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Posted on May 9, 2017 in Blog, Church, Culture, Featured, Worship

Motive Shift

Motive Shift

What drives you? What are your motives? What is that thing, which, at the end of the day makes you push a little farther, work a little harder and drive a little longer?

Why are you doing anything that you do?

At the end of the day, for most of us, I think our motive is: self. I work hard so I can play hard. I work hard, so some day I can retire and do what I want to do. Yes, I’m working. But, the reason I’m working is for something else. I want this kind of a house, with this kind of a car, with this kind of a family, with this kind of a life.

I want.

Motive = me.

I’m that way. I often have selfish motives. So, I’m not judging you, I’m just speaking from what I know of me. Maybe you’re not selfish like I am. If so, good for you. You’re awesome. I’m pretty sure they make a T-shirt for that now.

This is probably no surprise. I mean, it’s not like any of us have to try to be selfish. We just are. I don’t have to try to make the world revolve around me, I just naturally do it. It’s not because I have some kind of psychological delusion. It’s because I’m human. Just like you.

So, what’s the problem? You might ask me. Well, as I said, self, when left un-checked, has a tendency to make everything about itself. Everything. We have a tendency to make work about us, to make family about us, to make relationships about us, to make money about us, to make church and God all about us.

“While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We quote. And we get a hearty, “Amen!” from the batpicostals in the room. It is about me. Jesus died for me. That whole redemption story, is about God loving me. 

Then, everything has to be approached from that vantage point. And if something dares question that, well, there’s going to be hell heck to pay. When that crazy pastor dares suggest that God is all about His own glory, and that my salvation is for His glory and that my life is supposed to be for the praise of His glory, well. Be careful pastor. You’re treading on thin ice.

We can even endure such talk to a point. As long as it stays abstract and philosophical and intellectual, it’s fine. Okay, fine, God is all about God. He saved me for Him. I can intellectually affirm these statements. But, as soon as we take the next step from knowledge to heart and life change.

BOOM! Don’t you tell me how to worship God. That’s personal to me. I’ll worship him how I see fit. You can’t judge my heart, doesn’t the Bible also say not to judge? Who’s the hypocrite now? 

We are okay with God, as long as God doesn’t expect us to give Him total ownership of our lives. We’re okay with God as long as he remains external to our situation, a figure we can ask for free stuff and blame for the bad stuff. But, when God expects me to live my life as a sacrifice for His purposes, well, it’s time to find another church.

And many do, and many have.

This reminds me of Jeremiah. At the beginning of his ministry, as he is learning what it means to be a prophet, he has some soft words to share with God’s people.

“I will pronounce my judgements on my people because of their wickedness in forsaking me, in burning incense to other gods and in worshipping what their hands have made.” Jeremiah 1:16

“What fault did your fathers find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves.” Jeremiah 2:5

Jack Hayford said: “Worship changes the worshipper into the image of the one being worshipped.”

When we have self at the center of everything, we are really worshipping ourselves. Me, with a capital M. And when we do that, there’s really no point to anything. Worship is about ascribing worth and honor to something. It’s about submission and surrender. What good is it to ascribe worth to ourselves based on ourselves. What good is it to submit to and surrender to ourselves. We are already pretty good at doing that.

That’s not how God designed things. He designed us, created us to worship him. When we worship things other than him, we become worthless. Ouch. Glad I wasn’t the one that had to tell people that. I can just pass the buck back on to Jeremiah.

But what does this mean? Let’s get a little more substance to work from:

“But their idols are silver and gold, made by the hands of men…those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.” – Psalm 115:4,8

“At Horeb they made a calf and worshiped an idol cast from metal. They exchanged their glory for an image of a bull, which eats grass.” Psalm 106:19-20

So, when you worship something other than God, you are ‘exchanging your glory’ for the thing you are worshipping?

We still need a little more help:

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
    in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
    to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
    you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
    and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
    and the fish in the sea,
    all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Wait a second! It’s right there, Pastor. We are the ones that are crowned with glory and honor. To which I would, say. “You’re right…kind of.” Yes, we are crowned with glory and honor, but who crowns us?

“Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens.”

Do you see it? The only way we have glory is because God gives it to us. The only reason God can give it to us, is because He already has it. He is the one true God. His glory is in the heavens, far above and beyond anything we can experience in its entirety. But, he has given us glory and put everything under our feet?

Why? We have to go back to see where the psalmist got this idea of putting everything under our feet:

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

God made us in His image. That is, was and will always be the only reason we have any glory at all. We have glory because God gave it to us. We are the only thing in all of creation that has his image. We are the only created being that reflects God.

If we have glory because God gave it to us, is it any wonder he would be a little put off when we decide that we are the most important thing in the universe, that we would make this whole thing about us, and we would make our relationship with him all about what God can do for/give to us while at the same time refusing to give anything of ourselves back to him?

We’ve taken the glory that He has given to us, and exalted ourselves to His position – WITH HIS OWN GLORY!

The reality is, none of any of all of creation has any worth or value if it wasn’t given by God.

“Nothing teaches us about the preciousness of the creator as much as when we learn the emptiness of everything else.” – Charles Spurgeon

When we realize that, we begin to understand why things have gotten to be such a mess in the world. We’ve prostituted God’s glory for our own purposes and agendas. We’ve used God’s glory to advance our selfish pursuits and desires. We’ve made it all about us, and we get mad at God or anyone who would dare suggest it should be any other way.

May I ask you a question: Do you really want it to be this way? Haven’t you ever seen Bruce Almighty? Do you really want to be God? Of course, even asking such questions is ridiculous because none of us can be God.

“Isn’t it a comfort to worship a God we cannot exaggerate?” – Francis Chan

Wouldn’t you rather worship the God who created you, the God whose name is “I AM.” The one who is the beginning, the middle and the end. The creator of all things and sustainer of all things. The author of life, the one who numbers the hairs on our head, whose thoughts for us are more numerous than the sands on the seashore. The one who knows each and every one of us by name, formed us in our mother’s womb, created us for a purpose and created good works for us to do. Wouldn’t you rather worship the one whose name is provider and healer? Wouldn’t you rather worship a God who is too big to comprehend, who is immortal, all knowing and all powerful?

Obviously, none of us are any of that. And, (also obviously) none of us will ever be any of that.

What is worship? Paul makes it clear:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” 

Worship is living sacrifice. Why does that ring a bell?

“24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.” Matthew 16:24-27

May I ask, what are you living your life for? Who are you living your life for? Have you spent your life in pursuit of your own dreams? Are you chasing the pleasures of this life and this world?

For those who are Christ-followers the call is clear. Worship isn’t about my own wants, desires or preferences. Worship is actually denying them. My true and proper worship is not touting and lauding me, it is sacrificing me. Worship is conformity with God’s will, which requires nonconformity with the world. Can you and I say this is our motive right now? If not, it’s time for me and all of us to repent and turn away from that desire to seek our own glory.

If you happen to be reading this and you’re not a Christ follower, may I make an invitation to you? Step into this idea and see for yourself if God really is who He says He is. Try it out. If I’m wrong, what have you lost? But, if I’m right, it could change everything, literally, forever.

 

 

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Posted on Nov 9, 2016 in Blog, Culture, Featured

What Do We Do Now?

What Do We Do Now?

Every year, many of us get our hopes up about a particular football team. We root for them throughout the course of the season, and we root against their opponents. If we’re lucky (which my team hasn’t been for almost 30 years now) our team will get to the Super Bowl. Many of us will spend the weeks leading up to the big game trash talking the other team, and speaking of how our team is going to win the day. Inevitably, one team wins and another team loses. If we are fortunate, it was our team. For me, that’s never been the case, the Bengals have been to the Super Bowl twice and lost both times to the Forty-Niners.

If our team won, we want to go brag about it and celebrate. If our team lost, we want to mourn. Either way, we probably said some things that shouldn’t have been said. We probably believed some hype that shouldn’t have been believed. We build up our team and tore down the other team in unjustifiable ways. And, we have to learn how to get along with the fans of the other team.

We’ve just gone through something very similar in this years’ election. However, we’ve been building up to it for almost 2 years instead of 2 weeks. And it’s not a football game. This was based on deeply held beliefs on both sides. There has been a lot of trash talking going on. There has been a lot of hype we probably shouldn’t have even given a consideration to. Both sides have been vilified. Both sides have been pitted against each other. Both sides have been demonized. 4 & 8 years ago one team won, and one team lost. Yesterday one team won and another lost.

And, now we have to figure out how to get along with the other team. 

Part of  what always discourages me is seeing how people respond in such negative and fearful ways. It happened 4 years ago. It happened 12 years ago. It is happening as we speak.

My question for us today, is what do we do now? (Romans 12:14-21)

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

This is what we do now. Especially for those of us who follow Christ, our hope was never in any political candidate. Whether the candidate you voted for won or lost, that candidate is – like you and I – a broken person whose only true hope is in the redeeming work of Jesus Christ.  Christ is not only our redeemer, but our example. If you aren’t familiar with His story, He didn’t come out on the winning side. He was betrayed, despised, rejected, beaten and executed. He was truly innocent, the only truly innocent there has ever been, and he was executed as a criminal.

And how did He respond? 

“And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. (Luke 23:34)

He had been wrongly accused and was in the midst of being wrongly punished for crimes he didn’t commit, and he was asking the Father to forgive the very ones who were stabbing him, the very one who had driven the nails in him, the ones who were mocking him and spat on him.

You believe your team is the right team. But only one team won. What do we do? No matter which team you were on, we need to all do the same things.

  • Forgive.
  • Bless those who curse us.
  • Rejoice with those who rejoice.
  • Weep with those who weep.
  • Live in harmony with one another.
  • Don’t be proud.
  • Associate with people of a low position.
  • Don’t be conceited.
  • Don’t repay evil for evil.
  • Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone (not only the people on your team)
  • Don’t take revenge
  • If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
  • Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.
  • As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

That’s what we do. All of us. Regardless of which team you were on. Why? Because, for those of us in America, we’re all one team. We are all joined together by the fact that God chose for us live in this nation in this time for His glory and His cause. And for all of humanity, we are all made in God’s image. There are many who may not understand that or believe that, but we are joined together by that fact.

As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 

  • Don’t respond out of pride if your team won.
  • Don’t respond out of anger if your team lost.
  • Don’t further the division and spite by venting your joy or frustrations in front of the other team.

Be an agent of peace. You can’t control the people around you. But, you can control your response to them. As far as it depends on you, be an agent of peace.

What can you do today to bring peace to a divided and hurting world? We’ll get much further by seeking to live at peace with one another than by blasting those we don’t agree with. If you and I commit to being agents of peace in the midst of a divided world, we have the chance to shine brightly the hope of the gospel of peace.

As Chuck Colson reminds us:

“I meet millions who tell me that they feel demoralized by the decay around us. Where is the hope? The hope that each of us have is not in who governs us, or what laws are passed, or what great things that we do as a nation. Our hope is in the power of God working through the hearts of people, and that’s where our hope is in this country; that’s where our hope is in life.”

Be the hope. Be the peace. As far as it depends on you, be an agent of peace to bring unity to a divided world. 

 

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

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Posted on Oct 18, 2016 in Blog, Church, Culture, Lost Virtues

When Is It Okay To Leave A Church?

When Is It Okay To Leave A Church?

“This church just isn’t meeting my needs.”

I can’t read your mind. No pastor can. (Though some think we have that super power. If I could choose a super power, I don’t think that would be it, haven’t you ever watched Bruce Almighty?)

But, if I could read your mind, I’d be willing to guess you’ve had that thought about your church. “I think it’s time to start doing a little church shopping because I’m just not getting what I need here.” “If they would do this program like this other church, I might stay, but…” “If the pastor was funny like the other guy…” “If the pastor would just feed me instead of making me laugh…” And the list goes on. And the list goes on. (Insert Sandi Patty music here.)

So, we go shopping trying to find a church that is going to meet our needs. And everything changes.

We go from being a part of a loving community to being a consumer of a good or service. We stop thinking about the good of the whole and start thinking about our own good. Without a thought of how our actions are affecting others, we just change everything.

Churches aren’t commodities. Churches aren’t storefronts or business. Churches don’t exist to please its constituents.

I’ve had several conversations with people who have left our church over the past few years that I’ve been here. If someone leaves, I try to talk to them and find out why (if I don’t already know). Not once, has the issue been something relevant. “We are leaving because you’re teaching heresy.” It’s always been something preferential. We need this or that. We want this program. We want our kids to have this thing. When I ask the question, “Have you considered how you leaving will affect the rest of our community?” people don’t really have an answer. Some have thought about it, but their own personal desires trump the good of the whole.

(By the way, I’m not writing this post in response to someone leaving our church. In fact, we’ve had some new families join us and stay. So, that’s why I’m writing it now. It’s a good time to write about when you’re not having the problem)

Maybe you’re thinking about looking for another church. Let me as you a question: who is church for? If you’re answer is you, then you should probably do your church a favor and leave. “Harsh words man, lighten up a little bit.” Sorry, but that might be what you need to hear.

Churches exist for worshipping God, for the good of the local body of Christ and for shining the light of God’s love into the darkness.

“My personal pleasure” is not a role that churches are supposed to play. To reduce your church to pleasure puts it in the category of a social club, and we have not interest in being that for you.

You’re not getting anything out of church? Maybe that’s not the point. What have you given to your church lately? What have you contributed? Have you loved your brothers and sisters in Christ in a way that serves them? Or are you just looking for people to meet your needs and serve you?

These are the problems we face in the church today.

Reasons people leave church:

  1. My needs aren’t being met.
  2. I don’t like being under authority.
  3. I have a disagreement/conflict with someone in the church and it’s easier to leave than work it out.
  4. I don’t like the style of music.
  5. I don’t like the teaching.
  6. My kids’ needs aren’t being met.

There are others. Honestly, too many to list here. What makes these wrong?

Your needs will be met if your in true biblical community. True biblical community starts with me sacrificing myself. If you have a problem with authority, you will have a problem with every church, because your problem is not with the church but with God. If you can’t solve conflict, you just shouldn’t be around any human, stay at home and watch a TV preacher. There must be someone who likes the style of music your church uses, think about what’s best for that group of people and not what you want most. Is the teaching heretical? If not, there is something you can learn. If your kids’ needs aren’t being met, maybe that’s why you’re there.

“Okay, what’s the point of this article preacher man?”

You are where you are for a reason. What can you do to be a part of the solution? Maybe God wants you to help your church serve one another better, but He needs you to get over yourself first. I don’t know. What I do know is that God wants you to be committed. And until you make a commitment, you will be constantly disappointed because church isn’t about you and that’s what you’re trying to make it about.

Commit to worshipping God. Commit to the body. Commit to shining the light. Put your name on a pew. Be so committed that people know where you sit and notice when you’re missing. Meet the needs of other people in your church. Meet the needs of people in your community. Love God above everything and love your neighbor as yourself. Get those two things right and not matter what church you are in, you will be blessed.

When is it okay? Well, if the pastor is teaching heresy, that would be one. If something immoral is happening and not being addressed, then maybe. But only after following what the Bible says to do about confrontation, etc. Aside from those two things, there’s not much.

What are your thoughts? When is it okay to leave a church? Mad at me? Let me hear it!

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Posted on Aug 15, 2016 in Blog, Culture, Deliberate Living, Encouragement, Featured

Recovering Pessimist

Recovering Pessimist

I don’t know if I’ve always been this way.

It’s hard to remember not being this way. I think some of us with certain personality types are a little more prone to it. However, I think a lot of my habitual pessimism came to me during my time in college.

There’s this way of thinking in college, and it’s in a lot of churches…well, it’s pretty much everywhere.

I’m afraid we’re becoming more and more pessimistic as time goes on.

It can feed your brain and ego to be negative and pessimistic. There are studies showing the way your brain rewards you for being negative and for other negative behaviors like gossiping.

I think that’s party of why we do it. I think we also do it because it makes us feel smart to be able to put something or someone else down. Being negative and pessimistic is a way of lifting ourselves up over whatever it is we’re putting down.

I’ve been trying to be a more positive and optimistic person for a while. But, I haven’t made it public yet. So, I wanted to do that today.

Hi, I’m David. And I’m a recovering pessimist.

I refuse to define myself as a pessimist. I’ve been and am being set free from it. That’s not who I am, that’s who I was. It is a journey. It’s a challenge. It can be tough to change ways of thinking and talking and interacting that have been pressed deeply into your psyche.

But, that’s not who I am, that’s who I was.

However, my confession is not merely a way of me going public with my journey.

It’s also a plea.

Will you join me? Will you go with me on this journey? Will you make a choice to abandon your negative, pessimistic ways of thinking, talking, interacting and seeing the world through that lens?

Especially for those of you who are Christians, we have so much to be thankful for, joyful over and to celebrate! We have been set free from the corruption and brokenness of the world. And while the world around us remains broken, we cannot be instruments of redemption with a mindset of corruption and pessimism.

I’m not saying we won’t have to endure hardships. I’m not saying we have to hide our pain and our struggles. Some of us have gone through unimaginable pain and sorrow. There will be seasons and times of our lives where we walk through the shadows.

But, they are merely that – shadows. They are passing. They are temporary. They exist because there is light. And, as dark as the shadow may be, as dense as the forest around us is – if we just keep walking, we will eventually find ourselves in the light again.

Will you join me in this pursuit? Will you help me in this pursuit? Because I don’t think we need anymore negativity in our world.

Instead, I think we need more hope in our world. We may be the only source of hope for this world. You may be the only source of hope for the people in your life. We cannot provide hope to the world through pessimism and negativity.

Should we be dishonest? Should we put on a front? No.

But, we should practice. It’s one thing to be fake. It’s another thing to practice being someone you’re trying to become. Athletes practice. Musicians practice. Artists practice. People learning to drive have to practice.

We need to practice our positivity, hope and optimism. And maybe if I, if we, practice it enough, it will become who we are.

And maybe someday, people will call you that optimistic person that they love being around.

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Posted on Apr 26, 2016 in Blog, Culture, Featured, Lost Virtues

It’s Like Taking Advice From A Compost Pile

It’s Like Taking Advice From A Compost Pile

We’ve always had compost piles in our family. We dump grass clippings and leaves in a pile. We throw food scraps in there. Corn Stalks and other dead plants from the garden. We never had the fancy tumblers like people use today. Just a pile. And the pile would always decompose. The pile would start out huge, but over time, it would shrink down as the things in it continued to die. They were dead already. They were dead when we put them in the pile. But, as they continued to die, the pile got smaller, slimyer and smellier.

The following spring, it would be used to help the next years plants grow as we would put it on the garden and mix it into the ground where we would soon be planting seeds for another crop.

Can you imagine taking advice from this heap of decomposing death? It sounds ridiculous. I know.

BUT WE DO IT ALL THE TIME!!!

This world we are in is broken. It’s cursed. It’s falling apart, piece by piece. It’s literally decomposing. It is death. And yet, for some unknown reason, we allow this world to have influence in our lives on a daily, hourly, even minute by minute basis.

We surround ourselves with input sources from this decomposing pile and then make decisions based on what we see happening in the pile. Then we are surprised (when really it should come as no surprise at all) when our own lives start falling apart, decomposing.

Not only should you check your input sources, but you should surround yourself with sources that give life instead those that take it.

I talk often about the importance of being rooted in biblical community. It’s very important. I know this as someone who has been without it for a while. I know what happens when we aren’t in community with other believers. I know it can be weird to go back to church after you’ve been gone for a while.

But, I also know the potential of what you can find there if you’ll plug yourself in.

Who cares what the world thinks? It’s death. Why do you care what the world thinks of you as a Christ follower? You’ll never blend in enough with them to win them over. It’s not possible. All they’ll see then is someone who compromises their morals. They’ll see another hypocrite who claims to believe one thing, but lives another.

It’s like the scene from “The Walking Dead” where Rick Grimes covers himself in the decomposed tissue of a zombie so he can walk among them without being detected. Then it starts raining, and the dead around them pick up the scent of life as the rotting flesh gets washed off of Rick. The same will happen to us, if we try to blend in with a dead and decomposing world, eventually we will be exposed for the life we actually are. And, the death around us will just try to consume us.

The lost around us don’t need us to try to be more like them. They need us to be more like Christ in their presence. You’ve been washed clean of death, why would you try to put it on again? You’ve been set free from the power of death, why would you submit yourself to death’s pull and lure?

John 12:24-25: “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

We have passed from death into life. We have been buried with Christ through baptism, and raised to a new life in Christ. If we have been given new life, why would we continue to live in the death we have been resurrected from? Why would we allow that death to have any say so in our lives? Why would we try to be like it? It’s death. It’s decomposing. The only hope for it is that the seed of the gospel be planted in the midst of it so it can produce new life.

What if you’re the one that supposed to plant that seed? How can you plant the seed if you’re trying to blend in?

When the world tells you the bible is outdated, don’t listen to it – that’s just death talking.

When the world tells you that church is old fashioned, don’t listen to it – that’s just death talking.

When the world tells you that you should work hard and ignore your family, don’t listen to it – that’s just death talking.

 

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Posted on Nov 19, 2015 in Blog, Culture, Featured

Why We Are So Easily Offended

Why We Are So Easily Offended

I wrote a post a couple of days ago about how annoying Social Media has been lately. If you haven’t read it, you ought to. As a follow up to that post, I have a question to ask you: Have you noticed how easily offended we have become?

Why do you think that is? Why is it that, no matter what you say, there is a good chance you’re going to offend someone? I have offended people by talking about tupperware sippy cups. Seriously. Why have we become offended about everything.

Let’s try it out. I’m not going to say anything offensive in this paragraph, but tell me if you do. It’s offensive to be a Christian, and people are offended by Christians. It’s offensive to be American and americans are offended by people being american. It’s offensive to eat meat. It’s offensive to drink cow’s milk. Those are some of the easy ones to talk about. I don’t even want to mention the others because I don’t want people to be distracted by them.

Why? Why are we so easily offended? It didn’t used to be this way. People have always been offended by things, but not like this. In the past, people would get offended if you said something that they took personally. We would get offended if someone called us fat or ugly, rich or poor, stupid or smart.

Why are we offended by silly things like milk and meat now? I think it boils down to this one thing: truth.

Truth, morality and reality used to be something that was defined outside of ourselves. Definitions to reality existed outside of who we are. Honesty was defined. Integrity too. Our humanity was defined by biology.

That has all changed. Now we define truth, morality and reality within ourselves. We decide who we are and who we are want to be. When we make a stand on something, we are doing so because we are that thing. Whatever the issue is, it’s not just a battle of ideas, it’s personal.

That’s why we are so easily offended. Because when you disagree with someone who has defined their own truth, morality and reality, you aren’t just disagreeing with an idea. You’re actually insulting that person.

It’s the same as calling someone fat, ugly or stupid. (All names I’ve been called, by the way.) You may thing you’re discussing an idea, but you’re not. You’re discussing a person.

This is one reason why absolute truth is so important. Without it, we are at the mercy of the most popular idea of the time. Without it, we are at war with each other.

With absolute truth, we are at the mercy of truth and the God who created it. And He is a God who loved us enough to send his Son to walk in Grace and Truth. He is a God who sent His son to die to pay the ransom for my sins and to restore me into the likeness His son.

Without absolute truth, there is no right or wrong. There is no way to decide who gets to decide. There is no way to determine if I am right and you are wrong. With absolute truth, there is a right and wrong. And, even though you may not think so, that’s a good thing.

Why is it good? Because, let’s say someone breaks into your house, steals your stuff and harms your family. You go to the trial, only to hear the defendant say that he was only doing what he thought was his right. And it just so happens that the jury and judge agree with him. He was doing what he thought was his right. It doesn’t matter how it affected you, because it is what was right for him.

It may seem ridiculous, but it’s not that far off. “But we have laws that protect us against that!?” I know! That’s what I think. But, those laws are continuously being changed to match our new moral relativism. It is not too far fetched to imagine that most, if not all laws will be done away with over time.

And, how do we decide what should be laws if we don’t have any absolute truth to base them on. You may feel that all life is precious and valuable, but that doesn’t mean I do, or that the judge does. If we all disagree, how do we decide what is right and wrong? We are left to do what’s right for us. And if that affects you negatively, that’s just your too bad.

That’s why we’re easily offended. Because we have become the be all end all for everything. We are the source of our own truth. And when something conflicts with that truth, the person doing the offending is in the wrong. I can’t possibly be wrong because I decided it was right in the first place.

If you find yourself being offended about an issue, try to dig into it a little bit. Try to discover if this belief is based on absolute truth or something you have created. If it isn’t, try to discover what the truth is. If you don’t know how to figure it out, ask someone. Ask me, and let’s see if we can’t find the truth together.

As long as you’re interested in the truth. The whole truth. And nothing but the truth.

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