Beauty From Ashes Videos


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Suffering From Prejudice


Miriam-Webster’s Definition of Prejudice:

1 :injury or damage resulting from some judgment or action of another in disregard of one's rights ; especially: detriment to one's legal rights or claims
2 a (1) :preconceived judgment or opinion (2):an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge b: an instance of such judgment or opinion c: an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics

What a shame, what folly to give advice before listening to the facts. Proverbs 18:13
Intelligent people are always open to new ideas. In fact they look for them. Proverbs 18:15
Any story sounds true, until someone sets the record straight. Proverbs 18:17

Ever been falsely accused of something? Ever realize that someone is desperately trying to discredit you or slander you? Has God exposed evidence of people passing judgement upon you when you know they haven’t even bothered to ask you your side of the story?

It hurts & unfortunately it occurs everyday and every one of us has suffered the devastating effects of such prejudice. Is it right? Absolutely not, but in a fallen (sinful) world, it happens and we are faced with how to react to such circumstances.

We have options; we can take matters into our own hands and defend ourselves. There is scripture that addresses this methodology and it states “don’t defend yourselves, vengeance is mine says the Lord” (Romans 12:19-20). God will not be mocked and what a person sows he shall reap. (Galatians 6:7) Or we can release the matter to the God and let Him handle it.

“Well, Julie”, you say, “that’s all fine and dandy, but what about the fact that they have lied and the evidence of the strife, jealousy, control and division is so obvious?! Besides that, they really hurt me!”

God tells us that we must forgive our brother (or sister) 70 times 7, or as many times as they ask. (Matthew 18:21-22) That may seem really hard, especially depending on the depth of the wound that others have inflicted upon you. Be assured that with God all things are possible. (Luke 19:26) Ask the Lord to help you do this. Forgive so that your sins will be forgiven. (Matthew 18:21-35)

I know from experience that when you choose to not forgive someone, it will eventually result in bitterness and finally rebellion against God. You don’t want to go there, for this will result in separation from God: His protection, His guidance & blessings. My decision to not forgive led me to a decade of captivity: hopelessness, anger, confusion, resentment, adultery, drug addictions, suicidal tendencies and the involvement in the industry of adult entertainment, sexual exploitation and trafficking - a slow, gradual, downward destructive spiral in my life.

Since I recommitted my life (repented of my sins, asked Jesus to come back into my heart & yielded to His word), I have had plenty of opportunities to take up (hold on & refuse to forgive & release into God’s hands) an offense (a wrong or a perceived wrong done to you by another). Choosing to hold onto the offense will literally kill you spiritually, mentally and in some cases affect you adversely physically. I have heard it said that not forgiving someone is like drinking the cup of poison meant for the other person. Ew, you don't want to do this!

I couldn’t begin to count all the offenses I have experienced in the past 6 years and beyond. Nor would I want to, for that is not the purpose of this message. I will tell you that every time I was betrayed or promised something that never came to pass, it hurt deeply and regardless of how many times it happens; processing those feelings is always a challenge. However, the more it does happen and you handle it with a biblical perspective, realizing that nothing happens to you that God does not allow and that He is perfecting His character in you, it does enable you to not spend as much time being stuck there. You do learn to forgive and move on knowing you can trust God to be faithful to calm you or the storm in the middle of what you're facing.

I don’t know what has happened to you that was unfair or how you have been judged wrongly, but I know Someone that was betrayed & treated the same way. His demonstration to us while still hanging on the cross, illegally judged, physically beaten beyond human recognition, was to ask, ‘Father, forgive these people because they don’t know what they are doing.’ (Luke 23:34)

I’m sorry for the wounds and hurts that have happened to you and know full well what it feels like, but we must choose to follow Christ’s example of forgiveness. No, they might not deserve to be forgiven, but we don’t deserve to be forgiven for our sins either. For while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) A person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as the one who has broken all of God’s laws.(James 2:10) God graciously, through Jesus Christ, does forgive them & us because He paid the price for all our sins.

It may seem like the toughest thing you have ever had to do and you might think it’s impossible to do. Believe me, I did too! I encourage you to ask the Lord to help you and I know He will. He has helped me to forgive many, many, many offenses. You may have to speak out loud that you forgive that person that wronged you even if you don’t feel like you have. You may have to say it over and over and over and over and over and over again and again. It’s a process, depending on the deepness of the wound(s). I still have to do this at times.

Just do it and trust Christ that He will heal you. Love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8) the Bible says that by His (Jesus Christ) stripes (wounds, cuts & abrasions) we are healed (Isaiah 53:3). Remember too, that wounded people hurt other people. Choose to forgive them & pray for those that have hurt you. (Matthew 5:44)

And to avoid being a victim to that controlling, judgmental, jealous spirit of Jezebel and being able to make sound decisions, Proverbs 18 gives us three basic principles:

1) Get the facts before answering.
2) Be open to new ideas.
3) Make sure you hear both sides of the story before judging.

All three principles center on seeking additional information. This is difficult work, but the only alternative is prejudice.

If you have realized that you’ve been prejudiced towards another, ask the Lord to forgive you. For some of you, it may entail asking forgiveness from the individual(s) you judged. I pray that you will submit to the Holy Spirit, as I know that He will not direct incorrectly and His perfect will is for you to be free from prejudice & unforgiveness.

Remember too, that God’s word says that the world will know us (brothers and sisters in Christ) by our love for one with another. (John 13:35) God calls for unity in His church (that’s cross-denominational) and it grieves Him when this is not happening. (Ephesians 4:30-31)

Don’t let prejudice and unforgiveness hold you back from becoming all that God destined and purposed you to be. Freedom is calling you, will you respond? My prayer for you is that you will make sound decisions, not suffer from prejudice or be influenced by any spirits other than the Holy Spirit. May God give you the revelation of who He is & who you are in Him. You are more than an over-comer!

©2009 Julie Shematz

Pastor Julie Shematz is an educated fine artist and alumnus of Indiana University who enjoys horseback riding, cooking and gardening. Ordained as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with Word of Life Ministries, she is over-comer of growing up fatherless, rape, depression, attempted suicides, abortion, divorce, drug addiction, sexual exploitation & trafficking. Passionate about preventing sexual exploitation and assisting victims to become over-comers, she is the founder of Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries and resides in Fort Myers, FL with her husband Steve and their dachshund, Jehu.

If this message has touched you in any way, or you are struggling with forgiveness or prejudice, please contact us. We’d like to hear from you, pray for you & encourage you that forgiveness is possible.

Submissions for FREEDOM'S CALLING Over-Comer's Blog: CLICK HERE

Please join us & intercessors world wide for theCALL2XXX from 8-9am EST every Friday to pray for the sex industry, victims of sexual exploitation & the ministries working to make a difference. Prayer guide: CLICK HERE

Florida Gulf Coast University Division of Justice Studies, in collaboration with Continuing Education and Off-Campus Programs, and in partnership with Lee County Sheriff's Office, presents "Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking - Identification and Response to the Victims" part of the Human Slavery Symposium Series II, 2009-10, 8:30 a.m. to noon, Thursday, July 30 at the Sugden Welcome Center. The program is free and open to the public; registration and refreshments are from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

Our 4TH ANNUAL STRIP CLUB OUTREACH & XXX MINISTRY TRAINING here in Fort Myers has been RESCHEDULED to Sept 1-3. We'll be partnering up with Word of Life Ministries for their Worship Conference featuring Robert Stearns, Rick Pino & JoAnn McFadder Sept 3-5. More information coming soon.



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