking. We may never speak these stories out loud but they impact us in life-altering ways. Some stories give life, and other stories breed death.

We must begin to pay attention to our thinking, to the things we say in our own minds, and also of course, the stories that we speak out loud. The conclusions that we come to and that we replay to ourselves and others have great power over us. We must choose our conclusions wisely and speak from places of truth, and accuracy, and right judgment. And even then, hold our conclusions loosely before the Lord, allowing the Spirit of God to change our mind from time to time.

Here are a few examples of some of the kinds of stories that we tell:

I once expressed to a pastor in the developing world that the support and funding for his work would come from within his context and culture, from the very people in his surrounding area (rather than coming from the west). His immediate response was,‘It is not possible’. And of course he would not ever find provision from within his own country and people simply because he did not believe it possible to do so. * This is a story of limitation.

A grandma’s young granddaughter was very sick with a bad congestion in her throat. The grandma concluded that the child was merely coughing. I knew the cough was in fact croup, a potentially life- threatening condition that was easily treatable. I share the solution and the child recovered quickly. The grandma’s conclusion, * the story she was telling, came from a lack of knowledge.

A young man was driving the car very fast on a road that had many many pot-holes. There were so many pot-holes that the car hit most of them; nearly every second we were thrashed back and forth by the car driving through these pot-holes. And the driver made an interesting conclusion, “The pot-holes might ruin the car.” What an interesting thing to say! My conclusion? “The driver is ruining the car by driving so fast that he is unable to avoid the potholes.” Is the driver unable to slow down and drive more carefully? * The driver’s story is one of blame that pushes away responsibility.

A young family had just lost their infant son. I and another pastor visited them the day after they put their baby in the ground. The pastor I was with told them this, “Be strong, trust God, He has a reason for this. Do not lose your faith.” In contrast I told them, “Grieve well. Be angry with God he is big enough for your anger. Be sad until you don’t need to be sad any longer.” The pastors advice was a story meant to protect from grief and lament. * It was a denial story and ‘faith over-applied’, the kind of story we often tell when overwhelmed by sadness.

I was teaching the healing prayer process to an entire congregation in India. Part of the way that we heal is to touch the person we are praying for. There is something important about touch and the power of prayer. We got to the practice part of the evening and I noticed that the women were not touching each other to pray. I later found out why. The Hindu converts still believe the Christian converts to be of lower class and will not touch them. This belief is a story told to create division and hierarchy. * It is a story of prejudice and dishonour that denies the God-ordained and biblical value of all men and women.

Every culture reveals its own broken assumptions, often entire belief systems, that work to keep them broken, experiencing lack and confounded in daily living. This is what I was seeing in the village that had surrendered itself to the demon in the tree. They had been fooled into an exaggerated and false conclusion about the source of their troubles.

So many of our conclusions are wrong. We have made up many stories that are false. In inner healing work I point out to my prayer clients that all pain in this world comes from the false conclusions that we have made about ourselves, others, God, and how this world works. To find wholeness we must dismantle these false conclusions and we can then take on accurate assessment in the Lord.

At what point in time do we take a look at what we are believing, the core of our thinking, the assumptions we are making about ourselves, others, God, creation, and how this world works?

When we refuse to take responsibility for our actions, claiming that another thing is ‘the’ trouble we will rationalize our own actions and point blame at another thing or person. * The story of the demon in the tree is a story of blame and excuse that rejects choice and responsibility.

The story of the demon in the tree is a classic excuse and blame story. It is the type of story that claims,

‘I can’t do anything about this because so and so did this to me (or such and such happened).’

Similarly, I once met a woman who was married to a muslim man. She had six children, the youngest was about two years old. Her husband was not providing for her, not even living in the same village. She didn’t even have a house to live in, and he had a couple of other wives in addition to her.

What didn’t make sense to me was why this woman continued to sleep with this man? If he is not acting as a husband to her why would she keep having babies (with him?). So, I asked those I was with to ‘please explain this to me’. This is what they said, “Women in this country are hopeful that their men will change.” This is not a hope story, it is both a denial story and it is also an abuse story (meaning, the false story we tell is, that it is okay to treat women this way, they just need to have faith).

Layers of denial are habits of thought that keep us protected from bad news and from grief but also keep us from clarity and reasoning and truth that can move us forward. Denial is a muddy puddle of falsehoods and reasonings where we are not looking at things as they are but as we want them to be. Habit of denial stories keep us from making decisions that would move us forward.

Only in good supportive communities are we able to take down the layers of denial that cloud our reasoning and hold us locked into unhealthy patterns. Yet, in some cases, and in some churches, bad theology supports our denial systems.

We have somehow come to think that God is like a witch in heaven just making things happen on earth. Casting spells over people, changing them the way we want them changed, forcing them into right living in response to our hoping and prayers. Often when I am asked to pray for people it is to fix people.“If we just pray hard enough that person will change.” * This is a bad theology story. 62

Because of this common misunderstanding of how God interacts with human beings,63 this woman’s church was not helping her situation. The church supported and agreed to her denial and her continued ‘hoping’. What she really needed from her church community was the support and help to see other solutions to her difficulties, to support her as she grieved her losses and all she had suffered.

In Proverbs we read, “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer from it.” Proverbs 27:12 ESV and this must apply to women in neglectful or abusive marriages.

As a body of Christ we are to give our support so that a woman may recognize the danger of neglect and abuse on her own self and on her children and grandchildren to come (cycles of abuse tend to carry on in families), and stand apart from these types of hurt and harm.

She needed a support system around her that would help her to find new solutions (rather than passively waiting for a neglectful and abusive man to change) in order to make a life for her children and self apart and separate from this man who was in fact no husband to her.

It is denial that keeps us from seeing reality and ultimately keeps us from realizing better options and clear thinking. People do not just change. A person, man or woman, will not all of a sudden change. Lack of integrity (as this woman’s husband was exhibiting) goes deep and it must be rooted out (a long process in which he would want change for himself), in order for change to happen.

Essentially, we must become safe people who create safe community so that the weakest among us may come out of denial about their lives and begin to take on responsibility and make the changes they need to make. Without condemnation or rejection from us. Stop telling women that they must put up with neglectful and abusive men. * This is an abuse narrative, and it continues destruction and poverty within your communities.

The stories that come out of bad theology, where our understanding of God is not aligned with the one true God of heaven and earth, with excesses of theology, where truth is taken and twisted, causes and sustains much poverty.

Excessive and twisted theology includes exaggerated tithing practices, distorted submissions to authority, unsafe servitude, and superstition. Bad theologies are often taken from one Bible verse without regard for other scripture. Yet, the whole of scripture is necessary in order to avoid errors in thought such as we read in the Psalms. 64

“The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.” Psalm 119:160 ESV

Scripture is to be held in tension with the entirety of other scripture. The word of God is a holy trust to us. We must take it seriously and do the hard work of searching the scriptures for the heart of Christ throughout, so that we do not distort the heart of our Lord through our faulty conclusions. 65

I once prayed for an elderly Indian man who was struggling with chronic health problems and a pervasive inability to believe God as good. As I was praying for him I asked him if there was anything that he held as a regret. He answered, “Yes, the time that I killed all the mice and the rats, I think they are coming back to punish me.”

His thinking was clearly from animism, a belief that all things, animals, plants, sun, moon, rivers, mountains have a spirit or soul. And these ‘beings’ have the ability to bless or harm human beings. Therefore, the ‘gods’ must be appeased and placated for we are at the mercy (or non-mercy) of the natural world.

Daniel 5:4; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6; 1 Peter 5:8; Isiah 45:5

In this man’s thinking his illness was due to the rats and mice punishing him and he, on his part, was surrendered to this belief. In his mind there was nothing that could be done about this or about his present state of heart, mind, or body, (because the rats and mice were gods and had determined his fate) * This is a superstitious story based out of animism. 66

Our thinking establishes our starting place for action. When we exaggerate a belief (often letter of the law thinking without an understanding of the spirit of the law) we can see if it results as either the fruit of the Lord (all manner of good things within our hearts and minds unto others) or the fruit of the enemy (all manner of hateful, pinched, condemning and narrow results for others).

Here are a few examples of some of our most common distortions of theology:

“Submit to your husband” — this has resulted in women becoming accomplices to all manner of deadly life choices and even criminal activity. 67

“Obey your leaders” — this has resulted in childish adults who can only do what they are told and who have no thought or action for themselves and often no sense of freedom regarding following or obeying the call of God or the still small voice of the Spirit. 68

“You must tithe here and now” 69— this has resulted in the powerful and charismatic ‘eating’ the poor woman’s meal. Literally, pastors come in, preach health and wealth, demand a tithe because ‘now God will bless you’, and they go home with riches and the poor are left even poorer. (NOTE:This, should make us very angry.) 70

“Neglect your family for the sake of the Kingdom of God” – to which God says 1 Timothy 5:8

So we check our thoughts, we check our beliefs, we check our theology:

  • Does our teaching give life to those who hear it?
  • Does our leadership increase the freedom of the Holy Spirit amongst us? 
  • Does our manner give dignity and honour to all people?

— This would be good.

  • Or, does it make others feel small and insignificant? 
  • Does it keep others under your control?
  • Does it perpetuate helplessness and victimization? 
  • Does it increase the guilt of the innocent?
  • Does it increase the guilt of the guilty? (this is not of the Lord) 
  • Are you taking advantage of people in great need?
  • Does your theology (does your life) reflect the true heart and nature of God?
  • Are you sure that the God-stories you tell and live before others are accurate?

I was in a village. There was a family there, a husband and a wife and a teenage daughter. The husband and wife were having many problems and disagreements between themselves. Many of these disagreements were about the daughter. The husband and wife were on the verge of getting a divorce.

But, so I was told, because the Bible says that God hates divorce the ‘solution’ they came to was to get rid of the daughter, force her out of the home and their lives, so that their problems would go away and they could remain married. * This is a letter of the law story. It contains nothing of the Spirit of God.

We must grow into an understanding of God’s heart and the spirit behind his laws. When we focus on the letter of the law we cannot find understanding. When we hold fast to right and wrong in a rigid dogmatic and dualistic thinking we will not come into life-giving Spirit living.

“He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.” 2 Corinthians 3:6 NLT

“For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.” Romans 3:20 NLT

Doing life with the spirit opens up our hearts and minds, and our lives and relationships. Doing life without the spirit, according to the letter of the law, takes bad situations and makes them even worse.

If we are to find health and wholeness and the Kingdom of God come to earth in our present realities, our thinking must reflect the wisdom and Spirit of our Lord, and the new way in the Spirit. The spirit of the law brings life but the letter of the law brings death. 2 Corinthians 3:7-18

Traditionally speaking, religious communities are not very good at carrying tension and ambiguity. We often over-apply faith to help us make sense of what is going on around us. We speak simplistic answers that do not speak to the complexity of our problems.

In our hunger for meaning, we come to conclusions that are false and that do damage. When we make up meaning, or speak out of our own best understanding too soon, we are often carriers of false-hood and misinformation.

Here is what we must do. Because we cannot know all things, we must take this habit to make meaning of things and we must hold back. We must learn to wait and to not rush to give meaning. We must learn to become okay with ambiguity (unanswered questions, not sure of what we are seeing or experiencing). It must become okay to not know the answers.

When we are okay with ambiguity and with not knowing, we won’t be prone to explaining everything in an over-faith kind of way. While we may not know the knowledge that we need to know we won’t rush to fill the space with what we are making up in our heads.

This requires that we hold our ground, remaining steady, even when we have no answers and we cannot see what is what. This is better than rushing to fill the space with explanations that are not explanations at all. The pastor that told the young couple to have faith the day after their baby died was rushing them away from healthy grieving and was speaking over-applied faith — instead of attending to their hearts he was attending to fear. * Faith over-applied is another kind of story that perpetuates poverty.

We must refuse to make up meaning about things we don’t fully understand, for we want our minds and hearts open to hearing from the Lord and to the knowledge and understanding of things that can only come from The Spirit. Once we have rushed to an answer our minds shut down to any further information or understanding and in many cases, we then remain in our ignorance and are unable to hear other considerations.

And the only thing worse than a lack of understanding is being shut down to further understanding. If we are shut down to further understanding, further wisdoms may be there, but we will be closed to them, unable to accept or receive in order to have our understanding broadened. This would be a true tragedy.

Surety closes off curiosity and inquiry. We are then unable to see new information or perspective. Therefore, the first step to greater understanding is learning to hold ambiguity (uncertainty) well. We want to be strong enough people that we do not have to rush to conclusions.

We do not want to misapply faith when critical knowledge is missing. We want to be people who do not rush to god-speak as a way of coping with life. We want to in fact be open to new knowledge and the things we may not yet know by which life would improve.

The stories that we tell our selves and the kinds of stories that we tell within our cultures hold the power of life or death. Proverbs 18:21. We must begin to really hear our stories of compromise, of excuses, of explaining things away, of faith-speak over-applied, of denial, of letter of the law, and more. We must ensure to tell stories that support life and health and healing and wholeness.


“God, we need your help. We have habits of denial, stories of justification and excuse, things we tell ourselves and others that would push away clarity and the ability to come to any real solutions. We are sorry Lord. I ask today for the courage to begin seeing the stories I am telling, the ways of thinking and perceiving life that are not accurate. Help me to come into healthy, whole thinking. Thank you Lord. Amen”


Ask the Holy Spirit to begin opening your eyes and your ears, the understanding of your heart, to the stories that you are telling (to yourself and others) and the stories that others are telling. Begin to recognize faulty thinking. Begin bringing these things to the Lord.


God gives us strength to see things clearly Jeremiah 17:9-10; Proverbs 14:15

God gives us courage to face life directly Luke 14:28; James 1:5

We need God’s understanding to come into a good life Proverbs 10:27; Ephesians 5:15-17 

We submit our best thinking to God’s thinking 2 Peter 1:3; Proverbs 3:1-2

60 Scott D. Allen and Darrow L. Miller, The Forest in the Seed: A Biblical Perspective on Resources and Development (Phoenix: Disciple Nations Alliance, 2006) 15.

61 Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert, When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor—and Yourself (Moody Publishers, 2009, 20012) 79-80.

62 God does not force people to change, this would be a violation of healthy boundaries. Henry Cloud explains:

“Limiting Evil: One of the other aspects of boundaries that is important is the limiting effect upon evil. Remember, because God does not control people, they are, in a certain way, free to be evil. He does not make them be good. He limits His sovereignty and control in some ways that we do not totally understand. But, even though He allows them to be evil, He limits the effects of their choices. He exercises limits on the effect that their choices will have on Him, His church, the world, etc.

He has also given us this duty, to limit the effect that evil choices that people make can have on life. One of the best examples of that is in Matthew 18:15-18. It is the role of us to take a stand and “bind” evil as it presents itself. Read Psalms 101 for a great description of how David thought about the things that must be bound so that the evil of others would not “cling” to him.

In addition, He wants us to limit the effect that the evil is having on their life as well. He wants us to restore those who get “caught up,” by evil. We are to put boundaries on the cancer that is destroying them and be redemptive in their lives. (Galatians 6:1)

God is about Life. He is about restoring good things. And to do that, evil things must be held in check and transformed. He has given us many tools to perform this function of the salt that seasons the earth:

  • Truth and Commands
  • Confrontation
  • Rebuke
  • Exhortation
  • Forgiveness
  • Group Intervention
  • Consequences
  • Discipline
  • Restoration
  • Limit Setting
  • Separation

These are some of the processes that God has told us to do that limit and restore evil. And, they work. The problem is that we do not exercise our control and responsibility to do these things in our significant relationships, the church, and the world at large. As has been the story since the garden of Eden, the mess is largely of our own making. If we would use our self-control to do these things, then we would not have the messes in various aspects of life in which we find ourselves. We have misused our freedom. But, the good news of boundaries is that you can take control back in your own areas of influence, and begin to limit evil and restore life.source:

63 God works with people who turn to him. There is a process of repentance (which is turning) that alerts God to the fact that this person now wants change and to live a better way. God is actively speaking and acting on our behalf and to get each one of us to this point in time where we surrender to the goodness and love of God. But God doesn’t force people to accept godly ways. This would not be love. It is not the way of the spirit.

64 Bad theology leads to many bad things. It is the root of all sorts of distortions and manipulations perpetrated by supposedly godly men and women. Here are just a few of the craziest and wrong theologies that I have heard.

“The wealthier you are the holier you are.”

“The woman with the seven husbands, well, she killed them all and what we take from this story is that the seed must be planted in the right place, and this is the right place for your seed, so tithe to this church and you will be blessed.”

“We must all change our names because Abram’s name was changed” “When the bad people go to hell you will be happy about this”

“I won’t serve God as He is asking, because this will reveal my pride”

65 For instance, I have heard that some believe it is wrong to prepare their sermon on Sunday. Rather, that to be ‘led by the spirit’ one must simply get up on stage on a Sunday and speak what the Spirit brings to mind and that to do anything less than this (to study and prepare) is to disobey the Spirit. This is a bad theology and a false story that some people tell.

It is taking this verse:

“And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.” 2 Corinthians 2:13 ESV

But not this verse:

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that has nothing to be ashamed of, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 JUB

And perhaps those have never read that,

“Ezra had determined to study and obey the Law of the LORD and to teach those decrees and regulations to the people of Israel.” Ezra 7:10 NLT

66 see:

67 In Colossians 3:18 we find the verse, “Wives, submit to your husband, as is fitting in the Lord.”

We must make note of the clause at the end of the sentence, ‘as is fitting in the Lord’, recognizing that there are all sorts of submissions that WOULD NOT BE FITTING in the Lord. For instance:

  • it is not fitting in the Lord for a woman to submit to sexual intercourse if she suspects that he has been sleeping around and may have HIV Aids, ‘No I will not have sex with you’
  • it is not fitting in the Lord for a woman to submit her hard earned money to her husband if all he does is spend it on drink or gambling or prostitutes, ‘No you may not spend my money on alcohol’
  • it is not fitting in the Lord for a woman to submit to godless decisions regarding her home and children, be it to sell her children, join in abuse of her children, reject the child, harm or hate the child, ‘No you may not harm my children’ , ‘No my child is not for sale’, ‘No you may not live in this home if you molest one of the children.’
  • it is not fitting in the Lord for a woman to submit to lies and pretence,‘No I will not live falsehoods with you.’

68 The bigger responsibility goes to leaders: “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows’ houses, and for pretence you make long prayers; therefore you will receive the greater condemnation.” Matthew 23:13-14 NASB

69 We can check our motives around money and tithe by this simple test: Would you take the healing of Jesus to the marketplace and very quietly and discreetly heal people? Or, do you need people to come to your church so that their healing can be connected to your payment from their tithe?

70 Without the spirit of the law we end up in excess and exaggeration. For instance, and in regards to tithing: 

• Theletterofthelawsays‘youmusttithe10%’
versus The spirit of the law says ‘live a life that trusts in the Lord’

• Theletterofthelawsays‘you give to god and he will take care of you’
versus The spirit of the law says ‘god is taking care of you, out of that live generously’

• Theletterofthelawsays‘a tithe must be 10%’
versus The spirit of the law says ‘give your life away, the tithe is only a starting point

=>  We continue our learning with Chapter 70: Restitution Boundaries

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