Cheer UP! Podcast

Approaching Delicate Discussions on Faith, Church Hurt, and Human Sexuality

June 21, 2023 Cheer UP! Podcast Season 3 Episode 116
Cheer UP! Podcast
Approaching Delicate Discussions on Faith, Church Hurt, and Human Sexuality
Cheer UP! Podcast
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Navigating challenging conversations, such as speaking the truth in love, can be tough. In our discussion, we emphasize the significance of prayer and discernment before stepping out in faith to confront wrong-doing. We also explore the complexities of church hurt and the dangers of assuming the worst in other Christians. Our insights will help guide you through these delicate situations with grace and wisdom.

Lastly, we shed light on the intricate world of human sexuality, its impact on our lives, and relationships. Our attitude is crucial when engaging in these conversations. Join us in this enlightening episode and expand your understanding of how to communicate about human sexuality, and other challenging topics. Don't miss out on our website link where you can delve deeper into these discussions.

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Speaker 1:

Hi and welcome to the Cheer Up podcast. I am your host, carole R Hunt, and with me is the lovely and beautiful Sherry Swarwell. How are you doing?

Speaker 2:

today, sherry, i am doing fantastic. I can tell that it is June because I can hear the birds singing outside through the windows. The windows are closed and yet I can still hear them. And we have already seen indigo buntings and Baltimore Orioles and rose something and the little ruby color under their neck. All this year already. We have seen so many early and I am loving it.

Speaker 1:

I know and on my front porch I have one, two, three, maybe four hanging baskets, of all of them full flowers. Okay, f-a-u-x. Full flowers in these baskets right, but they look real. They look real and just these nice little full baskets out there. They are like greenery and everything else and we put them out there in the spring, lo and behold. It is just. Maybe one or two of those full baskets have birds nest in them. Look at, the birds have found a way to make their home in those little baskets. And I always find it funny and I am like you would think they were true something real, you know, like a real tree branch and the heaven knows we have lots of trees around our property, you know or anything else, and I am like but they like my little fake stuff. Isn't that funny? Yes, and I am going. Why are you guys?

Speaker 1:

you know, and I thought it was cute, though I did get mad at the birds the other day because I also have another plant on my front porch and it is like full tall grass. I can't think of the name of the grass, but it has got like little furry, little strings on it and you see it going in a wild field and I don't know. It is about three feet tall or whatever, and it just really adds color to the porch without me having to maintain. My front porch is covered, so getting sun for real plants to grow and thrive is difficult. Yes, yes.

Speaker 1:

You know, it is just very, very difficult. All my sun, i mean the majority of my sun, is on my deck, which is where I have the real flowers, you know, because it just hits it hard and it stays there for a minute. So me trying to grow real flowers on the front is just, except for the ones I have in, like my little wildflower section, the ones that are covered by the porch they just won't thrive. But anyways, i have this three foot one and it has like these little fur feathery things on it and the birds were just picking them. I watched her put in a whole mothful of them. She picked every little pluck Oh, i would be mad. She picked every. she kept picking plucks and plucks, and plucks and plucks and she had a whole mothful of these furry little strings, you know, and everything, and then she would fly up to one of those little baskets that she was making her nest at and I'm like no, you're the one. I keep wondering what is happening you know, You're the one.

Speaker 1:

She had like a whole mothful of them, you know, and her beak, you know, and they were just laying there, you know, inside her beak, and she just picked some more, picked some more, picked some more, and she had like a whole lot of them in her beak and then she fly up there and I guess she was just making it soft for her little babies. That was on the way, you know, or do I have that wrong? I'm saying she, it's the male birds that go out and gather, wait a minute. No, i think it's the women. Is it the women birds? Okay. The female birds, okay. Is it them that go ahead? you know that, go and do the nesting, Okay.

Speaker 2:

And I have a question for you Is she mothering or is she home decorating? Is she your interior designer? because she's rearranging your floral arrangement. She is completely rearranging my arrangement, You know completely.

Speaker 1:

I'm like, wait a minute, where did that come from? Like I didn't put that in there, you know. And then you know she'll sit there, and then she'll go on top of my little tall grass thing and she'll sit there, she'll sing, she'll talk, you know whatever, and then she'll just, you know, grab the little things or whatever, and then she'll just take them back up there And I'm like you're lucky, you're cute, you're lucky.

Speaker 2:

Well, people pay hundreds of thousands of dollars and you're getting it for free.

Speaker 1:

I know right, i'm just trying to help you out a little bit here. Okay, you know, you just need some more color in these little baskets.

Speaker 2:

I'm just helping you out, you know. so it's really really funny.

Speaker 1:

You know, and we have, a right in front of the house is a huge sugar maple where a lot of them live. A lot of different birds live in there and it's this time of year she's full of bloom, right, she just fully covered in trees. And I remember my neighbor said one time because they don't have a tree in their yard yet, or not a sugar maple, i should say, and I think she said she closed the car door one time early in the morning and all these birds came out. Oh my God, she's like care. All these birds came out of your tree. I'm like I know there's so many of them in that tree you can't even see them until, like a loud noise surprises them, you know, and then all of a sudden it's like you're all these flutter of wings, you know, and then they just fly. So they love that sugar maple.

Speaker 2:

We have a sugar maple too, and that's where we have our bird feeders. And yes, you're right, they congregate there, but they do love our sugar maple. I love it. It's probably the best.

Speaker 1:

I know, yeah, i name our trees, so she's Hadassah. You know, hannah is in a bag, she's a Colorado aspen, you know, and everything else. But yeah, and I think Hadassah loves the company. She gets lonely doing a winter, so it all works out.

Speaker 2:

You know all her friends come back in spring.

Speaker 1:

That's important.

Speaker 2:

That's important.

Speaker 1:

That's very, very important. So, for those of you who may just now be joining us, welcome to the Cheer Up podcast, this episode well, actually this whole, if you've been listening, at least for the month of June that we are talking about the classic literature book, the Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis, and so if you want to look up that book or buy the book, or download the book, the e-book or whatnot, it's The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis And again, i believe the first original came out in 1941. There have been multiple reprints since then. So I think, whichever publisher or whatnot you go with, i think they all just or the same original, just perhaps different publishers. And we are talking about The Screwtape Letters and this is our third, i think, episode on it. We're going to be talking about it for the month of June, july and August.

Speaker 1:

And why are we talking about The Screwtape Letters? The Screwtape Letters is exactly what it says it is. It's letters from Screwtape, and Screwtape is a demon And he is writing letters to his nephew, wormwood. And so Wormwood has just acquired, as they say, a new patient or a human, and he's trying to lead him down a garden path, as they say. Lead him down a road of destruction, and so that's what he's doing. He's a low-level demon and his uncle, screwtape, is writing him letters on how best to handle the human to get him to end up in hell with him and his friends and their quote-unquote father, who we all know to be Satan. So we went into depth, a little bit more in depth, about the book and about the scriptures relating to demons in the Bible, and we did a lot of that in the very first episode of this series that we're talking about and that is on the June 7th episode. So if you want to go back and you want to look at the scriptures about demons and how they can manipulate people, how they can possess people, how they can oppress people and even animals, where did demons come from? all of that? We gave a list of scriptures and everything else in that June 7th episode and just a little bit more about the book and why we're covering it.

Speaker 1:

And the book has 31 chapters and each episode for the month of June, july and August, we're just going to take a chapter and talk about the main topic of that chapter, and so today we are with letter number two or chapter two, depending on, i think, which version of the book you get. It may say letter, it may say chapter, but we're talking about letter number two in the book, and so this episode is titled Love of Neighbor versus Hatred. And letter two is interesting in the fact that when you read letter two And again, these letters are not very long because it's just from one demon to the other, from Uncle Demon to Nephew Demon, and the uncle is just, he's just writing letters on trying to school the younger demon on how to properly do things. Well, and letter number two Uncle Screwtape is pretty upset. He is upset that Wormwood, his nephew Wormwood, has allowed his human to become a Christian, and because Wormwood has been assigned to him before the, he refers to it as the patient, but before the human became a Christian. And so now Uncle Screwtape finds out that his nephew Wormwood has somehow dropped the ball and let the young man become a Christian, and he's upset about it, He's disappointed in it And he says he's going to be punished for it, but to nevertheless not to lose hope because there's still work to be done, why he's a very young and immature Christian And so he's like we're going to.

Speaker 1:

I want you to put thoughts into his brain about his spiritual immaturity and an effort to win him back over to our side, meaning the dark side. He's like no need to despair. We got this. I mean, you dropped the ball on this one, but it's not over yet. Right? The fat lady hasn't sung. He's new to this whole Christianity thing, so we still got some ground to work with.

Speaker 1:

And these are the things and thoughts and ways I want you to influence him and the thoughts I need you to put into his mind and everything like that. And one of the things he suggests is like what we're going to do is, when he starts going to church, i want you to start highlighting the strange and crazy habits of the people sitting around him and the hypocrisy of it. Like that guy over there isn't that the local grocer, and wasn't he doing something with someone else? or something like that? And you don't have him focus on the hypocrisy of the people around him, having focused on his own spiritual maturity. Like can I really do this? Like I've never read the Bible, i've never done this, and so that's what he is trying to do. He is trying to distract the young Christians mind. Wow, what did you think about letter two, sherry?

Speaker 2:

I think, to be honest with you, it is so apropos for this whole book is so apropos for society today Because I think that, with the mentality that we have of you can't offend anybody. You have to be careful, you know, don't offend, don't offend, which is true, like, like you want to when you go to church. Well, okay, so I've always heard the phrase hurt people, hurt people. Her people are the ones that should be at church, like the church is for the sick, not the healthy. Yes, there are healthy people at church, but everybody, everybody has issues And regardless of how much freedom God gives us, we live in an imperfect world, so we're always going to pick up more issues, like we're never going to be free from issues until we're in heaven. So hurt people, hurt people. Something to keep in mind. There are healthy people at church, but even healthy people get hurt. So our focus needs to be on our relationship with God.

Speaker 2:

It's that whole mind shifting that we were talking about earlier in, was it? I think it was in June 7th that we were talking about the whole mind shift. Oh, yeah, the June 7th episode, right, yeah, when we have that, that mind shift, or that, that, that mind, you just have to shift your mindset a little bit. You don't have to change it completely.

Speaker 2:

But when we shift our mindset from looking around us and judging everything that could go wrong to what do you want to teach me and how can I be a blessing, it makes all the difference in the world And that is the, i think, the difference between the heart of a believer and somebody who who is not living with, with a heavenly focus or a and I'm not saying that non-believers can't, can't be, you know, kind and loving and and have a mind focus of, or a mindset of, how can I be a blessing to others? I'm not saying that. I'm just saying the Holy Spirit is the one that helps me do it. I know that if I didn't have the Holy Spirit living in me, i would be a heck of a lot crabbier Than what I am. I'm just saying that, oh yeah.

Speaker 1:

And and who knows what type of road we will be on. to be truthful, Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, exactly. But then again, i think that in today's society we also have to prayerfully, when there's something going on at our church and we're given that nudge by the Holy Spirit, And I'm not okay I guess I shouldn't just say church but when there's something going on that we see, whether it's in our circle of friends, whether it's in our job, whether it's in our church, whether it's in our community group, whether it's in a after school activity or a Bible study, whatever it is, whatever kind of activity that we do, if there is something there that grieves the Holy Spirit or that gives us that nudge, then I think we need to prayerfully bring it before the Holy Spirit and say is this something that you want me to speak the truth and love about? Because sometimes they're doing it willingly and willfully and they're sitting on purpose because they don't care, and sometimes it's a pride thing, and then sometimes they just truly don't know. Like I had an example in a different church that I went to and my husband and I were serving, and it was the first time my husband had ever served, and the youth pastor who we were serving under was he was showing favoritism, he was just, it was just very blatantly obvious And I didn't want to say anything to him. I thought, okay, he's just being a jerk, Maybe that's just the way he is. That's not my business. God, you deal with him. I don't want to deal with him.

Speaker 2:

And God said, no, he needs somebody to point it out to him in love. He needs somebody who's going to show him that he'll listen to. And I'm like, well, that's not me. And God's like, well, yeah, kind of is I'm like giving you that assignment, are you going to take it or not? And I literally wrestled with it with God for months because I was a people pleaser and I didn't want to ruffle feathers. I didn't really necessarily care about him. I'm not saying that in a rude way, but I'm saying I didn't care if I offended him, necessarily because I didn't have like a deep friendship with him. I just didn't like to ruffle feathers in general And I didn't want to be seen as that person. And so, but God wouldn't let me let it go.

Speaker 2:

And so I asked for, i called for, a meeting with him, went there shaking the whole time. I'm like I just do not want to be doing this. He was even in the meeting. He was very rushed, he was very rude, he was very abrasive. He was like I mean, it was very obvious, let's get this over with. I have better things to do, i don't want to even be spending my afternoon with you, type of a thing.

Speaker 2:

And his assumption was that I was complaining about one of the workers, one of his right hand men, and he said so, this is about so and so isn't it. And I said no, i said actually it's about you. And he the look on his face and he truly repented, like God used that incident. I'm not saying God used me. I'm saying God used that incident for true repentance for this man. He had no idea that he was acting that way or that he was, that his actions were so hurtful And he literally changed 180 degrees and God used that in his life. So that's what I'm getting at.

Speaker 2:

Is that, yes, we need to go to church and we need to be focused on worship, our relationship with God and how we can bless others. But sometimes God uses us to speak the truth and love to others. But you better be prayed up. You better know that, know that, you know that. You know that. You know that it's God telling you to do it, that it's an assignment from him and not just you have a grudge against somebody and then you need to take it like, saturate it in prayer before you even attempt to do it. Probably not wait as long as I did, because I think God was probably like come on, sherry, i asked you to do this three months ago. He also knows me very well, so he knows that. You know I take a little bit of time, but I do.

Speaker 1:

Let me prepare her now, because it's going to take a minute Exactly.

Speaker 2:

So that is kind of what I got out of that chapter, Sarah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and it's so important, like you said, that you important that you just say that, because a lot of times and I have to ask myself this in various relationships, whether it's family relationships or friendships I have to ask myself, and even when I was, and even if you're in a working environment I work from home now, so I don't necessarily have this issue anymore But even in coworker, you know, type situations when I feel like something needs to be addressed, i have to. One of the first questions I have to ask myself is what is my motivation? And I have to rule out sour grapes, right? Am I sour about something or something they did, or the way they responded, you know, or something like that. And if I'm not completely sure, i'm like you, i will wait it out And I'm like, ok, god, if this is you, you know what I'm saying, just keep you know, he'll keep reminding you. And I'm like, ok, this isn't sour grapes, this really just does need to be addressed. And so that that is very, very, very important to be able to do that, whether it's with a church person or a church friend or member of the congregation or whatnot, but it is. But you know, it's in this particular case, he's Uncle Skute is encouraging warm wood nephew, warm wood, to intentionally, purposely, try to do anything he can, starting with his thought life, influencing his thought life, the young Christian thought life, to bring him over to the dark side, to kind of guarantee him a path down a dark path. And he's just like you know. Let's just start with this, let him focus on the wrongs of everybody else.

Speaker 1:

And I remember a family member telling me one time that they had got turned off, like significantly turned off, like this just really really bothered them by something that had happened in their church because they had grown up, grow, they had grew up from a young person, you know, into this church until, like almost like a young adult, i believe to, where they felt like they knew the people and everything in the leadership and trusted them. So when the worship leader, who was married, was found out to be having a relationship with one of the choir members or something who was also married, it just really set them on a path of no one in church can be trusted, right, because he was like, but I knew these people and you know, and I knew their wives and I knew her husband and everything else. And then they come to find out that they were secretly having an affair for years and no one knew about it until recently. You know. He just felt like the trust was broken And by default he was like well, if I can't trust them and I've been knowing them since I was young then who can I trust in church? They're all a bunch of hypocrites.

Speaker 1:

And that is exactly what Uncle Screwtape was trying to tell his nephew Wormwood. Get them to focus on something else, because we need them out of church. We don't need them praying, we don't need them studying the word, we do not need them to hear a good, sound biblical doctrine. We need to focus them on something else. That would not only get them out of church but prayerfully get him to think that all Christians are hypocrites and that they're all alike and that none of them can be trusted. And then that leaves a wide open door for you to influence him and his thoughts into a whole different, dark path and almost guarantee him, guarantee him a place down here with us.

Speaker 2:

So how do you counteract that Kara?

Speaker 1:

Well, like this particular family member, they had someone in her life who was like you can't judge, you know the acts of two people. When it's all said and done, we have to remember okay, we have to remember that whether they've been in church for five minutes or 50 years, they are still human, they still bleed red, they are still sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. We are in a sinful world And, even though it was a shock and it was a betrayal, in cases like this, when it's a shock and a betrayal, we have to remember that they are still human. They made a horrible, horrible, horrible mistake. For years they lived in secret and in darkness, and that comes with its own type of prison. So it's not like they are going to get away with that, but God is going to deal with them on that. Right, god would deal with that. And we have to realize that people are human And we also have to say oh, my goodness, lord, i am hurt, i am broken. I am so broken I have such church.

Speaker 1:

Hurt takes on so many various forms. Right, in this case it was the worship leader and one of the choir members, or whatever. In other cases it could be spiritual abuses by your pastor, your reverend, your bishop or your priest or something like that, and to where they are saying, you know well, god says you have to do this, or God says you are not supposed to do that, or you are not. You know what I am saying When they take the abuse to a level that it is not supposed to be taken, and the same thing with other congregants, you know, and things like that. So church hurt comes in various forms. Okay, and so all of us could be subject to it at one time or another, and sometimes it hurts and it cuts deep because we are feeling like the people that we thought we knew the best, who you know, we did Bible study with for years, who we went to church with for years, like how could they hurt me like that, how could they spread that lie about me? How could they, you know, cheat on their wife like that? How could they make a pass at my husband like that? How could they treat my kids like that? You know it hurts and it cuts and it goes deep sometimes, but we have to keep in mind that we have to keep in mind that those people are not representations of God when they do that Their actions. If they're not God-like actions, they were not God-ordained. It is as simple as that. That just because they're bad and Christians, the label Christian pretty much means a representative of Christ.

Speaker 1:

But, as all of us Christians know, we are not always the best representatives. Right, you know at? you know, at times, just watch some people in traffic, you know that have like the little symbol of the fish on a bumper, you know, and they have a scripture. But yet you see them in traffic and they're like swearing and doing things. You know at, people who are doing erratic driving, you know. So we're not always the best representatives.

Speaker 1:

We have to separate the people and what they do from the God above, the God of love, the God, the most high God. That is not him, that is them. God has given people their own human will. They can do what they want to do, you know, and a lot of times does God ordain that? No, he's probably been ministering and talking to them and to them about their behavior and the seeing that they're working in for a long time. They just decided they didn't want to give it up at whatever particular moment in time, for whatever reason. That does no representation of God, that is them that made their own choices to do that. So you can't associate that with what those people do with the God above, who is the God of love, because the most awesome thing about all of that is that, despite all of that betrayal, despite the people they hurt, including their own families and their spouses if they truly repent, god will welcome them like none of that even happened.

Speaker 1:

And we got to remember that, because when it who knows, when one day, we make that one mistake that everyone's going to be looking at and be like, oh my goodness, i just didn't think that you would ever, you know, say that. Do that be a part of that. And so we want, have to, you know, extend grace. We have to extend mercy. We have to pray for God to heal the hurt so that we can move on, sometimes with them, sometimes not, depending on if they're repenting of their repented, if they were repenting hard of their behavior, you know. Then of course, you know, we can bring them back into our inner circle again If they're not and they're like Yeah, no, we haven't done a prayer, we plan on to keep having a prayer and can you keep quiet about it, okay, well then you don't want any part of that, now that you know right, so you're not going to be a part of that, can you still pray for them and pray that you know, god, that they do the right thing Absolutely.

Speaker 1:

Do you still have to keep company with that? No, as a matter of fact, you don't want to, or things like that. We have to extend mercy, We have to send grace, we have to extend forgiveness if they're repenting hard, but most of all, we have got to ask God to heal our heart, our broken heart about it, because if not, the enemy ceases that opportunity to pull you out of that church, away from the good godly friends not the bad ones, the good godly friends and isolate you And into thinking all of this is bogus, all of this is fake news, all of those Christians, everything the pastor said in church is the Bible even real, and everything else. And then you're down a dark, dark, dark path that could possibly last years and could, more importantly, cost you your eternal soul. The whole time, the demonic influencers that put all of that in place and put all those thoughts in your mind are laughing. They're like that was a lot easier than I thought it would be, and now we got them and we got our claws in them and he's not even going to go back.

Speaker 1:

He's so disturbed, so upset about what happened that has completely changed his path. Now we got him in our eyes, sights, and then when he dies, he's ours. We have to pay attention to that. We have got to pay attention, we've got to start seeing things with spiritual ears and eyes and not just our physical ones, because just how God pursues us and he rules our heart to have a relationship with him, you have someone else who is manipulating and deceiving and be guiling and bewitching and doing all these other things to make sure that you do not fall in love with your Savior And heaven forbid, have good Christian, bible-believer, christians in your circle who can help build you up when you go down. So we have got to be very, very careful of that. Hopefully that answered your question, sherry.

Speaker 2:

Oh, perfectly, perfectly. And I think the only thing that I want to add to everything that you said was that forgiveness is so important. We need to make sure that we stay. If we have a grudge that we're holding, we need to make sure that we stay. Forgiven up. Forgiven up because that is one of the main ways, or that is one of the sneaky ways, for the enemy to get into our soul and to erode us with bitterness and hatred and hardness. That's a way that God or not God, sorry that's a way that the enemy likes to harden our hearts, and there's nothing worse than having a hardened heart as far as drawing us away from God and making us think that well, making us start to believe the lies of the enemy. So I guess I just want to really encourage people that church hurt is real. Church hurt is hard, like you said, it's one of the hardest ones to get through. But you do not want to let the enemy get a foothold. You don't want to let him get a pathway into your soul by holding a grudge, being bitter or not forgiving, choosing not to forget, because, like you said, you're talking about your eternal soul with this and that's how serious it really is.

Speaker 2:

So if you want to talk to us more about any of what we just talked about today, if you want to do it privately, you can give us an email at cheeruppodcastcom. Or if you want to start a discussion on the Facebook group, we would love to have you start one and we would love to join in. All you have to do is go over to Facebook and look up Cheer Up Podcasts. As Kara has said multiple times in the past, you do not need to answer any questions. There's no test involved. You just click on it and you're there. You belong Head over to Kara's website, karaahuntcom or shareysquadwellcom, and you can check out the different things that we have there.

Speaker 2:

I hope that you will join us at our website, but, more importantly, we hope that you will come back next week. We're going to be talking about human sexuality. It can be a hot topic at times, but come back next week and see how we tackle it. Have a great rest of your week. I hope that you are truly enjoying your summer days I hope they're long and lazy to an extent and, more importantly, that you feel blessed. Have a great week. We will see you next week. Thanks for being here.

Birds, Flowers, and the Screwtape Letters
Speaking Truth in Love
Dealing With Church Hurt
Join Us for Human Sexuality Discussion