How To Destroy a Nation

I remember someone asking me, when I was a child, if I know what is the easiest way to be robbed by happiness and fulfillment, what is the easiest way to lose the things that can never be gotten back? They said something about “changing the price tags”. They told me a story about a thief who goes in a store when no one is there, and changes the price tags: taking the price tags from the cheap products and tagging the expensive products with cheap tags. And taking the price tags from the expensive products and adding them on the cheap products.

Later on, as I pursued arts and architecture, I witnessed the transition from the canonical arts to the post-modern “arts”. Instinctively, I was always reluctant to tagging as arts the post-modern products that artists would tag as arts.

Yet, it took me to get in my 30’s to understand why the thief would change tags on the products in the store they wanted to rob. But now I see: the way to destroy a nation and rob it of everything that it could produce that is of worth, is by confusing individuals about what is valuable and what is not.

In short, if A=B, B=A. If rubbish is seen as value, value will be seen as rubbish.

A society that has no clear values and doesn’t know what it finds acceptable and what it finds unacceptable, will eventually destroy itself merely because it will be robbed of the things that are actually valuable. Someone out there will know what is valuable; but since anything of value is seen as rubbish, when they will take it away, no one will care – it’s just rubbish. That is how a thief can steal the store. That is how we are being robbed.

The traditional values, like the one man one woman marriage, the idea of children being born and raised in married couples formed by a woman and a man (who were born that way), the pro-life position, standing for the truth and speaking the truth, these all are not just lifestyles that have been developed by the previous generations. These are values that the civilizations have built and conserved, so that the environment for raising children would be appropriate. These are merely a few notions that post-modernism tries to steal, as making them to seem of little worth. And those who try to defend them, they are seen as being narrow minded and old-fashioned, rather than guardians of the few things that are of value, that are still left in our society.

By being confused about what is of worth and what is not, not only do we have a weak sense of defending what is of worth, but there are two extremes that are being developed: those who see everything as being of worth and those who see nothing as being of worth. Those who try to keep the values as values are being seen, by those who think nothing is valuable, as narrow-minded. Those who see everything as being of worth, see those who try to be balanced as libertarians who have nothing of worth. There are things that should offend us, and there are things that shouldn’t offend us. If we do not make the effort to restore the system of morality and value that we once had, we will end up killing each other. We are returning to the stone age – and there is nothing noble in that.

If we cannot name abuse to be abuse, if we cannot name lies about abuse to be lies; if we cannot define what we accept and what we do not accept as a society, based not on the interests that groups of people have but based on a system of morality that is outside us, we will end up killing each other based on selfish reasons and irrational logic. This moral system HAS to be based on a notion of a higher power that is outside us, outside of the human emotions and individual desires, because human hearts are deceitful and evil. We need to have a system of morals that are objective to our own circumstances, if we want to even have the notion of justice left in our society. We will not have the notion of justice and right and wrong anymore, if we keep going down the road that we started going. Our human hearts cannot generate objectivity, objectivity is something that we need to learn from outside; ultimately, we need to accept that we need to learn it from God. Nothing but God can generate a belief system that is completely objective, completely just and completely applicable to any circumstance, any race, any age, any society, because only God stays the same and never changes. God is the one we need to turn back to.

Pulling Your Heart When You Can Barely Drag Your Legs

The New Year started a few days back. It’s a celebration outside, but on the inside, who knows what it is in everyone’s soul?

This New Year’s Eve and the first day of the year have been great for me. I have spent them with my husband and our dogs. We are building a manufacturing shop, so we made plans and reviewed the progress that we made in the previous year. I had cinnamon tea and we watched movies. It was a peaceful holiday, and my soul was satisfied in God. He gave me all these; He gave me a second time to experience what I call “heaven on earth”.

Not all new years started like this. In fact, only three years ago, I dreaded having to wake up to a new year. It was yet another very bad new beginning of a yet another bad year, like the previous 6 years.

My first husband died 9 years ago on Christmas Eve, and the mourning and pain cast thick shadows on all the holiday celebrations; it felt like the celebrations were part of a reality that was parallel with my reality. My reality was that I was crushed. And celebrations only reminded me how crushed I was and how deeply I have been wounded.

I remember looking in the Psalms so many times; looking ad David and wondering about his praises. Wondering how or why was he praising God from the caves that he was hiding in; his father in law was trying to kill him but David was praising God. I heard so many interpretations of the psalms. So many bad sermons about how you need to smack yourself into happiness. And the truth is, sometimes it really doesn’t work to “decide” to be happy. When you are barely dragging your legs out of the bed in the morning, hating that you are alive and your lifetime partner is not; when you ask yourself “why him and not me?” – you cannot drag yourself into happiness. And quite frankly, I doubt David had any super-capacity to drag himself into happiness; I don’t think he was dragging himself into positive thinking and into positive feelings. I think he was commanding his soul what to do. He was not dragging his heart – he was pulling it.

The difference between dragging and puling? The direction. When you drag yourself around, you have no direction. When you pull yourself, you do have a direction.

You see, David was not dragging his soul into happiness. We don’t know what happiness is. We might think we do, but we were created to be holly, and true happiness is only to be found in the presence of God, as we reflect Him. But nobody’s heart defines happiness as holiness, although that is the only happiness that is real – and not barely a mirage. David was not telling his heart to praise God so that his heart would be dragged into happiness. David was telling his heart to praise God because his heart was wounded and he needed a doctor. God lives in the middle of the praises of His people. When we praise God, we open the door to the doctor. God doesn’t need to be praised. We need to praise Him. And when we are the most hurt and the most wounded, e need the doctor the most. That is what David was doing.

The way people picture David is either forgetting his humanity – that pat of him that was scared, hungry and confused – or forgetting his spiritual being that cannot be dragged into happiness, just like ours can’t. Hence, David becomes either this forever young, curly-blond, blue eyed baby-faced model who pets baby lambs, or this self-denying ruthless worship leader who is a religious fanatic.

I think David was just like me. I think he felt the way I do; he felt the fear, he felt God’s promises slipping away from him, he experienced doubt and has been wounded. He was just as sinful as I am and he lived in a world just as filled with sins as I do. My heart is not forever blissful and undisturbed; dragging my heart doesn’t work. And it definitely doesn’t work for those who fight with depressions. We need something greater than we are to take us out of the state of sin and death that we are born in. We need Someone grater than our sins. We need Someone greater than the sins of those around us. We need Someone greater than the consequences of our sins and the consequences of the sins of those around us. We need Someone greater than our pain, because the pain of widowhood can be greater than we are.

What works – and what David did – is to tell our hearts where to go. We cannot stop our hearts from hurting or for crying; but we can tell our hearts where to go and cry. We can tell our hearts Who to go to and cry.

If 2018 started with sadness, don’t waste the tears. Chase the days – if not with laughter, with directed cry. Direct your cry to Jesus. He knows what to do with it, even when you don’t know what to do with it. Regardless how great your pain is, Christ is greater.

David is not encouraging his heart to praise. He is not encouraging his heart to be happy for the sake of being happy or thinking positive thoughts. David is encouraging his heart to praise GOD. In other words, he is telling his own heart, just like he would tell someone else: “You are hurt. We’re going to the doctor NOW. ” He is not saying: “Pretend to be happy, even if you are not happy and even if you hate it.” Every single praise out of our mouth is a recognition of the fact that we need Him. It is a kind submission to Him, a willful sacrifice.

Sometimes, praising God does not mean laughter, but tears. Cried praise is just as valuable as laughter praise. When you can’t drag your legs, pull your heart towards Jesus.