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.