RACHEL & LISA
Rachel was a person with great confidence. Her ability to see clearly in any situation was challenged only by her last conquest. She was successful in everything she did. Rachel loved the Lord with all of her heart and served the Kingdom of God with deep intensity and passion. Being a great leader was truly in her repertoire. She was continuously sought out by people in both the Christian and secular world to teach, lead, guide and direct. Her heart was open for God’s people, but set to do the will of the Lord for Kingdom.
Lisa, on the other hand, was someone who believed life owed her something. Lisa attended church, and operated in a leadership capacity. However, Lisa was very cunning and deceptive. She secretly wanted to be in the spotlight and didn’t care who she used or destroyed to get there. Her greatest strength was her ability to be a victim and a predator at the same time. She utilized this talent by allowing people to believe she was endlessly mistreated. Lisa believed she could gain the people’s trust by displaying this behavior. Unfortunately, her next target was Rachel.
One day, as Rachel was helping someone in need, Lisa’s twisted mind began to despise the good Rachel was doing in the church and community. Lisa began to spread rumors about the credibility of Rachel’s character. She mocked and laughed at Rachel and what she did for the people. Secretly, Lisa desired to take Rachel’s place in the circles in which they both were encamped.
Rachel received word that Lisa was spreading rumors about her character. When Rachel first heard about the rumors she became righteously angry. She began to defend everything she did for Kingdom and searched for people to understand her side of the story. Rachel started a spiritual campaign about her own integrity. When Lisa found out that Rachel was gaining the support of the people again, she became enraged and started to harass Rachel through numerous unsolicited phone calls. When Rachel didn’t return the phone calls, Lisa felt ignored. Her thoughts plagued her. She decided she was just as good as Rachel and she was going to let Rachel know it. Because of these unfounded thoughts, Lisa began to leave delirious text messages to inform Rachel about how awful she was to ignore her. Lisa proclaimed she was the only one who knew the truth and her truth was going to set the people free of Rachel’s deception. Lisa really believed that Rachel was sent by the devil to do evil works towards God’s people. The more Lisa thought about Rachel, the more intensified her frustration grew towards her. Lisa’s thoughts became more agitated, irrational and rabid. Because of this mentality, her heart was uncompromising. Lisa began to fantasize about the destruction of Rachel. She had scripted out in precise detail, how she would rejoice in the great demise of Rachel. The more Rachel ignored Lisa, the more enraged she became. This enabled her to plot and look for ways to make Rachel pay for going against her. She was perversely focused and progressively more unforgiving.
Rachel began to realize the type of harassment she was experiencing was not a personal thing, but a spiritual thing. Yet even in that revelation Rachel experienced some emotional damage. She began to question her own confidence. She second-guessed every decision she made. She retreated into her home and stayed inside. Rachel spoke to very few people and would not allow anyone to get close to her. When people called she would secretly wonder what they wanted to take from her. Rachel’s ability to be ahead of the game was being mocked by her sudden procrastination. She knew something was wrong with her, but she really thought it was a physical condition. As her emotions became more uncertain, her physical strength was being depleted. Each day became a hardship to sleep, eat or simply exist. She began to dread getting out of the bed. Every movement was a painful one. Rachel was slipping into depression. Sadness was slowly engulfing her. She went to doctors, went to prayer warriors, sought out leaders, yet she could find no cure. Rachel was building a wall which would limit her ability to do the will of the Lord. She looked for spiritual reasons of why she was being the one harassed. In her prayers, she searched for justice but only received silence. In her quest for answers, Rachel slowly began to believe what Lisa was saying. Bit by bit Rachel’s tormented heart was losing the battle and Lisa’s tormented spirit was ultimately controlling them both.~
In order to truly understand the quintessence of torment, we must first understand the meaning of the word. “Torment” according to American Heritage Dictionary means:
- Great physical pain or mental anguish.
- A source of harassment, annoyance, or pain.
- The torture inflicted on prisoners under interrogation
To be “Tormented” means:
- To cause to undergo great physical pain or mental anguish.
- To agitate or upset greatly.
- To annoy, pester, or harass.
The word “torment” is derived from the word “tormentum”, which is from “torqu re” meaning “to twist”. As you may see in the fictional story of Rachel & Lisa, both women are being tormented. There are two dimensions of torment: external and internal. Rachel’s the example of external torment becoming internal torment and Lisa is the example of internal torment becoming external torment.
Torment loves to engulf three spheres of influence in a person: “the mind”, “the soul” and “the spirit.” Its main agenda is to arrest the core beliefs of an individual to the point of producing a lifestyle of mockery (to treat with ridicule or contempt). This mockery is so potent that even our mental awareness of “what use to be” or “what truly happened” is diluted because of over produced bitterness. Torment is then able to secure our future by taking away hope. In taking hope, one begins to wallow in self-pity, producing victim tendencies that keep one in a defeated disposition.
Before we go any deeper, let’s further breakdown the word torment to explore it by dissecting the concepts which have already been outlined in this particular chapter.
Great Physical Pain Or Mental Anguish
Many women do not truly understand that “Torment” brings an outside “pressure” or “effect” when it appears in our lives in both external and internal forms. Normally, what women may be experiencing as a physical element, such as high blood pressure, insomnia, increased unrest, uneasiness, frustration, lethargic behaviors, a sense of increased tiredness, less or more eating, increased worry, headaches, crying for no apparent reason, backaches, body aches, anxiety, mood swings could all be signs she is being tormented internally or externally. Some of these signs walk hand in hand with depression as well. With torment, women have increased anger spurts. One minute they are fine, the next minute they are extremely angry.
It is critical for us to understand this one principle; once we get it, we have to hold it dear to our hearts so that this door will always stay shut to the enemy. Please understand that the door to torment is almost always through a personal offense or corporate offense.
A personal offense is when one believes something is done against them personally. A corporate offense is usually an offense which is taken against or for a “cause”. Most people operate or function out of personal offense through misguided assumptions, half facts, deliberate words or hearsay or even frustration (when our expectation doesn’t match our experience” *Portia Taylor). Some people even get offended about truth! Either way, being offended is the most abrasive yet effective trap of the enemy. When we open this door, it is very hard to shut it. The reason is because the door to offense opens regularly and daily. The opportunity to walk through it is always before us. Women get offended at anything and everything. Matthew 18:7 KJV states “Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! This scripture verse states that offenses will come and at times need to come, but please don’t get stuck in the offense.
Offense covers itself with pride and is hard to identify. We will claim our offense is righteous just to keep it. It is the nature of mankind to even go to war to keep their offense. I have always said that people will fight truth to stay in a lie. Be aware and forewarned that torment lies in the threshold of offense. It is waiting like a well-hidden snake to cause mental anguish and great physical pain.
Even in dealing with mental anguish, we must understand it’s not just talking about getting angry, but torment also allocates for depression, oppression, schizophrenia (the hearing of voices or multiple personalities), bipolar (ranges in emotions), narcissism (un-natural self-awareness), and other mental disruptions.
It is imperative that we have deliberate and automatic forgiveness towards and for any person who ignorantly (both good and bad) tries to offend us. Simply put…SHUT THE DOOR! This is something even a toddler learns to do when they begin to walk. They practice shutting the door. Toddlers will practice until they get it right. We must relearn this fundamental practice in order to keep disillusioned anger from threatening the boundaries of our peace of mind.
Do not entertain the thoughts or even have a conversation with such vain imaginations. The Bible speaks about “vain imaginations” in 2 Corinthians 10:5 (The Voice); “We are demolishing arguments and ideas, every high-and-mighty philosophy that puts itself against the knowledge of the one true God. We are taking prisoners of every thought, every emotion, and subduing them into obedience to the Anointed One.”
The King James Version states “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ…”
Vain Imaginations are anticipated or assumed beliefs which actually takes one into captivity and/or bondage. This is why we must continuously fight our own thoughts and renew them daily. Romans 12:2 (The Voice) states “Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete.” In the concept of “new” is the revelation of Christ Himself. Revelation 21:5 states: “Behold, I make all things new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 states: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” When one submits his or her thoughts to Christ, they will become reformed because He is the ‘new’ way of thinking! He is the pathway to righteousness. No one can have righteous thoughts until they submit their personal thoughts to Christ.
Here is another thing to remember as we deal with our thoughts; these scriptures are written in present tense. This is relevant because every moment we experience is in present time. So when we are taught to renew our minds daily and to bring our imaginations into captivity to the obedience of Christ, it is always in the present moment. This is the place where vain imaginations actually defeat many women. We take past moments and rehearse them in present tense, thereby keeping them alive.
The reason our carnal imaginations are called ‘vain’ is because our imaginations glorify our own personal insight. This is why it has to be “cast down” or “demolished”. Because we place our thoughts and opinions in such high regard, we are the ones who have to replace our thoughts with what the Word of God said and bring our imaginations “arrested” or “submitted” unto the way God thinks. God cannot replace your thoughts! God will not replace your thoughts! Many people pray for this, but it is impossible. God is pro-choice and pro-will. It is within your own authority to think and believe. This is why we must constantly and willingly submit our thoughts to Christ. Within this very statement we learn that our personal assumptions are sinful.
In understanding this we now come to some key things we simply can’t do when an offense is opened before us:
- DON’T SEEK OUT SYMPATHY COMPANIONS. These are the people who love misery and help establish the fantasy of your mind. They don’t care about you…they care about the story! These types of people seek drama, confusion, heartache and suffering because this is usually the case with their own lives. Shut The Door to this type of validation! It’s not needed. In shutting this door, you will protect your mind from two opinions. People will always have their two cents to say about any matter concerning you. Don’t allow anyone to make a mockery out of your testimony. If you must have someone to talk to, seek out those who have escorted people to victory. They normally are people of great integrity, substance, abilities and wisdom. Examine the fruit; check the evidence! If a person continues to talk about other people, or desires to speak negatively about anyone, they are not the one to talk to about your offense. Believe what people say to you about who they are. Shut the door to foolish talk and keep your mind focused.
- DON’T ALLOW YOURSELF TO GO ON A SPIRITUAL CAMPAIGN! It is not a time to defend but it is a time to define! People will always believe what they are going to believe. Make your agenda is about Kingdom not about the problem. This in itself will keep your mind focused on forgiveness for the person and not self-preservation. In this moment is where the essence of “who you are” is being defined by your personal established mindset. In pressure, whatever is in you will be manifested. This is the perfect time to manifest, show, and exemplify the characteristics of Christ in your everyday walk. You don’t have to be phony about it either. You must remain at the level of transparency which produces the trial in the first place. Rachel was a natural leader. Her leadership ability was being tested, upgraded and produced. The grace that she walked in was being challenged. Instead of seeing the cause of effect of the purge (to put to death or otherwise eliminate whatever is impure or undesirable), she broke under the pressure and became depressed. Transparency helps you stay intimate with Christ. It helps you evolve into what others can follow. Never under estimate the anointing that is hidden in the trial. Don’t just go through to get to the other side, by all means get the full benefit of what God has for you. Always remember, when someone challenges the grace you walk in, let grace respond. Grace will have the best objective to how the entire situation will benefit the glory of God.
- REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE! Never deny your identity to any man. This is a Peter Effect when accusation is present he denied his relationship with Jesus. Stand in your core beliefs and don’t doubt yourself. You already have evidence of your story with Christ. There is nothing you have to prove and the moment belongs to Christ. It is up to Him to prove His love through you. So keep your identity in tack and trust your relationship with Jesus Christ. Keep your spirit settled. This is one area women tend to go to the left on. You never have to mold yourself to someone’s expectations of “what or who” they think you should be. Be stable minded. I always like to check the definition of my relationship with Christ with Christ. No one else gets to define who I am with Him. No one else gets to discuss the qualifications I need to have to be in my personal relationship with Him. And no one else is able to say if Christ and I are close. Usually this type of mindset takes a secure understanding of the perimeters of one’s intimate relationship with Christ Jesus. I understand my love for Christ and His love for me. This may offend many people, but don’t allow anyone to come in-between the voice of Jesus in your life.
- DON’T SIN IN YOUR ANGER! Because you don’t have to defend yourself, you don’t have to avenge yourself either. At the same time remember to never believe that God is just going to destroy your offender. God’s vengeance is always “for” His People! Meaning, He will deliver the best scenario that benefits Himself. He loves His kids. God is pro-reconciliation! It may not be meant for you to be reconciled to the offender, but do understand He will reconcile His people back to Him. Because of this, never underestimate the love God has for your offender. I know, it’s crazy, but it’s true. Don’t sin by denying the offenders rights to salvation or in salvation (they may be saved) in their situation as well. Many times the offended becomes the offender. God’s desire is to heal His children. It should be your matched desire as well.
- DON’T ASSUME! This is the greatest weapon that the enemy uses against women. ASSUMPTION! In all the years I have been a pastor, in all the years I have lead ministries, I have found this mentality was the greatest divider of the Christian Nation and specifically of women. Do you realize what most of us believe about someone is not the truth? It is based off of assumption.
Assumption means to “take on the responsibility” or “take for granted”. It also means, “to take over without justification; seize or take up or receive into heaven.” When we assume, we literally take on the responsibility that we absolutely know something and we normally take it on without justification. At the very moment we assume, we lift it up to heaven by voicing our beliefs without facts, truths, or even talking to the individual. We establish WAR against the individual we are offended by through assuming! I really want us to understand the ramifications that come with this deadly, seductive mentality. Assuming has destroyed churches, reputations, relationships and lives!