On Anger, Racism, and Other Foolishness

And the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.
(Genesis 4:10)

A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating. A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul.
(Proverbs 18:6-7)

This rainy morning finds me somewhat melancholy. For one, I blew my top at my eldestFight004 yesterday. Although he did not deserve to shoulder the brunt of my wrath, he was the unfortunate person in my path when I reached a tipping point. I took my eyes off the Lord and focused on my problems instead, and I am heartbroken at my own foolish response to my child.

 

I am, however, proud to say that he handled the whole thing with maturity that put me to shame. But today, another problem also grieves my heart: the ridiculous and entirely insane fact of racism. I have never understood this issue. I never will.

In high school, I had the misfortune to be admired by a boy who belonged to a group of Neo-Nazi skinheads; a racist group that existed in my town in the 1990s.  I recall one of his friends handing me some printed material – some preposterous drivel about sending the black people back to Africa and taking back “our” country.

Far from gaining my respect, this nonsense raised a cold fury in my heart. One of my closest – and indeed, one of my only – friends at the time was black. Of all the people in my grade, she was also quite possibly the one I respected the most.

Refusing to be defined by any clique, Miss C was funny, gregarious, and cheerful even when life was hard. When depression eclipsed my heart and I became sullenly withdrawn, often behaving like a complete freak, she still always treated me with a dignity I knew I didn’t deserve. Thus, for some combat boot-wearing child to tell me that she needed to be shipped back to Africa aroused only my contempt.

Needless to say, that little boy never earned my affection, but he has since earned my pity.  How sad a life to believe oneself superior to another by a mere accident of birth! How wretched to be so lacking in logic as to think white skin gives one a “rightful” claim to a land mass that was originally wrested from a brown-skinned people. How horrible to live so full of hate and darkness.

My response to the Neo-Nazi race propaganda remains the same today as it was when I was a teen. Though we might share a skin color, we emphatically do not share an ideology. If anyone ought to be shipped back anywhere, it is us representatives of a lighter-skinned population – the descendants of land thieves, exploiters, and slave-owners.

Although I am ashamed that these things likely lurk in my ancestral closet, I am not my ancestors. Personally, I agree wholly with the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. that each of us ought to be judged by the content of our character and not the color of our epidermis.

Recently, the above-mentioned friend posted on Facebook about several instances of racism she has experienced in her life, some flung out by foolish peers and others perpetrated by authority figures. It grieves me to think of those incidents, and again I admire her that she has never given up hope in the human spirit despite such atrocities.

Then… then I heard about what happened in Virginia. May I state something for the record? As a white woman, I utterly reject any such notion as “white supremacy.”  The very idea of something as arbitrary as pigmentation offering any people group supremacy over another is not only abhorrent, it is entirely illogical.

As if my friend or any other person has any control over the very fact of being born! To hate someone for that is the very paramount of ridiculousness.

Oh, people! Have we still not learned? There is truly only one race among humanity; we are all of the human race. Despite differences in skin color, hair color, eye color, geography,  or intelligence quotient, we are all subject to the same curse of sin. It is sin that breeds such nonsense as racism. It is also sin that bears a grudge and refuses to forgive.

Today, I am sorry for all the atrocities of human nature, for every news headline that demonstrates the truth of words penned so many centuries before: “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).

I weep for those damaged by racism and hatred; both those who are its victims as well as those whose souls are devoured by such cancerous hatred. I pray for my beautiful nieces whose skin is browner than mine, that they may see the goodness of God more completely because of the evil of mankind. I love that my own children have friends of many colors, shapes, sizes, and nationalities.

I also long for mankind to judge rightly, assessing one another by the content and expression of character rather than arbitrary cosmetic differences. More than that, I hope that we will learn to humbly apply the standard most rigorously to our own sorry selves.

Yet even as I write, I realize that I stand condemned by my own character as evidenced by my childish outburst mere hours ago. It seems that we will need something more than character. As a species, we are in need of grace.

As Ravi Zacharias wrote, “…no matter what part of the world we come from or what strata of society we represent, we must all admit our own shortcoming–that we only feel exonerated when we gauge our level of saintliness in comparison to someone else of lesser esteem.”

My friends and brothers of all colors, we are all of lesser esteem.

The solitary standard by which we may rightly measure our own character or that of another is the perfect standard of holiness – the standard of God Himself expressed in human flesh by the works and person of Yeshua Messiah (Jesus Christ).

If you are tempted to look down on another person, look up to Him first. He alone offers true grace, for He is the sole owner of holiness and worthy of reverence. The rest of us stand condemned daily by our own, innumerable childish outbursts.

One final plea – as you do look to Him, be certain that you are looking to Him alone. Humanity has perpetrated many evils in His name, all of which will be called to account someday. Beware of discarding the veracity of God because of the fumbling mishandling of sinful humanity.

No matter where you stand on the issue of racism, know that the sinful expression of anger is only foolishness. Even those of us who are victims must be careful of our responses. My rather loud outpouring of fury to my son last night was no less an expression of foolishness than that of the anger-fueled murder of other people in Virginia days ago.

I feel deep sorrow for my angry words, and I feel no less sorrow for the very fact of racism. Yet as I was reminded rather painfully last night, responding in anger only feeds a fire which already rages out of control, damaging all who are caught in its blaze without regard to complicity.

With full understanding that by giving vent to my anger I have played the part of a fool, I leave you with a Proverb as it is translated from the original Hebrew by David H. Stern, a Messianic Jewish scholar:

Don’t answer a fool in terms of his folly, or you will be descending to his level; but answer a fool as his folly deserves so that he won’t think he is wise.

Proverbs 26:3-4, CJSB

My friends, let us no longer act as fools and beasts ruled by our impulses, but let us instead submit in humility to God and allow Him to set us apart for holiness instead, agreeing with His definitions of goodness and truth, imitating His example of perfect love, and shunning evil – especially the evil that lies in our own hearts.

Hands002

(As a side note, all comments on this website are modereated. While America may still play at offering freedom of speech, I do not, nor do I tolerate disrespect. Any useful, respectful, gracious words will published; all hateful comments or angry retorts will be heartily ignored).

 

 

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Not My Job

So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'”
(Luke 17:10)

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To the right, you will find a section of my kitchen floor that I have come to think of as No-Man’s Land. Although my children have been required to help clean up the kitchen after dinner in some capacity since they were old enough to bring their plates to the sink, their responsibilities have grown with their bodies. Currently, they divvy up the duties among themselves and typically I will wash the dishes while they do the rest.

Or at least in theory.

It has come to my attention that there are two “sides” to my kitchen: the kitchen proper and the eat-in portion with the table. Apparently, if a young person sweeps one side, he or she is exempt from sweeping the other side. However, this section of floor between the island and the kitchen table does not belong to either side.

In fact, as far as I can tell, this particular stretch of floor is kept free of debris primarily by a combination of magic, fairy wings, and wishful thinking or failing that, Mom.

Yesterday, as I stepped barefoot onto some crumbs in No-Man’s Land and resignedly turned to get the broom, it occurred to me that perhaps some portion of the moral decay we see in our society today cannot be fully attributed to seething masses of pagan hordes gleefully spreading debauchery and gloating in evil. Maybe, just maybe, some of it has to do with the attitude that certain behaviors “aren’t my job.”

The things I’m talking about are small things, like cleaning the bathrooms at our churches or being the one who does not complain when our spouse does that crazy irritating thing he/she does.

There are medium jobs, too. Things like visiting a cantankerous widow, treating an outcast in your circle with love and respect even if they are hateful in return, or continuing to uncomplainingly serve someone who seems to take your kindness for granted as if it were their right.

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
(Hebrews 12:14)

Then there are the bigger acts – the places where we speak with our dollars and our actions. When the entertainment industry insists on placing inappropriate content in films, when stores embrace policies that are dangerous or exploitative to others, when advertisements marginalize or objectify women, we, the Church, need to be the ones who refuse to finance such choices.

That might mean inconvenience, taking a hard stand, being willing to do without certain things, spending our dollars wisely in order to send a message that we stand for the poor, the women who do not know better than to be objects, the children who are exposed to topics they are not yet ready to deal with. It is our job to be a “pillar and buttress of the truth,” and implicit in that is standing against immoral, corrupt, and deceitful practice even if it costs us.

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
(Hebrews 12:3-4)

As the Church, our job is to go and make disciples. The Greek word translated there means, “learner or pupil,” and since most of us learn by example, setting an example is certainly the job of the Church.

And let me be extremely clear about this point: if we claim to be disciples of Jesus, we are the Church. We are the example. Where we spend our money, how we spend our leisure time, what we accept or embrace in our entertainments, how we act towards our families in private – all of it matters.

It might mean doing a job that no one else wants to do. It may mean dealing with humiliation. It may mean inconvenience, being out of the loop in our entertainment choices, or sacrificing a show we really did want to see. It may mean being called prudish or seeming to be an oddball in our culture. In all honesty, it may even mean our death in certain situations such as those our brothers and sisters face worldwide.

But if we are to make disciples, we need to first copy our Master, and while He was kind and loving, He was also uncompromising when it came to holiness and the honor of our God.

And He did many jobs that were not His to do.

If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
(John 13:14-17)

 

 

 

The King Sits Enthroned

Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.
Psa;lm 29:1-2

Normally, I am not a politically-minded person, probably to a fault. Although admittedly my focus strays from time to time, I try to view everything — even politics — through the lens of God’s Word.

That being said, I am of two minds this year concerning the political mess in my country.

On one hand, I am angry. It infuriates me to be told that I have a voice in our government and simultaneously told that my voice is limited to a choice between two candidates that, as far as I can tell, are morally reprehensible. This does not feel like a choice. It feels like a sham.

When I happen to look in on the news, read a bit of text from the “debates,” or take a peek on social media, my anger quickly turns into something more akin to a wondering despair

And behind all the noise and reactionary chaos of social media, I can almost hear someone (or a group of someones) laughing in their sleeve. I could very easily be wrong, but the circus-like quality of the modern political “debate” seems to be a thing more akin to a diversion for an entertainment-hungry mob than a civil discussion of various viewpoints on critical national issues.

But…

On the other hand, I really cannot get too upset. To be perfectly candid, it truly does not matter much who wins this election. For either way, God will bring about His purposes, and not all of those purposes are going to be enjoyable at the time.

And although you may occasionally see a glimpse of the other side of my brain if I get excited, the truth is I actually have a good deal of peace this election year. The crazy thing is, that peace exists although I do not know what to do.

I know I’m not alone here. Many Christians do not know what to do. Most of us feel trapped, although if we are honest with ourselves, we are trapped in a cage that we have watched being welded together bar by bar over generations. But that’s another tangent…

“Oh, our God, will You not execute judgement on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” 2 Chronicles 20:12

What I do know is that my God does know what to do. He is God. Lest we forget, I fully believe He is perfectly capable of doing something strange and amazing through this election. He just might. But, much like the ancient nation of Israel, He may just give us what we have asked for.

They wanted a king and got one, along with a vendetta against the up-and-comer, David, a great deal of war and strife, and eventually a divided kingdom and moral bankruptcy. What we crave in America is freedom — freedom from consequences or repercussions, so much freedom that the boundaries of reason begin to blur and fade around the edges.

And we might just get it, too, along with all the chaos, mischief, damage, and debauchery that come along with “freedom” from logic and limits. It’s called anarchy, and it typically does not end well.

But there I go again…. I will do my civic duty and vote, but not before I have gotten on my knees in fasting and prayer to ask my God what He would have me do. Whatever He tells me, I will do. If He chooses to be silent, I will do my level best with the information (albeit rather shady information) I have been given to work with. And I will trust Him with the results.

The truth is, brothers and sisters, for those of us who are in Christ, this election is just another point of interest or intrigue in the land we are journeying through. This is not our homeland. We already have a Ruler, and He is our Refuge and our Strength; the King of kings and Lord of lords, The Almighty, the Most High,  Maker of heaven and earth, and He has not changed.

Nor will he. Oh, this old world will change. We’ve already seen its tendency to slow decay. It’s called “entropy,” and it is an actual, accepted scientific law. Nor does it only apply to matter. Civilizations rise and fall; all that is new fades, becomes old, and crumbles;  governments rise to glory and fall to ash; and still this ball of rock spins on its axis around its wondrous and fearfully-powerful star. Until it does not any longer, that is.

For once now, God sent His own Son to live as one of the very beings He created. He walked as one of us, enduring the same joys and sorrows, trials and triumphs with one exception — He alone understands the full depth and breadth of temptation because He alone has withstood it until the bitter end without knuckling under or bending even once.

He fulfilled the Laws given to Moses, then He gave Himself willingly in a bloody and terrible sacrifice to save the very ones who beat, mocked, and rejected Him — including me. Then He rose again, this God-Man who is my King. And someday He will return, this time not in meekness and to offer sacrifice,  but in power and great glory to claim the earth that He paid for in blood. Then, oh my friends! Then every knee will bow before before Him, whether in worship or in fear.

That is my Ruler. That is my Sovereign. That is why I only worry for small times in weak moments, mostly for the sake and safety of my children.  But then I rally and take heart, because I remember that I am a stranger in a strange land (and I already know how strange, so you don’t have to say it!). My King is secure, and He is my strength in weary times.

The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD sits enthroned as king forever. May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace!
Psalm 29:10-11

An Appeal to my Brethren of Any Color

And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.
(Mat 24:10-12)

I am a white woman.

There is nothing I can do about this. I was born this way.

My sisters are white women. They did not choose their skin color, either, but were also born this way. All three of us have some things in common: our skin is  of that pinkish-tan hue that for some reason is called “white” and our hair and eyes are brown. We can make alterations with dyes, contacts, and other superficial and temporary aesthetic changes, but we can never be anything but white women.

Besides our coloring, we three share other characteristics. We all made similar mistakes before we came to know Jesus as King and Lord of our lives. Despite our love for Him, we all are imperfect and still struggle with sin. We all make mistakes, we are all learning to humble our hearts and repent when we do, and we encourage each other to this end.

Additionally, we are all married to husbands we love and have children we adore. As it happens, our husbands are also human beings, are imperfect, make mistakes, and are striving to be Godly men who love and support their families.

But there is one difference that, to us, is insignificant but to this irrational and fear-driven society in which we live, often becomes inflated beyond aesthetics: one of our husbands is black.

And to be truly honest, I don’t care.Hands004

I enjoy my brothers-in-law equally. I love the
m both the same. At times, I am even irritated by them both the same, not because of their skin color, but because of our mutual sin natures. What I mean is that sometimes my irritation may be justified while at other times it is not because I, too, struggle with sin and pride and fail to be humble. To me, my brothers are no more or less different than my two sisters. We are all in this family together, and Lord willing, we will all be together from now and forever on into eternity.

Why am I telling you all this? Frankly, this is nothing short of an outright plea to all fellow members of the human race to stop thinking in skin colors and remember who the real enemy is.

The real enemy is not marked by something as arbitrary as the amount of melanin in a person’s skin. The real enemy is not a person at all; he is a liar and the father of lies, and he has come to kill, steal and destroy. And in fact, that is just what I see him doing when the racial pot is stirred.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
(1Pe 5:8)

Please, brothers and sisters of all colors, please remember this. In God’s house, there is not black and white but we are all one in Christ, part of His body and paid for by His blood. Please do not be distracted by our enemy’s attempts to divide us up into little knots made up of labels we have imposed upon ourselves. We are not merely black and white — we are Christ’s and it is for Him that we should stand together.

I am not saying racism does not exist. It does; I have seen it too often to ignore. What I am saying, however, is that we who are one in Christ ought not let ourselves be divvied up so easily into racial categories. Instead, I propose we keep our eyes on the proverbial ball and keep in mind who our enemy really is. I propose that we remember that behind each killing lies one common factor: sin. The skin color of the murderer or the murdered does not matter in the least. Murder is murder. Sin is sin. This has not changed and will never change.

We cannot generalize. We cannot class a people’s behavior by a merely cosmetic difference.  I have friends and loved ones of many colors. Because we who are in Christ are God’s children, I even have brothers and sisters of many colors.

Imagine, for a moment, a world in which people with blue eyes were considered to be sinister in intention simply because of the stark blueness of their eyes. Ridiculous, but no less ridiculous than being divided over skin color. Please see this.

Even if you read these words and you do not know my Lord (who, by the way, was also not a white man but a Jew), I urge you to consider Him. I implore you to get to know Him through the Bible and through honest and sincere prayer that seeks to find the truth in a world teeming with lies. I encourage you to put into practice His words; such actions as loving your enemies and praying for those who persecute you, dying to yourself and living for Christ, obeying God no matter the personal cost. But even if you will not listen to God, at least listen to one of His servants and my brother in Christ, Martin Luther King, Jr.:

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. . .

. . . I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I implore you all –brothers, sisters, or non-relatives; black, white, brown, or whatever you may be: Do not judge anyone by the color of their skin nor by their nationality  but solely by the content of their character.

In my youth, I was once protected from a white rapist by a black man who frequently acted as a sort of big brother to me.  Indeed, this man of different skin saved my skin more than once from white guys with unsavory motives. Their skin color did not matter, but their character did. Back then, I did not understand who my enemy was, but I knew enough to realize that it wasn’t a person with a differently colored epidermis.

Today, I enjoy sitting at the table of brotherhood with fellow humans who happen to have a variety of colors of skin, eyes, and hair; who are of different heights and weights; who have different backgrounds and different family upbringings; even who attend different denominations. We do not all always agree,  but we can still love each other. We can still find what we share in Christ, and that is His undeserved forgiveness and love.

I am begging you no matter what your skin color, if you are in Christ, remember that we are one body in Him and individually members of one another. Let’s rally around the cross, not divide up over incidents sparked by sin and lawlessness. Let’s not even look too hard upon the sins of others but remember to feel shock and grief over our own sins most of all.

Most of all, let’s remember who the enemy is and resolve to stand firm against his schemes together. Your brothers with various flesh tones are not your enemy. Our enemy is the prince of this world, the one called Accuser. Do not listen to his accusations against our brethren.

Now more than ever the world needs to see Christians coming together in Christ regardless of external differences. Now more than ever, the world needs to see the love and forgiveness of God acted out and spoken out in the real, day-to-day lives of His children. Now more than ever, the world needs to see us humbly addressing our own sin with repentance instead of angrily addressing the sins of others and assigning blame. Now more than ever, the world needs to see that God is real by genuine acts of love and forgiveness, of unity in Christ and in His purpose, and by the ways God’s children refuse to be distracted from the real struggle.

Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
(Eph 6:11-13, NASB)

Remember, brothers and sisters, remember who the enemy is. Don’t let your love grow cold. Stand together. Resist evil. Rejoice together; grieve together. Share each others’ burdens. And always, always remember that we are to forgive as we have been forgiven and love one another.

By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 

(1Jn 4:17-21)

 

My Two Cents: An Appeal to Reason

I have struggled for many days about whether or not to post this, and so after the encouragement of some friends, I have decided to do so. If you read this, please commit to it and read through to the end,  particularly my post script.

Often I will stay out of hot button issues just because I hate fueling fires unless said fire is necessary for warmth and light; however…there is one recent controversy which has left me completely bewildered.

To put it bluntly, I’m astonished at whole issue of “gender identity.” For the life of me, I cannot fathom why this is an issue at all. Whatever happened to common sense and reason? Gender is somewhat startlingly evident by certain physical markers, thus it is not a detail that is difficult to assess.

And while I am a Christian — and openly so — I feel strongly that the concept of gender has less to do with any one person or group’s Christianity or lack thereof than it has to do with any one person or group’s ability to be sensible. I am puzzled as to why this thing is often made a point of Christian vs. Non-Christian when it is solely a matter of facts vs. fiction or reality vs. fantasy. This is not a hateful viewpoint; it is a rational one. It is patently absurd to haul words like “love” and “hate” into the thing at all.

You see, a person’s identity is not and has never been a basis for reality, but identity certainly should be affected by reality. We teach this to every three-year-old who zooms around the room wearing a pillowcase for a cape. He may indulge this fantastical identity as a superhero to a point, but the moment the tyke attempts to fly from the upper story window ought to be the point at which the loving parent intervenes with a healthy dose of reality.

To put it another way, I may identify myself as a 7-foot tall, black NBA player, but an appointment to be fitted by the Big and Tall Men’s shop, a peek in the dressing-room mirror, or about six seconds on the court would lay that fantasy to rest rather efficiently. The reality of my shortness, pasty whiteness, and sports-related ineptitude would give lie to my belief.

Why is it, then, that the  reality of physical gender has become such a stumbling block? I’m not saying that people might not be genuinely confused, but isn’t it more loving to help them deal with the reality of their circumstance rather than redefine what is and is not “real?”  As a culture, have we forsaken reason altogether?

I wonder sometimes. It frightens me to think of whole groups of people careening through life without a tether to anything so concrete as reality, though I daresay that the sensation of free-floating must be, at times, even more frightening to them. When I think of it in those terms, it makes me terribly sad.

But since many insist on dragging Christ’s name into this mess, I will address the matter from that standpoint as well. Perhaps it is inevitable, for He is never far in my thoughts on any  matter; this one is no different.

If this world has entirely forsaken facts for feelings, then I do have an appeal to make to my brothers and sisters in Christ. This is one of those points at which we must, must rally around the cross. We have a solemn duty to uphold the truth of the One who first created us and then ransomed us through no merit of our own — and truth as He created it and not as we interpret it. We must be humble, but humbly accepting His truth and not the world’s version. Truth and reality were not our creation and therefore are not ours to rewrite, and I fear we cannot bend truth to please mankind when to do so would dishonor our Creator.

Besides that, I do believe that fallout will come of this eventually, perhaps not for all but for some. The initial thrill of abandon caused by casting off anchors to truth will diminish. Soon confusion and fear will set in as lives affected by  this faux freedom find themselves in dismay, floundering in the deep with nothing to indicate up from down; no beacons to indicate a right turning from a wrong one.

At that point, we need to be there; a levelheaded people of Truth standing on the firm foundation of the Rock of Ages,  ready to give an answer to the hope that is within us to a deluded and frightened world; a hope that is in Jesus Christ alone.

Make no mistake: Jesus did come to save sinners and He does come to all of us just as we are.  That is truth. However, it is only a part of the truth. He comes to us as we are, dressed in filthy rags , blind and disease-ridden, but He does not leave us there.

Because of His love for us, He heals the blindness, cleanses us of the disease, and dresses us in His own garment of righteousness. In fact, He gave his life to pay a debt we cannot pay.

We have no choice, none of us, but to come to Jesus just as we are: sinners enslaved by sin. However, we cannot remain as we are and still walk with Him. There must be a change, a yielding to His authority and a dying to self, even to self-identification.

As His ambassadors, we who are in Christ must hold fast to truth. Who will speak truth and life into madness and decay and show the way out if it is not those who belong to the Way, the Truth, and the Life? If we fear being labeled “intolerant” more than we fear tolerating wrongness, what good do we do? Does love ever tolerate those habits or practices that cause ultimate harm to the beloved? Not at all!

Do not become confused by shifting ideologies nor afraid to speak intolerantly of deceit, my brothers and sisters! Love people enough to tell the truth, enough to be intolerant of those things that may cause temporary pleasure but will bring eternal harm.  Jesus is, was, and always will be the only hope we have in this world, and it is His truth — THE truth — that provides genuine freedom.

“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31b-32)

Post Script — Because of the current social climate, I feel it important to add this. When it comes to the whole issue of gender or sexual identity, I am absolutely not picking on one sin over another. The reason I speak so passionately against sexual sin is that I was once enslaved to it. Though all my iniquities were committed with men, they were not by any means lesser sins. They were grievous  and horrible, and although I have received forgiveness, I still carry memories that I wish I could shed.

I know the danger, I know the corruption, and I was rescued from it by the grace of God. It is from genuine love that I long for that same rescue to all who remain enslaved, wherever in the spectrum of sexual sin their particulars may fall.

That being said, I reiterate that do not see the gender identity issue as much an issue of “worse” sin — again, it is simply a matter of facts vs. fiction. I am not appealing to a lost world to act saved; I am appealing to all mankind to act rationally.