Dear Christians: Just shut up about Dylann Roof

I sit here with a broken heart.  A deeply troubled young man has taken the lives of so many precious people.  My heart aches.

I am on Facebook (which is sometimes good, sometimes bad).  Today, it’s bad.  I’m reading of great leaders of our churches calling Dylann a “racist little punk,” “evil-hearted monster” and saying he should be hung or lined up in front of a firing squad.  A friend of mine I went to Bible college with posted:  “I hope he doesn’t get off on an insanity plea, what he did was just plain evil and he deserves the chair.”  His own uncle stated “He’ll get no sympathy from us” and ““He’s going to pay for what he’s done, I’d pull the switch myself, if they’d let me.”

If these statements reflect what you are feeling, stop reading now because I’m only going to tick you off.  Seriously – so stop.

 

DylannRoof_

First, I cannot hate this young man.  “Whoever hates is still in the dark, stumbles around in the dark, doesn’t know which end is up, blinded by the darkness.”  (1 Jn. 2:11)  If I hate him, how am I any better than he is?  Don’t stop reading just because there’s Bible verses thrown in there.  Hear me out (but there will be more verses).

Not only am I not able to hate him, I must love him.  “The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God because God is love – so you can’t know him if you don’t love.”  (1 Jn. 4:8)  I don’t get to choose who I hate and who I love.  I’m commanded to love.  Period.

“Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.”  Eph. 4:32  Who the heck do I think I am to not offer forgiveness and love to others?  Can I disagree with Dylann’s actions?  Absolutely!

Satan used this young man to bring so much misery to so many people.  Did you get that?  SATAN used this man.  This man was originally created for a charlestonGodly purpose.  God has his eyes on him and lovingly created him for a reason.  Somewhere along the way, satan got his hands on Dylann.  What difference could someone loving him had made?  I read somewhere online “He almost changed his mind because they were so nice.”

What if he heard reports of his uncle saying “We love you” rather than “Ride the lightening”?  I hope he is hearing the message of the victims’ families saying:

‘You hurt me. You hurt a lot of people. But God forgives you. I forgive you.’

Gary and Aurelia Washington, center left and right, the son and granddaughter of Ethel Lance who died in Wednesday's shooting, leave a sidewalk memorial in front of Emanuel AME Church comforted by fellow family members Thursday, June 18, 2015, in Charleston, S.C. Dylann Storm Roof, 21, was arrested Thursday in the slayings of several people, including the pastor at a prayer meeting inside the historic black church. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
(AP Photo/David Goldman)

No, they were not my family members he murdered.  How can I talk about love and forgiveness when I’m not the one affected?  But you know what, the victims families ARE talking about forgiveness.  According to news.Yahoo.com – “Relatives of the Charleston church shooting victims gave emotional statements during Dylann Roof’s initial court appearance Friday, some of them breaking into sobs as one after another they told the man suspected of killing their loved ones that they forgive him.”

Now, whether you believe in God or not, THIS ought to make you think.  Dylann didn’t show any signs of remorse.  He didn’t ask forgiveness from anyone.  Yet they have offered forgiveness to him anyway.  Through their pain, maybe even hatred towards Dylann, they are forgiving him.  Why?  Because they follow this crazy man named Jesus, you know, the one who sat with drunks, had patience with jerks, hung out with sluts and had dinners with thieves.  The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is modeling what it means to truly follow this Jesus character.  Not just going to church Sunday mornings when it’s convenient,  not just when it’s easy but when it’s really, really hard.  They are showing Jesus to the world right now.

So now for my special note to Christians specifically.  The world is watching.  They’re watching what the victims’ families are saying.  They’re watching how the church responds, they are watching how YOU respond.  When you say things like you hope he fries, you look exactly like the rest of the world.  There is no light in that.  Jesus calls us to be the light of the world, set apart and showing love.  Pray for these families who have lost loved ones.  Pray for Dylann.  These families know where their loved ones are.  They are sad but they know.  Dylann’s soul is lost and needing saved right now.  Pray for these families but also pray for Dylann.  My Mama always told me if I didn’t have anything nice to say, to not say anything at all.  So, I’ll put it to you this way:  Church, if you cannot reflect the heart of Jesus, just shut up about Dylann Roof.  You’re only feeding what the world thinks about “those Christians” if you only spew more hate.

Advertisements

Confessions of a Food Addict in Recovery

So I’ve been on this journey for an entire week now… guess that doesn’t quite make me an expert now, does it?  But I have started and I will finish this.  I’ll re-cap for those of you just discovering this food addict’s blog.  I am Tammy Lanham and I am a food addict.  I have been sober for most of the past week.  Definition of sober:  showing no excessive or extreme qualities of fancy, emotion or prejudice.  The “excessive” part is where I have problems.  I eat to relieve stress, calm me down and when I’m emotional.  I use it as a drug.  I have been comparing this struggle to an alcoholics struggle with becoming sober.  Thank goodness, I have never had to fight the horrid battle an alcoholic faces but I’m battling my own demon, the demon of overeating.  I do not belittle an alcoholic’s struggle in the least – in fact, since I’ve started viewing my own battle as an addiction, I can better appreciate what an alcoholic goes through, although I am sure I still haven’t a clue. 

You see, I’ve tried losing weight for the better part of my adult life.  It’s my genes, right?  Not my fault so might as well have another doughnut, right?  Maybe it’s my thyroid…  See the problem?  I’ve made excuses all my life.  I’ve made bad food decisions all my life.  I’ve belonged to gyms, gone to weekly weight loss support groups and been on more diets than I can count.  I didn’t even want to set any goals (resolutions) this year because I set the same goal every year:  “to lose weight” and every year, I get frustrated and fall off the wagon.  So I waited until mid-January and with very little gusto, decided to try this thing one more time.  And I might add, this was about the same time (okay, the exact same day) that my 7 year old daughter with her nose sneered in disgust quietly told me in a dressing room at the clothing store that “Mommy, your legs are fat.”  Crushed me into a million little pieces.  Still puts a lump in my throat just thinking about it.  It was a very low moment for me. 

I contacted my life coach Brian Osher and he set my wheels into motion.  You see, I’ve lost weight tons of time (and gained even more back) but I have never done THIS before – I have never tried to beat an addiction, to remedy a disease.  I have to view it this way so my brain doesn’t tell me “You’ve done this a million times before and it never works.”  I have to scream at my brain to “shut up!”  So I’m telling it that I’m overcoming a disease – an addiction that has taken hold of me and is literally trying to kill me.

I hate exercise.  I know that healthy eating AND exercise are the keys to beating this but I HATE exercise.  At the end of my coaching session last Tuesday, Brian asked me to set a goal for the week.  My goal was to climb onto my eliptical machine (the one that’s sitting in the basement collecting dust… yeah, that one) for at least 5 minutes every day.  Okay, Brian, I can commit to that.  And I did it!  In fact, now I’m doing 8 minutes a day.  And this week, I’ve committed to doing that every day and adding in one Christian yoga session.  Baby steps…  a little at the time. 

Here’s a shocker – I eat pretty healthy.  Some of my favorite snacks are dried banana chips, sunflower seeds and dried apples.  I eat whole wheat pastas and breads.  I eat lean red meat and organic veggies and fruits.  The problem is that I don’t know when to stop.  I eat all the time – I think the proper terminology is “grazing.”  I’m not really hungry, I just eat because I happen to be walking through the kitchen as the cabinet doors fly open, grab me and pull me over while shoving yummy snacks down my throat… at least that’s what it feels like.  So this week’s goal is to cut out second helpings and stop grazing.  I can have a snack but I have to put it in a small bowl (make it a portion) and sit down & enjoy it.  No more sitting a bag of chips on the counter and eating out of it until half of it is gone.  To help me remember to stay out of the cabinets, I have a rubberband holding the handles of the cabinets together.  Sometimes, I wish I had a padlock… but the rubberband will do. 

Another baby step I’ve taken is to find a sponsor – isn’t that what they call the people who buddy up with the alcoholic to help him/her through a tough time?  I’ve got a sponsor who has lost weight, kept it off and is passionate about health.   She is setting an example to her 2 young children.  She will kick my butt if I don’t follow through on my commitments (and believe me, this woman WILL severly kick my rear end into shape – it doesn’t matter if she’s 10 hours away!)  She loves me and encourages me daily.  She’s on speed dial on my phone. 

Another baby step – I’m keeping a journal and filling it with positive thoughts, scriptures, quotes I see on facebook or hear in my husband’s sermons.  My favorites from this week:  “Temptation is a sign that Satan hates you – not a sign of weakness or worldliness.  Every temptation is an opportunity to win, to overcome evil and to do good… an opportunity for victory.”  – Tommy Lanham   “Sometimes you have to believe in somebodys’ belief IN you before your belief kicks in.” -Les Brown

This week, I lost 3.2 pounds.  That’s 12 sticks of butter according to my good friend Tom Hailey.  🙂  Thanks Tom…

So you see, I’m not setting any long term goals.  I know what weight I am comfortable at and I’d like to get somewhere in that area but for now, I need to make it through THIS day.  I will make good decisions for THIS day – I will be sober today.  I will exercise today.  I will spend time with my Creator today.  I will take care of our children today.  I will respect my husband today.  I will succeed TODAY.  I have no idea what will happen tomorrow but as for TODAY, I am doing this!

Day 3 – still sober

I’m amazed at how God is faithful.  I know He is and has always been – I tend to be forgetful.  I’ve been making wise food choices and sticking to my commitment to working out every day for an entire 48 hours, now.  I know it sounds silly but I’m very proud of myself.  You’ve got to remember, for me, this is like a drunk trying to stay sober.  I eat when I get emotional or when I’m under stress.  Over the past 48 hours, my kids have run fevers of over 104 and I’ve been cleaning up vomit.  I had the potential to really fall off the wagon.  I’m not setting any longterm goals, I’m making it through THIS day first.  I was frustrated yesterday because I usually try to have a quiet time in the mornings and because my children were sick, I was unable to do so.  My husband came home on his lunch hour so I could run & get some groceries before  the snow storm hit and when I turned on the radio, I heard the song “Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns.  Try reading through these lyrics with MY eyes – the eyes of someone without the strength (on my own) to lose this weight…

Oh,what I would do to have
the kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I’m in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown
Where Jesus is,
And he’s holding out his hand

But the waves are calling out my name
and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I’ve tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
time and time again
“Boy, you’ll never win,
You you’ll never win

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says “do not be afraid!”
and the Voice of truth says “this is for My glory
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

Oh, what I would do
to have the kind of strength it takes
To stand before a giant
with just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound
of a thousand warriors
shaking in their armor
Wishing they’d have had the strength to stand

But the giant’s calling out
my name and he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I’ve tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
time and time again
“Boy you’ll never win,
you’ll never win.”

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says “do not be afraid!”
and the Voice of truth says “this is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

But the stone was just the right size
to put the giant on the ground
and the waves they don’t seem so high
from on top of them looking down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
when I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
singing over me

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
The Voice of truth says “do not be afraid!”
And the Voice of truth says “this is for my glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me (calling out to me)
I will choose to listen and believe (I will choose to listen and believe)
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

I will listen and believe
I will listen and believe the Voice of truth
I will listen and believe
‘Cause Jesus you are the Voice of truth
And I will listen to you.. oh you are the Voice of truth

So, I’m not listening to myself because myself tells me I’ve done this a thousand times before and it never works.   I choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth that tells me I’m doing this for His glory.  I will not be afriad.  I covet your prayers.

PART 2: 

Snow Storm’s a Comin’

Whenever I hear the words “snow storm” I go into a nesting mode… I feel like I should have my home ready for anything that might happen.  It should be clean, organized, all the laundry done, the dishes done, the fridge full of easy to prepare foods – you never know, right?  What if it snows 3 feet and every neighbor in the area loses their electricity except us?  I HAVE to be able to feed and sleep all of them here, right?  I know it’s a little insane… 🙂  Seriously though, you never know what the weather holds so I’ve been organizing and cleaning.  This morning, I watched this news story and realized how very unorganized I am (and I only have 2 kids).

http://news.yahoo.com/video/us-15749625/the-bateses-and-their-18-children-23906649