Pensées (March 18)

When a man is given permission to blame his lust on women, he will never be free from lust. The first step to freedom is to confess sin. No one causes anyone to lust.

It is quite sad to me that a young man could sit in church his whole life and not understand how to be free from the bondage of sin. His failure to grasp the gospel cost lives. It always does.

When men are given permission to view those who look or act differently as less than human, blood will flow in the streets. It always does.

Failure to grasp the gospel leads to fear. When fear takes hold of a man, death follows. It always does.

Perfect love casts out fear. What can separate us from the love of God?

We live in a broken and disordered world. We are quite easy to see the brokenness and disorder and wickedness is the others, but quite slow to see it in ourselves.

When a man thinks that someone must be destroyed, banished, run out, or shunned in order to be free from shame and fear, he does not understand the gospel.

The gospel draws us into fellowship with others. Fear destroys and isolates.

Sandstorm by Passenger is my new favorite song.

Jezebel was a real woman in the Bible. She introduced Baal worship to Israel and put to death the true prophets of God. Her name was used in Revelation to refer to the seduction of idolatry away from the one true God. It has nothing to do with either feminism, working outside the home, or divorcing an abusive spouse. We should stop using that term as an insult.

Name-calling is expected of children. But maturity requires that you put it off.

Reviling always leads to death.

The purity culture of the 90s taught a whole generation of young women that their bodies are impure, objects of temptation, the cause of lust, and something to be ashamed of. We are reaping the results.

If you are reading this, I want you to know that you are important. God made you beautiful and worthy of love and dignity. Jesus came to restore that dignity, not heap more shame on you.

Anyone – especially a pastor – that says “Shame on you” is unworthy of the name of pastor, and should repent. Christ came to do away with shame and we are his ministers with his message.

Shame never heals. Shame never produces good fruit. Shame never brings forgiveness. But it is intolerable. The human spirit always will seek to overcome shame by any means available, up to and including murder or suicide.

A culture that preaches shame will result in death. This is the wages of sin. But the gift of God is eternal life. That is our message.

As a pastor, I want everyone who hears me on Sunday KNOW that Jesus died to save sinners and to take away guilt and shame. If they don’t believe, and think the solution to shame is murder, I don’t ever want that to be on me.

I want to be the kind of pastor that people think of speaking to when they are in trouble. When people say, “Don’t let the pastor ever find this out…” I have failed at my job.

The same goes for our jobs as parents and grandparents.

When I was in college, the cafeteria was closed on Sunday nights. We had a pool table in our dorm. My friend and I played pool and the loser had to buy the pizza. I never lost.

It was the only time I ever won a game of pool. I find that fascinating.

Pizza should be used to motivate more often.

I despise exercise. But every morning my wife and I have started walking thirty minutes through the orchards. We talk about everything under the sun. The morning is ours. For the first time, I look forward to “exercise”.

That tells me a little something about the nature of good works and their connection to love…but you will have to think about it.

Bring light and beauty and hope into the broken world of shame and guilt.


Filed under Random thoughts

4 responses to “Pensées (March 18)

  1. Bunkababy

    That’s a loaded post. Thanks. It went in. I don’t know where it landed. My brain can’t function at the moment. It is in utter overload and only can accept frivolity such as a short statured man dressed as a leprechaun running through the station being chased for his lucky charms. You can thank that one from Subway Creatures on Instagram.

  2. Anu Riley

    When I read this: “When men are given permission to view those who look or act differently as less than human, blood will flow in the streets. It always does,”
    And I hope it’s okay to say this; it sounds like something MLK Jr would have spoken or written himself. Or something he would have applauded. I am usually careful to associate persons in the present with persons in the past only because each person is absolutely unique.
    I read an article about Atlanta murders; there was a hesitation to label them as hate crimes, racially motivated. It wasn’t completely ruled out, but when the “sex addiction” narrative emerged, that seemed indicative that race was less likely a factor.
    One person said, however, that there were massage parlors run by white persons. Those weren’t targeted. That says something.
    Jezebel is NOT a woman after my own heart but I’m like you; why use her name as a hurled insult? I don’t “hurl” names Judas, Adam or Ahab at males to really “stick it” to them. And boy, would those names hurt.
    I recall watching “First Wives Club” (spoiler alert ahead!), and the main characters said their dear friend died of neglect. She had killed herself when her husband left her for a younger woman. I never forgot how they tied the two together.
    Before she died, she wrote letters to those friends, saying maybe loneliness (she missed their friendships) was the real problem, not her ex. She encouraged them to: please take care of each other.
    The husbands of al all four women left them to lust after younger women and none of them were ashamed of their cruelty. The women they left certainly felt shamed; getting older is nothing to be ashamed of.
    At first they wanted to band together to get back at their ex-husbands. Then they used their brokenness to help other broken persons: they built a shelter for the abused, named in honor of their fallen friend. They realized they had far more power to use their hurt to help others.
    You mentioned a young man sitting in the pews, and the purity culture. I imagine a young woman sitting in the pews, thinking that being lusted after is the closest thing to to love that she can ever hope for. The younger women in that movie were no doubt mere objects of lust to those older men.
    Now I wonder if those fictional young women might be just as broken as the older women, just not in the exact same ways. It’s shamefully sad to think being lusted after is the only way you’ll feel powerful, attractive and worthy.
    Slavery may have been legal a long time ago, but I don’t think the spirit of slavery ever truly got repealed. People are constantly being “priced,” bought and sold, disposed and discarded of when they are no longer useful.
    Completely agree with you about the pizza! Have you ever heard about the story of the ogre who made the best pizzas, ever. People loved to eat at her restaurant. But when she came out of the kitchen, they fled in horror. Seriously?
    I still think of the line from Shrek when I think of that story: they judge me before they even know me.

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