The problem with our society today is not that we have adults who act like children. The problem is, we have adults who aspire to act like children. It is their goal in life. They hate the idea of acting like adults (although they absolutely insist upon being treated as adults). They do not just…
I have taken it upon myself lately to reexamine my approach to brethren who are wandering, indifferent or erring. It’s all fine and good to say we should have “the spirit of gentleness” (Galatians 6:1). But what does that actually look and sound like? How might I self-diagnose more effectively?
When a friend’s Facebook profile has “It’s complicated” in the “relationships” space, that’s bad news. Granted, being single can be complicated. So can being married. But in this context, “complicated” means something that the friend in question is hesitant to try to qualify with a simple word.
Isaiah 1:20 provides a warning in the context of the more familiar phrase in verse 18 — “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow.” If the nation would refuse to repent, God says, “you will be devoured by the sword.” But one passage in the Midrash, a collection of rabbinic writings, translates it quite differently — “if you refuse and resist, carob pods you shall eat.” James Moffatt apparently was quite impressed with this view of the text and rendered the verse accordingly in his translation, although every other Bible translation I could find reads essentially as the New American Standard Bible does.
On March 20, 1925, an Anglican priest named Frederick Lewis Donaldson preached a sermon centering around what he called the “7 Deadly Social Evils.” Through the help of what he called a “fair friend,” Mohandas Gandhi had the opportunity to reprint the list in his weekly newspaper. A few weeks before the Mahatma’s assassination, he gave a handwritten copy of the list to his grandson, Arun Gandhi. It was Arun Gandhi that brought the list to the world, publishing it after his grandfather’s death under the heading “Seven Blunders of the World.”
Last week a video emerged from 2015 (the internet is forever — remember that, kids, the next time you Instagram a photo of yourself in a state and location you might regret later) of former Vice President Joe Biden commenting on his relationship with former Vice President Dick Cheney. He called him a “decent man.” “I actually like Dick Cheney, for real,” he said. “I get on with him.” Cheney, of course, has borne the brunt of the wrath of the opposition (and a fair portion of his own base) for the war in Iraq that his boss perpetrated.
I don’t care what you think about Biden, Cheney, Iraq, or any other particular element of this conversation. I share this story merely to tell you about the light bulb that went off in my head upon reading some of the vitriol spewed forth against Mr. Biden from some of the people who, until five minutes ago, may have been looking at his 2020 presidential candidacy with an eye toward supporting it.
Because I love torturing myself, I occasionally use social media to check on some of the Christians I have known in the past who have shown signs of faith slippage. Invariably I find what I expect. It’s a sickness. I need to stop.
Anyway, one lovely young girl from our past got a tattoo on her foot awhile back. It reads, “Everything happens for a reason.” She has a beautiful baby girl now. Never been married. I doubt she sees the irony.
“Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.’ ” — John 8:34-36
Sinners do not properly understand the principle of being enslaved to sin. They know nothing other than slavery. They have found contentment and even joy in slavery. They have convinced themselves that sin is the inevitable and preferred state of mankind. By committing themselves to slavery, though, they are prohibiting themselves from living the life that they were, in the most literal of senses, born to live.
Peter was an experienced fisherman. He had no doubt experienced many troubling waters in his life. But this particular storm was placed in context when he and the other disciples saw Jesus walking on the water. Peter had enough faith to recognize the Lord’s voice, and enough confidence to ask if he could walk out on the water to meet Him — and to do so when Jesus gave him permission.
One of the oddest parts of my brief exchange with Bro. Jesse Winn, to which I have made considerable reference over the last few weeks, was something he said about me personally. In my experience, “about me personally” is a prepositional phrase that is hardly ever a good thing in the context of brethren debating doctrinal differences. But this was an exception.