Saturday, July 02, 2016

Acceptance or Hatred? God says, "Neither, and Both!"

I really haven't wanted to dwell on this, but I must. It seems that, according to popular opinion, a Christian must either accept a sin, or hate the person. After all, that's what God does, right?


Look carefully at John 3:1-21. This is what I like to call "the Gospel in a nutshell." This is the executive summary, the elevator speech, the short form of Jesus' purpose for being born, dying, and being resurrected. This is the real "love chapter" in the Bible, because it shows just how much God loves each and every one of us. Yep, He even loved the Pharisees, Judas Iscariot, Pilate, you, and me. He didn't send Jesus into the world to condemn every single sinner. We did that ourselves! God sends no one to Hell; we book that trip ourselves. It's a much easier trip, but the brochure doesn't really give an accurate picture of the destination.

We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God! (Romans 3:23) BUT God loved us enough to provide the way to save us. All we need to do is accept the terms of the offer. 
 (Romans 3:19-26)

God is love, and God in us causes us to love others (1 John 4:7-14). Therefore, anyone in whom the spirit of God resides cannot hate the drunk, the murderer, the homosexual, or anyone else. We all still fall short, because we continue to live in a world rich with temptation, and we are still arrogant, self-hroghcentered, and stupid. That is our failure, not God's.

So why do so many LGBTQs say we hate them? Why do Muslims who act in a peaceful manner believe we hate them? Too often it's because we remain arrogant, self-centered, and stupid. Too often we are out of tune with the Holy Spirit (the real one, not the emotional high some believe is Him). Too often we are total failures at communication. On the other hand, too often homosexuals identify so closely with their choices that they cannot distinguish between the two. Too often Muslims adhere to the religion of their family and society that they do not see the difference.

We need to ensure we differentiate between the two.

We must not hate the homosexual. We must hate the sin, and we may mourn the trap of reasoning that they fall into, but we must not hate the person. They may see it as, "God made me that way," but we must realize that is no more nor no less true than God making me with depression and anxiety disorder. Both are just as accurate as saying that a man cannot help but be "turned on" by another woman, or vice versa.

If I cannot make that distinction, then perhaps it's far better to keep my mouth (or keyboard) inactive and allow God to work through all lives involved.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Rapture Rupture

As I write this, many Christian communities are packing their bags, ready for the Big Event. So much had been said about the fourth "blood moon" coming up tonight that it had almost become sickening.

Everybody is ready for the Rapture!

For those who somehow have been protected from all the ruckus, the Rapture is the alleged event that shall occur before, during, or after the Great Teibulation, depending on which interpretation you choose. (Yes, I know some interpretations don't even bring in the Rapture, and at least one variation puts end-times prophesy mostly at the Masada incident. Let's not get into that debate, please.) This event, popularized by a variety of works including the Left Behind series of books and movies, causes all "true" Christians to leave the Earth suddenly. Again, the details of the departure and who is a "true Christian" has been thrown about with disgusting arrogance.

Consider This: what if we're ALL wrong about the Rapture?

Wouldn't it be a shock to discover that the Rapture has already hapened, but only 144,000 or so people disappeared … a number so small that nobody even noticed?

What would that mean for those of us "left behind?" Would it mean we should never have watched that R-rated movie on the "Sabbath?" Would it mean we should've joined this or that church, even though they all got left behind as well?

Maybe, just maybe, we were so focused on blood moons and the alledgedly "correct" and "uncorrupted by Greek" name of the Son of God that we failed to help the least of those among us. Maybe, instead of looking for signs and wonders, we needed to look for those whose last days are today or tomorrow, about to die without hope. Maybe, instead of being on street corners pushing tracts and pithy sayings in the hands and faces of random people, we needed to tell them the simple Gospel, such as can be found in John 3:1-21? Nothing complex, no rituals or rites, just simple truth and hope. "Jesus Christ, and Him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2) instead of tongues and rosaries, church committees and home groups, accountability and "miracles."

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Another Guest Post

To be honest, I am considering either changing this blog or creating a new one. Lately I've been more introspective and wanting to be a bit more generalized. I don't know yet.

Anyhow, you can find my second guest post revealing my heart at today.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Forgiveness - My First Guest Post!

I know I haven't been very diligent at posting lately, but when I don't have anything to write, I don't write.

I'm considering, though, starting a second blog that is a bit more general than this one. It's inspired by one a friend of mine writes. In fact, he asked me to write a guest post for him last year, and I finally got around to doing it.

You can read my guest post on forgiving my father here, at Randomly Chad.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Good Grief!

Someone close to me recently lost a cousin to cancer. It was a multi-whammy for her, since she herself was just decreed "in remission" from a different type of cancer, but more so because she had been very close to this cousin for most of her life.

The thing that surprised me, though, is that she was afraid of admitting that she was grieving!

It seems that a particular church (for which I have little respect, based on what she had been taught there for too many years) shamed those who actually didn't "celebrate" when a child of God passed away. Grief, it seemed, was either a sin, or something not to be felt by a Christian.

I have no idea where they got that bit of theological illogic, but it certainly wasn't from a thorough reading of Scripture.

Consider †his: if Jesus did something, it's nothing that should bring shame.

So when did Jesus grieve?

The shortest verse in the Bible, in just about all English translations of which I am aware, is John 11:35. Even the usually-wordy Amplified Bible keeps it at 2 words. (If you're interested, Bible Gateway can show you how all of its English translations render this one verse.) "Jesus wept." Simple enough. But why did He weep? The full story is found in John 11:1-44. This is the story of Lazarus, brother to Mary and Martha, a family that was near and dear to Jesus' heart even though they weren't part of his traveling band. You probably know the story. Lazarus had died, Jesus chose to wait to go there, and when He did, He brought Lazarus back to life, making his name synonymous with restoration of life.

Jesus wept!

Why did Jesus do that? "Certainly" it couldn't have been because His friend was dead. After all, He seemed to know that He was going there to restore him to life. Perhaps it was due to the strong feelings of his sisters and other friends, including the one that came to bring Jesus to them.

Or maybe it's the obvious answer: Jesus grieved for his friend.

Sound wrong? Too bad. We're not to judge what the Bible says based on our own preconceived ideas. One of the reasons I started this blog was to challenge those preconceived ideas that don't really match what Scripture says. This is one of the big ones, though I pray it's not as common as I fear it is.

 Christians are called to joy, but that doesn't mean insane laughter or happiness or any of the other bits of garbage emotionally-driven churches try to push. There are times of sadness. There are times of grief. There are times of trial and emotional depression. There are even times of anxiety and distress. Jesus went through all of these. Why do we think we won't? Why do we think we shouldn't?

Grief is normal. Grief is even healthy. There should be no shame accepted or poured on those who grieve the loss of a Christian. Even though we know we will see them again, the forced separation that will remain for the rest of our own lives is not a situation we can just push aside. As temporary as it is for Christians, the separation caused by death is the second greatest separation we can experience. (The first is when God isn't in us or the loved one, making the separation eternal.) Consider †his: death is not a separation we were intended to endure. Such separation came about because of sin. Sin causes even greater grief, in more ways than one.

So don't put shame on those who grieve. Put the shame on those who reject grief and those who grieve.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

"Giving an account"

OK, maybe it’s just me, but years ago I recall someone teaching on Romans 14:12 and getting seriously scared about God. No, I’m not talking about the fear of the Lord that’s the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7; 15:33). I’m talking about getting so scared of what He will do when we first meet “eye to eye” in Heaven that I obsess about every little thing here on Earth.

In case you haven’t already looked at the verse using the little popups, it reads in the ESV:
So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
Add to that Matthew 12:36, which reads:
I tell you, on that day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.
Mix well with tons of legalism, and you get one paranoid Christian!

Once again, though, chopping up the Bible into little bits and trying to piece them back together into what I call “Scripture Slaw” produces an inaccurate representation of God’s truth. Take a look at all of Romans 14 to get the context, as well as more of Matthew 12.

Consider †his: giving an account of what we did doesn’t remove God’s view of our lives as though we lived Jesus’ life.

We have no condemnation in Christ (Romans 8:1). Even though we still sin, God’s grace reigns. (That’s not a license to sin, though, as Paul addresses elsewhere in Romans, 1 Corinthians, and other letters.) The judgement those in Christ go through won’t include a stern-face God shaking His finger at us like naughty children, demanding we squirm as we try to given an excuse for the inexcusable, as we are shown our failures when our best wasn’t “good enough.”

This particular fear was something I have had for decades, I just recently realized. I don’t recall what false teaching I heard early in my days in Christ that supported this thought, but it has partially paralyzed me spiritually until recently.

Normally a “good blogger” would ask a question to engage comments from the readers at this point. All I’m going to do this time, though, is ask you simply to consider what I’ve said, and ask that you pass it on to those who might be stuck in the same trap as I’ve been. Also pray for them, and for me, for continued freedom from this paralysis of fear. Thank you.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Hating Homosexuals and Hens

So today’s the “big day.” Today is the official Mike Huckabee-generated Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. Lines have been reported all over the place, many times out the door, in some cases even down the road (cars waiting to drive through or park, that is).
For those who may have tried to ignore it all, the fast-food chain’s president recently came “out of the closet” and proclaimed support of traditional marriage, i.e., one man and one woman (presumably both born that way).
Many have reacted to this so-called “hatred” with … well, hatred.
What hatred?
Apparently it’s OK to hate and be intolerant of those who disagree with you and your “love” and “tolerance.” But only if you agree with something the Bible says, and I agree with the world.
Consider †his: isn’t that what Jesus told us would happen anyhow, in John 15:12-25 and Mark 13:9-13?
The problem with, in this case, the supporters of same-gender marriage is the same problem that people who support any type of sin (and, yes, sorry, practicing homosexuality is just as much of a sin as adultery, fornication, lust, lying, murder, and — oh, yeah — hatred) have. They want to do something that God says isn’t a good thing to do.
That’s nothing new. John the Baptist told Herod that his marriage to his cousin-in-law, Herodias, was wrong. Herod locked John up (Luke 3:18-20), and Herodias’ hatred of John is what caused her to compel Herod to have him beheaded (Matthew 14:1-12 & Mark 6:17-29).
That was back then, though. Now we “know” that we are, at best, evolved animals. As the script for one old computer game said, “we are chemical processes, and nothing more.” So why shouldn’t we just let “love” (which is itself a chemical process for reproduction, so we can also call it “lust”) be “right?” That’s how we’re made, after all.
Hopefully everybody sees the sarcasm in the previous paragraph.
Now, I know all too well how body chemistry can mess up the mind. I have been diagnosed with depression, panic disorder, general anxiety disorder, and I have the symptoms of several other disorders that make the term “too blessed to be stressed” sound like an alien language to me. Does that mean that I claim anxiety is not a sin, even though passages such as Matthew 6:25-33, Matthew 10:19, Mark 13:11, Luke 12:22-31, and Philippians 4:4-7 seem to say otherwise?
Nope, I’m not claiming that my body doesn’t make me sin. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. Maybe it’s not a sin if my physical body produces hormones that cause me to act a certain way. Maybe it is a sin, but grace covers those sins, too.
Whatever the case, my desires and my body do not determine what is sin. God alone does!
Both sides need to stop hating the messengers. The “tolerant” are deceived. Their father is the father of lies (John 8:43-45), and they proclaim his message. Some will turn and see the light, while others never will. Some follow Christ, yet still support those who claim to be homosexual.
I need to make one thing clear at this point. I just said that some claim to be homosexual. The claim often simply mean they are tempted with same-gender attraction, but do not take it beyond that, just as many are tempted to lust after the opposite gender. Temptation is not sin. I do not have the right to accuse anyone who claims to be homosexual of sin. I can tell them what the Bible says, but the choice is still theirs to make, just as it is my choice to fall where I am weak. Many are confused. Some want to throw their blatant sin into the face of anyone who disagrees with them, though, demanding acceptance their way. Sorry, no can do.
So how is all this going to play out? This will eventually die down, and the haters will seem to have a victory, then drag everyone through the mud with the next big thing that feels good with no true godliness. It’s in our nature. Just as chickens lay eggs, the unrepentant sinner will find something else to stir hatred. One day, though, the consistently unrepentant sinners will have egg on their faces as they discover that they don’t rule the roost after all.
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