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Are You Willing to Be Humiliated for God?

I liked my quiet little life where no one knew who I was.
I liked my quiet little faith that never required much risk or vulnerability.
I liked my quiet little image of God as a genie who could grant my wishes on demand.

You see, I never wanted to be a suicide speaker.
I never wanted thousands of people reading about the hardest moments of my story.
I never wanted my journey with God to be transparent and messy, broadcast for thousands to read.

Yet here I am standing in the storm that is my life, waking up each day to an endless thunder of hate-filled emails like this one:

“You are a little, spoiled punk in need of a good old fashioned wood shed whoopin’!!! How dare you throw mud on Jesus Bride. WARNING: It will NOT go well with you when you face Him.”
I mean, who doesn’t want to have a cup of coffee with that guy?

Or my personal favorite,
“Maybe you should have just killed yourself.”
Well, aren’t you just a spring peach.

The truth is people, I don’t have the strength to fight this fight. Maybe you think I do. Maybe I give off this fearless, macho-man persona in my classy black-and-white headshot (hey girl…). But behind that smile, I am exhausted and weary.

I want you to think I chose to live because I have some crazy inner strength.
But really, I’m just not that strong.

I want you to think that every good thing that has happened to me didn’t come from above, but came from my own will.
Really, I don’t have that much will-power (See the 3 empty boxes of Girl Scout Cookies in my trash).

I want you to think I am amazing.
But anything amazing that has happened to me isn’t because of who I am, but because of who God is.

I’m telling you of my weakness because I keep reading this book called the Bible where Paul obnoxiously calls us to boast about them in 2nd Corinthians.

So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (MSG)

 

I really hate this verse. Insults, hardships, persecutions and troubles I suffer for Christ… I do not take PLEASURE in them. I take pleasure in beaches and cardigans and spoonfuls of peanut butter. No part of me ever wants to be humiliated for Jesus.

And yesterday I lived just that; I lived my worst nightmare.

I was invited to be on the Jesse Lee Peterson radio show to share about my millennials article and my suicide prevention ministry. The truth is, I will go anywhere and talk to anyone about this amazing man named Jesus and all that he has done in my life.

I was so excited to have a chance to share my heart behind those words that keep getting misconstrued and used against me.

[here is the full interview]

You’ll hear in the first half I hold my own pretty well. He calls me dumb and later apologizes. We even have a moment where we both agree about giving millennials a chance to ask tough questions. Yes!

Then things take a turn. Jesse asks me about “white privilege.”

Great. The only problem—nowhere in my article do I write about white privilege. He is quoting another article I wrote, A Beginner’s Guide to Ending Hate, without every giving his audience (or me) a head’s up.

In the context of that blog post, I’m sharing about using the power we have to love and lift up the oppressed members of our society. He goes into attack mode, “white men are the most hated men in America.” To which I say, “That just hasn’t been my experience.”


Side-note: to anyone who is non-white reading this—I am so sorry for his words. I hope you can hear my attempts to spread my love for you and every injustice you have faced. Please know I am standing with you to make this world a better place.

And then things go from bad to worse. Jesse pushes and probes about my relationship with my father. He says, “you don’t love God because you don’t love your father,” and later “your suicidal thoughts haven’t gone away because you haven’t returned to your father.”

And there it was—my suicidal thoughts being thrown in my face, my lifelong battles with a father paraded on the air for everyone to hear. My worst nightmare.

And I felt utterly humiliated… by a reverend.

Sorry Paul, but I don’t find pleasure in the attacks that have been hurled in my direction. I don’t find joy in the nightmare I lived yesterday. And honestly, who would? What insane person would suffer on the behalf of others?

Oh right, Jesus. Jesus was humiliated in front of his people. Jesus, the only perfect man to ever walk the planet, was crowned King of the Jews then beaten relentlessly and nailed to a cross for us.

Jesus suffered the ultimate humiliation in the name of truth and in the name of love.

I think if we’re living with reckless faith, if we’re doing everything we can to show people the light—we’re all going to face humiliation at some point. We’re all going to fall flat on our face and want to hide from the world.

My first thought was to bury this interview, to never share it or speak of it again.

  • Yet I’m sharing this story of humiliation with you, my blog family, because I want you to know that I’m not giving up this fight.
  • I want you to see that I don’t have the strength to keep fighting this fight on my own, but God does.
  • I want you to know that yes, I have a lot to learn about giving interviews (cough, understatement), but I will always stand with Jesus for Truth and love.
  • I want you to that know that I will be humiliated for Jesus every single day if he calls me to.

I do miss my quiet little life, but given the chance, I wouldn’t go back in a second because that safe life isn’t really living at all. Jesus called Peter to trust him so completely he would step out on the waters when the world was screaming “you will sink.” -Matthew 14:22-33

So I’m following Peter’s lead and stepping out onto the water.

I hope you’ll join me out here.
I hope you’ll take risks and stand up for what you believe in.
I hope you’ll fight for the injustices of our time and those trapped in darkness.
I hope you’ll find the courage only God can bring to tell the world how weak you are, but how unbelievably strong He is.

So the question is, are you willing to be humiliated for God?

I am.

Bring it on.

 

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About Sam

in love with all things Jesus, music, adventure, writing, teaching, laughter, running, friendship. Founder of recklesslyalive.com.

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29 comments

  1. Man, that sucks. I hate that you have to face these things, but you’re absolutely right that God promises to make us stronger and Jesus even more glorious in our lives through the difficulties we suffer. If anything, these painful reminders point back to why your work is so important—most people still don’t know how to talk with sensitivity and grace about issues like depression and suicide. Your work is so important, and I hope even in your weakest moment that you find falling on Jesus to be stronger than your best moment. He is a rock that doesn’t move, no matter the storms or pot-shots thrown at us.

    P.S. Let’s swap stories sometime. I have some pretty great insult emails.

    • Thank you, Camden! I am finally back to working full-time! Let’s get a hangout scheduled. I really appreciate your encouragement!

  2. This is a very courageous post. Thank you.

  3. Feeling grief means that love was there before the loss or shame. Much love present in your grief.

  4. Thank you so much! Please continue to shine the light of Jesus to this dark world! Safe isn’t all its cracked up to be.

  5. In addition to listening to the interview live, I recorded it and listened to it two more times last night. Sam, it’s one of the most powerful interviews I’ve heard. Not because it humiliated you. Not because you were attacked. Not because the questions being hurled your way were off-topic and unfair, but because of the way you stood–sometimes speaking truth in gentleness and love, sometimes holding your tongue, always showing honor and respect. I wish your radio experience would have been so different, but you represented Jesus well. Your transparency, vulnerability, and willingness to speak–even at great cost that so few see–is a beautiful thing. Thank you for being weak–and letting Him be strong in you.

    • I just listened to the interview myself and I totaly agree with you!

    • Beth, I cannot thank you enough for listening and for your prayers. You were an unbelievable blessing to me that day and continue to be. I have a few more interviews coming up and they can’t be any worse than that one, right? 🙂 Seriously, thank you so much.

      • You’re very welcome, Sam. Yes, let’s hope that last interview is the most difficult one you’ll have! 🙂 But, regardless of whether it is, I think you’ll be ready for whatever lies ahead. Feel free to let me know when your other interviews come up, if it crosses your mind at the time. Thank you for choosing to speak–for the mix of boldness and humility you demonstrate. I’d be honored to have your back and intercede.

  6. Sam,

    Everytime I read your posts you touch me. You make me laugh, you make me cry, you make me want to stand up and cheer you on! Most of all you remind what life is really all about and you encourage me to keep fighting the good fight no matter what. I thank God for you. May He continue to bless you with the strength you need to carry on. I know that you will help so many souls because you have helped me. Be assured always of my prayers for you. 1 Cor 4-9.

    • Oh JM, I am so glad we get to connect through this crazy blog. 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to continue to encourage me. I ALWAYS love hearing your thoughts and seeing the things you share with me on Pinterest. I really appreciate the prayers as well. Bless you, my friend.

  7. Thanks for your outreach and candidness. They help me in understanding some of the issues the millennials are dealing with, and hopefully can provide better ways to reach out to them.
    Fight the fight, brother, and continue being a light in the darkness!
    Blessings, Nancy

  8. Sam , I am so sorry that a reverend of all people made you feel that darkness in your heart again. Just remember one very important thing in times like these, “the past is past and the future is uncertain be thankful for today for it is a gift and that is why it is called a present”
    You are right that Jesus was humiliated by religious figures and government officials and even his own friends. Stay strong but don’t let yourself be a martyr, after all you are a man. A very good man but you are NOT required to die like Jesus he had a different mission, and he was of direct Divinity related so he could do that whole back to life thing you know? You’re mission is different. Your back to life moment is a change of heart, a guiding light to others and humbleness and being an example to others. Do not act like the Pharisees who were pompous and putting on dramatic shows of piousness, you know how that ends. Many of us understand your frustrations and pain but do not let that become your own obstacle either.
    Let Your Light Shine and Peace Be With You My Blessed friend in spirit…-MiSmith

    • Mis,

      Thank you so much for your comment about not letting myself become a martyr. I have been thinking about that all week. I hope this post didn’t come across as trying to appear pious, it was merely my way of processing how awful it made me feel and trying to overcome. Thank you for your candid words and encouragement. They have really blessed me.

  9. Hey Sam

    Tough gig my friend; I’d call that an ambush, not an interview.

    You will never beat a lawyer ( religious mind ) on their terms. As Mis said the Pharisees know their game from front to back and love to manipulate the bible to make a good argument, anything you said would have been turned back on you until he got what he wanted. Sadly, mate, there’s no winning this fight on our own – it will take a sovereign hand to turn this around…and it’s coming.

    Millennials are feeling something even they don’t understand, so how do you explain it? Deep down inside, like many other hearts looking but not finding, a hunger is not being fed, can they see, feel or hear it? NO. All they know is something’s not right and they just can’t put their finger on it.

    To deal with this hunger and thirst as a whole in our own strength is crazy – we’ll just finish up a Pharisee’s lunch.

    If the Holy Spirit is pulling your heart strings then follow it to the ends of the earth. Dig like a wild dog, fly like a sunstruck galah, whatever it takes – search your being to find Him and leave no stone unturned. Somewhere in that stirring is the making of the most exciting relationship you could imagine. Forget about fixing them, find what you need first and then listen to what He wants you to do with that.

    You handled yourself well Sam, well done.

    Love your work

    T

  10. There’s so much that can be said in response to such a rough experience, but in short, I hope it will be an excellent opportunity for you to grow in that area as well! You’ll be fine I’m sure! Also, I would like to add again–thanks again so much for sharing. God bless and take care out there!

    • Thanks Robyn! We can either be consumed by our embarrassing moments or try and use them for good, right? “Fail Forward” as they say, right? 🙂 Bless you!

  11. I am a mother of 3 millennial a whom I love with all my heart though don’t always understand two have struggled mightily with faith and left church one now has returned to a different denomination that speaks to her heart. You remind me so much of my youngest who at this time is not a church member He has a line I love that you seemed to use well. “When furious, get curious”. I don’t claim to know your emotions but listening to the last bit brought out my own anger at your questioner. He gave a perfect example of not listening to you as a person with your own story. His formulaic one size fits all interpretation of scripture seems precisely what drives some millennial and others away. We have trouble standing with others whose pain we have no answer for. This is the place Our Jesus is so often found. This sort of victorious living message leaves too many of us hurting and feeling that somehow we are outsiders because my life doesn’t fit the model. I recommend a book I just read by Ann Voskamp called the Broken Way. It is the best I have ever read on the place of suffering in the life of a Christian. Thank you for your courage as you try to give voice to the millennial in the church. I agree the church must change. You sound like the voice of a prophet to me! Hold fast to the truth you have been given. You represent our Jesus well!

  12. Keep up the good work, Sam! Yours is an important voice and I’m praying God will give you the words and the wisdom to keep bringing people to Him. Acts 18:9-10, “And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” Keep on speaking!

  13. You are a beautiful person. I may have found my way back.

  14. Sam,

    I listened to the interview. It was the classic “bait and switch” where he asked you on the show for one purpose then shifted to another. I thought you fielded his questions well. The interviewer came across in a demeaning way. I could hear the pain in your voice. I am not sure if it was the pain of humiliation, or the pain of the feelings of the past that surfaced again. I thought you responded respectfully to the guy. Good job.

    People can be challenging. We all have issues we deal with mixed inside us along with the love of God we receive when we are born again. If you want to continue sharing what you believe in a dialogue, you will need to get used to people not responding the way you like or expect. It goes with the calling. As Robyn said above, this is an excellent opportunity for you to grow in that area. Also, it is very easy to hide in a blog. If people ask you a question you don’t like, all you have to do is not answer them. In an interview there is no where to hide. You will have to give some kind of an answer. This is something you need to grow in. Also, as a blogger, it is totally reasonable for people to ask you in one blog something you wrote in another blog. Just like when you are developing a relationship with someone and they will often refer to a previous conversation if something you had previously said seems inconsistent with what you are saying now. It is ok for people to do that AND it is ok for you to question them about their bait & switch.

    Overall, yes the guy was rude to you. No doubt about it. While what he said about the need to forgive people that hurt us is absolutely true, anyone who has every had to forgive someone for a very deep wound (I have as well), forgiveness is a process and it takes time to heal. I understand that. Most people understand that. But there are some who don’t (unfortunately). If you are going to continue down this path, be prepared for this. Yes, people have a right, in getting to know you (by blog or face to face) to ask you uncomfortable questions, you don’t want to answer. BUT if you want to make dialogue with others part of your ministry, then you better learn how to do it, and to vent your hurt feelings to your heaven Father and a few close confidants. You never heard Jesus complain once (to people) about the way people treated Him. You did a good job on the interview Sam. It is a growth process.

    So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. (1 Peter 4:19)

    Jeff

  15. Sam, hang tough. As someone who has spoken publicly about my struggles with addiction I know how scary it can be to hang it all out there. But it is so important that people know that they are not alone in what they are experiencing, that there is hope through Jesus Christ. This can only happen when the people of a God are courageous enough to be vulnerable about what Christ has done for them. Never be silent.

  16. Thank you for this post Sam. I have been living my faith in the boat and God has been calling me to leave the boat behind and walk where He leads me. I’m scared. But I want to live the adventure with my Father. I’m in.

  17. Hi Sam, I know this a late comment to a post you put out there a couple of weeks ago, but I’m behind on my emails and just now got around to catching up. This post really resonated with me given the special circumstances I’ve been dealing with myself. For me it’s not public humiliation (yet) it’s in my home with the one I love most, next to Jesus that is. My husband claims to be a Christian yet has the attitude of the Pharisees. I know the things I’ve been sharing with him are hard for him to hear, “You’re out of God’s will for your life.” and I know he doesn’t see that this is coming from love and concern and that God is truly pursuing a life-changing relationship with him. In the process of being obedient to God’s plan, I am being thrown under the bus, labeled a terrible wife, unloving, unkind and judgmental (my worst fear, becoming my mother). And if that weren’t bad enough, he thinks I’m seeking to transform him myself, into something I want him to be, as if I want his obedience and praise for myself!!!! But God is so and is so about the busy of paving the way for a mighty transformation!! Knowing all that God has done and is doing, I have no doubt or fear of the future or what he will do…I know it will be good! Your post reminded me to keep on doing what I’m doing, surrendering to Jesus, being obedient to him even when I know it’s going to result in being misunderstood and humiliated. In the end all truth will be revealed anyway. And we’ll be shining in the glory of His light…in that moment, nothing will be able to wipe the smiles from our faces or stifle the joy of our hearts!!!