I am obsessed. My thoughts and emotions are consumed by my heartbreak. Too dramatic? Perhaps, but also far too true. To be honest it is difficult to find words to explain what I am thinking and feeling because I cannot even get them organized in my own head. I am scattered and distracted but also convicted that I have to do what small I can to make a positive influence. My thoughts and therefore my writing is going to be scattered and may be hard to follow. I apologize in advance.
Let me back up first. For those of you who have noticed my recent Facebook activity you probably can gather where my thoughts are. For those of you who have not, let me explain. About two weeks ago a lovely 8 year old girl, Lydia, died as a result of serious abuse from her parents, Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz. Her younger sister was hospitalized in critical condition because of the same session. I say session because through the other 7 children in the house (9 total, 6 biological, 3 adopted), we know that these beatings were a regular occurrence. The parents followed the “teachings” of the No Greater Joy “Ministries” and the founders Michael and Debi Pearl. I will not go into depth here what these two teach, but the Schatzes followed their teachings and took to beating their children with a length of plumbing tubing as a way to train their children to be sinless, which is only part of the heinous ideas the Pearls encourage. If you want to know the story in better detail I encourage you to read the blogs I have been reading, which are written by and husband and wife that knew the Schatz family – Laurie & Paul.
** Side note - I think that it is important to know all I can about things like this but I refuse to sully this blog by linking to the Pearls’ website. They are denying all responsibility for this death, for the explosion within this family and their community. It is also important to know this is not the first child to die as a result of their teachings. However, that is your choice and I will not force those evils upon you.
This story has touched me on such a deep level that I simply must act. It is like breathing – if I do not do it I will most certainly die. I have always been a tender person, sensitive, compassionate, quick to cry, and deeply feeling. I used to think this was in a flaw of mine. I would be teased by friends, family and schoolmates for crying at the drop of a hat, frequently over pains that did not directly effect me, or effected my beyond what was considered appropriate. I now know that God made me this way and that these traits are actually gifts He has given me to use to glorify Him.
But how? What am I supposed to do? As I struggle to get my thoughts organized I write. I welcome you to hear what I am thinking and offer any opinions, thoughts or whatever.
First it begins at the “teachings” from the Pearls and the churches that support their beliefs. I know that I know that I know that the idea of sinless human is an impossible and foolish idea. However there are teachers and pastors and denominations that vehemently believe and teach this – that there is some way we can earn heaven, earn God’s favor and grace by our actions and performance. The Bible plainly says otherwise again and again. “No one can come to the Father except through Me,” ring any bells? (John 14:6)
These hate filled teachings (if you can even call them that), are in my opinion born from the deepest pits of hell, are disguised as God’s plan for us and lead people to believe that our God is an angry, abusive, hateful God just waiting fo rus to mess up so he can lay into us. The exact opposite is true! He loves us! He made us just so he could love us! We are His pride, His treasure, His masterpieces! He loves us with a fierceness we cannot imagine! And my heart breaks for all the poor souls, even the Pearls, who believe otherwise.
(For proof see Romans 5:5, 8, and 8:38, 2Timothy 1:7, 1John 4:7 just to name a few.)
So I sit here, furiously typing and thinking (frustrated that I cannot match the two better,) and praying that God will reveal to me why He made me the way He did, and how He wishes me to use my gifts of tears and a servant’s-heart to His glory. I am so sad for the family, the children, their friends, and even so sad for the parents. More I am so angry at the parents, their church, the Pearls and anyone else who spreads this brand of fear, hate and lies. And in my anger I cling to these words:
" Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God--for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love has been brought to full expression through us. And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. . . And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we are like Christ here in this world. Such love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of judgment, and this shows that his love has not been perfected in us. "
1 John 4: 7-13, 17-18