Thursday, August 20, 2015
WARNING: IF GOD OFFENDS YOU, THIS PROBABLY WILL
In reading about the horrible sins that were hidden, or/and denied, by Josh Duggars and Jim Staley (before them, it was people like Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Baker), I have been greatly saddened. They feed the fuel of hatred for people who believe Jesus is the only way to heaven, pointing out we are hypocrites hiding behind Jesus. The mantra is, "They are no different than anyone else, and worse yet, they are hypocrites that promote bigotry and hatred. They should let everyone live the way they want to. They are homo-phobes. They are misogynists. They are bigots, hypocritical bigots, at that! They should just shut up, because they stir up hate crimes, and they are no better than anyone, so why do they pretend to be!!! ... And what about all the other religions???
My own flaws, my own blemishes, my own unique and ugly inadequacies are the reasons that I did not become a pastor in the first place; I have feet of clay.During the course of my life, these things have happened to me. I am divorced, I inhaled, I snorted, I've lied, I've harbored impure thoughts, I've drunk too much, I've cheated, I've stolen, I've voted democrat, I've voted republican, I've voted independent ... I've been homeless (not much better now, living in a week to week fleabag motel), I've been car-less (I am right now), I have an ego, I've been proud ... I can go on, but I think you get the drift. Worse yet, I've sinned since I've believed that Jesus is my Savior! I haven't always practiced what I've believed, because I've been either lazy, selfish, prideful, arrogant, or entitled. I haven't always been an appropriate example of what a believer is supposed to be or should be. I'm still human, with all the flaws that entails. But, I have put all these things behind me now. Why, what is the difference? The difference is ... I'll get to that in a bit (it will start with the small bold type below).
The point is, life has pleasures and seductions that snare us all. There is only one person who has been perfect, and He was crucified because of our sins; this is according to my faith. He is the sum of restoration for our creation, because the adversary, Satan, perverts the beauty of creation; he wants us to be prisoners to perversion. He wants us all to be trapped, he want us to continue to be slaves to our ignorance, our lack of knowledge, our resentments, our guilt, our angers. He wants is to be trapped into ways of thinking that deny the integrity and truths of the gift - the free gift, lovingly given to us by a loving God, to anyone who believes in it. What is the gift?
Grace. Grace is this wonderful gift, freely given by God (YHWH). There are also ... Salvation. Redemption. Forgiveness. Mercy. Who receives it? Both Jew and Gentile, Male and Female, free or slave, regardless of ethnicity or nationality ...
Now, to get back to the difference is ... it is transparency. Honesty. Repentance. Integrity. Our sins will be shouted from the rooftops (Luke 12:2-3, Matthew 7:5), they will be known by everyone. There will come a time where there are no secrets, that everything we do will be known by everyone. This is one reason why I have my "dirty laundry list" italicized above. I don't want to pretend to be something I'm not ... a person without sin (hamartia in Greek, meaning missing the mark ... the definition of sin) that is better than anyone. I am not better than anyone else ... I'm just forgiven, because I believe Jesus paid the price of my hubris against God ... my sin. I am working at putting my faith into practice, instead of pretending to follow Him and letting my ego dictate my actions. Not politics, not economics, not gender, not success/failure by worldly standards, not anger, not resentment, not envy, not guilt, not stupidity, not ignorance, not lack of knowledge. This is where the actions of Josh, Jim, Jimmy and Jim are easy targets for people who desire to diminish God ... looking at His representatives that portray one thing, until their hamartia - their sin - is found out or discovered.
So, I now seek God (YHWH, Yeshua, Ruah Ha-Kodech) to be first in my life ... something I have claimed to do all my believing life, but I have grown in my awareness of what this means. I have matured in my desire to be serious and to be committed in accomplishing this most basic, precious of actions. I am still saddened by all the pretense that goes on in life and I am understanding more the why, from the experiences that I have had. I thought I was doing this, but I realize the idols I still had in my life colored my desire to follow God. This is what others who have fallen have also fallen prey to. My desire and standards for success, comfort, pleasure ... what I was taught to was success ... were getting in the way of following Jesus as I desired to. I want my words to be powerful, to be able to do the things that Jesus said I was able to do. I want to be able to seek His face ... but, that's for another devotional.