land of the free, home of the brave

Except in the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Today I read the story about Ramin Parsa, a former Muslim who fled his native Iran after he became a Christian. Parsa now lives and works as a pastor in Los Angeles. Last August, while visiting in Minnesota, his hosts took him to see “the biggest mall in North America.” While there, the pastor randomly encountered a couple of Somalis and as their conversation progressed, Parsa was asked if he was Muslim. At that point he shared his Christian convictions with them, but was promptly ordered by mall security guards to cease talking about that, and shortly thereafter he was arrested and treated abusively. 

You see, the Mall of America is a private, not public space, and it has rules against “solicitation.” So, along with not being able to pester people for money, or offer your services as a prostitute, at the Mall of America you also cannot have a private, polite conversation about anyone’s spiritual welfare. 

Surprise, surprise: Mr. Parsa’s story has been conveniently overlooked by many media outlets, including even some in Minnesota. 

Now, I am not a legal expert or a Constitutional scholar, but in my understanding–and I’m sure in the understanding of most rational-thinking Americans–First Amendment free speech INCLUDES the right to freely explain one’s religious or political beliefs or opinions. 

Except, apparently, in the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Through my life, both professionally and privately, I have known and worked with thousands of different types of persons and personalities. They all had their own beliefs and opinions and likes and dislikes and food cravings and sexual desires. Some people have been utterly fascinating; others I found mind-numbingly boring. With some individuals I have been able to establish immediate rapport and even friendship, while other people so thoroughly “rubbed me the wrong way” that  I found myself wishing for the power of invisibility so I could disappear  whenever I caught sight of them.

But always, as a Christian, I have attempted to respect each person as an image-bearer of God. And always, as an American, I have attempted to respect each person as someone with a right to their opinion (no matter how repellant or stupid). Because in the United States of America, we celebrate the right to freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

Except, apparently, in the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.

I like malls and I like shopping, although I get burned out rather quickly (unless, of course I discover a bookstore–or a cool hardware store). I have always enjoyed the bustle and interaction of people and the general hum of activity and fun, especially this holiday time of year, despite the excess of rampant materialism. In general, malls have historically been places for people to hang out and enjoy themselves and possibly even sometimes find out something new.

Except, apparently, in the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.

That place needs to have “America” stripped from its name. Maybe change it to “Mall of Totalitarianism.”

red noses and revival

I don’t often read anything on HuffPost (unless for some reason I’m in the mood to be agitated). However, today the site had an article that caught my interest.

Apparently, a batch of newly-minted adults have been discovering some ugly truths underlying the holiday favorite “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

One of their main findings? Santa is really a jerk.

Many of us who are older noticed this quite some time ago. Think back on the cartoon. Santa, along with the rest of his deer crew, mocks Rudolph for his non-conformity; just minutes after the poor little guy is born, Santa tells him he had better get it together if he wants to be part of the “sleigh-pulling” band. Later, during reindeer games, he tells Donner–Rudolph’s dad–that he ought to be ashamed and is saddened that Rudolph had shown such promise; but alas! If only he didn’t have that red nose! Because, of course, being different disqualifies you.

And late in the show, when Donner is away looking for his lost son, Santa laments that he is worried about the deer being lost out in the big blizzard. Why is he so concerned? Is it because Donner could be in danger, freezing to death in the wilderness? No; Santa’s frantic because Christmas is only two days away, and he needs Donner to work Christmas Eve!

The final take-away is that everyone was prejudiced and wrong. Rudolph comes in handy because–lo and behold–his unusual nose is actually useful sometimes! He even talks Santa into visiting the Isle of Misfit Toys. (Although, people also noticed that during the credits, one of the elves throws the misfit bird–who can’t fly–out of the sleigh without an umbrella parachute. Kind of like the “turkey drop” in the famous WKRP episode. Happy landings, Tweey!)

Now, I’m not trying to be deliberately sarcastic or cruel. I really do have fond memories of those stop-motion puppets and their adventure. I loved the show as a small boy, and I still like to watch it every year. But while reading the HuffPost article, I started thinking that a lot of people perceive God as being just like that Santa: distracted with His own concerns and generally frustrated with our weaknesses. Also, a lot of churches function like the reindeer gang. If you are too weird, you really can’t be a part of our group; unless it turns out you have something we can use.

This was never the Lord’s intent. He is gracious and merciful and patient with our weakness and foolishness, and He gently, but firmly, draws us into His presence so we can be changed by His mercy and purity. As the church, we should likewise be gracious, bearing each other’s burdens and “…stir(ring) up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24).

The Holy Spirit is continually drawing people to Jesus. And in this season, when He is breathing His fresh wind into the body of Christ worldwide, we can and should expect the Lord of the harvest to add daily to His church. But remember, a lot of those people will not look or act or think like us. People who don’t know Jesus act like people who don’t know Jesus. This is to be expected.

Yes, God is holy, and He gives grace to His people to be holy. But let us remember that there is huge diversity in His body, and we may even find some “Rudolphs” among us. We will need them for our foggy days ahead.

Santa and Rudolph

where are your accusers?

It is no secret that western society is seething with a culture of outrage; and part-and-parcel with outrage comes accusation. Every day we hear or read about another person or group incensed over some injustice, screaming and frothing and gnashing teeth as they accuse others of a litany of abominations.

Now, nobody likes to be accused of anything, whether it is true or not. Accusation is a battering ram of blame and incrimination, stopping our breath and rendering our insides a hot, churning stew of fear and defensiveness. When confronted with evidence of our misdeed(s), we may feel like a kid who wets the bed and has their sheets hung out our bedroom windows to dry, our shame in plain view of all our friends.

And if we are falsely accused, it is worse. We are aware of our failures, both seen and unseen; but to be accused of something we didn’t do causes us to bristle with appalled anger against the unjust charge leveled at us. False accusations can throw us into defensiveness and anger, and despite our protests, we realize that others probably find our claims of innocence to be further evidence of real guilt.

Accusation has the power to render us depressed, even despairing. If we are innocent, the blast of injustice against us is nauseating. If we are guilty, we are forced to face our weakness and wickedness. But rather than respond with humility and sorrow, human nature wants to excuse–or at least justify–our behavior.

Then ADONAI Elohim called to the man and He said to him “Where are you?”

Then he said, “Your sound–I heard it in the garden and I was afraid. Because I am naked, I hid myself.” Then He said, “Who told you that you are naked? Have you eaten from the Tree from which I commanded you not to eat?” Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me–she gave me of the Tree, and I ate.”

ADONAI Elohim said to the woman, “What did you do?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me and I ate.” (Genesis 3:9-13, TLV)

It is common to hear people mention (disparagingly) how “Eve ate the fruit”; but at least she put the blame on the serpent, unlike Adam who had the ridiculous arrogance to blame God Himself! This is the kind of panic that occurs when we sin and are caught. Ringing throughout our being is the cry But you just don’t understand what I’ve been through or I don’t know what happened to me. And right on the heels of that excuse is It’s not really my fault!

So often, we do not understand our own actions, and we try to console ourselves that we should receive, if not pardon, at least a level of kind understanding. But unfortunately, accusation generally carries a dose of contempt. We perceive the thoughts of others: How could someone do such a thing? Condemnation builds, until every veneer of self-respect and self-protection is stripped in the flood of remorse, regret, and shame. Now I’ve been found out! Most of us will do anything to “cover our tracks” to keep this from happening; or at least, we begin to set up excuses to minimize the damage to our ego.

So we have an innate, knee-jerk reaction to confrontation. We hate to be the recipient of another person telling us we have done wrong. We want to be the “good guys,” the people who have it together in their lives and who live by some sort of moral code–whatever it might be. But since that breakdown in Eden, we have all been engaged in the struggle to write our own laws and set our own standards for a life well-lived. We seek to rule our kingdom, even if it is a kingdom of one. The currency in this realm is I’m not really that bad; I’m not like those people!

Self-justification comes easy when I console myself by looking at the foul misdeeds of those outside my camp. It’s easy to preen and pat myself on the back with the congratulatory phrase At least I’ve never done _________ (fill in the blank). I run into a genuine problem, though, when I revisit the scene of Adam and Eve before the Almighty in the garden. God asks the first couple a legitimate question, familiar to anyone who has been a parent: Did you do what I told you not to do?”

How do you answer that with anything but the truth? Standing before the Creator–who knows everything in entirety, who knows every person intimately–none of us find stability standing on the platforms of rationalization we have constructed. Our foundations are rotting timbers and crumbling concrete. Our excuses, mist in sunlight, whisk away from the breath of His mouth. Truly, before His eyes of fire, all garments are incinerated.

And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account (Hebrews 4:13).

The LORD God does not judge unrighteously or from self-interest or self-protection. He will not accept even our best excuses, clever though we may think they are. His holy standards and desires for all His creation are pure and good and noble, and we have fallen short. We have all eaten that which He told us not to eat. And so, we are without excuse.

Mea culpa. Guilty as charged. I really don’t need anyone to accuse me, because my actions and my conscience already do a fine job. Adding to the mix, I have an enemy that also relentlessly seeks every opportunity to remind God and man how truly dreadful I am.

But into my mess, and into yours, steps the Son of God. He became one of us. He was–and is–fully human, while still fully God. I don’t understand it and neither do you, but that doesn’t make it untrue. Because Jesus bore our sin and took our deserved punishment upon Himself, we are freed from the stupidity of manufacturing excuses or trying to shift blame.

Our Messiah, the King of the universe, is the only person worthy to accuse and condemn. Yet, He doesn’t. Scripture teaches us that there is “no condemnation” for anyone who trusts in Him for salvation. Like the unnamed adulteress who stood torn and shamed before Jesus (John 8), we tremble with fear at the questions we are sure He will ask: “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten that which I commanded you not to eat?”

 And wonder of wonders, instead our Lord asks, “Where are your accusers?” And we look around and realize that there are none. At the foot of the cross, anger and outrage are subsumed in the violent beauty of sacrificial love and outrageous forgiveness. At the foot of the cross, all power of sin and accusation vanishes.

And we hear Him say, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

And because of grace, that is possible.

what happened before will happen again (with kathi pelton)

The children of Israel stood before the waters of the Red Sea, frozen in fear because the mighty army of Egypt, under the command of a vicious and cruel Pharaoh, had pursued them and were about to overtake them, bringing destruction. The LORD told Moses to stretch out his staff over the waters. Moses did and the waters parted, allowing Israel to cross over on dry land. God Himself protected His people; Scripture says He “looked at the army of the Egyptians through the fire and cloud and caused the army of the Egyptians to panic” (Exodus 14:24, TLV). Israel was delivered from bondage to what was the strongest nation on earth at that time.

David was a shepherd boy, young, “ruddy and handsome”; a lad who was consigned to the outlying grasslands to oversee his father’s sheep. When a fearsome giant named Goliath, champion of the Philistines, challenged Israel and Israel’s God to fight, young David took up the challenge. Goliath taunted and mocked him, despising the diminutive youth before him. But David, filled with trust in the Almighty, bellowed in response,

“You are coming to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I am
coming to you in the Name of ADONAI-Tzva’ot, God of the armies of
Israel, whom you have defied. This very day ADONAI will deliver you into
my hand, and I will strike you down and take your head off….Then all the
earth will know that there is a God in Israel, and so all this assembly will
know that ADONAI delivers not with sword and spear—for the battle belongs
to ADONAI, and He will give you into our hands” (1 Samuel 17:45-47, TLV).

Then David, trusting fully in the faithfulness of Israel’s God, ran toward his huge opponent and felled him with one smooth stone flung from his sling.

Daniel was a faithful servant of God who dwelt in Babylon, and distinguished himself serving in the courts of various pagan rulers. At one point, various other governors plotted against Daniel, due to their jealousy at his impeccable performance of his official duties, and succeeded in having Daniel sentenced to be thrown into a lion’s den. But God preserved Daniel’s life, and he was able to stand in the midst of the dangerous beasts, and declare to Darius, the ruler who sentenced him, My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him….”  (Daniel 6:22).

Esther was a young woman, taken from her people to become one of the wives of Xerxes I, king of the world-dominating Persian Empire. When she learned of a plot to destroy her people that had been hatched by one of the king’s high-level officials, she took heed of her uncle Mordecai’s counsel when he told her she must do something, because she had risen to her position “…for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). Esther, risking her own life, devised a plan to approach the king and reveal her identity as well as the plot against her people. The king was enraged that one of his own advisors would do such a thing, and had him executed. Esther’s bravery saved her life and delivered the lives of all the Jews who had been threatened. To this day, Esther’s story is remembered and celebrated each year with the joyous festival of Purim.

Jesus walked among the people of Israel, bringing hope and life, truth and mercy—delivering God’s message of light for those who dwelled in darkness. He healed all those with diseases, opened blind eyes, delivered the oppressed from demons, and raised the dead to life.

And like the writer of Hebrews, time would fail us if we were to begin to attempt to describe the many other epic miracles listed in Scripture. We have also read or heard about the miracles that have followed the prayers of believing saints for two thousand years since Jesus’ death and resurrection.

We know that God is blowing a fresh wind of His Spirit through His people, and there have been promises of a great outpouring as we draw nearer to the time of the end. So we wonder: Will feats of this magnitude happen again?

We have the promise—spoken by Jesus Himself—that we can expect to do even more than the exploits we have known about from the past.

I tell you the truth, whoever believes in me will do the same works I have
done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father”
(John 14:22).

The Son of God desires to glorify the Father, and we are His chosen and beloved who desire to respond to His love and glorify Him because He is worthy. The oneness that is created as God’s people yield to the desire of the Son is releasing a convergence of the ages. God’s faithful remnant has aligned with the works and ways of Jesus, revealed to all mankind as He walked among us.

The Holy Spirit has graciously moved through His people, gently and firmly leading us into lives of submission and dependency. We no longer dwell in the land of shadows, living in partnership with an independent spirit that seeks primarily our own good, that advances our own goals and agendas, that clings to comfort and safety.  While He was on earth, Jesus showed us how to live a life fully committed to advancing the kingdom of God. He displayed a life of obedience that fully pleased and glorified the Father; this is the kind of life we were all meant for. He explained this to the rigid religious leaders who accosted Him after He performed the miracle of healing at the pool of Bethesda. When they criticized Him, He responded,

“Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel (John 5:19-20).

So, we are not consumed with false identities we have created for ourselves, keeping to foolish and rigid rules of behavior that we think will make us more acceptable to God. Instead, our Lord calls us out of the religious edifices we have constructed and woos us into deeper communion with Him, creating in our spirits a unity with Jesus that calls out, just as He cried out in Gethsemane, “…not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).

From our posture of humility, in oneness with the heart of our King, we have the joy of experiencing miracles once again. Our relationship creates a platform where heaven and earth come into a holy alignment; our agreement with the plans and purposes of God creates a womb where miracles are conceived; they are enabled in us and through us as the fruit of oneness. Just as a husband and wife become one flesh in intimacy, which leads to the miracle of new life, so does new birth spring forth from the union of the bride of Christ as we function in oneness with the desire of our beloved Jesus.

Then the greater works cascade from God’s people; a crystal flow of the living water of the presence of the Lord, breathtaking in purity and glorifying the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.

pleased to know you

Zion is called to rejoice in God because God rejoices in her. She is to shout for joy and sing because God’s joy too has a voice, and breaks out into singing. For every throb of joy in man’s heart, there is a wave of gladness in God’s. The notes of our praise are at once the echoes and the occasions of His. We are to be glad because He is glad: He is glad because we are so. We sing for joy, and He joys over us with singing because we do.
Alexander MacLaren, Zion’s Joy and God’s (exposition on Zephaniah 3.)

God enjoys our presence. He loves to hear us laugh and sing, and He sings over us with His own songs of joy as we live and eat and work and play.
Preston Sprinkle, Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us

Many Christians with sensitive consciences carry unwelcome and uncomfortable baggage in the form of a nagging feeling that “something isn’t quite right,” suffering a kind of low-grade spiritual fever that enervates and leaves them lethargic. Their prayer life is mainly duty; they wonder why it is difficult to feel deeply engaged with God’s presence, and they are troubled by their lack of zeal for the things of God–especially after they have fallen short in some way, whether through inadvertent stumbling, or deliberate compromise or rebellion. They echo the cry of David, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.” (Psalm 51:3.)

It is important to realize that the Lord never intended to have a family that focused on its failures. However, such an idea arouses our inner Pharisee, who with puffed chest and foaming disapproval, bellows: What! Would you minimize your sin? How then will you remain pure before the Lord?  

We need to repent of sin; yes. We must watch and pray–yes; and humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God–indeed, yes; and love and encourage each other–yes and amen! It is vital that we humbly submit our lives to God’s love and counsel and rule. He has called us to holiness because He is holy. Paul reminds us that we have the promise that we are sons and daughters of God–He is our loving Father and He dwells with us–and because of that, we can cleanse ourselves of defilement, “perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 6:17–7:1.) And the beautiful, wonderful reality hidden in that truth is that He is the LORD Who Sanctifies us! (Exodus 31:13.) It is His power; it is His work. He accomplished our salvation not only because He loves us, but also for His own sake and glory (Isaiah 43:25; 53:10; Ephesians 2:4-7).

Because that is true, then continually bemoaning and bewailing our sin and foolishness does not honor our Father, nor does it show gratitude for the astonishing, eternal redemption purchased and provided for us by Jesus our Savior. We have available to us His “once for all” sacrifice (Hebrews 10:10-14; 1 Peter 3:18)  and the “how much more” cleansing through His blood (Hebrews 9:11-14).

So, access into the presence of our Lord is a gracious, glorious privilege–a wonder. We are wanted; we are loved; we are passionately urged to draw near. Through faith in Jesus, we have been sanctified–set apart, dedicated, and made holy–so that we may have intimate communion with the eternal Holy One, who is purity and love. But beyond every magnificent benefit to us is the overarching reality that what we experience is for the glory of God Himself. When we are in right relationship with Him and with each other (Matthew 22:37-40), then creation resonates with the wonder of His name and opens the way for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

God’s desire is that all His creation would flourish. He delights in our flourishing. He is grieved when we fail to live as we ought; when we gratify ourselves with paltry pleasures, defiled by lust and greed and seduced from genuine joy by cheap promises of exhilaration and the hubris of self-sufficiency. He is dismayed also when we cower away from Him in dread, quivering and whimpering with self-loathing.

We were meant to find our identity and our fulfillment in Him. By walking in fellowship with our Maker we discover who we are actually meant to be. But that does not involve working, grasping, clawing to “enter in.”  We are drawn in; we are desired. Our Father knows completely who we are, and who we will become.

But some cry out, I have done so much wrong; I don’t know how to come near Him; I do what I shouldn’t do, and don’t do what I ought to do! I am so weary, and I’m not sure I even desire to “press in.”

Is your heart cold? That is nothing when you are face-to-face with unquenchable flame (Daniel 7:9-10; Hebrews 12:28-29). Have you been foolish, selfish? Your actions do not supersede or negate His wisdom working in you (Proverbs 1:20; 1 Corinthians 1:21-30). Your stubbornness is not enough to shake off His “easy yoke” (Matthew 11:29). Your isolation cannot shut out the One to whom the darkest night is as bright as day (Psalm 139:12). Your delusion and disengagement is banished by His invitation to “Come up here” (Revelation 4:1). Your fear and loneliness are dispelled by His tender mercy and love (Isaiah 49:14-16; John 10:10-11; 15:9; 16:27).

The Father is pleased–genuinely, truly, unabashedly happy–to know us. He delights in our fellowship. Often, we don’t “feel” as though He would love us and want us, and we can list the many reasons He wouldn’t and shouldn’t. But we submit to the truth that He does, and Jesus the Son came to prove it to us and to win our hearts.

 

 

…that they might be one…

I write today during the National Day of Prayer for the United States of America.

Prayer is, of course, always a good thing. It is vital to the well-being of an individual, a region, a nation; and indeed, our entire world. God Himself has declared regarding anyone and everyone who longs to find a true home in the heart of the living Creator:

these I will bring to my holy mountain,
and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
for all peoples. (Isaiah 56:7.)

This year’s theme is “unity,” which is also good and powerful. Yet all of us who live in the U.S. are aware of the incredible divide and animosity that exist in our society; and the body of Yeshua is not exempt.

But as I prayed this morning, I became aware of a phrase in the heart of the Holy Spirit. I sensed that He referred to our arguments and strongly-held opinions as “petty irreconcilable differences.” Now, I understand that there are issues that are of grave concern, and they absolutely, unequivocally must be addressed.  There is no denigrating issues of injustice and racial inequality and hatred and violence. There are innumerable social, cultural, and political evils in our nation. The battle is fierce; the stakes are high.

And yet I understood, in the short, potent word dropped into my spirit, that much of our fighting occurs not because we are working together to overcome evil, but because we are angry that we can’t agree or get along. So, people “agree to disagree,” which is a cop-out from the hard work of true unity. Our argumentation and frustration and strident clamoring are nothing before the relentless, reckless, raging river of fire that is the love and holiness of God. The crystal cascade of the water of life “flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Revelation 22:1) sweeps away the flotsam of our foolishness and carries us into crying out that we might echo the purity of our Savior who prayed

“…that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:21-23.)

Today, we humble ourselves, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways. Together in Him, overwhelmed by His glory, we become one, that the world might know He is alive.

maria, did you know….

I asked the Father this morning what I should pray about, and I instantly sensed “Pray for Maria.” That’s all; no other information.

Really? I thought. There must be millions of Marias in the world. I guess I will pray for them all!

Dutifully, somewhat sheepishly, I lifted up my voice for all women named Maria, and suddenly my thoughts jumped to the systemic oppression and degradation and exploitation of women and girls worldwide. I also began to picture the staggering number of single mothers working so hard for their children and extended families. Then, it occured to me that I should find out the meaning of the name, and the first results I came across online informed me that “Maria” can mean “sea of sorrow” or “sea of bitterness.”

Now I understood. There are so many ladies around the world who are in anguish, praying and weeping bitterly like Hannah (1 Samuel 1:10) from the pain you carry; the grieving is intense, often because of the injustice you have had to face, but also because you so deeply carry the kind heart of the Father, and like Jesus are touched by the infirmities of those you love, and the comfort and tenderness of the Holy Spirit burns within you as you long to comfort others who are afflicted.

So I pray for you today; you who are “Maria”; you who are heavy-laden and feel yourself flailing in a wretched sea of darkness. The evil one and his wickedness assault you, but look up and see that the Warrior-Bridegroom King of the Universe is enthralled by your beauty! (Psalm 45:11.) I declare the goodness and kindness of ADONAI to be poured out on you, and in the safety of the Rock of His Name, you will find Him to be your defense and your strong tower of assurance.

I speak the mercy of God over your life and over the innocent lives for whom you stand guard. ADONAI proclaims His blessing to you: abundance of mercy and generosity; release of His authority in your boldness; and the glory of loveliness enfolded within the ferocity of your compassion.

My sisters, I am awed by your strength to withstand the sorrow and bitterness wrought upon you. Continue in your bravery. You may not feel brave, but believe this: You are beautiful warriors; you are Deborah and you fearlessly strike blows for justice (Judges 4-5). You are the graciousness of the Almighty, and your love and worship have become sharp arrows in the hand of the King that will pierce the heart of darkness and bring light into waste places.

Never, never, never forget your value.