Bringing Back Joseph’s Journal

When I first started this blog it was simply to have a creative outlet for my writing. I shared mostly from my personal life. I used my life situations to teach biblical truths as I learned them and learned how to apply them to my own life. I was very transparent about many of my struggles and trials. After all, it is through our trials that we grow (James 1:2-4).

In being so transparent with my personal life, and how God was working through my trials to teach me new things, I quickly learned how ruthless, merciless, unforgiving, harsh and critical other Christians can be. This is obviously not applicable to all Christians. I have met, and know, many Christians who are a genuine embodiment of the character of Jesus Christ. But I have also received more unloving “hate mail” – in various forms – from the Christian community than I have ever seen or received from those outside the church.

In hindsight, it’s heart breaking. It’s heart breaking to think of my brothers and sisters in Christ, called by God to be ambassadors of Christ (2 Cor. 5:20), people who may be the only Bible nonbelievers ever read, being so hateful and unloving towards their own family (the body of Christ). “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13 NASB). If we who are one body joined together by the Holy Spirit cannot love each other, how are we going to love those we are called to be witnesses to?

In hindsight it is heart breaking to see my brothers and sisters in Christ enslaved by hearts full of hate, division, anger and condemnation. Especially when it is aimed at the very same people they are going to spend eternity with. But it wasn’t “heart breaking” in that way when going through it. It was just plain hurtful. To be spoken of the way I was by others who also professed to be Christians was something I never expected. This was one of many reasons for my post about finding healing from church hurt. The four points I cover in that post are ones I have learned from experience. I’m still applying them to my life daily as I go through this healing process.

Due to the heavy and unloving criticism I received from other Christians I slowly veered away from writing the things I wanted to write about, began to gradually move towards simply writing posts that expounded on biblical truths, and eventually took down any personal posts I had written. But I’ve come to accept that there are certain things you can’t do anything about and this is just the way people are. Christians and non-Christians alike. Even the apostle Paul went through it with the very same people who came to know Christ through his ministry (1 Cor. 4:8-14). He gave up his own life, to live in poverty and suffering, so that others may know Christ; and then some of those Christians turned on him because of gossip and lies from the mouths of others. And still, Paul turned to them in love: “I do not write these thing to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children” (1 Cor. 4:14). Because he cared more about them then he did about what they said or thought of him.

The sad irony of experiencing the things I did from other Christians is that it eventually became a mirror in my face. Over time I began to realize how much I was like the same people who were hurting me. I began to see how hateful, unloving, critical, condemning and angry I could be without even realizing it. The Holy Spirit exposed me to myself while I learned how to handle these traits in others in a way that reflected the love of Christ. I did not have it in me to be like Paul and respond with loving admonishment because I cared more about my brothers and sisters and less about what they thought or felt of me. I did not have it in me to be like Jesus and pray, “Father forgive them,” while they nailed me to their cross without cause (Luke 23:34).

Same days I still do not have it in me. But realizing this within myself has made it easier to be more loving when I experience it from others. And I miss sharing my life, the things I’m learning, and how I’m growing as I walk with Jesus. It helps me process how God is working in my life and it’s an enjoyable part of my creative process as a writer. To be able to write what I want to write, when I want to write it, how I want to write it, and share that writing with others, is important to me as a writer. Even if it’s a little on the personal side and might get me crucified by the religious community. So I’m bringing back Joseph’s Journal.

You can throw stones if you want. That is between you and God. But before you do, I want to encourage you – out of love and for the sake of your own sanctification – to take a long look in the mirror first.


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Copyright © Lawrence Joseph Sterling 2016. All rights reserved.
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